theScore imagines what the cast of The Avengers would look like if it were comprised entirely of soccer stars.
Iron Man and War Machine - Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng
Individually, Iron Man and War Machine have their own missions and agendas, but together, they form a dynamic pair that balances each other's weaknesses and consolidates the strength of their armoured suits. That sounds an awful lot like Bayern Munich center-backs Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, two similar defenders who work side-by-side but offer slight variances in their skills.
Like Tony Stark, Hummels is more willing to leap into trouble, while Boateng is busy positioning himself smartly, just as a soldier like James Rhodes would.
Sure, Lionel Messi could be considered the "main character" of soccer, but Iron Man was never a main character in Marvel's superhero comics lineup. Hummels is the backbone of a Bayern team that would not be as dominant as it is if he wasn't there to mop things up. Plus, he's got the same goatee, so ...
Guardians of the Galaxy - Real Madrid stars
Cristiano Ronaldo is the Star-Lord to our Guardians of the Galaxy crossover (you've heard his name across the galaxy, right?), with many of his Real Madrid teammates embodying the best - and worst - characteristics of this rag-tag group of selfish saviours.
Look no further than the Karim Benzema, brutish and deadly in front of goal, to see flashes of Drax the Destroyer; no-nonsense Casemiro is our Gamora; the forgotten sibling? Gareth Bale; a mind-reader who is beautiful on the inside? Luka Modric, unfortunately; finally, Rocket and Groot, played by Marcelo and Toni Kroos. Why? The former is a fur-ball who recklessly attacks and saves the day when you least expect it, and the latter, while effective, is stoic enough that it's not hard to believe the only words he can utter are "I am Kroos."
It doesn't hurt that fans of other teams often look at Real Madrid and think: "What a bunch of A-holes."
Spider-Man - Christian Pulisic
Peter Parker is sick of Mr. Stark treating him like a kid, and Mr. Stark just wants his teen protege to be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man for a little while yet. While Iron-Man is off avenging, Spider-Man is stuck fighting crime in Queens.
Oh, to be young, and full of self-confidence.
Like Spider-Man, Borussia Dortmund's teenage sensation Christian Pulisic will have to wait a little longer before making his worldwide introduction. Having gotten a taste for the big fight, he's working hard to make sure he develops even further in the next four years before finally earning a World Cup berth. And, like Spider-Man, he'll use his lanky frame and strong instincts to do so.
Hulk - Hulk
There's an actual footballer named Hulk, and he smashes in goals at over 110 kilometers per hour, so there's not much to discuss here - Hulk is Hulk. Next!
Thor ... and Loki - Zlatan Ibrahimovic
One man cannot be two heroes, unless that man is a self-professed god like Zlatan Ibrahimovic (and Loki isn't even really a hero, so we'll let it slide). The iconic Swedish striker embodies the best qualities of both these brothers: He is mighty, and has a taste for a thunderous strike, but he also has an all-too-grand perception of himself and can be tough to get along with. Also - if only one man on Earth was deemed worthy of holding Mjolnir, would any of us really be shocked if it ended up being Zlatan?
Vision - Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola is one of the most cerebral thinkers on the sidelines, capable of tactical overtures that create dominant threats across the world. The Catalan bench boss is deep and complex in his thinking, such that many a reporter fails to truly grasp the scope of his work. We can think of no one better suited to boast the mysterious powers of the mind stone than soft-spoken Guardiola.
Black Panther - N'Golo Kante
Which is why the mantle of Black Panther falls, instead, on N'Golo Kante.
Just as King T'Challa draws confidence not because he knows the suit he wears is woven of Vibranium, but because he knows the man who wears it is built with unbreakable resolve, so too does Kante know that his ability doesn't come from playing for Chelsea, but by working for it each and every day.
For every trait that Pogba boasts, Kante claims the opposite; humble, hard-working, and quiet. It is those traits that make Kante deserving of the suit - and all of its symbolism. Pogba may celebrate with the "Wakanda Forever" salute, but he does it for attention, which is something Erik Killmonger would do.