9 weirdest career changes made by footballers
A professional footballer has an approximate 5-10 years at the highest level. Some have longer playing careers while some extremely short ones. Apart from having the adrenaline rush of living their dream, most of the players also see it as an opportunity to gain fame, respect and, more importantly, money.
The green bills amassed over the playing duration makes up the post-retirement life of all the footballers. Few extend their footballing career by coaching teams while others continuing their love affair with the game by taking up the role as television pundits.
There are, however, a select few who pursued a career that is nothing related to football. We look at the nine weirdest career changes made by footballers.
1) Eric Cantona – Actor
One of the greatest and the most enigmatic footballers to grace the Premier League, Eric Cantona set the league alight with his exploits, firstly at Leeds United and then at Manchester United. This tortured genius was capable of moments of brilliance, ingenuity as well as some really dark moments. In short he redefined “coolness”.
That “King Eric” was a legend on the pitch was undoubted; however, what might come as a genuine surprise to many people is that he was equally a good actor. Even before retiring, Cantona had decided to step into the career of acting.
Cantona played a French ambassador in the 1998 film Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett, and then himself in the Ken Loach film Looking for Eric in 2009.
"It's a discipline," Cantona said of acting. "For me, football, cinema, theatre or photography are all ways of expressing ourselves. Of course, if you want to be a photographer you need to learn the techniques. You must learn how to play the sport, but I don't think the technique is the most important thing.
Sometimes it's nice when it's not so perfect. It's like beauty. If someone is too perfect, they won't look good."
Maybe, just maybe, the infamous Kung-Fu kick at Selhurst Park was a part of an audition process for a potential role in movies!
2) Kevin Kyle – Store-man on a Ship
Most of the footballers with weird careers after retirement are earning quite well. However, in the case of Kevin Kyle he has gone from a player earning £10K-a-week to £800-a-fortnight, a considerable dent in wages. The former Sunderland and Rangers striker has gone from scoring goals to stacking boxes and cleaning toilets on a ship.
A gambling addict, Kyle suffered major losses even as a professional footballer. Kyle began his career at Ayr United before joining Sunderland in 1998. The journeyman then moved to Coventry and went on to play for Kilmarnock, Hearts, Rangers and Ayr United. Over an eight-year period, he made 10 appearances for Scotland, scoring once.
When his contract with Ayr United was scrapped, he started working on the ship to fend for his family.
3) Bixente Lizarazu – Brazilian Jiujitsu fighter
Lizarazu achieved unprecedented success at the club level winning League titles in France and Germany as well as winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich. However, his shining moment came for his national country France, not once but twice. He won the 1998 World Cup and followed it up with the European championships a couple of years later. The full back can boast of being part of a select crop of footballers having this distinction.
However, Lizarazu can also boast of being a unique sportsman as he has won trophies across two sports. Eighteen months after entering the sport, the Frenchman became the blue belt European Champion in the senior lightweight division, the first competition he had entered.
"This instant is crazy, it possesses such an incredible intensity. It's a moment of truth where you are alone, and you cannot hide or escape.” says Lizarazu.
“I will stick with BJJ, it's a beautiful experience. It's one against one. You haven't got your friends behind your back to support you like in soccer. It's close to a fight for survival. It boosted my self confidence.”