Arsenal star Wilshere and five other smoking footballers
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is said to be fuming after seeing the midfielder puffing on a fag
ARSENAL midfielder Jack Wilshere has got his manager Arsene Wenger fuming, after he was pictured puffing on a cigarette outside a nightclub following the Gunners' 2-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday night.
The pictures, which appeared in The Sun, prompted Wenger to issue a warning to the injury-prone midfielder. "I disagree completely with that behaviour. I need to have a chat with him about that," he said. "You don't do what damages your health as a footballer. You damage your reputation when you do that in public."
However, Wilshere is by no means the first star to be caught having a fag. Here are five other players who enjoy a gasper.
Socrates: The Brazilian superstar of the 1980s, who died in 2011, was renowned as a two-pack-a-day man even when he was leading the national team at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. Not only did he combine a keen interest in the deadly weed with a successful career as a sportsman, he rammed home the irony by also qualifying as a medical doctor while still playing. Socrates was also a heavy drinker and died at the age of 57.
Johann Cryuff: The Dutch master smoked throughout his glittering playing career with Ajax, Barcelona and Netherlands, and claims that only once did a coach question him over it. But he almost paid the price after taking over as manager of Barcelona. The stress of the job left him smoking 20 a day and in 1991, after three years in the job, he underwent a double heart bypass. He gave up the habit, and took to sucking lollipops instead. He later delcared: "Football has given me everything in this life; tobacco almost took it all away."
Stanley Matthews: In defence of the English winger, the link between smoking and an early grave had yet to be proven when he was at the height of his powers. Sir Stan's career spanned four decades from the 1930s until the mid 1960s and despite the cigarettes Matthews played until he was 50. So dedicated was he to the habit that he endorsed a brand, attributing his "smooth ball control" to the "smoothness of Craven A". He lived until the age of 85.
Wayne Rooney: Modern day footballers have a hard time staying out of the public eye, but Wayne Rooney did himself few favours after the 2010 World Cup by "lighting up a cigarette, urinating against a wall and singing raucously in the street," according to the Daily Mail. Lurid allegations about his sex life were enlivened by claims he once spent £200 on a packet of Marlboros after cheating on his wife. It wasn't the first time he had been spotted enjoying a crafty smoke, he was photographed indulging his habit during happier times – while on honeymoon in 2008.
Mario Balotelli: Super Mario has a way of annoying almost everyone he meets, and his insistence on smoking while at Manchester City certainly got on the nerves of then manager Roberto Mancini. "It's not okay but I'm not his father or his mother," he said. "If he was my son I would give him a kick up the arse but he's not." Whether his smoking habit contributed to the fire that almost burned down his house in 2011 is unclear — Balotelli blamed the blaze on fireworks. ·