15 August 2014 12:58pm
by Joe Hall
With boys born in England and Wales last year given names such as Neymar, Xavi and Zidane, World Cup fever was evidently gathering momentum well ahead of time.
There will be eight new parents in England and Wales who will have to explain to their little Neymar how his namesake endured a disappointing tournament in Brazil and four new parents who will never forget to buy a birthday cake for their Yaya.
Meanwhile there were 105 babies named Luis (and three called Suarez) last year who will soon grow up to lectures on how NOT to copy the behaviour of that Luis over in Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo, winner of last year’s Ballon d’Or, shares a name with a total of 20 babies born in England and Wales in 2013. Seven were named Ronaldo and 13 were called Cristiano. There were even 12 boys named Xavi.
Other boys given the same name as World Cup stars last year included six baby Bastians, 25 tiny Thiagos and 18 little Lionels.
Of the 23 players shortlisted for the 2013 Ballon d’Or award, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski were both the highest represented by newborns in England and Wales, although it’s unlikely that too many of the 4,591 new Toms were named in tribute to the great gangly German.
However it wasn’t only the stars of the today who shared uncommon names with newborns last year. A number of parents gave their sons monikers seemingly out of tribute to historic legends of the game.
A number of names that featured in the “FIFA 100” (a list of the greatest ever footballers as chosen by Pele in 2004) also featured on this year’s list of names given to boys born in England and Wales last year.
There were three boys given the first name Beckham, six called Zico and 16 named Zidane.
Overall, Oliver was the most popular name for boys in the England and Wales, with 6,949 boys given the name last year. Amelia stayed as the most popular girls name for a third year in a row.
There were also some surprising names to be found amongst newborn girls with a multitude named after Game of Thrones characters .187 girls born in 2013 were named Arya, five were called Sansa and there were even 50 Khaleesis.
Finally, it should be noted that three boys were given the unfortunate first name “David-James”.
Explore the data for the top 100 names for girls and boys in the table below: