Jack Wilshere and 8 Other Smoking Footballers

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

Jack Wilshere and 8 Other Smoking Footballers

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    It seems that Arsenal can do no wrong lately, but Jack Wilshere has landed himself in a spot of bother after apparently being caught smoking outside a nightclub, per the Telegraph.

    The midfielder has denied that he partakes in the unhealthy habit on Twitter, but manager Arsene Wenger has admonished the 21-year-old, per the Guardian.

    Wilshere isn't the only footballer with a habit—here's a selection of his smoky brethren...

Wayne Rooney

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    Wayne Rooney always needs a few games to get into the swing of things at the start of every season. Why? Well, he appears to spend his summers neglecting his fitness duties in favour of his drinking and smoking duties.

    The Manchester United striker has been spotted lighting up several times, including one incident in 2010 when he was seen "smoking and urinating in the street" on a night out, per the Daily Mail.

    If you ever need proof that Wayne didn't attend a finishing school...

Dimitar Berbatov

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    If Dimitar Berbatov was any more relaxed, he would spend most games laying down in the centre circle, being fed grapes by Martin Jol. 

    Despite his laid-back demeanour, The Berba has been spotted taking the edge off of things with a cigarette on a few occasions. (And in private, it's safe to assume that he spends many hours sat in a wing-backed chair with a glass of port, a smoking jacket and a fine Cuban cigar.)

    When questioned about his habit by The Independent, the Bulgarian Fulham forward said "sometimes when you see a picture I just pretend to smoke to make me more of a cool guy."

    It's working, Dimi. It's working. 

Mario Balotelli

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    In the long list of sublime and ridiculous things Mario Balotelli has been caught doing away from the pitch, smoking a cigarette seems pretty tame.

    The Italian striker has been photographed many times with a coffin nail hanging from his mouth, but his habit hit the headlines in 2013 when he was caught puffing away in a train toilet while on the way to visit Fiorentina. 

Ashley Cole

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    When he wasn't provoking the ire of local women, Ashley Cole spent much of his free time in the USA this summer smoking in public. 

    According to sources at The Daily Mail, the unlovable Chelsea star spends much of his free time with his friends Benson and Hedges. Hey, at least it keeps him from shooting people, swearing at the FA and cheating on his pop-star wife

Wayne Bridge

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    While he was cast asunder from Roberto Mancini's ranks in 2012, Wayne Bridge was snapped a few times with a Marlboro in his mouth

Aaron Lennon

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    A few hours after England's 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany, Aaron Lennon was pictured celebrating the failure with a cigar

    A few months later, the pacy Spurs winger was told to "lay off the fags" by manager Harry Redknapp, per the Metro.

    Just imagine how fast he could be without smoke-damaged lungs... 

Fabio Coentrao

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    Who's that sneaking in a cheeky cigarette while celebrating his birthday with Cristiano Ronaldo? It's Real Madrid wing-back Fabio Coentrao!

    Despite being caught having a puff—and making one of the world's most expensive players breathe his secondhand smoke—Coentrao insisted in the Portuguese paper Record that he was an "excellent professional." (h/t Fox Sports Asia)

Gigi Buffon

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    If there's one position on the field where you might be able to get away with a smoking habit, it's goalkeeper.

    David James was a renowned smoker throughout his career (he's actually still playing in Iceland, by the way), while Juventus' No. 1 Gianluigi Buffon loves nothing better than laying on a beach and staring at a bikini-clad woman while taking a drag. 

Honourable Mentions

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    While this list has focused on current players, there have been plenty of smokey 'ballers in years gone by.

    Zinedine Zidane, Paul Gascoigne, Gianluca Vialli, Socrates, Fabian Barthez, Johan Cruyff, Jack Charlton and Ossie Ardiles were all renowned cigarette smokers. 

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