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7 Famous Ex-Footballers That Became Politicians (Photos)

1. Lawrie McKinna

Lawrie McKinna is a 60-year-old Scottish politician and former footballer.

McKinna started his professional football career as a striker with the Scottish club, Kilmarnock, in 1982. He scored 17 goals in 87 league appearances for the club, before moving to Australia in 1986 where he went on to appear for several more clubs in various state leagues.

After his retirement from the world of football, he became a politician in his native country. He was elected as a councillor of Gosford City Council in 2012 and nominated as Mayor at the first council meeting.

2. Titi Camara

Aboubacar Sidiki Titi Camara is a 48-year-old Guinean politician and retired professional footballer who played as a striker for Liverpool and the Guinea national team.

He is famous for his playing career with Liverpool in the 2001 to 2003 season, where he scored 9 goals in 33 appearances. He was a key figure in the Guinea national team in the early 2000s. He appeared for Guinea at the 2004 African Nations Cup, where he scored 3 goals in the Group Stage, which meant he finished just one goal behind the leading scores of the competition.

Eleven years ago, Camara was made the Sports Minister of Guinea by the newly elected president, Alpha Condé, making him the country's first ex-sportsman to hold a political post.

3. Kaj Johannesen

Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen is a 57-year-old Faroese politician and retired footballer who last played for Faroe Islands national team as a goalkeeper.

He made his first football appearance for the Faroe Islands national team as a goalkeeper in a Euro 1992 qualifying match against Denmark. He was part of the Faroe squad at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

After retiring from football, he became a politician in his native country. He was the prime minister of the Faroe Islands, representing the Faroese Unionist Party. He took office in 2008.

4. Romário

Romário de Souza Faria, better known as Romário, is a 57-year-old Brazilian politician and retired professional soccer player who played as a striker for Barcelona and the Brazil national team.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Romário was member of Brazil national team that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup triumph, where he was awarded as the best player of the tournament. In the same year, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year. He came fifth in the FIFA Player of the Century internet poll in 1999 and was included in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players in 2004.

After his retirement from football, Romário became a politician. In the 2010 Brazilian general election, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies on the Brazilian Socialist Party ticket. He emerged the sixth most voted candidate for deputy in Rio de Janeiro. Seven years ago, he ran for the Brazilian senate in the 2014 general election and was elected to the Senate with the highest numbers of votes received ever by a candidate representing the state of Rio de Janeiro. Three years ago, he ran for the governor of Rio de Janeiro in the Brazilian general election and finished in fourth place.

5. Bebeto

José Roberto Gama de Oliveira, better known as Bebeto, is a 57-year-old Brazilian politician and retired professional footballer who played as a forward for Sevilla and the Brazil national team.

With 39 goals in 75 appearances for the Brazil national team, Bebeto is the sixth highest Brazilian goalscorer of all time. He was the top scorer for Brazil at the 1989 Copa América when they won the competition. At the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he formed a formidable strike partnership with Romário to lead Brazil to a record fourth World Cup title. He was part of the Brazilian squad that won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and 1996 Summer Olympic Games respectively. In 1989, he was named South American Footballer of the Year.

Long after his retirement from football, he entered politics in the 2010 Brazilian General Elections and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro representing the Democratic Labour Party.

6. Gianni Rivera

Gianni Rivera is a 78-year-old Italian politician and former footballer who played as a defensive midfielder for AC Milan and the Italy national team.

Rivera was part of the Italy national team that won the European Football Championship in fifty three years ago. He played Italy at the 1960 Summer Olympics and 1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974 FIFA World Cup respectively.

Regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, he was awarded the 1969 Ballon d'Or and ranked number 19 in IFFHS's election for the World Player of the 20th Century. In 2014, he was included in the Pelé's list of the FIFA 100 greatest living footballers. He made history by becoming the first Italian footballer out of 100 athletes to be inducted into Italy's sports Walk of Fame six years ago.

After his retirement from the world of football football forty two years ago, Rivera later went into politics in 1987. Eight years ago, he was appointed the President of the educational youth sector by the Italian President.

7. George Weah

George Manneh Oppong Weah is a 54-year-old Liberian politician and former professional footballer who is presently serving as the 25th Liberian President since 2018.

After kicking off his professional football career in his native country of Liberia, Weah spent 14 years of his playing careers with clubs in France, Italy, and England. Arsène Wenger first took him to Europe, signing him for Monaco thirty four years ago. In 1992, Weah was signed to Paris Saint-Germain where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994 to 1995 UEFA Champions League. He moved to AC Milan the following year and spent four successful seasons, before having spells at Chelsea and Manchester City. He ended his football career with Al-Jazira eighteen years ago.

At the international level, Weah played for Liberia at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his native country.

Widely considered as one of the greatest African greatest footballers of all time, Weah was awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d'Or in 1995, making history by becoming the first and to date only African player to win these awards. In 1989, 1994 and 1995, he was also named the African Footballer of the Year, and in 1996, he was named African Player of the Century. Seventeen years ago, he was included in Pelé's FIFA list of 100 world's greatest living players.

Weah became a powerful politician in Liberia following his retirement from football. He founded the political party, the Congress for Democratic Change, and ran for President in the 2005 Liberian general election, but lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. Weah was elected President of Liberia in the 2017 general election, after defeating the incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai. He was sworn in as Liberian president on 22 January 2018, making him the fourth youngest-serving president in Africa, marking Liberia's first democratic transition in 74 years. He is the first African ex-footballer to become a President.

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Australia Kilmarnock Lawrie McKinna Liverpool Titi Camara

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