While football remains second to cricket in India when it comes to celebrities endorsing the sport publicly, there have been a few names linked with the world's favourite sport in recent times, and for varying reasons!
While not many of us can picture the burly actor sprint around the football pitch, he is quite the fan, having played one in his movie "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom". He was a Chelsea follower in the movie, and is one in real life as well.
In fact, he was honoured by Chelsea Football Club after their Champions League semi final defeat against Barcelona last season, as he became the first fan to be presented with the Blues' new home kit! Baby B was overwhelmed by the gesture, while Big B Amitabh Bachchan even mentioned this on his blog.
One of the most popular male actor in recent times, John Abraham is a confessed biker boy, as well as a football fanatic. He has actively been involved with football, and was also invited at the opening I-League game to meet players from both sides before the match as a chief guest.
The actor was also part of India's first all-out football-related movie, "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal", a film about a bunch of amateur footballers in the UK saving their local club. He has also appeared in ESPN adverts for the Premier League, and has been quoted to be an Arsenal fan.
What's with football lovers and body builders? After John Abraham, the original Bollywood muscleman, Salman Khan, has come out publicly supporting the people's game. In fact, Khan has gone one step further, and is the Ambassador for football, as named by the AIFF, and made a surprise appearance at the Nehru Cup final, much to the joy of the Ambedkar Stadium faithful.
Apart from organizing and playing in a few star-studded football matches for charityl, Salman has since appeared on television a number of times, talking about the sport, and what can be done to help it grow in India.
The budding superstar is quite a footballer. A couple of years ago at a charity match in Pune organized for the welfare of cancer patients, Ranbir turned out for Salman's side, and scored four goals to bag the Man of the Match award!
Also, in one of his recent movies "Wake Up Sid", his character was seen to be an Arsenal fan, with the club's merchandize in his car and room, mirroring the young generation of today, who are more into football than anything else.
One of the most succesful models in the nineties and noughties, Robinson is also an avid football lover. In fact, he loves it enough to help organize a tournament every year in Mumbai, called the "Bandra Premier League", where amateur footballers form teams to enjoy the game in a competitive yet friendly spirit!
Another actor, and another one known for his gymming skills. While he may not have forged a very successful career acting-wise, he still garners more than a passing interest in football, and is seen playing in the Bandra area very often.
The Bollywood siren is also part owner of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals, and along with her husband Raj Kundra, is own to take a keen interest in Indian football. In fact, in October last year, the couple went to the AIFF headquarters and spoke to Alberto Colaco at length about the Indian football structure. An investment similar to the one in the IPL pending in football? Let's hope so!
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