Football isn’t a permanent career- most people last anywhere between fifteen and twenty years in the beautiful game. As newer people come into the game, older ones fade into oblivion. Have you ever wondered what some of the greatest players of your generation are doing now?
Soccernews.com takes a look at eight such football legends.
|1.) George Weah (Liberia)|
Liberia’s greatest ever footballer and in the eyes of many, also Africa’s greatest. Weah won titles with Monaco and PSG in France, AC Milan in Italy and Chelsea in England. Such was his ability that Graeme Souness signed a person posing as his cousin (remember the Ali Dia story?) without first taking him on trial. Till date, he is the only African footballer to have won the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Weah is also considered one of the best footballers never to have played in the World Cup.
Weah has now switched to politics and made an unsuccessful attempt to become Liberian president in 2005. He is currently the Standard Bearer of the Liberian political party “Congress for Democratic Change”
|2.) Paul Gascoigne (England)|
One of England’s most talented midfielders, Gazza is best remembered for his performances at the 1990 World Cup. Few England fans will ever forget the picture of Gascoigne crying after his foul on Thomas Berthold in the semifinal against Germany. Gazza would have missed the final if England had beaten the Germans. As fate would have it, Sir Bobby Robson’s men did not progress as they choked in the shootout.
Unfortunately, Gazza had to deal with various problems in his life that never quite allowed him to fulfill his potential as a player. He suffered from depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and bulimia and often allowed alcohol to get the better of him. He snorted cocaine and even thought that his toy parrots were real in a nightmarish twelve month period that saw him sectioned three times under the Mental Health Act.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once revealed that the biggest disappointment in his managerial career was not getting Gazza to Old Trafford.
|3.) Tomas Brolin ( Sweden)|
If Gazza is remembered for his performances at Italia’90, Brolin made his mark on the international stage at USA’94. He helped Sweden reach the semifinals of the tournament and was included in the All Star Team. He had a successful stint with Parma, but his time in England, first with Leeds and then with Crystal Palace, wasn’t anything to crow about.
Brolin now plays poker and also runs certain business ventures. He was recently in the news for claiming on Swedish television that he should be credited with 27 goals for the national team as a goal he scored was attributed to Roland Nilsson. As you can see, ageing has not been too kind to him.
|4.) Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)|
Batigol is best remembered for his exploits with Fiorentina and such was his popularity in Florence in the mid 90’s that he could have comfortably won the election for being the city’s mayor if he had stood as a candidate. He is still Argentina’s all time record scorer with 56 goals in 78 appearances and is unlikely to be displaced from that spot anywhere in the near future.
Batistuta is currently an ambassador for Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid. He also plays polo in his free time and made his debut as a polo player in 2009 alongside Adolfo Cambiasso. He also has a large farming business back in his native Argentina.
|5.) Roberto Baggio (Italy)|
Unfortunately, most fans of the current generation remember the Divine Ponytail as the man who cost Italy the 1994 World Cup. Baggio was however one of the world’s finest No.10’s and is the only Italian to score in three different World Cups.
When he was sold to Juventus, there were riots in Florence. He also played for Internazionale and Milan, making him one of the few players to have plied their trade for all the three major Italian clubs.
Baggio, a devout Buddhist, is today an ambassador for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He spends plenty of time in Argentina and is now a big fan of Boca Juniors.
6.) Davor Suker (Croatia)
|7.) Patrick Kluivert (Netherlands)|
Kluivert burst onto the world stage by scoring the winner in the 1995 Champions League final for Ajax when he was only eighteen. He transferred to Milan in 1997, but it was at Barcelona that he established himself as a world class player. He had a wonderful Euro 2000 and scored a hat trick in the Netherlands’ 6-1 demolition of Yugoslavia in the last eight.
Kluivert has now shifted to coaching and had a two week stint with A-League outfit Brisbane Roar in early 2010. He will be seen on television this summer as a pundit for Eurosport’s Soccer City Live programme for the 2010 World Cup.
|8.) Rivaldo (Brazil)|
We round off our list for today with Brazil’s Rivaldo, Kluivert’s partner in crime at Barca during the late 90’s. Rivaldo scored an astonishing 130 goals in 235 appearances for the Blaugrana. He also formed a lethal partnership with Ronaldo at national level for Brazil, and the two R’s were instrumental in helping the Samba Boys lift the 2002 World Cup.
The 1999 World Player of the Year now exhibits his famed bicycle kicks in the Uzbek league, where he plays for Bundyodkor. At 38, he is still going strong, unlike several of his former team mates, who have brought the curtains down on their careers.