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5 Footballers Who Professionally Played Other Sports

Playing professional football at the highest level is not easy. However, some players achieved both a career in football and other sports. While these players usually retire from football before pursuing other sports, there are some players to play two sports at the same time. These are just some footballers who successfully competed in other sports:

Ivan Perišić

Ivan Perišić is one of the rare players who played two sports professionally. As a footballer, Ivan is a Croatian player who plays for the Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the Croatia national team. He is known for his ambidexterity and versatility and has a track record of success.

He previously won a Bundesliga championship with Borussia Dortmund and has represented Croatia 88 times. As part of Croatia’s “second golden generation,” Perisic made history as
In addition to playing football, Perišić represented Croatia in professional beach volleyball.

The Bayern winger participated in the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour alongside his partner Niksa Dellorco. However, the pair faced a loss in their opening-round tie against Alvaro Morais Filho and Saymon Barbosa from Brazil.

Curtis Woodhouse

Curtis Woodhouse is an English former professional footballer that played football as a central midfielder. Some of his biggest accomplishments in football were during his early years with Sheffield United. He made four appearances for England’s under-21s and later played three games in the Premier League with Birmingham City.

In one interview, he admitted to his decreasing love for football and revealed his involvement in several street fights. By 2006, Woodhouse retired from football and made his professional boxing debut. When asked why he chose boxing, he said, ”I love fighting. Rather than get locked up for it, I might as well get paid for it.”

Woodhouse achieved his first significant victory in 2012 by triumphing over Dave Ryan in Rotherham to secure the vacant English light-welterweight championship.


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While he didn’t win the title, Curtis remained in the boxing scene until 2017. Since retiring as a player and boxer, Woodhouse became a football manager.

Paolo Maldini

Regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time, Paolo Maldini is a former Italian footballer that went on to play professional tennis. During his time as a footballer, Maldini spent 25 successful seasons with AC Milan. He amassed a plethora of trophies during his time with the club and showcased his versatility by excelling as both a left-back and a center-back.

Maldini began playing competitive tennis after retiring from football in 2009. In 2017, the defense competed in the Aspria Tennis Cup’s (ATP) doubles event. The Aspria Tennis Cup is part of the ATP Challenger Tour, which is the top tier of professional tennis.

Maldini’s final tennis match saw him and his partner Stefano Landonio suffer a heavy defeat, losing 6-1, 6-1 in straight sets. Due to a muscle injury sustained during a match, Maldini ended up retiring from professional tennis and is working as a director for AC Milan.

Clive Allen

Clive Allen, a former England international, was known for his prolific goal-scoring abilities and played as a center-forward for a total of seven London clubs in addition to Manchester City and Bordeaux, earning him the label of a journeyman.

One of his biggest football achievements was his record-breaking 49-goal season in 1986-87, surpassing Jimmy Greaves’ best-ever campaign in North London. To this day, Allen’s record remains unbroken, even by Harry Kane.

When he ended his football career in 1995, Allen made the switch to American Football and joined the London Monarchs of NFL Europe as a placekicker. During his time with the London Monarchs, he was part of the squad that finished sixth out of six teams in the NFL Europe in 1997.

Allen later returned to association football as a coach, and he served as Tottenham’s caretaker manager in both 2007 and 2008.

Petr Cech

Petr Cech is one of the few players that left his role as a Czech football goalkeeper and tried to pursue the same role in ice hockey. Regarded as one of the top goalkeepers of his time, Cech spent his prime years with Chelsea, achieving several records, including 18 trophies, four Premier League titles, and the Champions League.

Cech retired from football and switched to football during the 2020 season. According to reports, he chose to switch to football due to being an ice hockey fan as a child. When he joined the Guildford Phoenix team, he chose the number 39 jersey in honor of retired Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek.

He won the man of the match award on his debut and won the division’s Player of the Month award for January 2020. When he retired from professional ice hockey, he went to work at Chelsea as a technical and performance advisor and still plays ice hockey in his spare time.


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