With plenty of spare time on their hands, professional footballers often have to be creative when it comes to keeping themselves occupied away from the sport.

Many players turn to popular gambling games such as poker, with the strategy required to play the game successfully fuelling their competitive streak.

The growth of online sites such as GGPoker UK in recent years has made it easier for football’s top stars to hone their skills and become far more adept at playing poker.

Read on as we look at five Manchester United past and present who love playing poker.

Teddy Sheringham

After calling time on his hugely successful playing career, Sheringham became a prominent figure on the world poker scene.

The former United star’s best run came just over ten years ago, when he finished in the top 50 of events in the World Series of Poker Europe and the European Poker Tour.

He also secured a fifth-place finish at an EPT tournament in Portugal, impressively scooping $118,346 at the Casino Vilamoura against some of the world’s top players.

Sheringham has been less active on the poker circuit in recent years, but his efforts against seasoned professionals mark him down as a top player in his own right.

Cristiano Ronaldo

As one of the greatest players ever to wear a United shirt, it comes as no surprise to discover that Ronaldo is someone who possesses many other talents.

The Portuguese is also a proficient poker player, who initially learned the game during marathon sessions with his friends at home.

Ronaldo played several games against Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul, and gave the American-born star a tough time at the table.

He generously donated his winnings from the epic head-to-head to charity, meaning that worthwhile causes benefited from his ability to know when to hold them and know when to fold them.


After joining United from Fluminense as a teenager in 2008, Rafael leaned on the club’s established stars to help him settle in England.

The Brazilian formed a close bond with Darren Fletcher, and often spent time at his house discussing football and playing poker.

The pair famously received coaching from mouthy pro player Tony G ahead of their participation in a charity event during 2012.

However, they were defeated by Jonny Evans, with the now-Leicester City defender defeating Fletcher in the final heads-up battle.

Marcos Rojo

Rojo landed himself in a little hot water during 2020 as he was videoed smoking and playing poker with his friends in Argentina.

He had joined former club Estudiantes during the January transfer window, but was then spotted enjoying some late night shenanigans in the early hours of the morning.

Having failed to shine during his time at Old Trafford, his antics probably proved to be the final straw for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rojo made just one appearance for Estudiantes and he has since completed a move to Boca Juniors on a free transfer.

Gerard Pique

Pique struggled to make the breakthrough at Old Trafford, before going on to forge a successful career with Spanish giants Barcelona.

He has also proved to be a superb poker player, most notably when he won more than $352,000 at an EPT event in Spain.

In addition to his success on the poker circuit, Pique regularly organised games whenever he linked up with Spain at international level.

Current United goalkeeper David De Gea was one of Pique’s toughest opponents at the poker table, regularly coming out on top during the ‘friendly’ games.