Professional sportspeople need to spend hours honing their craft, perfecting their skills on the pitch, and keeping their bodies in peak physical condition. So you might think that professional footballers don't have much time to spare once they're done with their training and recovery.
Yet many professional footballers do manage to dedicate a considerable amount of time to their chosen hobbies. And when it comes to the types of hobbies that these incredibly well-paid athletes enjoy, some can be quite extravagant and require large amounts of money to be spent!
In terms of the hobbies that pro footballers tend to gravitate towards, you might be surprised at the sheer diversity of pastimes represented.
This includes everything from collecting luxury items, to more creative pursuits like fashion design and painting. In addition to spending their vast fortunes on opulent material possessions and expensive activities, many footballers have also been known to give back to their local communities through charitable endeavors.
So let's take a look at some of the hobbies that have proved popular with professional footballers over the years, from the classic hobbies we might expect from such a well-compensated lot—including watch collecting, gambling, and fashion—to the more unconventional ones, such as music and yoga.
And you never know, after reading this article, you might just find yourself inspired to pick up a new hobby yourself.
Given the absolutely staggering salaries that many professional footballers are earning these days, it is little surprise that so many of them have been drawn into collecting luxury watches.
Watches are considered an essential accessory for the fashion-conscious man, and more and more professional footballers seem to be joining this category. It makes sense that wealthy and increasingly fashion-aware sportsmen would spend thousands of dollars, pounds, or euros to get the perfect timepiece. After all, you wouldn’t expect former Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to turn up to training with a Casio or a Timex, would you?
In fact, Ronaldo is an avid watch collector and is known to have dropped hundreds of thousands—if not millions—on his watch collection over the years. This includes timepieces from the likes of Girard Perregaux, Franck Muller, Hublot, and more Rolexes than you can shake a stick at!
Ronaldo’s most expensive timepiece—a Perregaux Planetarium Tri-Axial—is believed to have cost him a whopping $2 million, and this price could even have increased since it has graced his wrist.
Ronaldo is not alone when it comes to his love of watches, however. Lionel Messi, the other arguably GOAT footballer, is also known to have a watch collection worth millions.
Messi regularly sports Rolex watches, although his collection also includes pieces from Jacob & Co, Patek Philippe, Hublot, and Audemars Piguet.
Sportspeople are often required to take risks in order to win. Nobody manages to get to the very top of professional sport by playing it safe all the time. So it's only natural that many of the world’s best professional footballers have developed a love of all things gambling and betting. And while many professional athletes are understandably not allowed to bet on themselves, their teammates, or indeed anything related to their own sport, they are not required to abstain from other types of gambling such as visiting real-world or online casinos.
Several famous footballing stars have developed a love of poker over the years, with online poker allowing these mega sports stars the ability to indulge in their pastime anonymously.
Brazilian superstar Neymar, for example, has sunk hundreds of hours into online poker and has even gone so far as to host charity poker games. Other famous footballers have sought ventures in the same field: after retiring from professional sport, English megastar David Beckham, a known fan of playing in Asian casinos, used his newfound spare time to promote casino chains in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau. A good selection of similar Malaysian casinos can be found at casinotopsonline.com/my for the enthusiasts who want to try their luck at gamblling.
Although we have not necessarily seen any pro footballers publicly express their love of online casinos, based on the popularity of online poker among the football fraternity, we can deduce that many are indulging in a spot of online casino gaming. With many online gambling platforms now sponsoring well-known sports teams, we can expect this relationship to grow in the future.
Although it is not a ‘hobby’ in the conventional sense, many professional footballers have dedicated a lot of their time off the pitch to various charitable endeavors. This includes both volunteering with charities of their choice, as well as setting up their own charitable foundations.
Marcus Rashford is an example of a talented player who has put almost as much time into his charitable efforts as his playing. Rashford has used his superstar status to raise the profile of child poverty and hunger both at home in the UK and abroad. This has included helping out with food drives, delivering food parcels to his local community, and spearheading campaigns to secure hot school meals for underprivileged children.
In addition to donating sizable chunks of his own money to worthy causes, Rashford has used his profile to help funnel millions in charitable donations to these causes, and was awarded an MBE for his efforts.
Despite the fact that success on the pitch often requires speed and aggression to get the job done, when they are off the pitch many successful footballers have used yoga as a way of restoring their body while also bringing some calm into their lives.
Yoga is an incredible tool for boosting strength and flexibility, as well as improving the mind-body connection that is so important for professional athletes. For this reason, many football superstars have turned to yoga in their spare time for the many health benefits it brings. Some of the famous names who practise yoga include David Silva, John Terry, Gareth Bale, Lionel Messi, Ryan Giggs, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Perhaps surprisingly given his aggressive playing style, Ryan Giggs has been particularly vocal about the benefits of regular yoga and meditation.
Another passion that is common among numerous famous footballers is music—not only producing music for commercial release, but also playing musical instruments as a hobby.
The legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech is one of these multi-talented individuals, who was known to spend all of his spare time off the pitch pounding away at his drumkit. Cech insisted that the time he spent off the pitch hammering out rhythms actually helped to improve his hand-eye coordination on the pitch.
Renowned Peruvian player Nolberto Solano dedicated hours each day to playing the trumpet. He was known to carry his trumpet into the changing rooms before and after training sessions to amp up his teammates—although the jury is still out on whether this was a welcome distraction. After retiring, Solano went on to set up a salsa band.
In many respects, music is the perfect way for athletes to unwind. Not only can it help to improve hand-eye coordination—an essential skill for pro athletes—but it can also help to trigger activity in the creative parts of one's brain. Playing music can also aid relaxation, which is also vital for athletes who face so much pressure every day, both on and off the field.