Holt, Ferdinand, Cantona and footballers who took up other sports

Wigan Athletic striker Grant Holt
Following Grant Holt making his wrestling debut, Goal looks at other footballers, and sports stars, to have moved into other sports

  1. Grant Holt | Wrestling
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    Grant Holt | Wrestling

    Former Norwich City forward Grant Holt swapped his boots for the wrestling ring winning a 40-man Royal Rumble on his debut. Arriving shortly after punditry duties for BT Sport's coverage of Eastleigh vs Dagenham and Redbridge, Holt participated as the surprise 40th entrant and secured victory after drop-kicking an opponent out of the ring.
  2. Rio Ferdinand | Boxing
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    Rio Ferdinand | Boxing

    Former Manchester United and England player Rio Ferdinand announced that he was to train to become a professional boxer. After being rejected by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) for a licence, the centre-back never made his professional boxing debut. 
  3. Clive Allen | American Football

    Clive Allen | American Football

    Former England international Clive Allen turned out for 10 different clubs, most notably Tottenham during the 1980s - a side he would later go on to manage for a match in October 2007. After retiring as a player in 1995, he turned to American football two years later with the London Monarchs.
  4. Gabriel Batistuta | Polo
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    Gabriel Batistuta | Polo

    A goal machine for Fiorentina, Roma and Argentina, Gabriel Batistuta turned to polo a few years after retiring in 2005. 'Batigol' once joked he would have taken up the sport sooner had he been forced to battle Lionel Messi for a place in the national team.
  5. Ian Botham | Cricket

    Ian Botham | Cricket

    Renowned former England all-rounder Ian Botham was also a talented footballer, and had a choice over which sport to pursue professionally as a youngster. 'Beefy' made 11 appearances for Scunthorpe United in 1980 and also appeared for Yeovil Town and a non-league Football Association XI.
  6. Manfred Burgsmuller | American Football

    Manfred Burgsmuller | American Football

    Another footballer to take up a career in NFL Europe, former Borussia Dortmund striker Manfred Burgsmuller joined Rhein Fire in 1996 and continued as a kicker for six years, becoming the oldest professional player in history at the age of 52 in 2001. He won the World Bowl twice.
  7. Eric Cantona | Beach Soccer

    Eric Cantona | Beach Soccer

    A legend at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson, Eric Cantona did not spend long without a ball at his feet after his shock retirement in 1997. Having played for the France national beach soccer side from 2002 onwards, he later turned coach and guided the team to glory at the newly-reformatted World Cup in 2005.
  8. Knut Anders Fostervold | Cycling

    Knut Anders Fostervold | Cycling

    In a career spent mostly with Molde (and briefly with Grimsby Town) Knut Anders Fostervold became most recognisable for his theatrics during an on-pitch confrontation with former Norway striker John Carew. His cycling career has been arguably more successful, however: Fostervold has twice represented Norway at the world time trial and claimed bronze in the national championships in 2005.
  9. Adam Gemili | Athletics

    Adam Gemili | Athletics

    A youth graduate at Chelsea, Adam Gemili spent two years with Dagenham & Redbridge and played for non-league Thurrock before committing full-time to athletics in 2012, shortly before the Olympic Games in London. The 21-year-old came second in the 2014 Commonwealth Games 100m final before winning gold at the European Championships at 200m and in the 4x100m relay later that year. He was also part of the Great Britain team that won gold in the 2017 World Championships in the same event.
  10. Bixente Lizarazu | Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    Bixente Lizarazu | Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    After winning the World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and five Bundesliga titles, Bixente Lizarazu turned to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after hanging up his boots. The Frenchman won the Blue Belt Senior 1 Light Division in his first European competition in 2009, though admits he had some pre-bout nerves: "When I arrived, all I could see were shaven heads, busted ears, killer faces and I said to myself, ‘oh s***!’"
  11. Ilhan Mansiz | Figure skating

    Ilhan Mansiz | Figure skating

    A golden goal against Senegal and a stunning trick against Roberto Carlos at the 2002 World Cup were the highlights of Ilhan Mansiz's football career, which was blighted by injuries and ultimately brought to an end after a serious car accident in 2007. He began skating for a reality TV show and continued professionally along with partner (and later girlfriend) Olga Bestandigova.
  12. Curtis Woodhouse | Boxing

    Curtis Woodhouse | Boxing

    Former Hull midfielder Curtis Woodhouse won his first boxing bout in 2006 and went on to win the British light-welterweight title in 2013. After retiring from the sport in 2014, Woodhouse returned to the ring in September 2017 beating Arvydas Trizn and then in November 2017 defeating Lewis van Poetsch.
  13. Daniele Massaro | Rally Driving

    Daniele Massaro | Rally Driving

    The former AC Milan stalwart played in the World Cup final in 1994 for Italy before hanging up his boots. He competed in two World Rally Championship races in 1998 and 1999 for the Opel team.
  14. Bruce Arena | Lacrosse

    Bruce Arena | Lacrosse

    The American was manager of the United States national team at two World Cups and also represented his country once in an international as goalkeeper. He was a 1974 world lacrosse champion and for a time juggled professional lacrosse and football careers.
  15. Mick Channon | Horse racing

    Mick Channon | Horse racing

    A regular England international throughout the 1970s, Channon is a Manchester City legend and also won the FA Cup as a Southampton player. Following his retirement, he moved into horse racing and is one of the most respected trainers in the world having produced a Classic winner in 2012 with Samitar in the Irish 1,000 Guineas.
  16. Santiago Canizares | Rally Driving

    Santiago Canizares | Rally Driving

    A highly-respected goalkeeper with Valencia and the Spain national team who won two Liga titles during his time at Mestalla. After retirement he moved into rally and has competed in the Spanish rally championships for the Suzuki team.
  17. Shane Long | Hurling
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    Shane Long | Hurling

    Before he moved to England to take up football, the Tipperary native played hurling for his county side, reaching two All-Ireland Minor Championship semi-finals.
  18. Tim Wiese | WWE
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    Tim Wiese | WWE

    A former Germany international and a DFB-Pokal winner with Werder Bremen, Tim Wiese swapped boots and goalkeeper gloves for the sparkling spandex of World Wrestling Entertainment and made his debut in November 2016.

  19. Usain Bolt | Athletics

    Usain Bolt | Athletics

    A Manchester United fan, the world's fastest sprinter has long spoken about his desire to take up football and, following his retirement from athletics, there were reports that up to 12 clubs had expressed an interest in signing him. He is currently training with A-League club, the Central Coast Mariners as a left-winger.