Some footballers are not just great with a ball at their feet.
Footballers are some of the most elite athletes in the world.
Combining speed, strength, technical ability and mental concentration, it is no surprise that a number of top level players excelled in other sports before making their decision to stick with football.
Cricket is a firm favourite of many professional stars, with England’s summer sport taking place at many schools alongside football in the winter, while other players are well known for sports that link well with their footballing abilities.
Considering their success in the field of professional football, it is not a surprise that they chose to continue with it as their main sport, but here we take a look at five stars who could have excelled in other fields.
Gary Lineker - Cricket
The Tottenham and England legend was a keen cricketer in his youth, captaining the Leicestershire Schools team, and believing that his career in cricket was more likely to be a success than one in football. However, he went with the latter, signing for local club Leicester City and going on to win a host of awards in European football.
Andy Goram - Cricket
A hero of Rangers in Scotland, 50-year-old Goram was both a footballer and cricketer. A goalkeeper for the Scottish national team, he was also a wicket-keeper for various clubs, and represented the Tartan Army on four occasions. His cricket career was all but ended under Walter Smith’s management, who forced him to concentrate on football.
Geoff Hurst - Cricket
The third and final cricketer on our list, West Ham legend and World Cup hero Hurst could have been turning out for England in the summer sport rather than the winter one. The striker played one first-class cricket game in 1962 for Essex, before being placed in their Second XI for a consistent period. Chose to retire in 1964 to focus on football.
Roy Keane - Boxing
A boxer in his youth, Keane’s fiery temper on a football pitch would owe much to his time in a ring. He trained into his teens before giving up due to his height, but has retained a love of boxing to the modern day, calling it the ‘best sport in the world’ in an interview with the Guardian.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Taekwondo
One of the best footballers in the world, but also a black belt in taekwondo from when he was just 17-years-old. He received an honorary black belt from the Italian national team in 2010 for continuing to practice the art, and maybe his talent with the martial arts is the reason for his amazing finesse on the ball - and an apparent love of acrobatic feats of brilliance.