Football is a game that demands a plethora of skills to succeed.
Just understanding the game and having the ability is not enough. So many players have come and gone with insane ability but without the other attributes. You must be mentally strong, conduct yourself correctly from a young age, and understand how to act away from the field.
You have to handle pressure and stress, take criticism and setbacks, and implement intricate tactics and instructions. You have to be a leader at times, a follower at others and think quickly and decisively, living with whatever consequences your actions have. They’re all skills that are incredibly useful outside of football.
After they finish playing, many footballers stay in the game; they become pundits, coaches, physios or managers. The better they were in their playing career, the easier it should be to get a job in the game. However, some take those skills they’ve learned and adapt them for an altogether different career, one that doesn’t involve getting tackles or scoring goals. Here are three remarkable careers footballers entered after they finished playing.
George Weah: President of Liberia
George Weah was, for a short time, arguably the best footballer on the planet. He never graced a World Cup as he hailed from Liberia, a team that never qualifies, but he did tear European football apart. He won Ligue 1 with Paris St Germain and was a part of the Milan side which won Serie A in 1996 and 1999. He even had a stint with Chelsea in the Premier League, winning the FA Cup in 2000. By then, his interest in politics was evident; he ran for President of Liberia in 2005. 13 years later, he was sworn in, winning the 2017 election. Two other African strikers, Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o attended the inauguration. Weah is still president in 2021.
Tomas Brolin: Professional Poker Player
Brolin is known by English football fans for two things; knocking the Three Lions out of Euro 92 and being rubbish when he graced the Premier League. Brolin had talent but never seemed to go all-in on the field. Leeds gambled on his talents in 1995, but he had seemingly folded, courtesy of injuries and lifestyle by then. After playing, he turned to the poker tables for comfort, swapping his understanding of the offside rule for an understanding of poker hand rankings. It seemed he was better there than he was on the English football fields; he competed at the WSOP in 2006 and 2007. He has cashed-in too, once in the Season 4 Prague event and again in Monte Carlo, where he came 38th out of an 842-strong field. He isn’t the only footballer to turn poker pro either; Thomas Gravesen is another well-known player to have been a success around the poker table, whilst Steve Watts is better known for his card skills despite a modest lower league career.
Tim Weise: Wrestler
Tim Weise has one accolade on his CV none of the other players has; he won the 2010 World Cup with Germany, despite not getting on the field. His playing career ran to 390 appearances, and he retired in 2014. He didn’t go into coaching, or physiotherapy, nor did he become president. Instead, he became a WWE wrestler. Shortly after hanging up his gloves, he appeared as a guest timekeeper at a WWE live event in Frankfurt before accepting an invitation to train at the WWE performance centre. Known as The Machine, he debuted in 2016, teaming up with Sheamus and Cesaro in Munich.