7 footballers who became politicians including 2002 World Cup hero Hakan Sukur

When footballers choose to end their playing days, there are many options available to them for their next career move.

The majority of players in the modern game will look to either become a television pundit or go into coaching and management after hanging up their boots.

However, some footballers instead decide for a complete career change and go into the world of politics in an attempt to implement change.

A number of former players have become politicians after retiring, including Turkish striker Hakan Sukur and Ballon d'Or winner George Weah.

So, here are seven footballers who became politicians after retiring.

Hakan Sukur

Scorer of the quickest goal at a World Cup finals, Hakan Sukur starred for Turkey as they came third at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

After retiring, he became a member of parliament for the ruling party in Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended his first wedding.

Sukur left the party in 2013 and continued as an independent MP but was forced to flee to the USA in 2016 after a failed military coup.

Roman Pavlyuchenko

Prior to his move to Tottenham from Spartak Moscow in 2008, Roman Pavlyuchenko became a member of his local city council.

Other members of the council claimed at the time that the 26-year-old had only gone into politics as his wages had been affected by a financial crisis.

However, Pavlyuchenko said: “I am ready to help with advice and with a concrete contribution to the development possibilities for exercise and sport.”

After moving to the Premier League, he scored 42 goals in 113 appearances for Spurs across four seasons at White Hart Lane.

Gianni Rivera

AC Milan's third-highest all-time appearance maker, Gianni Rivera won the Ballon d'Or in 1969 and became the club's vice-president after he retired in the late 1970s.

He went into politics during the 1980s and became an MP in 1987, remaining in parliament for 14 years.

During this time he also served as an under-secretary for defence and was a member of the European parliament for four years between 2005 and 2009.

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George Weah

The first African winner of the Ballon d'Or, George Weah is the greatest player to be produced by Liberia and first attempted to become the country's president in 2005.

The former Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain striker was told he was not educated enough for the position, though, and went to the USA to study for a degree.

He was elected to the senate in Liberia in 2014 following another failed bid for presidency before becoming the country's leader in January 2018 at the third time of asking.

Weah remains the president of Liberia and his first of a potential two terms in power will end in 2024.

Kakhaber Kaladze

Another former AC Milan player to have become a politician after retiring is former Georgia defender Kakhaber Kaladze.

Kaladze hung up his boots in 2012 and became an MP in his homeland later that same year before serving as both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy.

He left his role as an MP after five years in order to run for Mayor in the capital city, Tbilisi, and won the election in November 2017.

The two-time Champions League winner is now into his fifth year as the 10th Mayor of Tbilisi.

Viktor Orban

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban once juggled a career as a professional footballer alongside his political commitments.

He was signed to professional club Felcsut in his hometown and later helped as the club became the Ferenc Puskas Football Academy.

Orban was also integral to the founding of Puskas Akademia in Felcsut, who have some of Hungary's most modern youth facilities.

Now in his second spell as leader of Hungary, Orban also worked with Sepp Blatter to create FIFA's Puskas Award for the best goal scored in the calendar year.

Grzegorz Lato

Former Poland international Grzegorz Lato was the top scorer at the 1974 World Cup and went on to become a manager after he retired form playing.

However, after 11 years as a coach, Lato chose to move into politics and acted as a senator for four years while he was a member of the Democratic Left Alliance.

He was later elected as the head of the Polish FA in 2008 and held the position for four years until 2012.

His most infamous moment in the role was sacking national team boss Leo Beenhakker live on TV after Poland failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

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