Five ex-Liverpool men with strange careers post-football: Smicer, Cisse…

Quick Reads

Coaching or punditry. Those are usually the two avenues open to footballers once they decide to hang up their boots. 

But for some, a complete shift in gears is needed. That is something that can certainly be said for these former Liverpool players.

From the dancefloor to fishing, we take a look at the unexpected paths these five ex-Reds took once they had announced their retirements…

Djibril Cisse 

Initially announcing his retirement from the game in 2015 due to a long-term hip injury, Cisse returned briefly a year later but confirmed he was leaving football for good in February 2017.

He did so in order to focus on his burgeoning career as a DJ, obviously.

“I would have liked to continue playing but I must admit today that football is over,” he said. “With the same passion, I will devote myself wholeheartedly to my career as a DJ, producer and consultant, as well as developing my clothing brand.”

He netted 24 goals in 82 appearances for Liverpool over two injury-hit seasons, but at least came away with Champions League and FA Cup winner’s medals.

The Frenchman’s latest song, Kiti, was released in July and has over 200,000 plays on Spotify.

READ: Djibril Cisse: A wonderful striker denied Liverpool greatness by injury

Vegard Heggem

The attacking full-back spent two years at Anfield, a spell that included a wonderful solo goal against Middlesbrough, only for injury to end his professional career at the age of just 25 – officially announcing his retirement three years later.

So what do you do when your dream job has been cut so cruelly short? You pick up a rod and fish. Preferably by a lush Norwegian river.

Choosing to set up a salmon-fishing lodge on the river Orkla, just a stone’s throw from where he grew up, Heggem did just that. After negotiating with his neighbours regarding the rights to fish, he was open for business.

A stay at the lodge includes fishing lessons on the river and a room crammed with football memorabilia from the 45-year-old’s playing days. Surely a dream holiday for many a football fan.

 

Vladimir Smicer

We all know about George Weah’s move from the world of football into politics after he was elected president of Liberia in January 2018.

But Smicer was doing it four years before him. The Czech midfielder netted the second in Liverpool’s epic 3-3 comeback against AC Milan in Istanbul but, four years after announcing his retirement in 2010, he entered the world of politics.

He ran to be a Member of the European Parliament for an obscure party called VIZE2014 (now named Order of the Nation), making his intention to dramatically lower the rates of childhood obesity in the Czech Republic well known.

Sadly, he never achieved his goals. Luckily for him, it meant he was spared ever having to meet Nigel Farage.

Rob Jones 

Much like Heggem, Jones too had a huge part of his professional football career stolen from him by injury.

He had previously been regarded as one of the finest right-backs to play in the Premier League, but an agonising knee injury cut his dream short in 1999.

Admitting in the past that he found it difficult to return to Anfield for years after, the now 49-year-old has found a new passion.

Alongside his wife, Sue, Jones has become a successful businessman, launching the Kids Academy Nursery Group in 2001 with the help of his insurance pay-out.  The childcare and care home business has even started expanding into the Middle East, building nurseries and homes for children all over the world.

What a man.

READ: Rob Jones on realising a dream at Liverpool & the pain of early retirement

Jerzy Dudek 

His spaghetti legs in the 2005 Champions League final will be remembered at Anfield until the end of time, saving two penalties in the shootout as Liverpool took home the biggest prize in club football for the fifth time.

Andriy Schevchenko may not want to ever see the former Poland international again, but the Anfield faithful will always be interested in what he is up to.

After his retirement in 2013, Dudek admitted that he wanted to retain the adrenaline that he so often felt when stepping out onto a football field, so he returned to a former passion of his: motor racing.

Having confessed his love for go-karting when he was young, he signed up to race in the Volkswagen Castrol Cup – a series of races in Eastern Europe.

“You need passions in life – they are what keep you going. Motor racing gives me a lot of joy and I’m loving it,” he said back in 2016.

Good on you, Jerzy.


More Liverpool

Rob Jones on realising a dream at Liverpool & the pain of early retirement

Remembering Luis Garcia at Liverpool – and a connection you can’t fake

Djibril Cisse, Liverpool, and the perils of a career of almost greatness

Can you name every member of Liverpool’s 2000-01 squad?