10 footballers who have taken up different sports after they retired


After hanging up his goalkeeping gloves at the end of last season, Petr Cech will put on ‘netminder’ gloves after signing for ice-hockey side Guildford Phoenix.

The Surrey-based side announced the news on Wednesday night with Cech juggling his technical and performance advisor at Chelsea role alongside his new hobby.

The legendary shot-stopper said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to play with the Phoenix to get the match experience.

"I hope I can help this young team to achieve their goals for the season and try to win as many games as possible when I have the chance to play. 

"After 20 years of professional football this is going to be a wonderful experience for me to play the game I loved to watch and play as a kid."

But Cech isn’t the first retired footballer to try his hand at a different sport.

GIVEMESPORT have decided to take a look at some of the players that have swapped football for a different sport after retiring - and not all of them succeeded.

Paolo Maldini | Tennis

One of the greatest defenders in football history. Not one of the greatest players in tennis history, though.

Maldini actually made it as tennis professional but his career on the court lasted 42 minutes.

The Italian appeared in the Aspria Tennis Cup in Milan with doubles partner Stefano Landonio.

But they were thrashed 6-1, 6-1 by Poland's Tomasz Bednarek and Dutchman David Pel.

He hasn’t played a professional tennis match since.


Bixente Lizarazu | Jiu-Jitsu

A legendary left-back who earned 97 caps for France during his football career.

But after retiring, Lizarazu took up Brazilian jiu-jitsu - and he was pretty good at it too.

He competed in his first competition in 2009, where he became European champion in the Blue Belt Senior 1 Light Division.

Not sure where that ranks alongside his five league titles, a Champions League, a World Cup and a European Championship.

Rio Ferdinand | Boxing

The former defender attempted to become a professional boxer in 2015 and was backed by Betfair as part of the 'Defender to Contender' challenge.

He aimed to “win a belt” but was refused his professional boxing licence by the British Boxing Board on Control.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am hanging up my gloves,”Ferdinand said.

Ferdinand ended his boxing career with a 0-0 record.


Curtis Woodhouse | Boxing

Woodhouse’s switch to boxing went slightly better than Ferdinand’s.

The former Sheffield United, Birmingham City and Peterborough United - amongst other clubs - midfielder brilliantly explained why he decided to leave football to take up the sport: ”I love fighting. Rather than get locked up for it, I might as well get paid for it."

And he’s not bad in the ring.

He’s had 31 professional fights, winning 24 of them and losing seven. He’s even the former British light-welterweight champion.

Michael Owen | Horse-racing

Owen has always been interested in horse-racing and he even became a jockey for one race only.

In a charity race at Ascot in November 2017, Owen finished second riding Calder Prince.

"I'm home in one piece and had the time of my life," said Owen.


Jerzy Dudek | Motor racing

The former Champions League hero took up motorsport after retiring and competed in the 2014 Volkswagen Castrol Cup, a racing championship held in circuits around Eastern Europe.

“Motor racing was my passion before football,” he once said. “I raced go-karts but of course that stopped when I became a professional footballer. When I quit football I also missed the adrenaline you got from playing.

“Now I’m taking in new tactics about cars, about different tracks. Of course there are times when I ask myself why I’m doing this; I have a wife and three kids at home – a very nice life, and when you lose control or focus in the car you can really get into trouble.

“But you need passions in life – they are what keep you going. Motor racing gives me a lot of joy and I’m loving it.”


Tim Wiese | Wrestling

The former German goalkeeper became a professional wrestler from 2014-2016.

He made his debut at a WWE live event in Munich, teaming with Sheamus and Cesaro to defeat The Shining Stars and Bo Dallas.

Gabriel Batistuta | Polo

One of the greatest finishers in world football during his career.

'Batigol' retired due to severe pain in his ankles making it difficult for him to even walk.

Therefore, he took up a sport where he didn’t have to walk - polo.

And he seems he’s just as good on the back of a horse.

He scored two goals on his debut for the Loro Piana polo club and won the Copa Stella Artois trophy later that year.


Santiago Canizares | Rally driving

The legendary goalkeeper moved from between the sticks to behind the wheel after leaving Valencia.

In 2010, he competed in the Spanish Rally Championship and did the same the following year.

In the 2016 Sierra Morena Rally, Cañizares crashed his car on a bend but emerged unharmed from the accident. He later described his crash as "the equivalent of a sliding tackle.”

In 2017, he earned his first victory by winning the Rally de la Cerámica and, later that year, he was crowned Valencian Community champion.


Petr Cech | Ice hockey

Just months after retiring from the game, Cech has signed for the Guldford Phoenix as a netminder.

Cech has always been a fan of the sport and has now signed for a side that plays in the second tier of British ice hockey.

"Luckily my job at Chelsea doesn't stop me in my spare time from playing the game I loved as a kid and which I've been playing for years," he said. "While being a professional footballer I couldn't play the game for obvious reasons. Now I can."

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