Part-man, part-glacier, Emil “The Emilinator” Hallfreðsson is so strong that Hafþór Júlíus “The Mountain” Björnsson addresses him as “Master.” This belittling term of endearment owes to a childhood encounter at a summer football camp in Reykjavík, when Emil body-slammed Hafþór to the ground, leaving him in a crumpled heap. Last week, while celebrating his first World’s Strongest Man title, Hafþór’s nightmare returned when the pair bumped shoulders in a downtown bar. Though Emil stood firm, “The Mountain” spiralled towards the ground, and rumour has it that he can still be found in Prikið in the foetal position.
Aside from being the architect of psychological complexes, Emil has also carved out a successful club career spanning over 16 years. Starting out with local side FH, Emil then moved on to Tottenham, but inexplicably remained behind Teemu Tainio in the pecking order, and was shipped off to Malmö FF and Lyn Oslo on loan. Since then, barring an escapade to Barnsley in 2009-10 (where his SPF 50 consumption declined rapidly) Emil’s bulletproof bonce has been staunchly reflecting the Italian sun. In the last decade, he has turned out for Reggina, Verona and Udinese, making 269 league appearances, scoring 16 and assisting a further 35.
In Italy, Emil has become renowned for his tenacity, aggression and, of course, his wand-like left peg. One of several on the World Cup longboat with the capacity to deliver a skewering dead ball, Emil could prove key to Iceland’s snatch-and-grab game plan; especially with Gylfi “The Viking Virtuoso” fighting to be fit for the tournament. After clocking up just 24 minutes on the pitch at Euro 2016, Emil will be hoping that his dusty catapult is put to greater use this time around. Only doubling the destruction in Russia can make up for lost time.
Name: Emil “The Eliminator” Hallfreðsson
Special skills: Skewering dead balls, magic left leg, so strong that Italian commentators call duels involving him 90-10s, both an unstoppable force AND an immovable object.
Nicknames: “The Eliminator,” “The Glacier,” “Creator of Complexes,” “The Helmetless”
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