For one reason or another, footballers seem to have an ongoing connection with horses—watching them, betting plenty of money on them and also owning them.
Maybe it's just because of the millions upon millions that they have lying around in their bank account—who knows? Regardless of the reasons behind the move, plenty of football's biggest names are strongly connected with the horse-racing industry and own horses themselves.
Some you may know already; others you might not.
Let's take a look at several famous footballers who own racehorses.
Owner of the worst attempted French accent in history, Joey Barton is more than just a loud-mouthing Premier League bad-boy. Yes, that in itself is quite surprising, but the fact that he owns racehorses shouldn't be—after all, he's got to win something, doesn't he?
Barton reportedly owns a stable of horses, with some of the more notable standouts being "Crying Lightning" (which was indeed named after the Arctic Monkeys' song) as well as the daughter of the 2007 Epsom Derby winner Sir Percy, which Barton purchased earlier this year (per The Daily Mirror).
The 30-year-old also owns My Propeller and Little Garcon.
Journeyman Joe Cole might not have seemed like the horse-racing connoisseur on the outside, but deep down inside, the Hammers' midfielder actually has quite a strong connection to what happens trackside.
Cole has never been afraid to get down to the track in his time at Liverpool (as shown in these pictures from The Daily Mail), with Soccerlens also managing to snap a picture of Cole with one of his winning horses—something that they report has only happened four times in his career.
Horse-racing wins, that is.
One of the more notable entries on this list, Wayne Rooney, is heavily involved in owning racehorses, with his latest purchase called "Switcherooney". The Daily Mail reports that the England international (it's safer to call him that than 'Manchester United attacker' at the moment) was going to call the horse "Oceans Seven", but after learning that the proposed name was already taken, he opted to make the switch.
Rooney shares ownership of his horses with wife Coleen. The pair also owns a bay colt called Tomway, which was named after Wayne's father Thomas Wayne Rooney, as well as Yourartisonfire (which scored its' first win back in July of 2012, per The Daily Mail).
However, Rooney doesn't appear to have the greatest success in his career as a owner thus far—splashing out £80,000 on his horses for a grand return of £5,000 (per The Sun).
Being the tough, manly figure that he is, John Terry's racehorse should—by default—be as tough as they come. The Chelsea skipper is one of the most determined and tough characters on the football field, and so it's only natural to think that his horses would follow suit, right?
Well, maybe not.
Terry's horse races in the dressage competition. Yes, the "walk to K and canter to A" competition that makes for simply mesmerizing television when the Olympics are on.
According to Horse and Hound, Terry's wife Toni used to ride dressage before the pair had children, and now with their kids grown up a little more, she has decided to get back into competition—buying several dressage horses called Delmonte, Beltoni and Diamond Fritz.
No news is yet known on whether the England international chooses to take part with his wife, or whether he just turns up in full kit and starts celebrating when she wins.
Some will say that Michael Owen doesn't quite fall into the category of "famous footballers".
However, just one glance to the Ballon d'Or winners list will set that straight, with the England icon clinching the 2001 Ballon d'Or title in dynamic fashion—proving himself to be up there with the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi (okay, maybe slightly carried away at the end).
Anyway, the point is that Owen—a famous footballer—owns horses, and lots of them!
Owen owns countless horses, with some of them quite successful. BBC Sport reports that it was Owen's horse—Brown Panther—that won the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011—with his purchase of the Manor House Stables giving him a number of prolific horses to call his own.
Numbers from the BBC also state that the stables currently holds about 100 horses (with plans to expand to 130 horses). In 2010 alone, Owen was the recipient of over £400,000 in prize money, meaning that he definitely tops the list of "successful footballers turned horse owners".
According to The Guardian, it also seems that owning horses has made him quite philosophical, with Owen explaining why he chose to purchase the stables.
When you retire, you have to have something that grips you and gives you that adrenaline thrill. I've been in racing for 10 years and it is the only thing that matches the thrill of scoring a goal..
In addition to Owen, there's a slew of former footballers and managers who own racehorses—the most notable of which is former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson's horses have competed in some of the biggest races throughout England, with entries in the Grand National and the Doncaster throughout the last few years (per Soccerlens).
Other notable owners include Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, Liverpool legends Robbie Fowler and Steve McNamanan (who are very successful owners indeed!), Kevin Keegan, Alan Shearer, Vinne Jones, Jamie Redknapp and father Harry Redknapp, Paul Merson and current Newcastle United director of football Joe Kinnear (whose horse is probably called "Walking Joke").
We'll leave it to Bleacher Report's Charles Lawley to explain why.
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