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.


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.


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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On the Radar: India Club badminton, Roberto Carlos

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UAE sporting action over the next seven days.

From an evening with Roberto Carlos at the Real Madrid Cafe to the Xerox Corporate Golf Challenge, there is an event to suit all interests this week in the UAE.

Have we missed any? Tweet us using #OnTheRadar.


Sunday, 8 May

Participants from all walks of life will be running for those who can’t.

Runners will be joined by some of the country’s most influential sporting personalities including Emirati fitness ambassador Shaikha Al Qassimi, Mohammed Balooshi, the undisputed champion of Arab motocross, and local ambassadors Kaltham Obaid Al Matroushi, Chris Khouri and Jarrett Martin.

100% of the Entry Fees Goes Directly to Spinal Cord Research.

VENUE: Dubai Autodrome
WEBSITE: Wings for Life World Run

Monday, May 9 – Friday, June 3

This year’s tournament will comprise of 28 categories and is open to all the players from the UAE as well as from abroad.

Categories will stretch from under 8 yrs to under 18 yrs as well as Masters and Super Veterans. There are also two new categories in the Under 16 Boys Doubles and Under 18 Girls Doubles, with cash prizes, trophies and hampers amounting to more than AED 60,000 will be up for grabs.

VENUE: India Club, Dubai
WEBSITE: UAE Open Badminton

Thursday, May 12

Enjoy a fun day of golf and a great oppotunity to network at the Xerox corporate Golf Challenge – Qualifying Round 4.

Corporate reams of two players will be competing for a place in the Grand Final weekend (17th & 18th December), which for 2016 will take place in Ajman.

The finalists will play 36 holes of tournament at the only Jack Nicklaus golf course in the Middle East – Al Zorah Golf Club.

VENUE: Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
WEBSITE: Xerox Golf Challenge

Thursday, May 12

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans to meet, take a picture with and get the signature of Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos.

He joined Real Madrid in 1996 where he spent 11 highly successful seasons, playing 584 matches in all competitions and scoring 71 goals. At Real, he won four La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League three times.

VENUE: Real Madrid Cafe
WEBSITE: Real Madrid Cafe

Friday, May 13

Support a great cause in fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy by spending the day on the greens at one of Dubai’s finest courses.

The tournament is back for its second year and is an individual stableford event. Included in the price will be 18 holes on the Championship Course, light lunch after play and a goodie bag.

VENUE: Emirates Golf Club
WEBSITE: HarrisonsFund

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Happy Birthday - May 8 - Luis Enrique, Franco Baresi and Lúcio

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Luis Enrique (46) began his football career with local side Sporting de Gijon but it would be with La Liga giants Real Madrid where he cemented himself as a prominent attacking midfielder for six consecutive seasons.

Enrique then joined Los Blancos’ greatest rivals Barcelona on a free transfer, admitting he never quite felt appreciated in the Spanish capital. Despite the mixed reaction to his “defection”, he remained in Catalonia for eight years where he became captain and scored multiple times against his former club.

His final years were plagued by injuries and he was forced to retire early at the age of 34 with 400 games and 102 goals under his belt.

After retirement, Enrique practiced surfing in Australia as well as running marathons in New York, Amsterdam and Florence. But he returned to football, coaching Barcelona B before being appointed manager of Roma and then Celta Vigo. The job he yearned for was back at Camp Nou and in 2014 he returned to take the reins, guiding Barca to a remarkable Treble in his first season in charge.

More icons celebrating their birthday:

1960: Former AC Milan and Italy defender Franco Baresi (55, below) won three European Cups/Champions Leagues and six Serie A titles in a glittering career that also included a World Cup triumph with the Azzurri in 1982.

1972: Ray Whitney, highly under-appreciated hockey maestro known for his passing and tenacious play-making and high-point production. Only Spokane Chiefs player to have his number retired (43).

1978: Lúcio, former Brazilian World Cup winner who donned the Bayer Leverkusen, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich colours. Currently plays for Goa in the Indian Super League (37).

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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