The life of a top footballer is the stuff dreams are made of: a jet set lifestyle full of supermodels and exotic holidays.
Sadly, football is a relatively short career and no matter how successful you at the height of your fame, sooner or later your days of kicking a football around will be over for good.
Some players are able to make the transition from football to normal life with aplomb. Legendary Sao Paolo player, Denilson, has become a brand ambassador for 888poker and David Beckham is well-known for his celebrity endorsements.
These guys are amongst a select group, however, as most professional footballers struggle with a lack of routine and regular income once they retire. After all, it is hard to leave a six-figure income behind and return to normal life, especially if you have a high-maintenance WAG to support. So what are your options if the end is in sight?
Become a Coach
Many footballers make the transition into coaching once their career as a player is over. It is the natural choice for a player who has spent years on the receiving end of a coach’s wisdom. Footballers with an eye on the future are advised to study for their coaching badges while they still play, as this is good preparation for a career off-pitch.
Make a Name as a Football Pundit
You can’t switch on the TV for a high-profile game without being given the benefit of a football pundit’s wisdom. Players like Gary Neville and Alan Shearer have successfully made the transition from pitch to pundit. They impart their wisdom during top games and keep the conversation going when action is scarce on the field.
Go into the Media
Once you have made your name as a football pundit, the next move is normally into a presenting job. Gary Lineker is one of the better-known footballers-turned-presenters. Gary presents much of the BBC football commentary, but he started his presenting career in Radio 5 Live before appearing on BBC Sport TV in 1995.
Gary makes it look easy, but the reality is that presenting live football coverage is definitely not easy and only a minority of ex-footballers will be able to transition into media coverage roles. However, there are still other media jobs worth considering, including sports journalism and roving reporter opportunities.
Become a Brand Ambassador
If your profile is high enough, you will probably be invited to become a brand ambassador for the likes of Nike or Armani. David Beckham has made millions over the years, modelling sportswear and clothing.
Start a Business
For business-minded players, starting a business is a good option to consider. The world is your oyster, so pick a niche that interests you and make it work. Ex-footballers now work in a variety of different businesses, from running a B&B to importing wine.
The key to success is to make plans for the future long before your career grinds to a halt. If you don’t plan ahead, you will be left high and dry.