6 Footballers Who Played Other Sports at Professional Level as Harry Kane Reveals NFL Dream

As if being England captain and one of the top scorers in the Premier League year after year isn’t enough for him, Tottenham’s Harry Kane has revealed that he fancies a go at the NFL once his football days are behind him. 

While it might seem a ridiculous suggestion on the face of it, however, it’s not as if crossovers in sport haven’t happened before. While football is as demanding a career as it comes, it’s a sport that can lead to a relatively early retirement compared to others, and result in fleeting, and sometimes successful, professional careers elsewhere. 

So, to give Kane something to shoot for, let’s have a look at six other footballers who have tried their hand at other sports.

Paolo Maldini – Tennis


Paolo Maldini retired in 2009, having amassed seven league titles and five Champions Leagues  at club level, as well as over 100 international caps over 14 years with Italy. He was considered one of the greatest defenders ever, and had nothing left to prove. So fair play to him for having a crack at tennis anyway. 

Unfortunately he didn’t quite have the same amount of success on the court as he did on the pitch. After winning a qualifier, he entered the doubles of the Apria Tennis Cup – part of the Challenger Tour, which is basically the second tier of the ATP World Tour – and got absolutely smashed. 

Alongside his trainer Stefano Landonio, the Italian duo lost 6-1 6-1 to Tomasz Bednarek and David Pel. Maldini then chose, perhaps wisely, to hang up his tennis racket there and then. 

Grant Holt – Wrestling

Yes, that is former Norwich City striker Grant Holt standing between two burly football hooligans on a promotional poster for a wrestling show, because former Norwich City striker Grant Holt is a professional wrestler these days.

While he hasn’t quite landed a WWE contract just yet, however, he has confirmed that he’ll be going by ‘the Incredible Holt’ once his wrestling career gets properly underway. Already showing promise, I reckon. 

You can see him at ‘Fightmare 3’ in Norwich on 3 June, if you’re that way inclined. 

Lev Yashin – Ice Hockey


Russia’s ?Lev Yashin, nicknamed ‘the Black Spider’ is a true pioneer of goalkeeping, and to date remains the only keeper to have won Ballon d’Or after lifting the trophy in 1963. He was known for his athleticism and his unorthodox style, but not so much for the ice hockey career he embarked on throughout the 1950s. 

Though he eventually gave up the sport to focus on football, he spent the first four years of his career with Dynamo Moscow playing international ice hockey on the side – also as a goalkeeper, unsurprisingly –  and even won the Soviet Cup with Russia.  

Curtis Woodhouse – Boxing

Curtis Woodhouse

Woodhouse is perhaps better remembered as a boxer than as a footballer, having won 22 of his 29 professional fights, and won a light-welterweight title at the peak of his powers back in 2014. 

Even as a player, however, his career was nothing to turn your nose up at. He featured for Sheffield United, Birmingham, Rotherham, Peterborough and Hull before giving it up full-time to focus on his boxing. 

He would return to the game on a part-time basis, however, featuring for Rushden and Diamonds and other lower league sides, and now manages Bridlington Town in the ninth tier of English football.

Ivan Perisic – Beach Volleyball

Inter’s ?Ivan Perisic might be a half decent footballer, but if he’s to be believed, then playing beach volleyball at a professional level has been his real dream all along. 

He took a break from his 2017 summer holiday to compete alongside partner Niksa Dell’Orco at the Porec Major, and though they expectedly and emphatically lost to representatives from Brazil and the US, he said after the match that it had been a dream of his growing up. 

“This was always my dream,” the Croatian told ?beachmajorseries.com after the defeat. “I have been playing beach volleyball since I was 10. I’m very passionate about this game and every summer I have been practising with my friend in Split.”

Clive Allen – American Football

If Kane is to realise his post-career ambitions, then he’ll be hoping to do a bit better than the last Spurs marksman to swap actual football for the NFL. 

Clive Allen – famed for playing for just about every professional London club throughout the 80s and 90s – achieved a fair amount of success with Tottenham, scoring 60 goals in 105 games in total, and went on to play as a kicker for the London Monarchs in the short-lived ‘NFL Europe’ in 1997. 

He retired in 1998, and the league disbanded in 1999.?? 


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