Soccer players are maybe one of the most respected and famous athletes in the world, in almost in every country. Soccer as a game and sport has crossed borders and has gone to places where soccer has been a way of getting along. Furthermore, soccer is one of those games, or the only game maybe, that awakens such passions in people and fans and sometimes that passion can be violent or exaggerated, extremist in a sort of way.
In that same way, soccer players are famous and are in the spotlight, even more than models, TV stars or even Hollywood stars. Take for example Cristiano Ronaldo and the entire world that revolves around him. He is almost a superstar and of course an amazing soccer player.
But happens when they reach the end of their career? What do they do? Some of them do get into a little trouble with authorities or with substances but is a minority. Others go to do regular jobs or office jobs as any other regular Joe like Dutch International soccer player Berry van Aerle who is a postman.
And other fortunate ones can continue in their sport like the case of Zinedine Zidane or Luis Enrique that used to play in the Spanish league and now they coach the same teams where they used to play and with amazing results.
Let’s take a look at some retired soccer players and what they are doing at the moment.
Gianfranco Zola is an Italian football player that was also awarded an OBE – Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire and was a hero and celebrity in the Premier League with Chelsea. The fans even voted him as one of the best players of the club. His number, 25, has only been worn once and remains a legend within the team. He went from Chelsea to Cagliari in Italy where he retired in 2005 not after helping the team get promoted to the Italian Serie A and scoring two goals against Juventus in his last game as a professional soccer player.
After retirement, he has been busy. He has had ups and downs in the soccer managerial career where he coached the Italian under 21 team from 2006-2008 to then go to West Ham United’s staff in 2008 where the adventure did not go very well and he was fired in 2010. He then went to coach Watford. He left the English team in December 2013 and then went to coach Cagliari (he had a bad start losing against Palermo 0–5). He was then fired in 2015 because he couldn’t get the expected results and the team was still in the relegation zone.
The German player Gerd Muller was one of the best forwarders in the Bundesliga. After he retired he had a few alcohol problems but he could overcome the issue. He then went to work as the manager of Bayer Munich II. Adidas dedicated him a line of clothing and the Rieser Sportpark, in Nördlingen the team that saw this amazing football player rise, changed the name of their stadium to “Gerd-Müller-Stadion” to honor his legacy. Unfortunately, Gerd is suffering from Alzheimer disease.
Everybody in the soccer world knows Pelé and his legacy. We couldn’t even summarize all he did when he was a football player in Brazil and after he retired. He has done so many things for young players and for the sport that it is impossible to put it in few words. He has even been the UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador and UN ambassador for ecology and environment and was appointed as the Honorary President of the New York Cosmos in 2010.
Today, Pelé makes around $30 million a year from endorsements and his businesses. He works directly with brands such as Time Warner, MasterCard, Procter & Gamble, Pizza Hut and Pepsi. He even has his own brand called Pele Sports & Marketing. In 2002, he even was the spokesperson for Pfizer pharmaceutical talking about the benefits of Viagra. He is still part of the philanthropist world and continues to work for UNICEF and other children’s organizations.
Ronaldo could have been as big as Pelé but injuries didn’t allow him to do so. For many this is the original greatest and most complete forwards of all time. He was called “the Phenomenon”. He was more of an individualistic attacker and was extremely powerful, fast, technical and an almost flawless scorer. He had to deal with alcohol a little bit but he is now sober and is the co-owner of the Brazilian A1 team. He founded a brand called 9ine, a sports marketing agency and joined the organizing committees for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and for the 2016 Olympics.
Before you leave, be sure to also check this post about Olympic Gold medallists who already retired.