Orpington resident Mike Delaney can list the likes of Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and even our favourite hungry striker Luis Suarez as former work colleagues.
The skills coach, from Craven Road, has had a kick about with Cristiano Ronaldo, taught Kaka a trick or two, and run through moves with Lionel Messi.
The 37-year-old describes himself as a “freestyle pioneer” after starting out focusing on the technique side of the sport as a teenager.
He had a stint in Germany as a professional and since then has gone onto nearly two decades of freestyle appearances, coaching, and television work as a leading 'skills expert'.
Perhaps the most exciting part of his job is helping to produce advertisements for the likes of Nike, Adidas, and Carlsberg, where he appears as a ‘body double’ for the stars and is in charge of coreographing flicks and tricks.
He told News Shopper: “It all came about from when I was a body double – I’ve been Ryan Giggs, Del Piero. I was even Ruud Gullit once – they put a wig on me and painted me up.
“I remember the first one I did in 1997 with Beckham, Zidane, Gazza. I was completely awe struck. I was only 19. I never expected to do it.”
Few can boast a CV such as Mr Delaney’s and after a busy half a year he’s now seeing much of his most recent projects in World Cup campaigns.
His latest, titled ‘The Dream’, features names such as Dani Alves, Robin Van Persie, and yes, Luis Suarez.
Mentioning the notorious Uruguayan, who faces a considerable ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at Brazil 2014, Mr Delaney said the striker “seemed like a nice guy” – although wasn’t playing against him in a competitive fixture.
As well as covering himself in make-up to turn into football’s greats, and doing kick ups with Ronaldinho, Mr Delaney runs The Skills Academy in Orpington, a football training school for youngsters across the borough.
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