Sports of all disciplines have an element of crossover. Whether it be the physical act, the mental requirements or the pure competitive element, the skills involved in many can be taken and applied to others. So, it’s no surprise then that footballers have often excelled at other sports before taking to the pitch, or even switched their focus away from the turf upon the close of their playing careers – a few have even eyed the switch from athletics to footy (we’ll get to that shortly).
Fitness First and Team GB have collaborated to launch a new online Sports Test to allow people to discover the Olympic sport they’re best suited to in the build up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, helping us to all get fit and find a new passion. If this lot below can take on football as well as other sports, there’s hope for everyone…
Jerzy Dudek – Motor Racing
Widely remembered for his heroics in the 2005 Champions League Final – his wobbly, Bruce Grobbelaar-esque legs helped the Reds to beat AC Milan on penalties – the Polish goalkeeper has swapped goalie gloves for the racing alternative since retiring. The former Red has competed in the Volkswagen Castrol Cup and told FourFourTwo there are many parallels between his new and old passions:
“There are many similarities between keeping goal and racing a car,
“My position in goal is about making quick decisions during the game. When you are racing in the car, you have to do the same, especially when you have to defend or attack, and control the car.
“This has helped me keep my focus and concentration, and maintain my physical ability to be a good driver.”
Usain Bolt – Football
“Definitely [I want to to play for Manchester United]. It’s a big dream. Believe in me.”
The words of Usain Bolt at a press conference during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The Jamaican is the fastest man on the planet and boasts a world record 100m time of 9.58 seconds… Wow. Although he’s unlikely to ever play professionally, his ferocious pace and 6ft. 5” frame hint that he could be useful on the football pitch. However, Manchester seems an unlikely destination with Bolt saying it’s ‘too cold’ for him in England.
Joe Hart – Cricket
Before hanging up his bat in 2005 to pursue his football career, Joe Hart was a cricket sensation. The now England and Manchester City ace represented Shrewsbury County Cricket club and could bowl at 85mph.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Taekwondo
Zlatan is one of football’s most divisive characters. His skills are remarkable, but his self-confidence can often be perceived as arrogance, making him a little less popular than he should perhaps be. But it would not be wise to take him on, with the Swede a black belt on taekwondo – a feat he achieved when he was just 17.
Roy Keane – Boxing
Not really a surprise… The Irishman was known for his feisty streak on the pitch, and trained to be a boxer up until height issues curtailed his dreams at the age of 10. Alas, he still liked to throw a punch, as Alan Shearer knows all too well!