Becoming a professional footballer is a big dream for most players, having a good or bad day on the pitch can go a long way to affect their personal lives.
While for some, football is just like another 9-5 job where once work closes for the day, you shut it out of your life.
Here is a list of 5 professional footballers who couldn’t be bothered with the sport.
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- Alexander Song
Song recently revealed how he didn’t give a flying one about sitting on the bench for Barcelona as his 2012 move from Arsenal made him a millionaire.
“When Barcelona offered me a contract, and I saw how much I would earn, I didn’t think twice,” he admitted on Instagram Live. “I felt my wife and children should have comfortable lives once my career is over.
“I met Barca’s sporting director, and he told me I would not get to play many games, but I didn’t give a fuck. I knew that now I would become a millionaire.
“I wanted to rub shoulders with the big boys. I could shop wherever I wanted and have crazy nights out.”
His career at the Camp Nou was forgettable but we’d be surprised if that keeps Song awake at night.
- Benoit Assou Ekotto
In a surprisingly honest interview with The Guardian in 2010, the former Cameroon international said he played for money, rather than out of much passion for the game.
“But if I come to England, where I knew nobody and I didn’t speak English … why did I come here? For a job. A career is only 10, 15 years. It’s only a job. Yes, it’s a good, good job and I don’t say that I hate football but it’s not my passion,” he said.
“I arrive in the morning at the training ground at 10.30 and I start to be professional. I finish at one o’clock and I don’t play football afterwards. When I am at work, I do my job 100%. But after, I am like a tourist in London. I have my
Oyster card and I take the tube. I eat.”
One of Assou-Ekotto’s former team-mates also revealed he was repeatedly on the team bus without knowing which team Tottenham would play.
- David Bentley
Bentley ended up retiring in the summer of 2014, aged just 29, admitting that he’d fallen out of love with the game,
“When I first started at Arsenal when I was 15, there was Ray Parlour, [Tony] Adams, and it just used to be fun. It’s not like the real world, it’s a privilege to go in every day,” Bentley would later explain.
“But you’d be a bit scared. Your car would be nicked, or your clothes would be chopped up. It was fun stuff happening. Now it’s a little bit robotic.
“The social media side of it has made it boring and predictable and calculated. To go and sign for another three or four years, it wasn’t really an option for me.”
The former Blackburn and Tottenham winger would end up opening a bar in Marbella, which seems incredibly on-brand for a party-loving person if nothing else.
- Gabriel Batistuta
Any football fan who grew up during the 1990s was aware of Batistuta’s goalscoring prowess – but the man himself wasn’t in love with football.
One of the best strikers of his generation, he once said in an interview with Argentinean TV: “I do not like football, it is just my profession.”
His autobiography co-writer, Alessandro Rialti, confirmed this was true in a 1999 interview with the Sunday Times.
“The important thing about Batistuta is that he is not like other players. He is a very good professional who doesn’t really like football,” Rialti said.
“Once he leaves the stadium, he doesn’t want football encroaching upon the rest of his life. He is a very sensitive and intelligent man. When we were doing the book, he came to my office and for five full days he spoke about his family and his life in Argentina.
“But when it came to the football and his career, he switched off. ‘The records are there,’ he said, ‘you can look them up’.”
- Stephen Ireland
The Manchester City midfielder, who once admitted lying that his grandmother had died in order to excuse himself from international duty, wrote: ”Football Is SHIT Why Did I get Stuck Doin’ It?”
What Ireland lacked in passion for his profession, he made up for in succinctness