Footballers who don't really like football

Espen Baardsen
Espen Baardsen past and present
Image credit: Richard Saker/Action Images

Do you expect every footballers love their job? Think again.

Former Norway and Tottenham goalkeeper Espen Baardsen, who retired from professional football at 25, told Guardian:

"I got bored of football. Once you've played in the Premier League and been to the World Cup, you've seen it and done it.

"It was dictating what I could do and when. I felt unsatisfied intellectually, I wanted to travel the world."

"Football is stressful, try playing in front of 40,000 crazy football supporters who are happy or sad for their whole weekend depending on how you perform.

"And I'm now more relaxed, five kilos lighter, fitter and healthier than I was at the end of my football career."

Baardsen now works for asset management fund, Eclectica.

Ex Sheffield United and Birmingham City Curtis Woodhouse is another who disliked the game to such an extent.

He plays football for Rushden & Diamonds in the Conference National, and competes as a welterweight boxer.

Woodhouse stated that he had "fallen out of love" with football and decided to turn to professional boxing, despite no previous experience.

"Everyone loves football, but I didn't. It felt like a job," he said. "I felt empty playing, it got me angry. I could have carried on playing football until I was 35, making a nice wage and having a nice life, but that's not what I wanted to do."

Woodhouse recently stated his intention to retire from football at the end of the 2008/09 season, in order to concentrate on his boxing career.

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Headed goal from 57 yards out

Graham Chapstick scorer of miraculous 57 yards headed goal
Graham Chapstick scorer of miraculous 57 yards headed goal
Photo credit: The Sun

A headed goal scored by an amateur player in England, Graham Capstick, in April 2007 against Chadderton, is claimed to be the longest distance ever recorded in football for a headed goal.

Capstick, a 19-year-old defender playing for Holker Old Boys from Barrow-in-Furness, scored with his head from his own half of the field, a goal measured at 57 yards (52.1 metres).

The 6ft 3ins defender was inside his own half when he headed a clearance from Chadderton goalkeeper, and was then surprised to see the ball fly straight back in the opposite direction, bounced over the keeper and into the net.

The goal secured a 2-2 draw against Chadderton.

Sports student Capstick, a Manchester United fan, told The Sun: "Everyone remembers David Beckham’s goal from over the halfway line but mine was probably even more amazing because it was headed.

"I hit it perfectly. It just flew over all the other players and then bounced about 16 yards out from the goal-line as their keeper came out.

"Then it just bounced over his head. I don’t think he could believe it - and neither could anyone else.

"Even I was shocked. I certainly wasn’t aiming for goal - I hadn’t scored all season."

A crowd of just 37 saw the miracle goal at the Barrow ground, but too bad no one recorded it on film.

Beckham scored his legendary goal from 57 yards playing for Manchester United against Wimbledon in 1996.

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Dangerous goal celebrations

Obafemi Martins with his sommersault celebration trademark
Obafemi Martins with his sommersault celebration trademark
Photo credit: BBC

Sometimes over celebrating a goal can lead to injury.

A study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2005 looked at the causes of injuries in the Turkish league and found that nearly 6% were caused by goal celebrations.

"Over the duration of two playing seasons, 9 of the 152 players had injured themselves while performing a post-goal celebration. The injuries ranged from ligament and muscle strains as a result of 'Sliding' across the field to rib and clavicle fractures as a result of the players 'Piling Up' on each other. The most severe injury was an ankle fracture that required surgery. These injuries took place in 9 separate games where the field was natural turf and was dry in all but the incident requiring surgery. Although each patient was enrolled in an early rehabilitation program, the average playing time lost was 5 weeks."

And here are some famous cases in world football caused by over exuberant celebrations:

Lomana Lua Lua
In 2006, the DR Congo international was playing for Portsmouth against Arsenal. Having scored, he launched into his usual celebration, which consisted of multiple back-flips. This time, though, he sustained an ankle injury that put him out for three weeks.

Steve Morrow
In 2003, Tony Adams lifted Morrow, who had scored Arsenal's winner in the League Cup final against Sheffield Wednesday, with slightly too much enthusiasm and broke his arm. Morrow missed the rest of the season, including the FA Cup final victory over Wednesday.

Celestine Babayaro
In 1997, the Nigerian international joined Chelsea, but during a pre-season game against Stevenage he broke his leg while doing his trademark somersault goal celebration. Thus he couldn't make his league debut until months later.

Patrick Viera
In 1997, the Arsenal midfielder scored the second goal in a 3-2 win over Manchester United, slid extravagantly across the turf on his knees and suffered a bad injury that put him out of the team for the next five weeks.

Martin Palermo
In 2001, the Argentinian in extra-time for Villareal against Levante in the Copa del Rey and ran to the crowd to celebrate. His celebration was curtailed when a wall collapsed on him, breaking his tibia and fibula. Six months later he was back in action, but he missed the World Cup as a result.

Shaun Goater
In 2002, Goater celebrated a goal by Nicolas Anelka for Manchester City by kicking an ad board, but he injured his knee in the process and had to be subbed with Darren Huckerby. Some years previously in 1998, he broke his arm while celebrating a goal.

Paolo Diogo
In 2004, the Portuguese player leaped into the crowd to celebrate a goal for the Swiss club Servette. He caught his wedding ring on perimeter fencing and ripped off the top of his finger. The missing finger was found but surgeons were unable to reattach it.

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