Much like Freyfaxi—the galloping stallion of Hrafnkels Saga—Birkir Bjarnason is a glorious creature to be admired—but not insulted by the touch of mere mortals. Indeed, it is rumoured that Bjarki is so genetically perfect that his face and hair are insured for a whopping 3 trillion ISK, with his teammates forbidden from coming closer than five metres to his awe-inspiring beauty during training sessions. Should so much as a lock of his golden hair be set out of place, Icelandic parliament reserves the right to punish the offender by death on grounds of sacrilege.
Of course, Bjarki is much more than just a visual gem and has consistently shown gratitude for his colleagues’ restraint on the training pitch. Whether deployed in a combative defensive midfield role or given license to scythe through the opposition as a wing’d attacker, “The Besmircher of Back-Lines” adds invaluable élan to any side lucky enough to have him on their books. His record at club level demonstrates as much: he has scored 56 goals and assisted in a further 23 in 329 games for Viking, FK Bodø/Glimt, Standard Liège, Pescara, Sampdoria, FC Basel and Aston Villa.
However, Bjarki’s mane flows freest in an Iceland strip, as evidenced in Euro 2016, where he raised his game higher than the Hammer of Þór to smite the Portuguese, then to secure a glorious 2-1 scoreline (reflective only of the final 45 minutes, sadly) against the French. In fact, the performances of “The Akureyri Antagonist” were so dazzling that he transcended the very sport of football and was offered a modelling contract with ASOS via Twitter. With all due respect, after winning the World Cup in Russia, Bjarki can expect the advances of more sophisticated brands, and a signature range with 66°North is rumoured to be in the pipeline.
Club: Aston Villa
Position: Central Midfielder
Special Skills: Brutal big-game goals, hair softer than the England team’s backbone, wild gallops, gnashing hooves, being perfect
Nicknames: Freyfaxi, The Besmircher of Backlines, The Akureyri Antagonist, Equus, Horror Hooves
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