Saint Luigi

Saint Luigi holding a white football

It’s More Than Just a Game!

They say it when you’re crying in front of the TV when your team gets beat or when you’re glancing nervously at your smartphone over dinner.

They say it when grown men and women chant football songs on the train or crowd around TVs in pubs and takeaways to catch a glimpse of the action.

“What? It’s just a game”.

We think it’s so much more than that – and so did Saint Luigi.

Who is Saint Luigi?

Saint Luigi is the man who was named the patron saint of football in 2001 for inspiring people to play football.

Long before it became the world’s most popular sport, the Italian priest urged young people to play the game and many old paintings show him carrying a football under his arm.

He believed football had the power to teach people life lessons but most of all give them an adrenaline rush and joy like no other when they put the ball in the back of the net.

Over 100 years after his death, Saint Luigi’s legacy lives on.

The Passion of Football

Sports Direct think football is the glue that brings you and your mates together – whether it be on the pitch or in the stands every week – and unites whole nations during international tournaments.

Football brings together genders, races and cultures. It doesn’t care about your job title or the car you drive – on the pitch it’s what you do with the ball that matters.

The game has the power to create lifelong memories when you beat your rivals and lift trophies together and gives you the toughness to dust yourself down and go again.

Today’s Footballing Heroes

Grealish and Henderson facing the camera with their backs turnt

In modern times, football has its own Saint Luigi figures who inspire us to lace up our boots and play the beautiful game and even dream of one day following in their footsteps.

Eric Cantona inspired us to play the game and you can watch him play the role of Saint Luigi in our new UEFA EURO 2020 advert as he tries to convert football atheists with a little help from some of the Premier League’s biggest stars.

The Frenchman walks a bemused electrician through a local neighbourhood, where Bruno Fernandes, James Maddison, Jordan Henderson and a host of other top players are playing football.

If he’s before your time, ‘King Eric’ was the Premier League’s first global star and transformed Manchester United into title winners with his silky skills and trademark upturned collar.

He only spent four years at United, but just like Saint Luigi did in the 1800s, the Frenchman inspired a generation of youngsters to play football and has left a permanent mark on the game.

Sports Direct – Football Starts Here

At Sports Direct, we’re not as god-like as Saint Luigi and we definitely don’t have Cantona’s football skills or way with words, but we do share the same love for the game and we think you do too.

So, if you see Fernandes slotting home a pen, Henderson making a lung-bursting run or James whipping a free-kick into the top corner this summer, why not grab your football boots, go outside and see if you can copy your heroes.

We don’t care if your ball ends up in the hedge or you run out of gas after 20 minutes, it’s about having fun, making memories with your mates and enjoying your passion.

And don’t forget, the next time someone tells you that football is just a game, make sure you remind them that it’s much, much more than that.

A line of people posing in football equipment with Saint Luigi in the middle