Footballers who served in their country’s military:
It may sound like a lie when you find out that some professional footballers served in their country’s military at a point In their lives, but I tell you this without minscing words, there have been a few Liverpool players who have done so, like Bob Paisley and Bruce Grobbelaar, to mention just a few.
gallantmilitary.org.ng looks at other celebrities who have served in the military at a point in their lives.
While footballers joining the army is a rare occurrence, it has occurred in recent decades. Bob Paisley was a Liverpool footballer who served his nation during WWII.
Since then, several well-known athletes have performed admirably when called upon. They’ve proudly guarded their country’s honors and served in the armed forces.Gallantmilitary.org.ng examines four of these players.
1. Paolo Maldini
On the top spot on my list of footballers who served in their country’s military I have Italian legend, Paolo Maldini.
Up until 2004, the AC Milan legend was required to participate in Italy’s mandatory military service. Maldini had to serve in the army during the 1980s, when he was on the verge of becoming a great name in Italian football.
The army, on the other hand, taught the left-back some tips on how to be a tough nut to crack. He had a spectacular career with AC Milan, appearing in over 900 games for the Italian club.
2. Eric Cantona
The next guy on our list is a former French player who was a terrific player in his playing days. He also retired as a French and Manchester united legend.
Cantona made his professional debut in 1983, but had to leave football to serve in the military for two years. It had an impact on his career, but he was able to get back on track after he returned to the field of play.
3. Mohamed Salah
Actually, the Egyptian had some military experience prior to his transfer move from AS Roma to Liverpool.
In Egypt, serving in the military is mandatory, but if you are enrolled in an educational program, you may be exempted from serving.
There was even a chance that Salah would have to return home to continue his military service during his Chelsea days.
The reason for this is that Mo did not participate in any program that would allow him to stay, train, and play in the United Kingdom. Salah was re-enrolled in the school program when Egypt’s national team coach Ahmed Hassan intervened.
4. Heung-min Son
Popular South Korean footballer, Heung-Min Son, who plays his club football at Tottenham Hotspur, is the fourth player on this list of footballers who served in their country’s military.
He has established himself as one of the best players in the world. Son left in 2020 to finish his mandatory military service for his country, which was intended to be 21 months but was cut down to three weeks after he led South Korea to victory at the Asian Games in 2018.
He was also recognized as one of the top students and received an award for his efforts.
5- Teemu Tainio
The last person on my list of professional footballers who served in their country’s military is Finnish star, Teemu Tainio. He is currently a club coach, but during his playing days, he was a very talented player who played defensive midfield and was a maestro who knows how to dictate the pace of the beautiful game of football.
During his playing days, Tainio spent most of his career at Ajax and later moved to Tottenham Hotspur. Sir Alex Ferguson approached him in 1997, while he was still learning the trade, and invited him to join the United squad, but he declined. This was due to the fact that serving in the military as a Finnish citizen was necessary at the time.
6- Fabio Cannavaro
Children of nowadays may not recall, but Italy used to have mandatory military service until 2004, which is why many Italian footballers whose careers, before the year 2000, had to deal with the obstacle of serving their country off the field by enlisting in the military for an extended period of time.
Fabio Cannavaro is one of the Italian footballers who served in their country’s military, and I’m sure many of you remember him for winning the world cup, and not serving in the military.
Before making history with La Nazionale, the same national team captain who led Italy to victory in the World Cup had won a very different World Cup. You could be perplexed as to what we’re talking about.
Not only did the former Italy international serve in the military, but he also helped the Italian army win the World Military Cup in 1995-96, meaning the 2006 Ballon d’Or winner has two World Cups under his belt, one with the national team and the other with the Italian army.