Special dedication to their local legends: Murals

Special dedication to their local legends: Murals

Francesco Totti – Rome

Veteran of more than 20 hard-fought seasons in Serie A, almost 800 games, Totti is nearly as synonymous with the history of Italy's Eternal City as the wolf-suckling twins, Romulus and Remus themselves. Totti's playing days may have ended in 2017, but his presence around Rome can still be felt on the ancient capital's walls and buildings. One of the most famous murals dedicated to the playmaker is located on the Via della Madonnina, and features his silhouette on a backdrop of red and gold.

Mohamed Salah – Cairo

While Totti was dubbed the 'Gladiator' in his home nation in tribute to his swashbuckling performances, Salah is known to his adoring Egyptian (and worldwide) support as simply the 'Pharaoh' – king and god encapsulated in one single figure. The Liverpool striker is now regarded as one of the world's finest players, lifting the Champions League with the Reds in 2019. It is no surprise, then, to see his smiling face beaming back from a wall in downtown Cairo, appearing alongside national icons such as singer Umm Kulthum and Nobel-winning novelist Naguib a mural that serves as a hall of fame for Egypt's favourite sons.

Lionel Messi – Rosario

He may have called Barcelona home for the best part of the last 20 years, but Lionel Messi will be forever linked with his true hometown, the bustling port city of Rosario in Argentina. A trip to Messi's childhood neighbourhood, La Bajada, is a living tribute to the star. In 2018 his visage suddenly sprang up across La Bajada, as 35 artists took to 30 walls across the neighbourhood in a street art homage. Iconic moments from Leo's career are depicted in the murals, painted under the slogan 'the future is at stake'.

Jurgen Klopp – Liverpool

The middle-aged German coach might make for an unlikely hero, but he has won the hearts of the red half of Liverpool thanks to his brilliant record at Anfield. Towards the end of 2018, Klopp also won his space on the walls of the city. Artist Akse painted Liverpool's boss in a wall of the Baltic District, having previously immortalised the likes of David Bowie and Muhammed Ali in his street interventions. 'We are Liverpool. This means more' reads the accompanying text, testament to just how important the Reds are around Merseyside.

George Best – Belfast

Arguably the first 'modern' British footballer thanks to his celebrity lifestyle on the pitch and exuberant personality on it, George Best was also one of the finest talents ever to come out of the United Kingdom. His dazzling skills with the ball at his feet made him a star barely out of his teens at Manchester United, although his time at the top proved short-lived as he battled with personal issues and alcoholism, an illness that dogged him for years. Best passed away in 2005, but he lives on in a touching mural that stands in his home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The city's Windsor Park stadium plays host to a picture of the former winger at his prime, legs splayed, shoulder dipped and ready to cause mayhem among the opposition defence.