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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 January 2021

Off pitch: 10 football players who have tried their luck with music

From Julio Iglesias to Daniel Sturridge, football players had varied results over the years

From left: Julio Iglesias, Sergio Ramos, Slaven Bilic and Daniel Sturridge, each has dabbled in music, as well as football. Getty Images
From left: Julio Iglesias, Sergio Ramos, Slaven Bilic and Daniel Sturridge, each has dabbled in music, as well as football. Getty Images

Football is back with major leagues in England, Spain and Germany restarting in the wake of the pandemic.

And that’s a good thing for both sports and music lovers. The latter fans will appreciate it because they realise that most footballers should stick to their innate talent.

Even before the coronavirus shut down most of the major leagues, players had time on their hands.

Whether it is in between matches or the off season, over the decades footballers have managed to burn off some of that remaining energy in studios as aspiring singers, rappers or producers.

With the exception of one international music super-star, the results have been more misses that strikes. That said, fair play to these athletes. It just goes to show that you often can’t have it all.

From Julio Iglesias to Daniel Sturridge, below are 10 past and present players, who take their music seriously ... some would argue, a little too seriously.

1. Julio Iglesias

The most famous footballer turned musician. Yes, it is hard to believe that this king of romance was behind the goal posts more than 50 years ago as a goal keeper for Real Madrid Castilla. A car accident, which let him in a wheel chair for two years, ended that career with Iglesias choosing a new path as a musician.

“I was young, wanted to be a football player and travel the world and play for Real Madrid. Then you have an accident and you are stuck at home for nearly two years and you are told you are never going to be a player anymore,” he told The National in a 2013 interview.

“I felt like my life was over and I didn't have any passion to survive and I felt like I had no opportunities. Then I picked up a guitar and I built that passion little by little and years later I am travelling the world and reaching people and performing in a place like China to thousands of people every night. It feels like a dream.”

2. Daniel Sturridge

He may have lead England from the front, but the striker prefers to work in the background when it comes to music. A lover of hip-hop, Sturridge launched his own record label, Dudley Road Records, with Afro-pop group The.Wav and their 2018 debut single Proposition.

3. Jese Rodriguez

The Spaniard is viewed as a player who never truly reached his potential. Maybe that's because Rodriguez gave an equal amount of passion and focus to his musical career. After disbanding the reggaeton duo Big Flow, Rodriguez launched a solo career under the name Jey M, and last year released the party track Pakata. His promised debut album Otro Game has yet to be released.

4. Memphis Depay

The French forward's music got him in some hot water, not from the music critics but the football world. This is down to the flashy image of his music videos being at odds with the responsibility of being Olympique Lyonnais club captain. Depay, doesn't mind, however, and those carefree vibes are all over his hip-hop singles LA Vibes and Fall Back.

5. Slaven Bilic

One of the coolest characters in the game. A fan favourite as a former defender and charismatic national team coach, the Croatian also channels his trademark intensity into the rock band Rawabau. In 2008, the group recorded the official song, Vatreno ludilo (Fiery Madness), for Croatia’s 2008 European Championship campaign.

6. Dion Dublin

The ex-Manchester United footballer may now be a British television personality, but when it comes to music Dublin is serious. Such is the focus that the drummer went on to create his own instrument. Dubbed The Dube, it is a percussion shaped in the style of a cube. It comes in various sizes and is versatile enough to be used within a live band or DJ set.

7. John Barnes

The Liverpool legend repped his team on the field and in the studio. As well as scoring a top five chart hit in 1988 with club anthem Anfield Rap, he provided a guest rapping appearance in New Order's 1990 chart topper World in Motion.

8. Sergio Ramos

After threatening us with a song for years, the Real Madrid and Spanish national team captain released La Roja Baila. The 2016 track became the Spanish team's official anthem for the 2016 European Championship.

9. Ruud Gullit

The footballer, manager and reggae lover scored hits in his native Netherlands as both a solo artist and band member. In 1984, when he was an auspicious talent with Feyenoord, Gullit dropped the sunny Not the Dancing Kind. Four years later, with his legend cemented with AC Milan, Gullit joined Revelation Time for the anti-apartheid anthem South Africa.

10. Alexi Lalas

One of the most prolific when it comes to musical output, the former US defender fronted a rock group called The Gypsies, which supported Hootie and The Blowfish during a 1998 European tour. As a solo artist he released seven roots rock albums including last year's Look at You.

Updated: June 22, 2020 04:31 PM

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