Footballers –us fans think we know everything about them simply from watching them on TV and at football grounds week in week out. We judge their temperament, character, personalities. We listen to their interviews before and after matches. Most of us judge them to be narcissistic, dull, childish and too rich for their own good but is that fair? For example, would you ever believe that Theo Walcott would be a successful children’s book writer after listening to him drone on about keeping his head down and letting his football do the talking after his Arsenal team draw 1:1 at home to Stoke? Did you ever imagine that Cristiano Ronaldo would be a fan of bingo during his time at Old Trafford? Despite the circus surrounding professional footballers we have to remember that they’re humans like you or me.
So without further ado, here are 5 surprising and not so-surprising hobbies of pro footballers. Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths’ hobby at the end is particularly impressive.
Arsenal star Theo Walcott is so good at football that he has decided he is now too good and has begun writing football novels for children. In his books, Walcott writes about a boy called TJ who plays football with a school team. The books are intended to encourage sportsmanship and ambition amongst kids, with all four titles becoming popular in the UK. Just how good of a sportsman is Walcott when he plays football is something you can tell me but I digress, another Premier League footballer who enjoys writing is ex-Manchester United striker, Eric Cantona, although he focuses on romantic poetry as opposed to children’s books.
What do footballers do when they’re not playing football? Take a degree course is fine art? Read upon the works of Russian literature greats such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky? Discuss the meaning of life amongst one another after a hard-fought match? Of course not, they play a football video game, Fifa to be precise. Perhaps they just love the game of football (understandable) or maybe these egomaniacs just want to see themselves within a video game (also understandable). Whichever the case, FIFA is a major pastime for many Premier League footballers. From Chelsea’s David Luiz and Arsenals Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil to Rio Ferdinand and former Celtic man Victor Wanyama. FIFA is something they just cannot get enough of. Some footballers have even begun to make a second income out of playing the game. David Meyler, who plays as a central midfielder for Hull City has created his own YouTube account dedicated to videos of himself playing FIFA. Meyler regularly discusses and plays FIFA with other YouTubers and professional FIFA esports athletes. Thanks to its popularity, FIFA has become an esport. Fans of the game are even able to bet on the outcome of FIFA esports tournaments and matches.There is now a competitive circuit for the game where the best FIFA esport athletes can earn thousands of pounds from competing.
The then unknown figure of Cristiano Ronaldo arrived on the English shores as a teenager from Portugal. Back then, he was not the Cristiano Ronaldo of today. He was skinnier, less well-kept, without the millions in the bank and to top it all off, could hardly speak the native lingo.But a savior came to him. Through an addictive DVD bingo game he’d received as a Christmas gift, Ronaldo found it easy to pick up on certain English words and phrases. There are also completely untrue rumors made up by me that he used to regularly visit Manchester’s bingo halls on a weekly basis and that the one and only thing he misses about in England (he lives in Spain now) is spending time down the bingo hall with his bestie bingo pals – Janice and Liz.
Aresnal’s goalkeeper, Petr Cech, has a musical streak. As evidenced by his YouTube videos, Cech is a talented drummer who likes to cover rock songs by bands such as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It apparently all started when Cech played the PlayStation game ‘Rock Band’ and found he was a natural at the drums. According to the man himself, the hand eye co-ordination needed to play the drums helps him with his goalkeeping training. So that’s where Joe Hart is going wrong.
Scoring free-kicks against England
This can only be the one and only Leigh Griffith, Ronaldinho is up there too, of course. You are 1:0 down against England, away from home at the so-called home of football – Wembley. The game clock ticks over to the 87th minute and you have a free kick within shooting range against Joe Hart who should be credited with former England goalkeeper David James’ nickname – calamity. Most players would crumble in this position but not Celtic striker Leigh Griffith who effortlessly curls the ball into the back of the England goal. It’s 1:1 but Griffith wants more. The Celtic man gets another free kick in the 90th minute and duly does the same again. This hobby is not an easy one to achieve but it’s one every Scotsman would be proud of. Bravo Leigh for having the most impressive hobby on this list.