Footballers With Musical Talents
Published on 20 November 2022
It may seem like an odd match-up at first, music & football. What do they really have to do with each other? The more you dig, the more you realise that music is an integral part of the culture around the beautiful game. From iconic fan chants, half mouthed national anthems and some legendary themes (we’re looking at you Champions League choir); It’s pretty hard to escape the reality that without music, the atmosphere around a football match would be substantially less… fun.
It goes without saying as a football fan that your expectation of a player is for them to be wholly dedicated to their game. That all being said, we acknowledge that football players are human too (except Erling Haaland, who as we all know is a cyborg sent from hell). Many footballers have hidden hobbies & talents, so with the World Cup fast approaching as a tenuous link to have an excuse to write this piece, let’s explore just some of the players who have an affinity for playing music.
Petr Cech (Chelsea & Arsenal) - Drums
Much like the team sheet, we start with the goalkeeper. You can find many similarities in the role of a drummer and goalkeeper - usually found at the back of the formation, heavily relied on yet often forgotten, frequently found shouting at their colleagues; we could go on.
Now retired Czech keeper Petr Cech is most famous for his heavily decorated career between the posts for Chelsea, as well as his much less decorated time for the Gunners until 2019 where he retired from the game.
What’s lesser known about Petr is his talent behind a drum kit! The goalkeeper can be found slamming on the tubs on his YouTube channel where he uploads semi-frequent covers of what seems to mostly be early 00s Rock & Metal tracks from bands like Linkin Park, Stereophonics & System Of A Down. Sure, he’s no Neil Peart - but if a Champions League finalist came knocking on your door to play in your band you’re not saying no are you? Here’s a fun video of Petr rocking along to Muse’s Hysteria, uploaded only 2 weeks ago from time of writing!
Allison Becker (Liverpool, Brazil) - Guitar
Sticking to goalkeepers for now we move on to Liverpool’s current #1, Allison. Though somewhat difficult for this particular writer to acknowledge the Reds’ recent success as a rival fan, it’s hard to carry on writing this without first appreciating Allison’s involvement in some of Liverpool’s most recent accomplishments. With the World Cup on the horizon with Brazil as favourites to win going into the tournament it would be fair to say that the keeper is arguably one of the best in the world right now.
Hidden behind all that goalkeeping talent however is a guitarist with a more sensitive side. Admittedly, we have no idea what Mr. Becker’s emotional temperament is but based on the research into his guitar playing and musical choices we can only assume. Mostly found playing softer, singer-songwriter based tunes like Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’; Allison may be a shot-stopper on the pitch, but with a guitar in his hands he seems to have no problem shooting arrows through all of our collective hearts.
Here’s a video of Allison serenading us all on a Brazilian Talk show with some choice clips of footballers crying edited in for effect.
Alexis Sánchez (Marseille, Inter Milan, Manchester United, Arsenal, Barcelona) - Piano
In his absolute prime some may have argued that Alexis Sánchez was one of the best forwards in the world at the time. Storming his way through La Liga, The Premier League & Serie A there is no doubt that the Chilean goal scorer has had his moments in his career. Of course, Alexis has had some less savoury stints with a few stinkers along the way but that’s beside the point.
Early on in his career Alexis played for Udinese, a team that regularly dons a black & white striped home kit… the same colour combo that you would usually find on Sánchez’s instrument of choice, the piano (Yes, that is the best we can do in terms of a segue). Videos of Alexis really showing off his talents are somewhat hard to come by despite a couple phone clips of him tickling the ivories though he has made no secret of his abilities in the past.
There is however one video. A video which became infamous in existence, commonly meme’d during his time at Manchester United. We can’t say for sure that the audio in this clip is even Alexis Sánchez playing, note the left hand bass notes present in the audio but not in the video. Some may class this as cringe, we at gg like to think ourselves as a supportive bunch and would just like to commend the then #7 on his efforts. We give to you - Alexis’ Man United signing announcement video.
Alex Telles (Seville, Manchester United, Brazil) - Everything
Up until this point we’ve covered some footballers with varying degrees of seriousness towards their musical ability. It is with Brazilian Left Back Alex Telles however that we must take a moment and really appreciate the true musical talent this player has. Forged in a country famous for both its footballing skill and musical heritage, it’s safe to say Alex Telles lucked out in the Brazilian gene pool on both accounts. Telles regularly posts videos to his instagram profile of himself playing songs and we’re here for it.
Take a moment to appreciate this clip of multiple Telles’ performing a cover of ‘Fulminante’ by Brazilian artist Mumuzinho. From his soft vocal tones to his rhythmic capabilities, we wouldn’t be opposed to seeing some Alex Telles gigs when he returns to the UK from his loan spell in the beautiful Spanish city of Seville! Maybe he could get his fellow countryman Allison on the opening slot for good measure…
John Barnes (Liverpool, England) - Rapper
Yes, we have of course saved the best until last. Although it was difficult to leave out many footballer’s musical careers from legends of the game such as Glen Hoddle & Chris Waddle’s synth pop duo and Gazza’s short lived stint in the charts, we had to end this list somewhere…
In support of England’s 1990 World Cup campaign, Manchester legends New Order were tasked with the responsibility of writing a song commissioned by the English FA to celebrate the occasion. Though met with some resistance from England players and New Order/Joy Division fans alike, ‘World In Motion’ ended up being New Order’s most successful song of all time - topping the UK charts at #1. The song was an instant hit and has long outlived the memory of England’s unfortunate semi-final exit of the tournament through penalties, a round of the tournament an English team would not see again until 2018.
The song writing present in ‘World In Motion’ largely has something to do with the track’s success however it is without doubt that a cameo rap verse from then England left-winger John Barnes defined what is arguably one of the best football songs ever written for generations to come. Impeccably describing the necessary steps to win a game, Barnes meets the rhythm of the song with the same agility he showed in his on-pitch abilities.
JB previously contributed to 1988’s ‘Anfield Rap’ in his Liverpool days and had already shown he had all the qualifications to rap on a chart topping hit; beating off Peter Beardsley, Des Walker and even Paul Gascoigne for the right to feature on the track.
Unfortunately, John never went on to follow up on his one time chart success but we’ll always be grateful for his performances on and off the pitch.
In a time where we begrudgingly look towards a mid-season World Cup embroiled with controversy, we’re thankful for a song which bookmarks a more optimistic time in football and music alike. Without further ado, here’s ‘World In Motion’ by New Order & England’s 1990 World Cup squad.