Football players have a busy and stressful job of entertaining the world weekly. To unwind after a gruelling season or match, these footballers enjoy themselves differently. For some, a trip to holiday destinations like Hawaii, Dubai, and Serengeti would do. But for others like the ones on this listicle, playing slot machines and table games is the perfect relaxation strategy. So, who are the most popular football stars you’ll likely meet at the casino? Read on to find out!
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best football players of the modern generation. The 37-year-old has a cabinet full of trophies and medals, including five Ballon d’Or awards, second only to Messi, who has seven. Apart from playing football so well, it’s believed that Ronaldo is an excellent blackjack and roulette player. Ronaldo has also been spotted playing on pokie machines in various land-based casinos worldwide. In fact, he once gambled away £1.5 million in a single night at a Manchester casino.
2. Zlatan Ibrahimović
During his younger years, Zlatan Ibrahimović was one of the deadliest strikers in the game. The 41-year-old former Swedish international currently plays for AC Millan and has more than 570 career goals. But the football legend doesn’t only succeed on the pitch. Zlatan is also skilled at playing casino games and sports betting. He is currently the global ambassador of Bethard, one of the best online pokie sites and sportsbooks in Malta, where he has a 10% stake. However, he was fined €50,000 by FIFA in 2023 for a conflict of interest.
3. Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli was once one of the most gifted football players, but his off-field antics wouldn’t let him be. The 32-year-old has played for Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Manchester City, where he bagged lots of goals and cards, for that matter. He currently plays for Sion in the Swiss Super League. His controversies aside, Balotelli is a highly gifted casino player, especially on roulette tables. While playing for Manchester City, he won £25,000 at 235 Casino and tipped the dealer £1,000.
4. Wayne Rooney
Former England and Manchester United star striker Wayne Rooney has a rich gambling history. Rooney was rumoured to be an avid blackjack and roulette player, where he lost thousands of pounds. Rooney was believed to be a high roller at Grosvenor Casino in London. Luckily for him, his fat paycheck at Man U wouldn’t allow him to slip into a financial mess. But Rooney admitted that he almost fell into gambling addiction, affecting his on-field performance.
5. Gianluigi Buffon
Match-fixing and illegal gambling has really affected the reputation of the Italian football league. Before the 2006 and 2012 FIFA World Cups, it was revealed that €1.5 million bets had been placed, with the legendary goalkeeper accused of illegal casino gambling. Thankfully, the goalie was found not guilty, although he never hides his love for gambling. Buffon initially worked as a brand ambassador for PokerStars, one of the most popular poker sites.
6. Tony Adams
Tony Adams was England and Arsenal’s defensive rock in the 1980s and 90s. However, Adams also has a different version of himself outside the football pitch. He was once an alcoholic and even got a sentence for drunk driving. The centre-back also loved gambling at the best online pokie sites and land-based casinos, making large bets in sports, roulette, and poker. Sadly, he wasn’t good at it, and bookies took a sizeable part of his income. Today, he is a reformed man and even founded a rehabilitation centre where athletes receive treatment for gambling addiction. Adams retired from professional football in 2002.
7. David Bentley
The former England international started his footballing career at Arsenal before playing for other English clubs, including Arsenal’s arch-rivals, Tottenham. Bentley completed his footballing career in Russia, playing for Rostov, where he didn’t register an assist or a goal. That said, David Bentley has admitted to being passionate about gambling as he is about sports. He used a sizeable part of his income to bet on sports, horse races, poker, blackjack, and baccarat. He even competed in the European Poker Tour. David Bentley once suffered from gambling addiction, although he was helped overcome it.
8. Roy Carroll
Roy Eric Carroll is a former professional goalkeeper for Northern Ireland and Wigan Athletic. He also had a successful career at Manchester United, winning the 2004 FA Cup and the Premier League title. That’s not all. Carroll also won the Greek Cup twice and the Greek Super League with Olympiacos. The goalkeeper’s favourite diversions away from the football pitch are playing the lottery, casino games, and betting on sports and horse racing competitions. Carroll was reportedly a heavy drinker, something that most professional footballers like.
9. James Maddison
James Maddison is an English footballer born in November 1996. Maddison plays as aforward midfielder for Leicester City and the English national team. He started his career at Coventry City before signing for Norwich City in 2016. Maddison also had a brief loan stint at Aberdeen before joining his current club in 2018. After a busy day, Maddison is reportedly a regular at a local casino in Leicester. It’s not yet clear the type of games that Maddison likes playing at the casino.
10. Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is a professional footballer currently playing for Los Angeles FC in the MLS. After setting the world alight with his performances at Tottenham, he is considered one of the best wingers of modern football players. In 2013, Bale moved to Real Madrid, where he had an on-off experience. So, to cool off and unwind, the Welsh captain is known to hit the casino floor. In fact, he was once photographed playing blackjack at a Las Vegas casino immediately after joining Real Madrid. Now talk about celebrating a massive contract in style!
These football players are just an example of superstars who love gambling. We didn’t mention Andros Townsend, Paul Merson, Joey Barton, Neymar, Lionel Messi, and Diego Maradona. But as you’ve read in this article, gambling addiction is real, no matter the size of your pocket. So, gamble responsibly and visit Internetpokies.org for expert gambling tips and strategies. Enjoy!