Reasonable parties can disagree. You may prefer the elegant simplicity of Brazil's more expressionistic mononyms -- the delightful Fred, for instance, or Hulk, the World Cup competitor most likely to receive a strongly worded letter from Marvel's legal team in the next few months. Perhaps the razzle-dazzle tones of Memphis Depay, the Dutch forward who sounds like a character from a Flannery O'Connor short story, is more your thing. All good. It takes all kinds.
But if there are not wrong answers to the question of which player has the best name in the 2014 World Cup, there is one answer that just feels a little more right than the rest. That name belongs to Yeltsin Tejeda, and he is a vital cog on World Cup darlings Costa Rica. Look in your heart, and you know this to be true.
There is a precedent for athletes being named Yeltsin -- the Blue Jays recently signed an international prospect named Yeltsin Gudino, and he has already been scientifically determined to have one of the best names in baseball. This is to take nothing away from Yeltsin Tejeda, of course. There is plenty of Yeltsin to go around.
That, in fact, is what makes this name so potent. Tejeda was, if Occam's Razor and Tejeda's Wikipedia page are to be believed, indeed named after former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, a politician best remembered for overseeing the luridly corrupt privatization of his nation's economy and having the complexion of a cranberry that had been soaked in vodka for seven months, not necessarily in that order. This guy:
There's plenty to recommend about "Yeltsin" as a first name, even without that historical context -- there's a nice musicality to it, and it's versatile enough to sound like both an off-brand Eastern European toothpaste and the active form of the verb "yelts," which presumably means "to blow a 0.27 on a breathalyzer immediately before a major international summit."
It is, of course, even better and more difficult to explain in context, and delightfully baffling in the present moment. We will all, thankfully, get to spend a bit more time with this name in the future. Costa Rica, after a pair of upset wins over Uruguay and Italy, is on to the knockout round, and Tejeda is reportedly being pursued by Everton of the English Premier League.
It is a lot to take, at the moment, seeing an impressive 22-year-old athlete with the name of perhaps the drunkest public figure of the last half century. While we'll almost certainly get used to it in the future, let's promise, here and now, never to forget what an absolutely wonderful name Yeltsin Tejeda has. Let's enjoy this, together.