Football obviously has evolved from being an ordinary sport kicked around by young men and watched by some thousands of people at the stadium to what has been the most popular and most followed sporting event- thus making it accepted globally.
As a result of its popularity, even the players’ marketability and value even outside football have increased immensely coupled with the advent of social media, football stars are now being followed across the board and have become recognizable to every individual around the world.
It’s therefore unsurprising that some of these players are rubbing shoulders with top celebrities in the world. An example is found in the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player, David Beckham. He’s remained an iconic figure in the fashion industry and also has appeared on the covers of several magazines.
Paul Pogba is another example of football stars that have had an impact or two in other facets of entertainment outside football. The French World Cup winner has gone to present an award at a marquee music show.
And with the recent announcement that Chelsea French striker, Olivier Giroud is set to provide a voicing to the role of Green Goblin in the upcoming Spiderman movie, he’s become the latest football Player who will briefly partake in another trade outside football – this is a practice that has long been practiced by footballers some decades ago.
This is why in this piece, we will be listing out some footballers who have starred in movies.
Pele (Escape To Victory)
One of the football legends that’s widely respected as one of the greatest players of all time is Pele. He was one of the first footballers to appear in a movie.
In the movie titled”Escape To Victory”, Pele played the role of a World War II Prisoner who tried to escape from prison with a group of allies after he lured them to playing football.
The movie also featured Hollywood giants like Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine. Also on the team were Bobby Moore and Ossie Ardiles.
Ashley Cole (Dead Man Running, Arsene’s Eleven)
The 37-year old former Chelsea and Arsenal fullback currently plays for LA Galaxy in the MLS, United States of America. He was an integral part of Arsenal’s invisible squad that won the English Premier League in 2004.
The first time he showed his versatility was when he ventured into producing and starring is a documentary about Arsene Wenger’s squad in 2007 – with the title,”Arsene’s Eleven”. And in 2009, he featured in the Hollywood movie, Dead Man Running.
Neymar Jr (XXX: Return of Xander Cage)
Neymar definitely is one of the best footballers in the world at the moment; prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he was voted as the world’s most marketable athlete mainly because he had featured in some movies as a minor actor right from his hometown in Brazil.
He’s starred in few movies which include an episode of blockbuster series Trail of Lies (Amor a Vida) in 2013, and also featuring just once in Shakira’s World Cup theme song La La La – Brazil in 2014.
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The Brazilian skipper appeared in the much-publicized; XXX: Return of Xander Cage, where he played the role of the footballer that was recruited by Samuel L Jackson to the secret organization.
However, due to his rape Allegation, Neymar’s Cameo in ‘La Casa de Papel‘ was cut from Season 3. Now, it’s rumored to be back. … It’s now been revealed that Brazilian player is in the series, playing the role of a priest named João who interacts with the characters in episodes 6 and 8.
Stan Collymore (Basic Instinct)
Stan is a former Liverpool, Aston Villa and England striker who’s debut in the movie industry lasted only three minutes. Also, he was compared to another football Player who starred in Hollywood movies (Vinne Jones).
Collymore shared the screen with American actress, Sharon Stone in the movie “Basic Instinct”. He was unconscious in the movie with Sharon.
Zinedine Zidane (Family Guy, Asterix at the Olympic games)
Zizou, 46 years old is one of the most revered footballers in the world who won everything winnable in the round leather game both individually and collectively. Also, he didn’t do that as a Player alone, he also proved his mettle on the bench as a Real Madrid manager, winning the UEFA Champions League three times on the bounce.
One hidden fact about the Frenchman is that he has also appeared on screen, for example – making a cameo in an episode of an animated sitcom titled Family Guy. In 2006, Zizou’s maiden appearance was on an episode of Family Guy titled, “Saving Private Brian” in which he was spotted headbutting an old lady – a direct parody of his headbutt on Marco Materazzi at the final of the World Cup in Germany months earlier. He also made a guest appearance in the 2006 movie, Asterix at the Olympic Games.
David Beckham (A Man from U.N.C.L.E, King Arthur)
The English celebrity became the most searched individual on Google between 2003 and 2004 due to his popularity in and out of football and his boyish good looks (which is popularly called “Fine Boy” in a Naija tongue).
He made an appearance in Deadpool 2, a movie in which protagonist Ryan Reynolds made a quip of Becks’ voice, before going to knock on his door to give him an apology note.
Beckham also had a cameo appearance in the aforementioned Goal series, himself alongside fellow Galacticos Raul and Zinedine Zidane in the brainless but fun movie. Starring as the provider of insight in the 2015’s spy classic, he also featured in the movie “A Man from U.N.C.L.E”, and the 2017 blockbuster, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword“.
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Eric Cantona (The Salvation, Life is Ours)
During the playing days of Cantona, he puts up charismatic performances on the pitch of play; this made his fans unsurprised when he decided to delve into the acting business.
Cantona has starred in multiple French movies, his overweight police superintendent role in the comedy movie titled “The Overeater” released in 2003 showed the comical part of the Manchester United legend.
Eric has acted in several movies after his retirement from football. The movies include Elizabeth, The Children of the Marshland, You and the Night, The Salvation, as well as starring as himself in his 2008’s Looking for Eric.
Frank LeBoeuf ( The Theory Of Everything)
Former Chelsea and France player, Frank Leboeuf was a member of the World Cup-winning team in 1998. Enchanting, charming and sometimes a hothead, Leboeuf has made the effective transition to sports analyst since he stopped playing the round leather game of football in 2005.
Acting has constantly held an appeal for the French international and his first debut on-screen was during his playing days, having a star in the film Taking Sides.
Following his retirement, he proceeded to enjoy theater work before playing a doctor role in the Oscar-winning biopic of Steven Hawkins, The Theory of Everything.
Vinnie Jones (Gone in 60 Seconds)
The unique thing about The ex-Wimbledon midfielder is that he wasn’t so spectacular as a player but made a Swift transition to become a superstar by proving his mettle in the movie industry, and became one of the best movie actors.
He made his debut in Guy Ritchie’s cockney-tactic 1998 film “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” as Big Chris, and earned a bigger role alongside Brad Pitt in Ritchie’s follow up film “Snatch” Bullet Tooth Tony.
Jones also starred in films like Gone in 60 Seconds, Mean Machine, Snatch and the latest X-Men movie to boost his reputation as a surprisingly competent and versatile actor.
Paul Breitner (TV Total, Libero as Himself)
Paul is a former German footballer, who played as a midfielder and as a defender for West Germany. He was known for his partnerships with Franz Beckenbauer and Berti Vogts in defense for the German national team, and his midfield combination with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge for Bayern. He earned 48 caps for West Germany.
Paul was still a player when he featured in two action-adventure films, with one being a German language western. He played a frontier soldier helping Hardy Kruger’s ranger plant potatoes in the 1976 spaghetti-western ‘Potato Fritz’, and in 1986 he starred in the action-adventure, Kunyonga – Mord in Afrika.
He starred in different 13 German movies but today works mainly as a TV pundit and newspaper columnist. In March 2007, he entered into a contract with FC Bayern Munich and acts as an advisor on various issues due to a vociferous fellow he is, he questioned some of the German government’s decision as a player.
George Best ( Percy, Cup Fever )
The late Irishman played himself in the 1965 sports film ‘Cup Fever’ – the story of a youth team who meet Manchester United and proceed to win their cup competition amid struggles and all.
Best was named European Footballer of the Year in 1968, he is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He appeared in the movie named ‘Percy’, a 1971 British comedy about the world’s first recipient of a penis transplant.
Bobby Moore ( Till Death Do Us Part, Escape To Victory )
Bobby was an English footballer. He most notably played for West Ham United, captaining the club for more than a decade, and was the captain of the England national team that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup in 1966.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time and was cited by Pelé as the greatest defender that he had ever played against. He played Terry Brady in “Escape to Victory.”
Moore starred alongside A-list actors like Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone in the 1981 film. He has also appeared in several episodes of the TV series ‘Till Death Do Us Part’.
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.