Professional footballers have spent the majority of their lives focused on mastering their art but, away from the beautiful game, which other sports do they take an interest in?
Over the next couple of weeks, the official Chelsea website surveys the squad to get a brief insight into their other sporting passions…
‘I like basketball. In Serbia it’s a very popular sport and a lot of people enjoy playing and watching it, especially because the national team is very good. I played when I was younger but not to a particularly high standard, it was just mainly while I was at school.
‘I was quite good but football was always my main sport so I pursued that instead. I still enjoy watching basketball, I follow the Serbian league and the NBA, but I wouldn’t say I have a favourite team or player. I went to watch the NBA live two years in a row when it was at the O2 in London.’
The popularity of the NBA in the UK has seen seven meetings between teams from the world’s top league held in London since 2007, including three regular-season encounters.
The most recent of which was last January, when the Detroit Pistons faced the New York Knicks at the O2, with a number of Chelsea players in attendance.
‘My favourite other sport is golf, but I do like a few others. I like to think I’m quite handy and I’ve met a few players. Ian Poulter I’ve met a few times, and Martin Kaymer (pictured below) too. They were both big players for Europe in the Ryder Cup last year.’
Europe went into the 2012 Ryder Cup, which was held in Illinois, as holders following a narrow victory in 2010.
At the start of the final day’s play, the US led 10-6 and required 4½ points to win. Europe required 8 points to retain the cup and 8½ to win it outright and achieved one of the greatest comebacks in the competition’s history by winning eight and tying one of the 12 singles matches.
Martin Kaymer’s putt on the 18th hole to defeat Steve Stricker took the score to 14-13, allowing Europe to retain the cup with one match still in progress. Tiger Woods missed a putt on the final green and conceded the hole to Francesco Molinari, halving the final point and securing outright victory for the European team.