Neymar Jr, amidst speculation about his move from Paris St. Germain to a LaLiga Club – Barcelona or Real Madrid, has realised his dream of facing lights and camera as an actor. The Brazilian striker has made a cameo appearance as a monk in his favourite Netflix show.
The list of star footballer’s who have made a mark on silver screen is long. InsideSport.co brings to its readers ten football icons who have also faced camera as an actor – the list ranges from iconic actor Eric Cantona to Pele and David Beckham.
1 Eric Cantona
Eric Cantona had won four Premier League titles with Manchester United in a span of five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles. French legend, had quite a successful switch to a full time acting career. Starting off with Shekar Kapur’s Oscar winning, ‘Elizabeth’ (1998) he’s already acted in over two dozen movies, most of them French. He’s even played a version of himself in the whimsical yet endearing movie, ‘Looking for Eric’ (2009). His latest movie is the upcoming Western, ‘The Salvation’ starring Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green.
2 Vinnie Jones
Vinnie Jones is believed to be the most successful as an actor, who also played professional footballer. The Welsh midfielder has had over 350 premiere league appearances for clubs like Chelsea and Leeds United with middling success. However when he made his acting debut with Guy Ritchie’s Brit Gangster flick, ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ (1998), he’s never had to look back. He usually plays tough guys which is kind of reflective of his on-field persona as a brawler. He had much success with ‘Snatch’ where he played the invincible Bullet Tooth Tony with an amazing monologue in a bar and later played a disgraced footballer in ‘Mean Machine’ but his moment of great infamy came thanks to his appearance as the Juggernaut in the much vilified ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. Check out the hilarious short below where, Jones teaches you how to perform CPR to the tune of ABBA’s ‘Staying Alive’.
3 David Beckham
David Beckham has played his own self in all three ‘Goal’ movies with more to do on screen than just kicking the ball. The English football icon has also recently appeared in a special episode of the British comedy sitcom, ‘Only Fools and Horses’, taking a pot-shot at his modelling career. Acting is not his cup of tea, the highly celebrated footballer claims though.
The Brazilian football legend and one of the biggest icons to grace the sport, Pele has at least on six occasions face lights and camera as an actor, including the famous ‘Escape to Victory / Victory’ (1981) with his glorious bicycle kick shown in slow-motion and him teaching Michael Caine a thing or two about on field tactics. He was seen in ‘A Minor Miracle’ (1983) where he helps a bunch of orphans trying to save their home while in the ‘Hotshot’ (1987) an American soccer player trying to make it big turns to Pele for inspiration and guidance.
5 Stan Collymore
Former English footballer Stan Collymore, also known for courting controversies off the field with his antics, has appeared in the sequel to Basic Instinct. He played a footballer. Though Collymore did not make another appearance as an actor.
6 Ian Wright
Former England, Arsenal and West Ham United star also had a prolific career as a television and radio presenter. He also hogged the limelight by playing a Brit gangster in the 2011 film Sun of the Black Gun. Critics rated him the best thing about the otherwise pathetic film.
7 Paul Breitner
Former German and Bayern Munich controversial striker Paul Breitner has starred in two action-adventure films, with one being a German language Western. In the 1976 spaghetti-western ‘Potato Fritz’ he played a frontier soldier helping Hardy Kruger’s ranger plant potatoes and in 1986 he starred in the action-adventure, Kunyonga – Mord in Afrika. One of the greatest footballers ever, he was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team in 1994.
8 Carlo Ancelotti
Former Italian midfielder and Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti had tried his luck in cinema with The 1983, an Italian comedy; The World of Don Camillo, the movie about a priest who coaches the town’s football team in a match an “evil” team aptly named the “Devils”. Ancelotti played a footballer on the “Devils”. Actor Terrence Hill famous for his spaghetti-westerns had directed and starred alongside Ancelotti.
9 Ally McCoist
Ally McCoist had played a high-flying footballer from Arsenal who recruited by a second-tier Scottish club. His football skills will certainly outweigh his acting abilities. He had been among the top Scottish goal scorers, has coached Rangers and enjoys a place in the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Neymar has play the character of a monk in episodes of the third season of the popular Spanish Netflix series Money Heist. However, the 27-year old who has set the record for the highest transfer fee in professional football with his move to PSG, for now is better off on the field after having fulfilled his acting ambitions.
The Brazilian was originally edited out of two episodes of La Casa de Papel (Money Heist) by Netflix as he faced rape charges. However, after Brazilian police dropped their investigation last month, Netflix had re-released the episodes with inclusion of the 27-year-old’s scenes.