The career of a professional athlete is a short one, especially compared to many regular people who have to work until they are in their 60s or 70s. The top soccer stars earn millions for what is often a 20-year career at most. Eventually they must call it quits and hang up their boots, but what do the soccer stars of the past do after kicking their last ball?
Although David Beckham tried to keep playing for as long as possible, eventually the great soccer star had to retire. He played for some of the biggest teams in the world, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and A.C. Milan. Life was never going to be dull for Beckham after retiring because he is one of the most famous men in the world.
Beckham has been the face of several charitable campaigns to get kids into sport, while also continuing putting his face to several products. The former soccer star is the face of products such as Breitling, Haig Club, Adidas, and H and M. He invests a lot of his money in business projects and recently helped create an MLS expansion franchise, Inter Miami, due to enter the league in 2020. Beckham also works with UNICEF and has had several acting cameos since retirement.
Spanish midfielder Xavi spent the majority of his playing career with Barcelona, going on to be recognized as one of the all-time greats. He followed up his legendary playing career by remaining in soccer, and is currently the manager at Qatari club Al-Sadd. Xavi won multiple Champions League and La Liga titles, as well as winning the World Cup with Spain, so brings plenty of experience to the role.
Brazilian striker Ronaldo was so dynamic during his playing career he quickly rose to be considered the best player in the world. Sadly injuries slowed him down, but he still had an incredible career. Ronaldo retired in 2011 after winning World Cup, La Liga, Serie A, and Copa America titles. After retiring, Ronaldo bought a 51% majority stake in Spanish La Liga club Real Valladolid, and he continues to run the club today. Ronaldo also embarked on a poker playing career as well as a co-owner in the motorsport franchise A1 Team Brazil.
Enigmatic French striker Eric Cantona shocked the world when he decided to retire early at the age of 30. Many felt he was still in his prime, but Cantona had made up his mind, and he left playing football behind him. After retiring, Cantona focused on an acting career, mostly in French cinema, and he continues to find work in front of the camera. Cantona also had a brief beach soccer career following his retirement from regular soccer, and he spent almost 15 years being associated with the French beach soccer team.
Just because their playing careers are over doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for these soccer stars. Current athletes can take comfort in the fact that there’s always something to get excited about in life after professional sports.