Footballers sometimes frown at the rules when it doesn’t favor their team’s chances on the pitch. And, indeed you can agree that a lot of players wish they could ‘make the law’ more often than being at its receiving end. Some Footballers got to achieve this; delving into politics after retiring from the round leather sport. It is therefore imperative to consider Footballers who went into Politics.
On another hand, you may find it interesting to know there are Singers and Actors who played Football at the early stage of their careers.
Back to the real deal.
Now, we bring to you a list of politicians who established themselves as professional footballers in their younger days. Take a look:
Serving as the Liberian President since January 2018, George Weah sets an encouraging example for Footballers who fancy politics. The former AC Milan striker enjoyed a record-setting career where he became the first – and only – African player to win the FIFA World Player and Ballon d’Or awards. He also played for Monaco, PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Marseille while in Europe.
Weah first ran for the presidency in Liberia way back in 2005, he lost because there were concerns about his level of education at the time.
Consequently, he pursued and earned a degree in Business Administration from DeVry University in Miami, USA, while keeping a keen eye on Liberian Politics. Weah got elected into the senate in 2014 after losing his second bid to win Liberian Presidency.
It was on his third attempt that he finally won the election into office, making him the fourth-youngest serving president in Africa.
Romario is one of the great footballers who went into politics. Brazilian Football history will always highlight the exploits of Romario, especially on the way to the 1994 World Cup title. After he retired from the sport, he went into politics, joining the Brazilian Socialist Party. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 2010.
In 2014, Romario became a senator representing Rio de Janeiro, and in the same year, he spoke publicly about the funds put into hosting the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The 2018 election for the role of Governor in Rio de Janeiro saw Romario finish as the third runner-up.
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After serving as a member of the Chamber of Deputies between 1987 and 2001, Rivera represented Italy as a member of the European parliament between 2005 and 2009. However, before venturing into politics, he had made a name in the world of football, dubbed Italy’s “Golden Boy”. Rivera featured in four consecutive World Cups with Italy between 1962 and 1974.
Regarded as one of the best players of his generation, Gianni Rivera won the Ballon d’Or in 1969. After 19 years at AC Milan (1960-1979), he served as club vice president, before he went into politics. Rivera is currently a member of the “Democratic Centre” political party and is still active in the political scene.
While the name may not ring bells with football enthusiasts, those following the political scenes know him as the Hungarian Prime Minister. He has been in office since 2010, having previously served in the same role between 1998-2002. Orban got involved in politics at a very young age but retains his love for Football.
Orban was a professional football player, signed to Felcsut FC; he even features in the Football Manager 2006 simulation game listed under the Hungarian club. It would later be renamed as the Ferenc Puskas Football Academy. The FIFA Puskas Award was created in a collaboration between Orban and then FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
The retired Mexican international had a very illustrious career in Football, spending fifteen years with Club America among other clubs. Today, however, he serves as the Governor in Morelos, Mexico. A position he has held since 2018.
Previously, Blanco served as Municipal President of Cuernavaca. His time in politics has been relatively as successful as his football career. Blanco is one of the best penalty takers of all time. He won the CONCACAF Gold Cup 1996, 1998, and the FIFA Confederations cup 1999 with Mexico.
Football fans can hardly forget the exploits of AC Milan within the decade-spanning 2001-2010, coincidentally the time frame for Kaladze’s Milan career. The Georgian played 194 games for the Italian club and enjoyed a fulfilling career before retiring in 2012 and turning to politics.
Kaladze won election into the Georgian Parliament in 2012 and secured an appointment as Deputy Prime Minister – as well as Minister of Energy – three weeks later. In 2017, he ran for the position of Mayor in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi and won by more than half the votes cast.
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It is quite interesting that the Footballers who went into Politics above did so well in both professions. Proving that indeed, anyone can be anything they work towards becoming. The stories of these ex-players can inspire anyone. Be sure to take inspiration from these great personalities and push for goals always.
Are there players you know who should be on this list? Please make mention of them in the comments.