Football isn’t just about fancy footwork and cardio-vascular strength, there are tactical aspect to the game which translate well in other sporting arenas. For example, many of the world’s best soccer players are also a dab hand around a poker table. In fact, some are so skilled, they’ve competed with the best poker players in the world at poker’s longest running and most prestigious tournament, the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Today, we’re running through five soccer players who also excel in poker…
1 – Gerard Pique
You wouldn’t think Pique had time to play poker, given he plays football for FC Barcelona and Spain, and has two children with his Colombian wife, Shakira. However, Pique dominates just as hard at the poker table as he does on the soccer pitch. As well as performing well in the WSOP Main Event, Pique regularly competes at the European Poker Tour (EPT) when it hits Barcelona. In one EPT competition back in 2011, Pique won $56,000. I think we all know how Pique will keep himself in super yachts when he retires from football…
2 – Teddy Sheringham
Back in the 1980’s, Teddy Sheringham was one of the best strikers in the English Premier League (EPL) where he played for Millwall, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United. To this day, Sheringham remains the 11th highest goal scorer in the history of the Premiership, and was capped 51 times for England. After retiring from soccer, Sheringham has taken the poker world by storm. In 2016 he placed 14th in the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas, taking home $66,000 in winnings. Plus, over the course of his poker career, he has earnt an impressive $329,000 in live tournament earnings.
3 – Cristiano Ronaldo
When Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t playing for Juventus, or the Portuguese national team, he likes to unwind with a spot of poker. While he may not have won the same poker accolades as Teddy and Gerard, Ronaldo is a serious advocate for the game and even promotes Poker Stars tournaments and events.
4 – Neymar Jr.
It seems that ex-Barcelona teammates, Pique and Neymar Jr have more in common than just football. Brazilian export Neymar Jr, loves nothing more than a spot of poker in his spare time. During his poker career, he’s reported to have cashed out around €17,810 – impressive, although small change when compared with his weekly salary as one of the world’s best footballers. Neymar Jr made history when he was transferred from Barcelona to Paris St-Germain for a record breaking €222 million. This means he takes home €865,000 every single week.
5 – Ronaldo
When it comes to footballing legends, they don’t come more impressive than Brazil’s Ronaldo. And this football star is known for his love of poker. When awarded the Ballon d’Or, football’s highest honour, for the third time (making history), Ronaldo was nowhere to be seen…instead, he was off in the Bahamas competing at a Poker Star tournament. In addition to the prestigious honour of the football award, Ronaldo also took home $42,180 in winnings on the very same day.