10 footballers who tried different sports… with mixed results

Ivan Perisic beach volleyball
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6. Batigol throws himself into polo

The Argentine striker has his own polo horses and his team, La Gloria, wear a purple shirt with a coat of arms similar to his beloved Fiorentina.

Batistuta won the elite Copa Stella Artois Polo tournament in 2009 among the Argentine upper classes, but still got up to all of his devilish tricks on the field.

“I went down like I used to throw myself about in the Roma area,” he joked after a nasty fall off his stallion.

7. Dicks goes Happy Gilmore

East End Terminator Julian Dicks joined the European Professional Development Tour in 2007 – effectively, the third division of golf – with the warning: "I hope I can play golf the same way I played football.”

Dicks was as good as his word as he took on the spirit of Adam Sandler in Happy Gilmore – but success wasn’t exactly forthcoming. “Golf’s meant to be a gentleman’s sport but I tended to lose my rag when I fluffed a shot,” he reflected. “I ended up smashing loads of my clubs.”

The left-back also had a dodgy knee which meant he could barely play nine holes, let alone 18.

Julian Dicks

8. Woodhouse hits ring hard

The youngest ever Sheffield United captain, Curtis Woodhouse moved to Birmingham for a fee of £1 million in 2001 but later admitted: “Almost straight away as a professional, I started falling out of love with football.”

Cuts caused by street fights would have to be explained away to Neil Warnock, and he eventually retired at the age of 26. In February 2014, Woodhouse put his hands to more professional use and honoured a promise he’d made to his late father to win the British light-welterweight boxing title.

He has recently hit the comeback trail after losing six stone, although he still finds time to manage ninth-tier Bridlington Town.

9. Perisic volleys on the beach

While most of his peers were relaxing on yachts and topping up tans during the summer of 2017, Inter Milan wideman Ivan Perisic was representing Croatia at beach volleyball.

The 29-year-old has been playing since the age of 10, and said with some seriousness: “I’ve been given permission to play in a beach volleyball tournament of the highest importance. My only wish is to stay in the tournament for as long as possible.”

His team were duly thumped by Brazil and then failed to get out of the pool when they lost to the United States. Inter weren’t quite so enthused that their player had risked injury messing about in a sand pit.

10. Owen jockeys into position

It wasn’t exactly the Grand National, but Michael Owen impressed many sage racing observers when he finished second in his debut as a jockey at an Ascot charity race last November.

The former Liverpool and Manchester United red was cautious when asked about more outings. “I enjoyed it enough to say I’d do it again. It would be a shame to stop riding after that,” he admitted. “However, I've got four kids and I don’t want to hurt myself.”

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