10 Strangest Careers of Retired Ex-Footballers

A professional footballer - being paid thousands of pounds a week to kick a ball around a field. Training with your mates every day and ultimately playing the sport you love every single weekend: it's THE dream job for many of us, but what happens when the dream is over? It's hard to think of football players doing anything other than well, playing football...but quite often after the retirement from the beautiful game, many players have gone on to pursue other professions. We've picked out a few of the most bizarre/interesting ones for you to enjoy!

Timo Wiese - Goalkeeper (Werden Bremen, Hoffenheim) Turned WWE Wrestler

Timo Wiese is the most recent example of a player who hung up his boots for something completely different. I say completely, I guess wrestling is kind of considered to be a sport - even though we all know it's not. The former Werder Bremen keeper played in the Bundesliga for 15 seasons and even made Germany's World Cup squad in 2010. For some reason Wiese decided he'd rather be blocking fists and boots instead of footballs.

Thomson Gravesen - Midfielder (Everton, Real Madrid) Turned Professional Poker Player.

Former Everton and Madrid midfield hard-man Thomas Gravesen supposedly earned millions throughout his successful career in top flight football. When he called it a day, though, he decided to try his hand at poker (pun intended). Gravesen now spends his days living in Las Vegas earning even more money through professional poker tournaments. He's now said to be worth around £86 million. Fair play, Tom.

Ramon Vega - Defender (Spurs, Celtic) Turned Finance Broker

Vega played as a defender for both Spurs and Celtic before he switched trades to the finance game. He now works for a successful finance firm in Mayfair, adding nicely, to the stack of money he already earned as a footballer. Dubbed the "Wolf of White Hart Lane" during his playing days, Vega has since made £15 million after moving into finance. He claims that money and football are what he knows "more than anything" - there are definitely worse things to be educated in.

Roman Pavlyuchenko - Forward (Spurs) Turned Politician

"Super Pav" enjoyed a decent career with Tottenham Hotspur and became a fan favourite after scoring 21 goals in 78 games. The Russian frontman retired from international football in 2013 but still plays for Russian outfit FC Ural Yekaterinburg. On the side, Roman is a local Durma (city council) deputy, representing the ruling Vladmir Putin-led United Russia party. Pavlyuchenko says he aims to "help with advice and provide a concrete contribution to the development possibilities for exercise and sport. Certainly makes a change from spending your days smashing balls around a golf course."

Arjan De Zeeuw - Defender (Wigan, Portsmouth) Turned Private Investigator

The Dutchman had a reasonably good stint in the Premier League and even captained his Wigan side to League Cup glory in 2006. Since his retirement, De Zeeuw has moved back to his native Netherlands to change occupation from trying to figure out how to stop the likes of Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba to trying to figure out who committed given crimes. The forensic specialist recently partnered back up with his former club Wigan though as one of the backroom staff.

Fabian Barthez - Goalkeeper (Manchester United) Turned Motorsport Driver

The eccentric Frenchman was number one for United for a total of 92 games. He was also in the French sides that won both the 1998 World Cup and Euros in 2000 - a very successful career full of many highs (and a few lows)! So how do you replicate that? Well, Barthez decided that motorsport would be the obvious choice. Since retiring in 2008, Barthez has competed in various professional motorsport races and in 2013 he was crowned French GT Champion, driving a Ferrari. Way to keep that heart pumping, Fabian.

Gaizka Mendieta - Midfielder (Valencia, Middlesbrough) Turned DJ

The Spaniard played over 409 games in what was a very good career that included stints at Valencia, Lazio, Barcelona and Middlesbrough. When he hung up his boots, Mendieta followed his musical passion and became a DJ/producer. We just wonder how often he gets asked for his autograph by drunken clubbers trying to climb over into the DJ booth...

Frank Lebouef - Midfielder (Chelsea) Turned Actor

"Give that man an Oscar" is a phrase that is often uttered by commentators after witnessing a dire act of play-acting or an attempt to con the referee through diving. For the ex-Chelsea FA Cup-winning Frenchman though, this is quite literally the case - and it's an actual Oscar this time. Lebouef ventured into Hollywood after he retired to take up a career in acting; he even played a small role in the Oscar-winning movie, The Theory of Everything, as the doctor who tells Mrs Hawking that Stephen needs a tracheotomy and will never speak again. It may be a while before he finds himself a lead role, though.

Lee Bowyer - Midfielder (Leeds, West Ham, Newcastle) Turned Carp Fishing Lake Owner

Former England midfielder Lee Bowyer went for a slightly different approach to retirement - something well away from football. Bowyer had a passion for fishing when he was younger, which is what he pursued after he hung up his boots. He now owns a carp fishing like in the Champagne region of France - very nice indeed. Maybe the relaxing lifestyle was exactly what Bowyer needed after a career full of controversy both on and off the pitch. Ex Newcastle teammate Kieron Dyer will certainly be glad to see the back of him.

Gavin Peacock - Midfielder (Chelsea, Newcastle, QPR) Turned Pastor

The ex-Chelsea captain shocked everyone in 2008 when he announced he would retire from football punditry to become a pastor, yes pastor, in Cananda. Peacock made over 500 appearances in his senior career before he switched his attention to Christianity. After presenting Songs of Praise in 2008, he moved to Canada to study a three-year masters course in divinity at Ambrose Seminary, with the intention of becoming a minister. Peacock is currently an Elder and Pastor at Calvary Grace Church. Talk about switching it up.

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