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What do footballers do in their free time?


Pirlo had a hobby that you wouldn't expect of him
Pirlo had a hobby that you wouldn't expect of him

Professional footballer; it's a dream job, right? Do a spot of training in the morning, have lunch with the team, then spend the rest of the day lazing about the house without a care in the world while getting paid handsomely to do so. Yes, it sure is the stuff of dreams.

But while having nothing to do with more than half of your day might sound like an awesome thing, living your life that way each and every day might get just a little bit boring. So while the folks behind the scenes at clubs like Liverpool spend their time making plans for a ground expansion, what do the first team squad do in their spare time?

Well, as it turns out, footballers are a funny old bunch. Some have quite regular hobbies that include golf, poker and video games, while others think outside the box in their spare time. So after trawling the internet and players' Instagram feeds, we've made a list of some of the most common hobbies of footballers, with a few oddities thrown in for good measure.

Golf

Wales, Golf, Madrid – in that order. No prizes for guessing who we're talking about here. As you know, Gareth Bale is almost as well-known in Spain for golfing as he is for turning out in the white of Real Madrid, but he's not the only one. Since the 80s, golf has been one of the most popular pastimes amongst footballers.

In fact, former pros Andriy Schevchenko, Jimmy Bullard, and Julian Dicks all tried their hand at professional golf after they retired from football. And while none made the cut (sorry, that's the only pun we'll use), it's clear they picked up some serious golfing skills during their free time.

Poker

Poker has a pretty tight relationship with football, with many players enjoying a few hands of poker on the coach on the way to games. Some managers even encourage poker as a hobby, as it helps to keep the mind sharp, but they do place limits on how much the players can bet. Famous footballers who play poker include Jan Molby, Tomas Brolin, Tony Cascarino, Gerard Pique, and Teddy Sheringham.

Now, while you might see footballers grace the tables at high-end casinos from time to time, it's unlikely that this is how they'll spend their Tuesday afternoon. Nope, for the most part, footballers who play poker as a hobby do so in the comfort of their own homes with home poker games among friends.

Better yet, some will take to the internet and play their poker online. You may not get to meet the likes of Messi or Pogba at the local casino, but who knows, pick one of the top online poker platforms and you might just meet them in the digital world!

Video games

A surprising number of players love Fortnite
A surprising number of players love Fortnite

This is possibly the most popular one yet. Footballers are, for the most part, seemingly obsessed with playing video games, with FIFA being the big hit. The most notorious case of avid gaming came a couple of years ago when Ousmane Dembele skipped training at Barcelona after playing video games all night. Not a good idea!

On a more positive note, Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal are well-known for their love of all things Fortnite, and regularly stream their games live so fans can watch. Ozil even went so far as to arrange a charity event with Julian Draxler joining both players as they raised money for Big Shoe.

Other players said to love video games include Antoine Griezmann, Marcus Rashford, and incredibly enough, Juventus and Italy legend Andrea Pirlo. He stated in his biography that the Playstation was the greatest invention after the wheel. That's a bold claim, but who are we to argue with 'the architect'.

Sorting teabags

Okay, so this particular hobby belongs to one specific player – James Milner. And to be honest, it's not just the teabag sorting. Since joining social media, the Liverpool player has taken it upon himself to live up to the 'boring James Milner' tag that has followed him throughout his career. In the process, he's proven himself to be quite the comedian as he finds the most boring ways possible to fill his days.

Highlights include trimming the lawn with a pair of scissors and a ruler, ironing his shirts, and sorting his mini chocolate eggs by colour. We kid you not, Milner is perhaps the funniest footballer on social media. Well worth a follow.

Volunteering

Right, this is certainly our favourite one. While footballers often get a bad rap for being overpaid prima donnas, a lot of them do great community work behind the scenes. Take Milner's teammate Andy Robertson. The Scot spends a great deal of his time working with local community projects and foodbanks.

James McClean once paid for a group of homeless people to stay at a hotel with all their meals paid for until they got back on their feet. Swansea's Angel Rangel used to drive around the city late at night with food packages for the homeless while countless other pros offered the proceeds of their testimonials to local charities.

Like we said, footballers get a lot of flak for arriving to training in supercars or buying expensive watches, but we don't always fully understand the hard work that they put into helping those less fortunate than themselves.

So there you have it. From golf to poker, volunteering to sorting teabags; footballers certainly know how to spend their free time. If anything, now we're even more jealous of their lifestyle than we were before!



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