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5 heads of state you didn't know used to be footballers

Jonny Keen
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
2.47K   //    Timeless

George Weah and Ronaldo
George Weah and Ronaldo

Footballers face many battles on the field of play, but once their careers come to an end there are new challenges ahead. Without an income from football, retired players have to find new careers and whilst many remain in football as coaches, agents or pundits, others have found a place in the political world.

Perhaps the key footballing attributes of stamina, determination and creativity serve players well when they make the career switch, as footballers seem to have a knack for politics. Or maybe their success has something to do with the natural popularity of footballers, or their high profile connections in the world of sport.

Whatever the reason, there are multiple players across the world and throughout history who have climbed all the way up the ladder to be in charge of their nations once their careers came to an end.

Here are five heads of state who played at a professional or semi-professional level.


#5 Viktor Orban - Hungary

Hungarian leader Victor Orban once cancelled a government meeting so he could play in a match
Hungarian leader Victor Orban once cancelled a government meeting so he could play in a match

Before he was elected president of Hungary, Viktor Orban played as a defender in Hungary's fourth tier with Puskás Akadémia FC. He even continued to turn out for his club in his first term as Prime Minister. He once caused something of a stir when he cancelled a cabinet meeting in order to play in a match.

Puskás have continued to benefit from the influence of their famous former player. Having been promoted to the Hungarian top flight, the club constructed a new purpose built stadium thanks to strong support from Orban.

The European world leader was even available to sign on Football Manager 2006.


#4 Clement Attlee - United Kingdom

Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee played semi professionally with Fleet Town
Former British Prime Minister Clement Attlee played semi professionally with Fleet Town
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Clement Attlee might be one of the greatest politicians of his era: best known for serving as British Prime Minister from 1950-1955 after beating Winston Churchill in a general election, he was also the longest serving leader of the Labour Party.

But before he began his career in politics, Attlee had an entirely different claim to fame, turning out for non league outfit Fleet Town. The future Prime Minister played for the club in 1923 when his aunt lived in a house that backed on to the ground.

Attlee continued to be involved in football throughout his life, refereeing matches and helping to coach college teams.


#3 Evo Morales - Bolivia

Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Organizes Soccer Game During UN General Assembly In New York
Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Organizes Soccer Game During UN General Assembly In New York

Bolivian President Evo Morales plays football at every opportunity, whether it's against journalists, dignitaries, local people or fully fledged professionals. And it's fair to say Morales isn't afraid to get stuck in. In fact, he once broke his nose in a recreational match against local players, and he also scored the winning goal in a game played on Bolivia's highest peak, 6,000 metres above sea level.

In 2014, Morales took his career to the next level, registering to play for Bolivian top flight side Sport Boys whilst still serving as president. The club's president said he would wear the number 10 shirt and play as a midfielder, earning the minimum salary of $214.

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