Despite their enormous pay packages, flamboyant playboy lifestyles and effeminate diving around, there is no denying that football is an extremely demanding profession. Anyone who makes it big within the globally popular sport will be consumed by the game, dedicated entirely to strenuous training routines and an aggressively competitive mentality. A footballer is part of who they're from 16 when they turn professional right up until when they retire, usually in their mid to late 30s. Sometimes, this does the player more harm than good. If you look at the most successful footballers, you'll find that a lot of them have something in common; a second hobby to take their mind off things when they want to escape the sensationalist world of football for a bit. Some of said hobbies might come as a surprise...
Bingo and Lottery
Real Madrid star Ronaldo hasn't always had an easy time expressing himself in English. When he first joined Manchester United as a teenager, he knew he needed to improve upon his English language skills - which he did in an unusual way. Through an addictive DVD bingo game he'd received as a Christmas gift, Ronaldo found it easy to pick up on certain English words and phrases. There are also completely untrue rumors made up by me that he used to regularly visit Manchester's bingo halls on a weekly basis and that the one and only thing he misses about in England (he lives in Spain now) is spending time down the bingo hall with his bestie bingo pals – Irene and Betty. Lottery sites such as http://www.comparelotto.com/ have also been a popular way for footballers to compete on. Indeed, back in 2013, a so called well-known but anonymous Premier League footballer scooped over £100k on the UK National Lottery.
Arsenal star Theo Walcott not only has a love for a game, but wants to share it with others too. In his children's books, Walcott writes about a boy called TJ who plays football with a school team. The books are intended to encourage sportsmanship and ambition amongst kids, with all four titles becoming popular in the UK. The ex-Manchester United striker, Eric Cantona, also enjoys writing, although he focuses on romantic poetry as opposed to children's books.
Arsenal's goalkeeper, Petr Cech, has a musical streak. As evidenced by his YouTube videos, Cech is a talented drummer who likes to cover rock songs by bands such as Foo Fighters. It apparently all started when Cech played the PlayStation game 'Rock Band' and found he was a natural at the drums. Soon afterwards he bought an electric kit, and has been improving upon his technique ever since. "It is especially useful for a goalkeeper. There are so many things I learn on the drums that I can use in goalkeeping as well, because the hand-eye co-ordination and the independence on each of the limbs is helpful. It gives you a routine and a new structure to practice," Cech explained.
What do footballers do when they're not playing football? That's right, they play a football video game, Fifa to be precise. Perhaps they just love the game of football or maybe these egomaniacs just want to see themselves within a video game. Whichever the case, FIFA is a major pastime for many Premier League footballers. From Chelsea's David Luiz and Arsenals Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil to Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard, FIFA is something they just cannot get enough of. Some footballers have even begun to make a second income out of playing the game. David Meyler, who plays as a central midfielder for Hull City has created his own YouTube account dedicated to videos of himself playing FIFA. Meyler regularly discusses and plays FIFA with other YouTubers and professional FIFA esports athletes. Thanks to its popularity, FIFA has become an esport. There is now a competitive circuit for the game where the best FIFA esport athletes can earn thousands of pounds from competing.
Anyone who has witnessed Germany's Moritz Voltz on the football field will know of his eccentricities. Well, it turns out these are not only restricted to the football field. In his spare time, the ex Fulham defender enjoys spending time in the kitchen in order to supplement his hobby of baking.. In his blog, he explains how taking to the kitchen and whipping up a cake before a big match helps calm his nerves. Apparently, he even bakes the cakes in the theme of his opposition.
Denmark's Daniel Agger lets his creative side show through tattoo art. The footballer sports some impressive ink work on his own body, some of which features Norse and Viking imagery - perhaps in ode to his Danish roots. But Agger doesn't just enjoy getting tattooed on - he is a fully qualified tattoo artist who regularly inks others too.
Italian footballer Andrea Pirlo has a hobby which might not surprise some considering his nationality - wine making. The World Cup winner owns his own vineyard, located in Lombardy. He inherited his wine company, Pratum Coller, from his family, and now tends to it in Italy. Pirlo currently plays football in the USA which means less time spent in his vineyeards, however, no doubt he brought a bottle or two of his own wine over to the USA.
Remember, hobbies are something which are dear and loved to us. Never laugh at someone else's hobby as hobbies keep us sane in an otherwise insane universe. So whether you enjoy stamp collecting, bird watching or computer gaming, remember that a pressure-alleviating side hobby is good for the soul.