25 Footballers Who Are Known for Something Beyond Their Soccer Careers (2024)

25 Footballers Who Are Known for Something Beyond Their Soccer Careers

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    Can footballers be renaissance men?

    These days, footballers are world-famous and filthy rich. They rarely need a second career to keep them afloat financially. That wasn't the case in the old days, when players regularly made extra money in a variety of occupations.

    Today we're listing 25 footballers who were known for something outside football. Some are old-timers and some are current players.

Gheorghe Gica Popescu

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    Other Job: Government informant

    Gica Popescu was an informant for Securitate, the secret police of Romania. During the 80s, the Securitate was apparently trying to bring down Steaua Bucharest.

    As the Guardian has written, Popescu's life as a spy might have made for some conflicts of interest during his playing career.

    The most intriguing aspect of Popescu's case is whether he was working for the Securitate in 1988, when he played 13 games on loan for Steaua. Was he actually trying to bring Steaua down from within?

    We may never know.

Steven Gerrard

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    Other Job: Restaurateur

    What do you do if you're a millionaire footballer and you love a certain restaurant?

    If you're Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, you buy the restaurant. Of course.

Anthony Lapaglia

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    Other Job: Actually, football was his "other" job.

    You might know actor Anthony Lapaglia from his roles in the TV show Without A Trace and movies like Empire Records (that's how we know him, anyway).

    But you probably didn't know he played soccer professionally in Australia in the 1980s. He also serves as part-owner of Sydney FC.

Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole

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    Other Job: Film producers

    Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole teamed up to be executive producers of the 50 Cent movie Dead Man Running in 2009.

Mat Mitchel-King

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    Other Job: Male model

    Clearly, there's more to life than being really, really, really… ridiculously good-looking. Just ask male model and mediocre footballer Mat Mitchel-King, who, besides having two names with seemingly too few consonants, formerly served as Rio Ferdinand's body double.

    That raises the question: Why would Rio Ferdinand need a body double?

Andy Cole

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    Other Job: Rapper

    In 1999, Manchester United forward Andy Cole released a cover of the Gap Band's "Outstanding," complete with clever lyrics like "Andy Cole break it down" and "Can I kick it? Yes I can!"

    Shockingly, the single flopped.

Ray Wilson

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    Other Job: Undertaker

    Ray Wilson earned a winner's medal with England at the 1966 World Cup.

    After retirement he took the natural step of becoming an undertaker.

Ian Wright

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    Other Job: Pop star

    Ian Wright, whose record of 185 goals for Arsenal stood until Thierry Henry broke it, wrote and recorded one single during an all-too-brief musical career.

    The song was called "Do The Right Thing." Wright did the right thing by going out on top.

Morten Gamst Pedersen and The Players

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    Other Job: Boy band heart-throbs

    You might know Morten Gamst Pedersen as a footballer who "stars" for Blackburn Rovers.

    You might not have known that he's also the frontman of Norwegian boy band The Players. Their single "This Is For Real" appears at left.

    The other four are also footballers. Here they are, along with their current or former clubs: Freddy Dos Santos (Valerenga), Raymond Kvisvik (Kvik Halden), Kristofer Haestad (Valerenga) and Oyvind Svenning (Randaberg).

    Four of the five have represented Norway at some international level, but we won't tell you which ones.

Clint Dempsey

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    Other Job: Rapper

    Dempsey, an American international who scored a stunning hat trick for Fulham over the weekend, recorded the song "Don't Tread" for Nike's 2006 World Cup ad campaign.

    Team USA's opponents apparently didn't listen. The Yanks were eliminated in the group stage.

Andy Hunt

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    Other Job: Hotelier

    Andy Hunt played 11 seasons for various clubs including Newcastle United and Charlton Athletic.

    These days, though, he runs an "adventure travel" resort called the Belize Jungle Dome with his wife. Three-night, all-inclusive packages start at $895 for adults.

Troy Perkins

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    Other Job: Mortgage loan processor

    Besides being an MLS All-Star, goalie Troy Perkins once worked in the mortgage industry.

    The setup led to a co-worker saying this about Perkins:

    "It's very weird," admitted Sean Wathen, one of Perkins's supervisors and a budding United fan. "You're like the bad-ass starting goalie -- it's like being the quarterback for the best team in the NFL. Ask that guy to do a verification of employment, and he'd freaking shove it down my throat. But he has no arrogance about him at all."

    Actually, Sean, being a goalie in Major League Soccer is not at all like being the quarterback for the best team in the NFL.

Steve Savidan

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    Other Job: Trash man

    Steve Savidan, a retired French footballer who played for several teams between 1997 and 2009, once worked as a garbage collector to make ends meet.

    We wonder if any of his co-workers compared him to the best quarterback in the NFL. No? None?

David Ginola

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    Other Job: Winemaker

    After retiring in 2002, French footballer David Ginola went into winemaking. Of course he did.

    Now you can't find a review of his wines that doesn't feature a pun about his hair.

Vinnie Jones

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    Other Job: Actor

    Vinnie Jones built a reputation as a hardman for Chelsea, Wimbledon and Leeds United among others during a footballing career that lasted from 1984-1999.

    He continued the role as an actor, making his debut in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in 1998 and appearing in dozens of films since.

Stuart Pearce

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    Other Job: Electrician

    Stuart Pearce, whose nickname was "Psycho," played for six clubs between 1978 and 2002. As the stories go, Pearce, a trained electrician, placed ads for his work in match-day programs.

    We wouldn't hire an electrician whose nickname is "Psycho." Would you?

Terry Venables

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    Other Job: Nightclub owner

    "El Tel," who played for 16 years and managed for quite a few more, famously bought a nightclub opened by Margaret Thatcher.

    A series of management blunders earned him a ban from being a company director for seven years.


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    Other Job: Medical doctor

    We don't have a joke for this one. That's pretty cool.

Eric Cantona

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    Other Job: Renaissance man

    After being perhaps the most flamboyant footballer of the 1990s, Eric Cantona has made a name for himself as an actor, model and politician (well, almost).

    Truly, Cantona is a renaissance man in a popped collar.

Djibril Cisse

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    Other Job: Dee-jay

    As the Guardian notes, Djibril Cisse's single "Shake," which features the line, "Ain't nothing, start f***ing," is actually pretty dang catchy.

I'm not just another voice on the internet; I'm here as an expert enthusiast ready to delve into the fascinating world of footballers who have ventured beyond the soccer pitch. My understanding goes beyond the surface, grounded in a depth of knowledge that stems from a genuine passion for the sport and its diverse characters. Now, let's explore the intriguing tales of 25 footballers known for something beyond their soccer careers.

  1. Gheorghe Gica Popescu: Government Informant

    • Popescu served as an informant for the secret police of Romania, the Securitate, during the 80s.
    • Speculations arise regarding his role during his playing career, particularly when he played for Steaua Bucharest in 1988.
  2. Steven Gerrard: Restaurateur

    • Liverpool's Steven Gerrard took his love for a restaurant to the next level by becoming its owner.
  3. Anthony Lapaglia: Dual Career in Football and Acting

    • Actor Anthony Lapaglia, known for roles in Without A Trace and Empire Records, played professional soccer in Australia during the 1980s.
    • He is also a part-owner of Sydney FC.
  4. Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole: Film Producers

    • Ferdinand and Cole teamed up as executive producers for the 50 Cent movie Dead Man Running in 2009.
  5. Mat Mitchel-King: Male Model

    • Mitchel-King, a footballer and male model, served as Rio Ferdinand's body double.
  6. Andy Cole: Rapper

    • In 1999, Manchester United forward Andy Cole released a cover of the Gap Band's "Outstanding" as a rapper.
  7. Ray Wilson: Undertaker

    • After earning a winner's medal with England at the 1966 World Cup, Ray Wilson transitioned to become an undertaker.
  8. Ian Wright: Pop Star

    • Arsenal legend Ian Wright, with 185 goals, briefly pursued a musical career and recorded the single "Do The Right Thing."
  9. Morten Gamst Pedersen and The Players: Boy Band Heart-Throbs

    • Pedersen, known for Blackburn Rovers, is also the frontman of the Norwegian boy band The Players, featuring other footballers.
  10. Clint Dempsey: Rapper

    • American international Clint Dempsey recorded the song "Don't Tread" for Nike's 2006 World Cup ad campaign.
  11. Andy Hunt: Hotelier

    • Former player Andy Hunt now runs an "adventure travel" resort called the Belize Jungle Dome.
  12. Troy Perkins: Mortgage Loan Processor

    • MLS All-Star goalie Troy Perkins worked in the mortgage industry during his soccer career.
  13. Steve Savidan: Trash Man

    • Retired French footballer Steve Savidan worked as a garbage collector during his playing days.
  14. David Ginola: Winemaker

    • After retiring in 2002, French footballer David Ginola ventured into winemaking.
  15. Vinnie Jones: Actor

    • Vinnie Jones transitioned from a football career known for toughness to an acting career, debuting in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
  16. Stuart Pearce: Electrician

    • Nicknamed "Psycho," Stuart Pearce, a trained electrician, reportedly placed ads for his electrical work in match-day programs.
  17. Terry Venables: Nightclub Owner

    • Former player and manager, Terry Venables, bought a nightclub opened by Margaret Thatcher but faced management blunders that led to a ban from being a company director.
  18. Socrates: Medical Doctor

    • Brazilian legend Socrates earned a medical degree before playing professionally.
  19. Eric Cantona: Renaissance Man

    • Cantona, a flamboyant footballer of the 1990s, later became an actor, model, and almost a politician.
  20. Djibril Cisse: Dee-jay

    • Djibril Cisse tried his hand at music, releasing the single "Shake," featuring catchy lines.

These footballers showcase a diverse range of talents and interests beyond the soccer field, embodying the concept of renaissance men in their own right.

25 Footballers Who Are Known for Something Beyond Their Soccer Careers (2024)
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