When athlete’s sports careers end, their lives don’t. Usually retired by 40, even the world’s greatest World Cup stars are forced to find second careers. If not, they’re going to be bored for very, very long time.
Sometimes the greatest of all-time get into coaching or TV analysis. Other times they get away from the game altogether. If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the most legendary World Cup Stars after they left the pitch, we have the answers! You won’t believe how far Miroslav Klose has climbed up the coaching ranks!
Pele Is Still The Face Of Brazilian Football
Winning three World Cups isn’t easy, and Pele never took a second of his career for granted. Since retiring from “The Beautiful Game,” he has become a goodwill ambassador for the sport. He is also the Extraordinary Minister for Sport in Brazil.
One of Pele’s main goals since retiring has been to fight the corporatisation of football worldwide. As the man who coined the term “The Beautiful Game,” there is nothing more important to him than enjoying dance that is football. It’s hard to blame him; when played to perfection the sport is genuinely must-see TV!
Zinedine Zidane Loves Retiring
Zinedine Zidane has made it a habit in his career to retire. Aside from football, there may not be another activity he loves more than retiring. Zidane famously retired after the 2006 World Cup, going out in a blaze of glory after headbutting an opponent in the final.
He followed up his run as a player with a highly successful run as the manager of Real Madrid. From 2016 to 2018 he led the team to three straight Champions League Titles. Days after winning the third one, he shockingly announced his retirement. Zidane didn’t stay retired for long, however. In 2019, he accepted an offer to return to Real Madrid for one last show!
Diego Maradona Went From Player To Manager
Regarded as one of the greatest football players of all-time, Diego Maradona found it incredibly difficult to walk away from the sport after retiring. Refusing to leave, he traded his uniform in for a suit and began managing.
Maradona’s most significant achievement was as manager for Argentina’s national team. His tenure, unfortunately, was brief. He was fired in 2010 after losing 4-0 to Germany in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. At least he won the Cup once as a player! Coming up, learn how Ronaldo ended up working with the United Nations!
Ronaldo Took A Job With The United Nations
This may or may not be the Ronaldo you’re thinking of. Long before Christiano Ronaldo became the best footballer in the world, Ronaldo was leading Brazil to its fifth World Cup title. He was forced to retire in 2011 after a string of serious injuries.
Since then, Ronaldo has kept himself busy. He worked with Fifa in 2014 when Brazil hosted the World Cup. He also accepted a position as the United Nations Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador. He’s not all football, though! Other interests of his include car racing and gambling!
Carlos Valderrama Turned To Television
Carlos Valderrama was known as much for his wild blonde hair as his incredible skills on the pitch. Not wanting to deny the world his flowing locks, Valderrama became a commentator, working for Futbol de Primera in Columbia.
Prior to announcing, Valderamma dipped his toes in coaching. During one memorable season, he was caught waving money at an official to get a call. In more recent years, Valderrama has promised to cut off his hair if Los Cafeteros became world champions. Next, find out which former superstar was knighted!
Bobby Charlton Became A Knight
Sir Bobby Charleton was knighted by England in 1994, living out every young boy’s greatest fantasy. He was the country’s midfielder in 1966, the year they won their only World Cup. During the tournament, he scored three goals and is considered a legend in his home country.
In 1984, Charlton was named to Manchester United’s board of directors. He still holds the position today. In 2008, he was honoured with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. We’d say life has been pretty phenomenal for one of the most important characters in English football history!
David Beckham Became A Fashion Icon
David Beckham is known more these days for his taste his fashion than his incredible football career. While he played, he dipped his toes in the fashion pool. Once he retired he dove in, and was named the Ambassadorial President of the British Fashion Council in 2018!
Playing for the English national team, Beckham made his debut in 1996. During the World Cup in 1998, he received a red card for a violent hit on an opponent. He was 23-years-old at the time. The rest of his international career was filled with World Cup heartbreak thanks to a weak supporting cast. Keep reading to find out just how far Miroslav Klose’s coaching career has gone!
Miroslav Klose Is Getting His Feet Wet In Coaching
The youngest entry on this list, Miraslov Klose retired from professional football in 2016. He currently works as an assistant coach for the German national team. You may think he doesn’t deserve a spot here, but we guarantee he was as prolific as they come.
On his way to winning the 2014 World Cup with Germany, Klose became the all-time tournament goal leader. At the club level, oddly enough, he never reached his full potential. Some athletes just know how to turn up their game on the world stage!
Franz Beckenbauer Reached The Top Of The Mountain As A Manager
Franz Beckenbauer is the only person in history to win the World Cup as a player and manager. In 1974, he led West Germany to glory as “Der Kaiser.” Fourteen years later he repeated the incredible feat as the German National Team’s manager.
Today, Beckenbauer works as a television pundit for Sky Germany and as a tabloid writer for Bild. Sadly, he fell under investigation in 2016 for fraud and money laundering for his involvement with Germany hosting the 2006 World Cup.
Jairzinho Watches His Son From The Sidelines
Jairzhino is the lesser remembered weapon Brazil used along with Pele to dominate the World Cup competition. The 1970 tournament saw him score a goal in every match Brazil played, including the final against Italy. Stepping down from the international stage gave Jairzhino the chance to become a father and family man.
Jair Ventura followed in his father’s footsteps and became a football star. Unlike his father, Jair continued in the sport after retiring. He is currently the manager for Santos, where his proud papa watches his success from the sidelines. Up next, find out what Just Fontaine is just fine doing!
Just Fontaine Is Okay Just Speaking His Mind
Despite his incredible name, it’s easy to forget who Just Fontaine was. As the leader of the 1958 French national team, he scored 13 goals. The number stood as the tournament record for over a decade. Brazil won the World Cup that year, however, leaving Fontaine a side note in history.
Fontaine has spent the last several years being critical of his national team. He was particularly upset about their “lacklustre” performance during the 2010 World Cup. His criticism hasn’t stopped some praise from coming his way. In 2003, he was named best French player of the last 50 years!
Lothar Matthaus Has Done Everything In Retirement
After retirement, German great Lothar Matthaus never found a career he didn’t like. He has spent time as a manager at every level. Some notable stops include the clubs Red Bull Salzburg and Rapid Wien. He has also managed the Bulgarian and Hungarian national teams.
During his playing days, Matthaus appeared in five World Cups; 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, and 1998. His greatest moment came during 1990 when West Germany won its third title. To win the crown, Matthaus and his team took down Diego Maradona and Argentina.
Cafu Retired Early, Leaving A Brilliant Legacy Behind
Cafu retired from professional football in 2008. He could have played in the 2010 World Cup, but chose to follow a life of rest and relaxation instead. Since his retirement, Cafu has stayed mostly out of the public, leaving his legacy untarnished.
As a player, no Brazilian has appeared in more international matches. In total, he has a mind-boggling 142 caps to his name. He has also been inducted in the Hall of Fame for club teams A.C. Milan and A.S. Roma. Gary Lineker, as you’re about to see, doesn’t believe in “rest and relaxation!”
Gary Lineker Puts A Face To English Football
Gary Lineker is the face of English football. When he retired, Lineker chose broadcast journalism as his second career. Since 1999, he has hosted the BBC show Match of the Day. It is one of England’s most popular programs.
Coming from the city of Leicester, he also is the face of Walker potato chips, The company was founded in the same city and even introduce a “salt-n-Lineker” flavour. If you couldn’t guess, the real flavour was salt and vinegar, a classic English combination.
Gerd Muller’s Demons Overtook His Life
Gerd Muller was one of the greatest goal scorers in World Cup history. He broke Just Fontaine’s record 13 goals with 14 of his own in 1970. When Muller chose to retire years later, his good luck ran out. He fell into deep alcohol addiction that nearly ruined his life.
Friends and family helped Muller through rehab, and Adidas honoured him with a clothing line. Tragically, Muller was then diagnosed with Alzheimer’s diseases, an uphill battle he continues to fight today.
Dino Zoff Found Success As A Manager Before Dealing With Health Issues
Dino Zoff is the oldest player to ever play in a World Cup Final. He was 40-years-old when Italy played West Germany in 1982. When he finally got too old to play, he became a successful manager. During his days with the Italian national team, he made a few deep World Cup runs.
Unlike Franz Beckenbauer, Zoff was never able to win the cup as a manager. He also managed at the club level, leading both Juventus and Lazio at different points. In 2015, Zoff left the public eye after suffering a neurological infection. He continues to deal with the effects of it.
Paolo Maldini Fell Into Ownership
Paolo Maldini was another great World Cup player who was never lucky enough to hoist the trophy. Unlike so many who came before him, though, he had zero interest in coaching after he retired. He even turned down an offer to become an assistant coach for Chelsea days after he hung up his cleats.
It turns out Maldini had bigger fish to fry. In 2015 he joined the ownership group of Miami FC, a North American Soccer League team looking to push its way into Major League Soccer. In 2018, NASL announced it was cancelling its season, putting the future of Miami FC into question.
Michel Platini Is Banned From Football
Michel Platini had an amazing career after his glorious professional run. He retired in 1987 and was named co-organizer of the World Cup in France in 1998. He spent time in between as the manager of the French national team.
By 2007 Platini was in high demand and was named the President of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Eight years later Platini’s bubble burst, and he was banned from the sport forever over massive ethics violations. He maintains his innocence despite public evidence proving his guilt.
Fabio Cannavaro Manages With The Same Heart He Played
Fabio Cannavaro was one of the greatest defenders Italy has ever seen. He was named 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year after leading the team to the title. Once his playing days were behind him, Cannavaro got into coaching.
From 2014 to 2017, Cannavaro managed a new team every year. By 2018, he knew which team his heart belonged to, and he returned to Guangzhou Evergrande in China for the second time. The same year the Chinese Football Association named him the Coach of the Year.
Roger Milla Gives His Time To Charity
Roger Milla became the oldest athlete to ever score a World Cup goal when he was 42-years-old. He retired shortly after and now spends his time working for several charitable causes in Africa.
Along with his charity work, Milla remains the face of African football. In 2004, he was named one of the 100 greatest football players of all-time by FIFA. And when South Africa hosted the World Cup in 2010, Coca-Cola used his signature goal dance in its advertising campaign.