The retirement of Sébastien Chabal came as a shock to many, but his role as the CurrencyFairy has to be one of the most unlikely (but brilliant) career shifts for any sports star.
We’re looking at some other stars who’ve made a huge change once retiring from their respective codes. Not all ex-footballers buy pubs in Spain, you know.
Some have followed their life-long dreams, some help those less fortunate and a few choose a road very few of us could ever imagine.
62 caps for France and a club career spanning two countries with over 200 appearances will hardly have set our friend up for the thrill of being The CurrencyFairy.
Being modest folk, we don’t like to brag, but we’re quietly confident his personal career highlights reel opens with our ad (which is currently back on UK TV!!)
Have a look. It’s great. He’s great.
No list of ex-footballers can be complete without Wimbledon’s self-styled Hard Man, the original footballer/gangster crossover. Well, maybe the only one.
Vinny Jones kicked people a lot, gave his fair share of elbows and wedgies, all the while smiling like an East End gentleman, sinister in its politeness. This terrified players, fans and referees alike, so the next step once the boots were hung up was clearly into the film world. The quintessential British villain, he’s featured in almost 60 films, some of which are already cult classics – Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch being the first two that spring to mind.
Thankfully, Jones played a non-speaking role in Gone in 60 Seconds, thus preserving some dignity – we thought that film was awful, sorry Vinnie.
(Seriously, we’re really sorry. You were the best thing in it. Please don’t hurt us.)
A handy little midfielder in his time, Thomas Gravesen made his name over five seasons with Everton, before an almost-unbelievable move to Real Madrid. He also has 66 caps for Denmark to his name, so if his career had stopped after football, it would still be a success in most people’s eyes.
He gave up kicking a ball in 2009, he embarked on a wild lifestyle of Vegas gambling, blonde bombshells (well, one anyway) and amassing a fortune of over £80 million. This is according to a DailyMail article (warning – that’s a link to the Daily Mail).
The main lesson here is that Thomas Gravesen is a bit of a legend.
If you think Gravesen is a legend, wait for this dude.
One of Australia’s best loved heroes from their golden era of modern cricket, Steve Waugh has admirably thrown off the trappings of stardom and fame in his post-pro days.
The Steve Waugh Foundation was established “to help change things for children with a rare disease by giving hope, providing medicine, equipment and treatment, supporting education and research, partnering with other like agencies and organisations as well as supporting specific projects and programs.”
Having met Mother Teresa in Kolkata in 1996, he was affected by her calmness, altruism and spirit. He describes a subsequent visit to a rehabilitation clinic for children with leprosy as “….something I saw which I couldn’t just dismiss and pretend I didn’t see”.
Truly inspirational, we think the term “legend” should only apply to folk like Waugh.
It’s time for something a little lighter.
Enter David May, of fleeting Man Utd and Champions League medal fame. (Yes – David May has a champions league medal, as does Djimi Traore)
Having been a substitute in the 1999 Final against Bayern Munich, he won a place in the hearts of many by celebrating the win like he’d played the whole 90+ minutes, on his own, in bare feet.
He now runs a wine importing business, so is bringing beautiful grape-based happiness to the world. Fair play, David, we can’t argue with any of that.
Although just freshly retired from the world of football management, Frank Rijkaard made the unlikely move to purchase a pancake shop in Utrecht.
He’s bought some other properties too, mind you, so the romantic notion of one of the world’s greatest ever midfielders retiring to make pancakes isn’t exactly true, which is a shame.
Still, we can ignore the facts and imagine him making pancakes, can’t we?
Pope John Paul II
Karol Józef Wojtyła was a keen football fan throughout his life, with reports claiming he was an avid Liverpool supporter, along with Barcelona (he had a lifetime membership card.) and even Fulham.
He played in goal, and is credited with coining the phrase “safe hands”. This may or may not be entirely made up by us, just now.
At the age of 20, after a less than successful spell between the posts, the priesthood called and, as they say, the rest is history. His love for the beautiful game never left though. Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League hero Jerzy Dudek claimed his compatriot watched their games and wished them well every time. He also appeared on the member’s list at German clubs Schalke and Borussia Dortmund, clearly not fully understanding the local rivalries there.
Still, a great pope by all accounts, and a decent goalkeeper too.
So there we have it, examples of those who break the mould and resist the trap of pub ownership, sports channel guest punditry and management/promotion.
Fair play to all of the above, except Gravesen, because we’re insanely jealous of his current lifestyle.