Usually when we think about right wing or left wing footballers it’s in relation to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale and what position they’re playing in on the pitch. But not in this article. Here we take a look at the players who have shown an interest in politics.
Goalkeeper – Christian Abiatti
AC Milan keeper Christian Abbiati caused a stir in 2008 when he declared himself a fascist. He distanced himself from racial prejudice and allegiance to Hitler but said: “I agree with some aspects of fascism like patriotism and the values of the Catholic religion.”
Defender – Gary Neville
The Manchester United right-back turned Sky Sports pundit earned himself the nickname ‘Red Nev’ from the tabloid press after he almost led the England squad on a strike over the Football Association’s treatment of Rio Ferdinand who had missed a routine drugs test.
Defender – Sol Campbell
Ex-Arsenal, Tottenham and England centre-half Sol Campbell says he is considering joining the Conservative Party to fight the mansion tax Labour says it will introduce if it wins the General Election in 2015. He also says he can help the party secure the ‘black vote’.
Defender – Clarke Carlisle
Clarke Carlisle was the chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the footballers’ trade union, from 2010 to 2013. During his time in the role, the former Burnley and QPR defender appeared on Question Time where he revealed he voted for the Liberal Democrats at the 2010 General Election.
Defender – Jamie Carragher
Former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher is a supporter of the Labour Party. In 2010 he donated £10,000 to Andy Burnham’s campaign to become the party’s leader.
Midfielder – Frank Lampard
Following a meeting with David Cameron in 2007, Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard said: “I had a really good chat with David. As a footballer I don’t want to get involved with the campaigning thing but I am a Tory and I really like David Cameron.”
Midfielder – Joey Barton
The QPR midfielder, who’s currently studying for a philosophy degree, appeared on an episode of Question Time in 2014. The former Man City and Newcastle star has also been a champion of gay rights and has supported campaigns aimed at kicking homophobia out of football.
Midfielder – Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest footballer of all time, has developed strong left-wing views since retiring from the sport. The Argentinian World Cup winner has a portrait of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro tattooed on his left leg and a tattoo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara on his right arm.
Forward – Wayne Rooney
The Manchester United striker keeps his cards close to his chest on domestic politics but has been more open about his views on matters ‘across the pond’. Ahead of the US presidential elections in 2012 he tweeted: “Watched all the presidential debates. If I had to vote would vote Obama.” More recently the England captain took to Twitter to show his appreciation for the US political TV thriller House Of Cards.
Forward – Stan Collymore
Former Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore now broadcasts to millions on radio station TalkSport and is a passionate mental health campaigner. He tweeted: “My politics? Labour, anti-fascist, anti racist, anti apartheid, anti industry sell offs, pro worker, pro social democracy.”
Forward – Marouane Chamakh
Before his move to Arsenal in 2010, Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh gave his support to a candidate in France’s regional elections. Speaking of his endorsement, he said: “I am really interested in politics and I would put myself on the left but I knew one of the candidates whose manifesto was based around sport, so I wanted to support him.”