For many, Aron “The Annihilator” Einar Malmquist Gunnarsson is the face of the Icelandic national football team. A dogged, ever-committed midfielder with an end-to-end style, the team’s captain excels in crunching tackles and mighty long throws. Despite having only scored two goals at international level, he is a totemic midfield presence that drives the team forward with boundless grit and determination. Aron is also the ringleader of the famous “Viking clap,” which is a victory ritual, and not a virulent venereal disease.
After rising rapidly through the ranks of the youth system, he became the permanent captain of the side in 2012, and has spent time playing at Coventry City and then Cardiff City in the UK. Under his leadership, Iceland qualified for their first European Cup playoffs, and then the finals, where they famously beat England before going out against the host, France. In 2017, Aron captained Iceland into their first ever World Cup finals.
It is rumoured that Aron’s beard length is directly connected to the fortune of his side, so we’re pleased to see him growing back his facial coif ahead of Iceland’s foray into the World Cup. During the Euro Cup 2016, he unleashed a robust challenge on Cristiano Ronaldo, who refused to swap shirts with him at the final whistle, forever cementing Aron’s place in the hearts of football fans worldwide.
Club: Cardiff FC
Special Skills: Long throws, the “Viking clap,” screaming, raiding, beheading
Nicknames: Aron The Annihilator, Father Of Destruction, The Terrifying Maimer, The Ronaldo Ruiner, The Bearded Beheader, Big A