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Famous Footballers that Like to Gamble

The only time we hear about professional athletes gambling money, it's always in relation to a scandal. We all know that FIFA, for example, prohibits its players from gambling on all football activity. But that doesn't stop footballers from staking thousands of pounds on all sorts of wagers. If anything, players continuously come up with unique ways to make bets.

Take former Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge, for example. When he learned he was about to leave Anfield in January last year, he allegedly told his gambling family members about it.

First, he informed his brother Leon about his intended move to Sevilla allegedly to help him place a bet on it. But before Leon could place the bet, Sturridge informed him his deal with Sevilla had fallen through. A few days later, the former's uncle, who also happens to be his agent, told him that a deal with Internazionale was in the making.

Sturridge quit attending training at Anfield immediately, leading his team to suffer a 4-3 loss to Man City in the same period. What's more, his cousin placed a bet on Sturridge to sign with Inter. He lost. Still, the same cousin continued to wager on the team Sturridge was likely to sign for before the transfer was over.

Fast forward to 2019, and Sturridge is out of football action for six weeks after the FA found him guilty of illegal gambling. Now, he may not have wagered himself, but he was undoubtedly involved in the entire saga.

Therefore, it's not unusual to find that footballers still bet on football, regardless of the ban. This is especially since, nowadays, placing a bet has never been easier with the help of the internet. Gambling on digital platforms, be it sportsbook or even online casinos, has become more popular than making your way to the bookie or even heading downtown to the local casino. In fact, besides betting on football and other forms of sports, a good number of football players are poker enthusiasts. But what's even more interesting, is that some even play professionally and play at poker tournaments! Here are just a few examples:

Christiano Ronaldo

One could not kick-start this list without putting Cristiano Ronaldo at the very top. First of all, he is considered the most popular and talented footballer in the world by many people - so much so that some like to say he is the "Michael Jordan of football".

Secondly, he's probably the best example of a professional footballer who also happens to be very skilled at the game of poker. What's more is that Ronaldo has never been linked to illegal gambling, and is one of the few players that actually gambles fairly.

His love for poker has its roots in his pre-famous days at home with his friends, where they used to gather together and play for hours on end. This seems to be one reason why the footballer claims that poker is his favourite game - the second reason is probably because, although not obvious to the common eye, there are actually some similarities between poker and football. And that all boils down to one thing: mental resilience. Whilst football requires a lot of stamina, it also requires a great amount of focus and determination, just like you would expect a professional poker player to have, and we've all seen Ronaldo on the pitch, so it's not so hard to see why he also shines at the poker table.

Gianluigi Buffon

Legendary Italian goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is an outspoken poker player. Throughout his career, the Juventus keeper has starred in poker adverts and acted as an ambassador for companies like Poker stars.

As a world-class goalkeeper, Buffon is one of the best-paid goalkeepers in the world. He's also one of the most admired players, because of his humility and class in and out of the pitch. Despite this, the Italian International says he "loves living life to the full."

Poker aside, Buffon has been linked to illegal football bets in the past. In 2006, the legend nearly missed the world cup after being accused of placing football wagers illegally.

He rebuffed the accusation but admitted he wagered on football while it was legal to do so.

"It's true that I did bet, but only where it was possible to do so. I have done nothing since it was forbidden in autumn 2005," Buffon told Sky Sports back in 2010.

Francesco Totti

After Buffon left Party Poker to become Poker Star's ambassador, Roma legend Francesco Totti replaced him. Gambling fans had mixed reactions to the announcement. Because unlike the goalkeeper; Totti wasn't known for his excellent poker playing skills.

He was an Italian legend back then, but no one thought Totti was an avid poker fan. Luckily, the striker responded with a statement sharing how poker had influenced his football career.

"I have faced many challenges in my career, and I always apply myself with skill, intelligence, loyalty, and passion. You need all these abilities for poker, and it is also a game that excites me and is a lot of fun," Totti said.

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