It is a widespread opinion that footballers need to be at their best physical condition at all times, especially during the peak of their career. Due to this, you will see almost every footballer at top clubs taking immense care of their body and spending as much time in training as they can in order to improve their physical condition. However, there are some ultimate football legends who hated training, but they were great despite not doing it enough. BestofBets brings you 10 such great players!
10 football legends who hated training
10. Mesut Ozil:
Our countdown begins with a modern day midfielder, World Cup winner Mesut Ozil. Legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger once said in an interview in 2016 that Ozil despised training and “didn’t practice enough.”
Well, despite Wenger’s comments, Ozil almost never failed to mesmerise fans with his ability and creativity on the ball.
9. Matt Le Tissier:
The ‘God’ of Southampton, Matt Le Tissier was a revelation when he burst on to the scene in English football and while he did succeed at club level, scoring over 160 goals for The Saints, the reason he could make just eight appearances for the England national team was the coaches at the time didn’t feel he trained enough to make the cut!
8. Michael Owen:
While Liverpool legend Michael Owen didn’t showcase any specific training hatred in his career at other clubs, there did come a time during his stint at Stoke City when he absolutely despised training for then manager Tony Pulis.
Speaking on his time at Stoke City, Owen said, “Every day is the same…11 v 11 – constantly, for like an hour. I hated training. That finished me off, that place.”
One of the greatest footballers in history, Brazilian legend Socrates was one of the most revolutionary players in the national team, a team that was favourite to win the 1982 World Cup, but didn’t!
Socrates had many other things he wanted to do in life that got in the way of him achieving immortal status in football, one was his hobby to study medicine and he earned a degree in the same while playing professionally.
The biographer of Brazil’s captain for the 1982 edition claimed that Socrates loved to study and hated to train and viewed football as merely a hobby!
6. Gary Lineker:
Former Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp once said, “It is amusing to see Gary looking so fit now because during his peak years as a player his aversion to practice sessions was famous throughout football. He was a terrible trainer. He just liked to come in on Saturday and play.”
It is said that Lineker didn’t take any shots on goal in his pre-match warm-up as he “didn’t want to waste any goals.”
Another extra-ordinary talent from Brazil, Romario was known to skip training sessions on many occasions at every club he played for in his career.
Once, on being asked about his son Romarinho aiming for a career in football and how it will affect him being in his father’s shadow, Romario went on record to cheekily state, “I’ll go to his matches. But I don’t think I’ll go to his training sessions. I mean, I didn’t even go to my own.
4. Ronaldo Nazario:
El Fenomeno, Ronaldo Nazario is one of the greatest strikers of all time and was part of an incredible Brazil team in the late 90s and early 2000s that won two World Cups, in 1994 and 2002.
On the pitch, Ronaldo showcased magical skill and technique that left the world shocked in awe, but on the training ground, he was last at every single drill!
Fourth Brazilian in this incredible list, Ronaldinho was a sight to behold when he was in full flow. It’s almost as if he could conquer the world with the ball at his feet, and he did, he conquered millions of football fans’ hearts who learnt it’s not just about winning and glory, but also about enjoying every single moment with a smile on your face and with the ball at your feet!
But, even a legend like him hated training.
His teammate from his time at PSG, Jerome Leroy once said, “Ronaldinho didn’t train any day of the week but just turned up on Friday ready to play on the Saturday. He’d get changed and he’d go straight to the massage bed to sleep.”
2. George Best:
Footballing icon and one of Manchester United’s greatest legends, George Best had quite an incredible life on and off the pitch!
The Northern Irish legend lived two completely different lives, he was a footballer on the field and lived like a complete rockstar off it!
In January 1972, Best missed a full week’s training at Manchester United to spend time with the winner of Miss Great Britain that year.
1. Wayne Rooney:
While still being a teenager in the mid 2000s, Wayne Rooney was already being touted to be the best footballer in the world and was at that time, rated higher than his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Well, Ronaldo since then moved to newer heights as one of the greatest footballers in history, something Rooney could have also achieved if he took care of his body and didn’t hate training as much as he did.
“Wayne didn’t see the importance of the gym really. He’d say, ‘I am here to play football’. I always wish I could have pushed Wayne that bit further.” said former Manchester United fitness coach Mick Clegg in 2013.
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