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5 things that prove that Khabib Nurmagomedov is a soccer superfan

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ANALYST

If not fighting, Khabib Nurmagomedov - the MMA legend and the undisputed, undefeated UFC star - could have very well made a career in soccer. If him being a soccer player seems a little far-fetched, how about a soccer analyst? Well, our point is that Khabib 'The Eagle' Nurmagomedov is a soccer superfan.

Since time immemorial, even before the world knew Khabib Nurmagomedov to be the bear-wrestler that he is, the guy has been a hardcore soccer lover at heart. Here are five reasons to back that statement.

#1 - Khabib Nurmagomedov confesses his love for soccer, became a fighter "by accident"

Khabib Nurmagomedov, who believes that soccer is the "king of sports", confessed that his love for soccer goes way back to his childhood.

Speaking to Match TV, he said, "To play football[soccer] on a professional level is a childhood dream. Of course, I have such a wish. Football is the king of sports after all. Who haven't I discussed this with? I've spoken even with the UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin, with the owner of PSG, yes, and even with Cristiano Ronaldo."

Nurmagomedov also stated that he was a huge fan of the Spanish giants Real Madrid. Among other clubs, he follows Galatasaray, Liverpool F.C, and the Russian soccer club, Anzhi Makhachkala.

After being one of the very few spectators of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash between PSG and Barcelona at Camp Nou, earlier in February, Khabib posted a picture of himself on his social media.

He confessed his love for football, saying "I love football since childhood and have always dreamed of becoming a football player.. In general, I want to say that football is a sport, And in my opinion, I became a fighter by accident. I’m kidding not by accident."

"Someday I will tell you about my hobby for football as a child and how I, while sitting in a lesson (in the 6th grade), wrote 200 football names on a notebook (then there was no Internet) I was glad to visit this legendary stadium and watch such a confrontation live.

#2 - Khabib Nurmagomedov is good friends with Cristiano Ronaldo

The Eagle' has admitted in public and more than a few times that he is good friends with Cristiano Ronaldo. Nurmagomedov and Ronaldo have been clicked together a few times too, and it is often on public display that their friendship has blossomed.

Speaking with YouTuber KraSava, Khabib revealed about his frequent conversations with Ronaldo, saying, "We talk many times, almost every day, (and) when we met we had a conversation about where we got our motivation from."

After a Serie-A clash against Real Sociedad in 2018, in which Ronaldo scored a hat-trick, he gifted his autographed jersey to Khabib, who later flaunted it on his social media.

Here's a short story on how Khabib found out that Ronaldo had followed him on Instagram, and what ensued afterwards.

#3 - Khabib is a football encyclopedia

Nurmagomedov is not just a talented athlete and a supreme MMA fighter, he’s got tons of knowledge about soccer too. The undefeated lightweight champion has been a soccer buff since childhood. His soccer knowledge isn't just limited to memorising 200 soccer players when he was in the 6th grade.

Earlier in March 2021, Khabib Nurmagomedov grilled UFC flyweight Manel Kape, asking him trivia about the UEFA Champions League.

Khabib showed off how he knew every Champions League winner since 2005, and didn’t stop there. The 32-year-old went on to list every Ballon d’Or winner too, among other things.

#4 - Khabib received a contract from a Russian professional soccer team, FC Kamaz

After retiring 29-0 post UFC 254 in October 2020, the 32-year-old said in January 2021 that he was "preparing for a football debut", and was available as a "free agent".

Not too long later, a third tier Russian soccer club playing in the PFL (Professional Football League) made an ambitious public bid for the UFC champion. The club that called the PFL the "football UFC", invited Khabib to take part in a three-week training camp, starting from February 12, 2021.

"We offer you to make your football debut as part of our team," read the club statement as translated by RT Sport.

What's more exciting is that the Russia PFL released a validation certificate too, approving the 29-0 MMA star to play professionally, bringing Khabib Nurmagomedov's soccer debut one step closer to reality.

Now, maybe the PFL club FC Kamaz was only engaging in a publicity stunt, but had Khabib given a go-ahead, he could've really ended up being a professional soccer player.

#5 - Khabib has got the skills

The UFC lightweight champion has been busy ever since his retirement, buying his own MMA promotion while also supporting his cousins - Abubakar, Said Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev - make an impact in the UFC.

Having some down time ahead of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi in January 2021, Khabib decided to enter the turf and show off his soccer skills. A clip from his football match in Dubai went viral on social media, in which he is seen pacing through the left wing - wearing UFC shorts and Asics running trainers no less!

The former AC Milan midfielder Clarence Seedorf was also seen playing on the pitch along with Khabib and friends. Khabib later posted a picture with Seedorf on his Instagram, stating that the Dutch national player was Khabib's father's favourite player.


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Edited by aditya.rangarajan
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