Football is arguably the biggest sport around, with billions of people who follow every kick. From the English Premier League to Italy’s Serie A, the action and passion the game delivers are second to none. This naturally draws people in and there are many exciting matches to watch and clubs to support.
In recent years, betting on sports has also helped football reach more people. Where betting was once seen as a niche activity, traditionally for the rich and involving sports such as horse racing, it’s now a normalised global pastime. The UK is normally considered the modern-day hub, but Germany has their Sportwetten and Finland their vedonlyonti, with dozens of other countries having dedicated communities.
Sports betting has also given fans even more ways to get closer to the action and to get more personally involved with the game they are watching or how their team is doing. As a result, sports betting has become a multi-billion dollar industry and is something that many people in all corners of the planet love to participate in each week.
It might surprise you to know that this love for betting also extends to the players we all like to follow. Of course, for active players, betting on football itself is strictly off-limits. But which famous current players like to bet on other things for fun?
Cristiano Ronaldo – arguably the biggest name in the whole of football – is still going strong. The recent Euro 2020 tournament has seen him set even more records and confirm his undoubted talents. Along with the young England stars whose stock has risen at Euro 2020, Ronaldo really had a great tournament overall.
When not dazzling defenders with his speed and skill, Ronaldo has plenty of off-field impact, including significant philanthropic endeavours. He’s also a famous name who likes to bet on other things. Poker is his main game, and it is something that he developed a love for while growing up with friends in Portugal. Since then, he has been seen at some of the world’s best casinos and built up a reputation as a great player. He also made big news when signing a lucrative deal in 2015 to become a PokerStars global ambassador.
Brazilian wizard Neymar is another huge current player on the global football scene. A tricky attacking player, his dribbling, speed and vision always pose a problem for opposition players. Currently with top Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain, Neymar's 222 million Euro move from Barcelona to PSG is still the most expensive transfer ever!
As with Ronaldo, he likes to bet on poker when relaxing outside of football. He was another top name in sport who signed up with the PokerStars group in 2015 but decided to end this deal in 2017. Interestingly, he recently signed up with The Stars Group, in December 2020, to represent them. This group is the parent company of PokerStars, so he may well be showing his love for poker more publicly again in the near future.
Although maybe not so well known on the global stage, fans of the Premier League will know what a talent this player is. Currently with Leicester City, Maddison is a creative midfield player with great passing, a decent shot at goal and superb technical ability. Next to enjoying his football and working hard at his game, this player also seems to like betting at casinos in Leicester. There have been regular reports of him having fun at a casino in the city over the last few years and it seems this is one way he likes to relax outside of the game.
When it comes to the best goalkeepers ever to have played the game, Italian stopper Buffon is up there with the best. Having recently joined Serie B side Parma in June 2020, it would seem he is not yet ready to hang up his gloves. Buffon is another top name in football who also likes to bet on other things while not training or playing. As with Neymar and Ronaldo, he has a special love for betting on poker and has also been a global ambassador for PokerStars. Buffon is said to be a great player and someone who has undoubtedly honed his skills over the years in some top casinos.
With their multi-million pound paychecks and glamorous lifestyle, it is all too easy to forget that football players are also human. This means they crave filling their spare time with fun and exciting activities. As with normal people, this can often mean finding sports or games to bet on. While football is off-limits for active players, some of the most famous names in the game find other totally legal ways to place their bets.