8 famous footballers who had success as actors after hanging up their boots

Vinnie Jones has been a trailblazer for footballers turning to acting after hanging up their boots – going from Wimbledon to Hollywood thanks to the insight of Guy Ritchie.

The tough-tackling defensive midfielder lined up for Wealdstone, Wimbledon, Leeds, Chelsea, Sheffield United and QPR during his 15-year career, and also captained Wales.

Jones made his film debut in 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and has since followed up in several tough-man roles in major Hollywood productions.

Daily Star Sport have looked at eight footballers who have stepped in front of the camera towards the end and after their playing careers – including both Jones and Chris Kamara.

Vinnie Jones

Following good reviews over his appearance as Big Chris in Lock, Stock, Jones played Bullet-Tooth Tony in Ritchie's follow-up flick Snatch in 2000.

He went on to play Sphinx in a remake of Gone in 60 Seconds, as well as one of John Travolta's henchmen in thriller Swordfish.

Other recognised performances include Danny Meehan in Mean Machine, comic book villain Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand and television roles in Elementary, Arrow and Law & Order.

David Beckham

A close friend of Ritchie, David Beckham played a projectionist in 2014 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and later as Trigger in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

The director said of his efforts: "He’s a talented actor, very confident on camera. He was quite a tasty footballer wasn’t he?"

With leading man in King Arthur, Charlie Hunnam, quipping: "I said 'listen pal, this is my movie and I want to be the most handsome man on screen!'"

Pele

Pele starred in the 1981 film Escape to Victory alongside Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone, Bobby Moore and a range of other stars.

The three-time World Cup winner with Brazil, who is recognised as one of the greatest goalscorers in history, he also starred in Os Estranhos, a film about first contact with aliens.

A cameo role in Mike Bassett: England Manager came in 2001, with a documentary being released about his life and career earlier this year.

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Ally McCoist

Scottish football icon Ally McCoist starred in A Shot at Glory alongside Robert Duvall.

The 2000 flick featured McCoist as fictional legendary ex-Celtic player Jackie McQuillan, and he said he wore a Rangers shirt underneath while filming.

McCoist said of a potential sequel last year: "I loved it. I wouldn't mind doing that again, to tell you the truth. I genuinely did enjoy it.

"We had a great group of people doing it as well, it was fantastic fun."

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona has appeared in more than 30 films since calling time on his playing career in 1997, as well as directing and producing.

The iconic former Manchester United forward played has played notable roles in English films Elizabeth and Looking for Eric as well as several French productions.

Back in 2020, Cantona starred in Netflix series Inhuman Resources, and earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Alain Delambre across all six episodes.

Frank Leboeuf

Former France and Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf popped up in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything back in 2014 – to the shock of viewers.

The World Cup winner had begun an acting career in 2001's Taking Sides, and has also acted in several theatres as well as World War II film Allies.

He told The Times in 2018: “Journalists have asked me what is the common point between football and theatre, but they are completely different. We are both live — that’s it."

Ian Wright

Crystal Palace and Arsenal hero Ian Wright is now known for his punditry for BBC and ITV Sport, but once tried his arm at acting after calling time on his playing career.

The 58-year-old appeared as Duke in 2011's Gun of the Black Sun, a film in which a Nazi Luger Pistol with mystical powers is brought to London from Bucharest.

The film's cover says it is: "A fun fantasy adventure that centres on a ruthless megalomaniac’s ambition to use crime, violence, neo-Nazism, plus the abuse of music and digital technology to resurrect and rule an Aryan race."

Chris Kamara

Chris Kamara made a surprise appearance on Emmerdale back in 2019 as a coach during a football match.

The Sky Sports favourite caught the eye of the local residents, with one saying: "That is who I think it is isn't it?"

Kammy said: "I watch Emmerdale with my wife and my son – in fact, my son is a massive Emmerdale fan so if I was coming down, they had to come too.

"It was a great day and I loved it! I essentially got to play myself and not a character, but hopefully that'll be the next thing along the line."

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