There’s no denying that football is more than just a sport. For many people, it’s a passion and a way of life.
As keen followers of football, most people are interested in what the world’s top footballers get up to off the pitch and on it.
As you might expect, the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has brought a lot of disruption in the world. Virtually all the football world had been put on hold due to quarantine and lockdown restrictions in various countries.
Since footballers now had a lot of free time on their hands, it begs the question that many fans want to know. What have those footballers been up to during their time off the pitch? Here’s a quick round-up to learn more about how they’ve been beating the boredom:
Donating their time and money to good causes
To some people, professional football gives the impression of being a highly competitive sport, one where the stars of the pitch work hard and party hard. Believe it or not, many of the world’s leading names in football have helped out those in need.
For instance, Liverpool’s midfielder and captain Jordan Henderson, along with his teammates, donated £40,000 to the North Liverpool Foodbank. Over 25% of the foodbank’s food and cash donations come from matchday donations.
Because football was put on hold, it meant there was a significant shortfall. Henderson and his squad covered the deficit, and the LFC Foundation even pledged an additional £10,000 to the foodbank as well.
Another footballer that got involved in a good cause is Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. When he’s off the pitch, the forward spends some of his time championing noble causes like helping to feed the nation’s more impoverished kids.
His involvement with the charity FareShare helped raise around £20 million in donations, ensuring 2.8 million children have meals each week.
What’s more, he helped reverse a decision by the government that would have meant poorer children didn’t have free meal vouchers to use in this year’s school summer holidays. Rashford even had a call from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to thank him for his efforts.
Meanwhile, the managers of both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have spent some of their free time volunteering in their local communities.
West Ham’s David Moyes took up a volunteer job delivering groceries to local people that are self-isolating due to COVID-19 and cannot leave their homes to buy food.
And Tottenham Hotspur’s Jose Mourinho has repurposed his team’s training ground for growing fruit and vegetables. Their stadium was also used as a food distribution center to donate free food to vulnerable and at-risk residents of the local community.
Improving their fitness, looking great, and having fun
When you’re a professional footballer, the danger of spending such a long time off the pitch means you could end up with bad habits. Some of those that could hamper a footballing career include overeating and not continuing with regular exercise.
To combat that problem, some footballers have spent their free time toning and transforming their bodies ready for when they can go “back to work” again. One notable example is the world-famous footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Juventus forward knows that he’s always in the media spotlight and can’t disappoint his fans. To that end, he’s spent a lot of time pumping weights and building up his thigh muscles at his home gym, and even sprinting up and down his driveway.
Of course, other footballers have also kept up with a fitness routine during their time in self-isolation from the world. Apart from keeping fit and healthy, it will come as no shock that many footballers have spent their time looking great and generally having fun.
The thing about professional football is that you have to both work hard and look stylish simultaneously. After all: there’s an image in pro-footballing that all players must uphold. It’s undoubtedly one of those “unwritten rules” in high-level football.
There’s plenty of news reports in the media of how today’s footballing stars keep their fashion styles in check even if they’ve had to spend much of their time in self-imposed curfew at home.
For example, there’s been a story circulating of Arsenal winger Nicolas Pépé spending time on social media rapping in a new pair of sunglasses. He also gets up to some mischief, such as slapping a sleeping pal in the face with some flour.
And what about Jérôme Boateng? The Bayern Munich center-back is a well-known style icon that even launched his own fashion magazine. It comes as no surprise that he’s been looking great during lockdown, even wearing some new eyeglasses.
Doing things that have raised some eyebrows
Some professional footballers have been getting up to questionable activities in lockdown life. The sad truth is some well-known names have been doing things that have undoubtedly raised some eyebrows in the football world.
In the UK, hairdressers and barbers are still closed due to COVID-19 government restrictions. Yet, some footballers have gone back to work sporting surprisingly professional haircuts and styles.
As you can imagine, no-one has officially owned up to getting a secret haircut from their barbers. On the scale of things footballers shouldn’t have done during lockdown, secret haircuts are perhaps on the lower end of the spectrum.
Take Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, for example. The UK wasn’t even a week into the government-ordered lockdown when the captain stayed over at a friend’s house overnight. What’s worse is he crashed his Range Rover into some parked cars the following morning.
And last but not least, Manchester City’s Kyle Walker is another footballer that has floundered the UK’s lockdown rules – more than once. On the first occasion, he hosted a party that involved a pair of sex workers.
On the second occasion, he again broke lockdown rules by visiting family members and defying social distancing rules. He is facing disciplinary action from his club.