Sports stars-turned politicians

Sport360 staff 10/05/2016

With boxing legend Manny Pacquiao set to a win a place in the Philippines senate, we take a look at other sporting legends who have turned politicians.

Pacquiao, the Philippines most famous athlete, previously represented the Sarangani Province in the House of Representatives since 2011.

Have we missed out on anyone you think deserves to be on our list? Use #360Fans across social media to have your say.

Romario

A World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994, Romario is considered one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of football.

With 55 goals in 70 appearances for his country, the star attacker also lined-up for a host of European clubs including Barcelona, PSV and Valencia.

Shortly after hanging up his boots, he was elected to the Chambers of Deputies – the lower house of the Brazilian National Congress.

Sachin Tendulkar

The legendary batsman was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament, becoming the first active sportsperson to get the honour.

The little master is a household name and will be a fixture in the record books for years to come thanks to a 50+ average in 200 test matches and being one of the few ODI double centurions.

Imran Khan

One of Pakistan’s most successful captains, Khan led the Men in Green to Cricket World Cup glory in Australia in 1992.

After a stellar 19 year professional career, he was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2010 alongside legends such as Waqar Younis, Sunil Gavaskar and Viv Richards.

In 2002, he was elected parliamentarian of Mianwali in the National Assembly and served here for five years.

Vitali Klitschko

A former heavyweight boxing champion, Klitschko serves as Mayor of Kiev and head of the Kiev City State Administration.

With a 45-2 record, he holds the fourth best knock-out to fight ratio for any heavyweight champion, behind the likes of Anthony Joshua and Rocky Marciano.

Klitschko is the older brother of Wladimir who will fight Tyson Fury on July 9.

Seb Coe

A four-time Olympic medalist, Coe is referred to as one of the greatest British middle distance runners of all time.

Following his retirement from athletics, he became a member of the Conservative Party for Falmouth in Cornwall.

He spearheaded the successful bid for London to host the 2012 Olympics and is now President of the IAAF.

George Weah

Considered one of the greatest African players of all time, Weah won FIFA World Player of Year in 1995, ahead of AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and German stalwart Jurgen Klinsmann.

A former PSG, Marseille and Man City player and an icon in his native Liberia, Weah ran unsuccessfully for president in 2005 but went on to be elected for the Senate in 2014.

Jesse Ventura

A wrestling Hall of Famer, Ventura competed for various organizations over a nine year career, including the WWF (now known as the WWE).

After retiring, he was elected as the Governor of Minnesota in 1998 where he served for four years.

Marat Safin

The Russian was a former world number one and two-time Grand Slam winner (US Open and Australian Open). He also led Russia to Davis Cup success in 2002 and 2006.

Following retirement from tennis, he was elected to the Russian Parliament in 2011, representing Nizhny Novgorod – the country’s fifth largest city.

Hakan Sukur

A prolific striker, Sukur represented Turkey on 112 occasions scoring 51 goals. At Galatasaray, he made an impressive 392 appearances and won 14 major titles.

He was elected as an Istanbul MP for the Justice and Development Party in 2011, but resigned two years later and now serves as an independent.

Carlos Reutemann

After a decorated 10-year Formula One career, Argentine Carlos Reutemann became governor in his native Santa Fe in 1991.

With 12 Grand Prix wins to his name, he came agonisingly close to winning the 1981 World Drivers’ Championship title, but was pipped by Nelson Piquet of Brazil.

A popular politician, there was even talk of Reutemann running for the 2011 general election but he declined to do so.

Bebeto

Former Brazilian attacker Bebeto was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janiero in 2010, representing the Democratic Labour Party.

A World Cup winner in 1994, he scored 39 goals in 75 games, making him the sixth highest goalscorer for the national team.

Ken Dryden

A six-time Stanley Cup winner with Canadiens Montreal, Ken Dryden was one of the most gifted players in NHL history.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983, Dryden went on to carve a successful career in politics, serving in the Canadian parliament from 2004-2011.

His politician slogan ‘the pucks stop here’ referred to the fact that he was one of the most potent goalscorers in the sport.

Kevin Johnson

A Phoenix Suns legend, Johnson played a glittering 12 seasons in the NBA – 11 with the Suns and one with Cleveland Cavaliers- and was a three time All-Star (1990, 1991 and 1994).

In 2008, Johnson was elected as Mayor of Sacramento, becoming the first African American to hold a seat in the city’s history.

Mohammad Azharuddin

The former Indian captain became a Member of Parliament after winning in the 2009 general elections.

His stint as skipper went successfully in the 90’s, but it was his batting, with 15,000 Test and ODI runs, which confirmed his status as one of the best of his era.

Arjuna Ranatunga

After retirement, Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain dived into politics and took part in various elections, with different parties, and became the minister for tourism and later ports and shipping.

Most renowned for leading the Lions to their first World Cup crown in 1996, Ranatunga was a profound left handed batsman too with 49 ODI half centuries.

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1981: Andrea Barzagli, World Cup winner who rose to fame as Palermo and Wolfsburg centre back before heading for Turin. With current club Juventus, the Florentine’s consistent performances saw him win a spot in the Serie A “Team of the Year” for three years running (34).

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