13 footballers with unusual hobbies: Piranha, bingo, fencing & more

Quick Reads

Some footballers have hobbies you wouldn’t necessarily expect – including former Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool players, plus a current Premier League youngster.

While most footballers tend to play golf or FIFA, there are one or two who have been rather more inventive when looking for things to do away from the pitch.

Here are some of the more surprising and interesting…

Axel Tuanzebe – Hungry Hippos

We’re not sure whether this is an actual hobbie or not, but Tuanzebe became a world record holder on Manchester United’s pre-season trip to the USA in July 2018 – and definitely not for a reason you’d expect.

“We have had a great day adjudicating a range of record attempts with the Manchester United football team as part of their collaboration with Guinness World Records,” said adjudicator Adam Brown.

“Axel Tuanzebe, was the bigger winner of the day and bagged himself the record for fastest time to clear a game of Hungry Hippos in a time of 17.36 seconds, beating competition from his fellow team-mates.”

Toni Kroos – Darts

He may be a world-class midfielder for one of the biggest football clubs in the world, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get excited by a bloke from Stoke chucking a few arrows.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Bingo

“Playing bingo can be very exciting,” Ronaldo said in a 2016 interview.

Apparently his love for the game began when he moved to Manchester United and it helped him learn English. A strange one indeed.

Hal Robson-Kanu – Blockchain entrepreneur

“Lots of athletes have other interests. Some of my team-mates finish playing FIFA at 12.30 at night,” Robson-Kanu told The Independent.

The West Brom striker, however, is slightly different. After finishing training, he heads to London to work in his office until 9pm as a blockchain entrepreneur.

“Blockchain is basically a distributive ledger, where there is no need for any trusted intermediary.

“So imagine it as an internet, but an internet where you can exchange value peer-to-peer. We have the internet now, but I couldn’t send someone £10 without requiring an intermediary, [like PayPal].

“But with blockchain, it allows you to communicate, to transact, with one another, in a digital world peer-to-peer. That’s as simplistic as I can give it. That’s what blockchain is.”

Simple.

Joe Allen – Chickens

While at Liverpool, Allen appeared on the cover of Chicken & Egg magazine, revealing he and his wife save hens.

At the time he revealed he owned chickens called Bruce, Rodney, Meg, Leg, Silkie Steve, Kate, Silkie Steve Junior, Giblets, Snowy, Nugget, Kiev, Dora, Holly, Shimmer, Shine and Chickaletta. Incredible.

And yes, Chicken & Egg is actually a real magazine. What a cover.

Moritz Volz – Cakes

“When we played the big clubs like Arsenal or Manchester United, I made a biscuit-based cake with bananas and a dusting of green tea.

“If we were playing against more rugged teams like Blackburn Rovers, I would made something a lot heavier, like carrot cake with nuts.”

We’re just going to leave it at that.

Xavi – Mushrooms

Former Barcelona man Xavi has an interest in mycology – or mushroom hunting. He’s even been known to take friends along with him, including Gerard Pique and Shakira.

“Someone who picks mushrooms can’t be a bad bloke,” said Pep Guardiola. Not sure where the link is, but Pep said it so it goes.

Matt Oakley – Piranha

The former Leicester midfielder started his collection of South American red-bellied piranha over 15 years ago.

“They certainly make feeding time interesting,” he said.

READ: Where are they now: Leicester’s XI relegated to League One in 2008

Andrey Arshavin – Fashion

Arshavin studied fashion design at university in Saint Petersburg. The former Arsenal man started studying chemical technology but switched to sewing having been enticed by the number of women on the course.

He now owns his own women’s fashion line, which is apparently quite successful in Russia.

Petr Cech – Drums

A quick scroll down his YouTube channel shows videos of Cech drumming to various artists including Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

He claimed that playing the drums helps him be a better goalkeeper: “The hand-eye co-ordination and the independence on each of the limbs is helpful.”

Gabriel Batistuta – Polo

Not just playing the horseback sport for the enjoyment, Batistuta lifted the 2009 Copa Stella Artois with the Tom Tailor team.

“I went down like I used to throw myself about in the Roma area,” the Fiorentina legend quipped after a nasty fall.

David Beckham – Fencing

Making friends with Will Smith and Tom Cruise is just a small part of Becks’ extremely cool life, but going to the Cruise household to fence is just another level.

“This is his (Cruise’s) way of getting together and bonding,” Smith said. “David and I go to his home and just do fencing.”

Scientology is weird.

Daniel Agger – Tattoos

Not a stranger to the extreme, we traced Agger to his new home in Marbella, where he runs a tattoo sharing website and a sewer company.

As well as the website, Agger is also a highly skilled tattoo artist and famously has ‘YNWA’ tattooed on his knuckles.


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