In today’s day and age it is impossible for football players to keep their lives private. The paparazzi are never far away when they are on a night out or on holiday, and this means that they will often be spotted drinking and of course smoking. Footballers drinking and smoking heavily used to be common and not a particularly big issue, but with today’s players constantly in the media and the impact they can have on today’s youth, this is now heavily frowned upon. In addition, athletes are expected to take better care of their health and their bodies in today’s game, so when they are busted smoking they will often be reprimanded by their manager as well as condemned by the press.
Whilst it does come as a surprise when a player is spotted smoking, it does happen and Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud believes that each team will have three or four smokers. Provided it does not impact their performance and they manage to avoid lighting up when any paparazzi are around then there seems to be little harm in this, but as this list will demonstrate, it is particularly hard to avoid being photographed when you are a professional footballer no matter where you are.
When these players are caught it will often result in them making some kind of public apology and it can sometimes tarnish their reputation. These players are only human however, and it is unrealistic to expect them to live a perfect lifestyle and particularly due to the pressure that they are under and constantly being in the public eye.
Here are 10 players who smoke, or at least have been photographed sparking up a cigarette.
10 Wojciech Szczesny
9 Wesley Sneijder
8 Lionel Messi
7 Fabien Barthez
6 Wayne Rooney
5 Mario Balotelli
4 David Ginola
3 Ashley Cole
2 Dimitar Berbatov
1 Jack Wilshere
The Arsenal midfielder has been caught smoking on a few separate occasions, and this is what has sparked plenty of debate surrounding the issue in recent years. Wilshere has been spotted smoking outside a London nightclub, at a party after the World Cup and in a swimming pool in Las Vegas, and most recently he was photographed holding a shisha pipe. Reflecting on the incidents, Wilshere said “I am young and I will learn from it. I realise the consequences it has and the effects on kids growing up. I have kids myself and I don’t want them growing up thinking their dad smokes and it is okay for a footballer to smoke, because it’s not. It is unacceptable and I will accept the consequences and I will move on.” Due to being a repeat offender and missing so many games, Wilshere has become the butt of many jokes because of his smoking (I couldn’t resist).
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