25 Footballers Who Are Known for Something Beyond Their Soccer Careers
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.