For most of us, managing a reasonable level in one sport is something to be proud of.

The euphoria that comes from being able to complete a short five-a-side match without getting a stitch is as close as most people get to experiencing the thrill of being an athlete.

Annoyingly, there are some athletes who aren't content with mastering one sport. Many footballers have shown impressive aptitude in other sports, while Usain Bolt recently attempted to get up to speed in professional football.

Usain Bolt

It would be unwise to start with anyone other than Usain Bolt. After all, this is the greatest sprinter of all time we're talking about.

Having the 100m world record of 9.58 is pleasant, but Bolt was determined to top it off by sealing a professional contract at Central Coast Mariners.

It was a far cry from being linked with Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund, although it should be noted that those links were incredibly tentative.

As it happens, Bolt didn't do enough to convince his Australian suitors that his considerable salary was a worthwhile outlay. 

Andy Keogh, once of Wolves and now of Perth Glory, declared that Bolt has the touch of a trampoline. Be that as it may, he still has the unparalleled pace of Usain Bolt.

Maltese giants Valletta clearly value this attribute (or maybe the publicity), although Bolt has rejected their overtures. Still, Bolt will always have his brace in a friendly against Macarthur South West United to look back on favourably.

 

Tim Wiese

Wiese may have been an inspiration for Bolt, as the German has secured professional status in two sports.

A regular fixture in Werder Bremen's net for several seasons and an occasional deputy for Germany, Wiese has carved out a career as a professional wrestler since hanging up his boots and gloves.

At 6ft 4in, Wiese has never exactly been a shrinking violet. Yet Wiese bulked up even further to appear at live WWE events in Germany.

Known as The Machine in the ring, Wiese claimed victory on his pro-wrestling debut in 2016. Wiese has since dabbled with his original passion, appearing in sixth-tier German football last year with aspirations of returning to the Bundesliga.

Former club Bremen are EVENS to finish in the top six, so perhaps the return of Wiese would give them the edge in a tough fight.

At 36, time is still on this goalkeeper's side, although woe betide anyone who gets in the way of Wiese coming out to punch a cross.

 

Ian Botham

Considered to be one of the finest all-rounders to play cricket, Botham was blessed with a wealth of sporting talent.

That talent was not confined to the cricket pitch, with Botham displaying footballing skills in his early years.

Botham had to choose between football and cricket, ultimately plumping for the latter in a decision that worked out rather well for both him and England.

Yet, Botham still managed to find the time to rack up a handful of appearances for Scunthorpe United and Yeovil Town as a professional footballer.

Botham is one of just four cricketers to have racked up 100 runs and 10 wickets in the same Test match, so he may have made the right choice in devoting himself to the cork ball rather than the leather.

 

Luis Enrique

The best managers are those who can coax an extra mile or two out of their players, getting them to put the hard work in for the whole match.

Luis Enrique has a unique advantage when it comes to this, the Spain manager having run six marathons in Morocco in 2008. That sounds admirable already, but Enrique completed those six marathons in a six-day period.

The Marathon des Sables is known as an ultramarathon, making Enrique's achievement ultra-impressive. 

The former midfielder demonstrated his stamina as a mainstay of the Spain engine room, while his switch from Real Madrid to Barcelona shows his uncompromising desire to win.

Enrique has not only competed in marathons across the globe, but also completed the 2007 Ironman competition in Germany for good measure.

He completed the gruelling 140-mile triathlon as a 37-year-old, so good luck to any fresh-faced players in their twenties thinking about complaining to Enrique that they're a bit tired after thirty minutes of football.

Enrique will be hoping that Spain can go the distance at Euro 2020, a price of 21/4 making them third favourites.

 

Aaron Ramsey

Ramsey has enjoyed some of his best sporting moments at Wembley, but it could almost have been Challenge Cup finals rather than FA Cup finals in which he was making the crucial difference.

In his youth, Ramsey demonstrated an enviable aptitude for both football and rugby league, his proficiency in the latter prompting St Helens to offer him a contract.

Ramsey elected to join Cardiff City instead, much to Arsenal's benefit. The Welsh midfielder has scored the winning goal in two FA Cup Finals.

It is ironic that, having had to make a difficult decision between football and rugby, Ramsey has ultimately spent the bulk of his sporting career in a football side that is perhaps most removed from the sport of rugby.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal were rarely attritional, certainly during Ramsey's time at the club, and became characterised by the deft touches of midfield maestros like Ramsey.

The future of the Welsh midfielder is uncertain, with Premier League and Bundesliga clubs rumoured to be eyeing him up.

If Ramsey does want to lay the foundations for a late transition to rugby, he could do worse than joining up with Middlesbrough; Boro are priced at 11/2 to win the title in 888sport's Championship odds.

 

Paolo Maldini

Maldini was a rare breed of player who could make the art of defending actually appear like an art form, effortlessly graceful and blessed with an intuitive reading of the game.

The defender's dedication to AC Milan is as legendary as his footballing ability, amassing a staggering 902 appearances for I Rossoneri in a career spanning 25 years.

Maldini formed part of a phenomenal Milan side and scored against Liverpool in the Champions League final in 2005, although he may not look back upon that goal too fondly.  

He may not have mixed it up in his footballing career, but Maldini has been more adventurous in retirement. The 49-year-old Italian entered the 2018 Milan Challenger (where else would Maldini play?) to compete in tennis doubles alongside Stefano Landonio.

While it may not be Wimbledon, the tennis Challenger Tour is fiercely competitive and has seen the likes of Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils and David Ferrer claim titles this season.

Maldini and Landonio lost 6-1 6-1 in a thoroughly economical 42 minutes, so Maldini will just have to settle with being regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all time.

 

The Future?

Neymar to take up professional diving? Sergio Ramos to follow Tim Wiese into the world of wrestling? Trent Alexander-Arnold to become a chess grandmaster? Footballers should never be criticised for a lack of transferable skills.

The physical and mental skills that footballers require can sometimes be underappreciated during a match, but these are proper athletes. That much is proven by those players who have been too good to stick to football.

 

*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*

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