Talk about football, and touch the hearts of billions of fans across the globe. The immense following and coverage of major world football leagues decorate respective players with fame and fortune. That’s why every young footballer aspires to play football in professional elite football leagues.
While this is true, several top celebrities quit football early on to find a life away from the pitch. Irrespective of what triggered their decisions, some still managed to find other avenues to make a fortune on the world stage. In this article, we walk you through ten celebrities who could have been professional footballers.
Matt Smith is an English actor who became famous following his role as the eleventh incarnation of the BBC series called “The Doctor”. Smith became an actor in 2003 and has since starred in several roles in various plays. Perhaps while you get fit with fitness bingo or play any of your favourite games with your family, you can get everyone’s opinion about how they know Matt Smith. Nearly everyone will tell you they know Smith because of his career as an actor. Few people know that Matt Smith was on the verge of becoming a professional footballer. Yes, Smith started his career as a footballer, following in his grandfather’s footsteps who played for Notts County in England.
Just like every professional player, his football career started with the youth teams. He played for clubs like Northampton Town, Nottingham Forest, and Leicester City. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury that resulted in spondylolysis which resulted in an untimely end to his football career, aged only 16.
The late Sean Connery was no doubt a popular actor who announced himself on the world stage through his portrayal of James Bond. The Scottish actor had a colorful acting career that spanned seven decades. In 1988, he won an Oscar for the role he played in “The Untouchables”. In his youth, Sean Connery was a good footballer. His football skills even earned him a trial with the East Fife club. Again, the legendary Manchester United manager Matt Busby offered him a contract. He would have played for one of the most valuable sports teams in the world. However, Sean Connery declined the offer and opted to pursue his acting passion.
Gordon Ramsay is an internationally renowned British chef. He has opened several successful restaurants across continents, and it is easy to see why many people know about him. However, Gordon Ramsey could have had a different story if his football boxes ticked well. In his youth, he was invited by his boyhood club for a trial in 1984. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious knee problem that put off his dream of becoming a professional footballer. Gordon Ramsey was then released by Rangers and opted to become a chef, which propelled him to the world limelight.
Odell Beckham Junior
Born in 1992, Odell Beckham Junior could have easily become a professional footballer. Back in school, he was considered a hot all-around athlete. He played football and was impressive. He could have become a professional football player, but he didn’t buy the idea of leaving his country and family to travel to a foreign land. He ended up playing American Football and excelled to become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Julio Iglesias was born in 1943 in Madrid, Spain. He is a world-class music star and one of the most successful European singers and songwriters. He has sold over 100 million records in 14 languages across the globe. His string of achievements led to his induction to the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2013. While his success in the music industry is obvious, Julio Iglesias could have been a professional footballer. He started his career as a goalkeeper for Real Madrid’s youth team. However, a car accident ruined his football career. A nurse brought him a guitar in his recovery bed, where he unearthed his musical talent.
The legendary rock singer, Rod Stewart, had a passion for football and could have had a different path if his football trial would have gone well. Born in January 1945, Sir Roderick David Stewart has had a stellar career in the music industry. Rod Stewart initially wanted to become a footballer. His father also subscribed to the idea and encouraged him to try professional football after leaving school. He went for trials at Brentford in 1960 but was not successful. His football dream crashed. He jumped into the music industry with a lot of success!
Andy Murray is a British professional tennis player from Scotland. His tennis career on the international stage has been remarkable. He has scooped several awards and titles and has even ranked first in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking. Andy Murray was invited by Rangers to train with the youth team but declined and committed himself to tennis.
Pope Saint John Paul II
The late John Pope II is obviously remembered for being a pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church. However, a few people know that he once was a promising goalkeeper for the Polish side, Wadowice.
Many people know Ian Botham because of his amazing cricket career. The former English cricketer is hailed by many as one of the finest all-rounders in the history of cricket.
He played cricket for teams like Somerset, Worcestershire, Durham and Queensland. Before opting for cricket, Botham played professional football in England. He played for Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United. He made 11 appearances for Scunthorpe in the Football League.
MC Harvey is an English rapper, actor, and television personality. He entered the world stage in 2000 as a member of the So Solid Crew English rap group. He has since gone on to pursue a solo career and become a popular actor and MC. Harvey started his career in football before jumping into the music industry. He played non-league football for English teams like AFC Wimbledon, Aldershot Town and Lewes.
These are just a few celebs who might have been footballers. We don’t know what might have happened had they turned out to be pros. What we know is that while football didn’t work out for them, they still went on to be famous and filthy rich!