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Season 2013/14

Alvaro Negredo: Beast by name, Beast by nature

  • 06 November 2013 12:59
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc

Beast – [pronounced: beest]: Definition - A cruel or otherwise beast-like person.

Defenders at home and abroad will certainly attest to the cruelty City’s summer signing has displayed in tandem with Sergio Aguero so far this season.

The pair have helped themselves to 22 goals in their first two and a half months together, with “La fiera de Vallecas” (the Beast of Vallecas) helping himself to five in his last three.

“It makes me laugh when people call me the Beast,” said Alvaro Negredo shortly after landing on English shores in July.

“It was my team-mates who first started calling me the Beast. But it became so popular that the media in Spain also started to use the nickname as well.”

...Alvaro "The Beast of Vallecas" Negredo...

It’s clear that supporters at the Etihad Stadium have taken to the moniker too after Tuesday night’s serenades of “Feed the Beast and he will score” which soundtracked Negredo’s first hat-trick for the club.

Alvaro is the latest in a long line of players to earn the tag which seems to go hand in hand with being a favourite on the terraces.

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Therefore, in honour of Alvaro Negredo’s match-winning performance in the UEFA Champions League, we look at some of football’s other famous examples of players with the sobriquet and attempt to uncover the genetic makeup of a footballing Beast.

Negredo isn’t the first Beast that Manuel Pellegrini has had in his charge…

Former Arsenal striker Julio Baptista is probably the footballer most synonymous with the handle still playing the game.

The Brazilian played under Pellegrini at Malaga and picked up his “La Bestia” alias due to his hulking physique, ability to hold off defenders and the power he strikes the ball with.

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Now at Cruzeiro, Baptista has won 47 caps for his country and has scored five goals.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and PSV striker Giles de Bilde was known as “the Beast of Belgium” – although his appellation seems to be derived from his red-hot temper rather than his physique.

It was this disposition which got the Zellik-born man in trouble on more than one occasion during his 15-year playing career.

Happily, Giles has mellowed in retirement and famously appeared on the Belgian edition of “Dancing on Ice” recently.

I’m not sure you would catch Alvaro in sequins…

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However, it’s not just in the top divisions across Europe that you can go Beast-spotting – they are commonplace in the lower echelons of the English footballing pyramid and are often seen as folk heroes to their clubs.

Weighing in at a whopping 16 stone, Gillingham striker Adebayo Akinfenwa more than lives up to his formidable reputation.

The 31-year old is most fondly remembered at Northampton Town where he scored more than 70 league goals and he actually boasts the highest strength attribute of any player on FIFA 14.

Sometimes a picture says more than any words could...

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Another cult hero in the lower leagues who regularly draws calls of “Beeeeeeasssst” from the stands is former Cardiff City hitman Jon Parkin.

A full lumberjack beard and a barrel chest contribute to this Fleetwood Town striker’s frightening denomination.

Despite his ample frame, Parkin has made more than 400 professional appearances and has scored more than 100 goals.

His finest moment arguably came on 2 January 2010 when Parkin scored his first FA Cup hat-trick for Preston in their 7–0 win over Colchester United.

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It’s not only strikers who can boast this daunting epithet - Burnley’s legendary Danish goalkeeper Brian Jensen also went by “The Beast”, earning his label at West Bromwich Albion, thanks to his imposing stature.

Jensen went on to make more than 250 appearances for Burnley over a decade between 2003 and 2013.

He was also the unfortunate custodian between the sticks when City beat the Clarets 6-1 at Turf Moor back in April 2010.

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On the continent, legendary Barcelona and Spain defender Miguel Nadal is yet another example of a player known as “The Beast” who was given the name for physical prowess.

Uncle to the world’s no.1 tennis player Rafa Nadal, Miguel turned out on 62 occasions for the Spanish national team.

He is probably best known to English supporters as the man who saw his crucial penalty for Spain in Euro 96 saved by former City keeper David Seaman.

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Staines Town’s Jerel Ifil and Wrexham’s Mark Creighton are two more defenders who have turned their Beastly tendencies on opposition strikers to the delight of their supporters.

Other macho nicknames are also available in the game, such as “the Tank” (Eduardo Hurtado), “the Butcher” (Andoni Goicoechea) and “the Bulldozer”(Adriano), Hulk of Zenit and of course City supporters will be well acquainted with “the Lawnmower” (Nigel de Jong).

However, this is a celebration of the sport’s Beasts… whether they rampage through opposition defences or form human brick walls in front of goal, long may they roam…

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