MOST people can only dream about being a professional footballer.
Earning millions while kicking a ball in front of an adoring crowd – what’s not to love?
Well, according to Gonzalo Higuain, he and other players have been living “unnatural lives”.
In Higuain’s case, it’s being powerless to respond to criticism – and even abuse.
Meanwhile, other aces – both current and retired – have ended up with a genuine disdain for the beautiful game itself.
Here, SunSport look at a star XI of footballers who HATE football…
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GK – VICTOR VALDES
THE Barcelona and Spain legend won six titles, three Champions League AND a World Cup,
But Valdes claims he was FORCED into football and instead wanted to enter the film industry.
Barca legend Valdes, who also spent time at Man Utd, moaned: "They convinced me that I was a good goalkeeper and I had no choice but to take that path.
“It has not compensated me for the years I have suffered with those that have gone well for me.
“In another life, I would dedicate myself to the cinema, to something else. Not football."
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RB – DANI ALVES
ONE of the greatest right-backs of all-time, the Brazilian has constantly tried to distance himself from the world of football.
He said: “I hate what surrounds football. I live in this world, but do not belong to it.
“When I leave football, I will put a backpack on and travel the world.
“It will be inevitable to watch football, but I won’t live in it.”
CB – BEN WHITE
HE’s only in his second season at Arsenal, but White admits he NEVER watches football – and did not even see the Invincibles as a kid.
The Gunners defender revealed: “I watch myself for analytical reasons. I watch England, maybe, but I’m always busy doing something. I wouldn’t just sit down and watch a game.
“I didn’t ever watch football when I was younger. I still don’t now. I was always playing it, never watching.
“So I don’t know too much about the older generations, but I know (former Arsenal captain Patrick) Vieira was a very good player. But I don’t know the details.”
CB – SYLVAIN DISTIN
ANOTHER defender who’s not interested in football outside his own personal game.
Distin boomed: “I don't watch football on TV, I don't know the name of every player or every stadium and I can't remember the results of matches I played two weeks ago.
“Instead, I just love to play games and train hard. I also love to compete.”
LB – BENOIT ASSOU-EKOTTO
THE former Tottenham star freely admitted he was only in footy for the money – and even blasted players who KISS the badge.
Assou-Ekotto quipped: "Why did I come here? For a job. A career is only 10, 15 years. It's only a job … football is not my passion.
"I have never bought into the hypocrisy of football. [It] is just a job, a means to an end … there are more important things in life than kicking a ball around.
"Yes, I play for money, but then doesn't everybody who gets up in the morning and goes to work?
“It infuriates me when footballers go on about playing for the shirt. I think they should be held accountable for it when they kiss the badge and six months later clear off for a better pay day."
DM – DAVID BATTY
PLAYING for your country is considered the highest honour for any player – but for Batty it was BORING.
The ex-England star claimed: “I was always a home bird, so I’d go play and then I just loved getting home. That never changed.
“At the World Cup, as soon as we got in the changing rooms after the shootout, I was looking forward to getting home and seeing my kids – so football didn’t matter.
“I could detach. I’d give my all. And then that was me finished with football.
“The national game is boring. And I’ve not been to watch any match since I finished playing.
“I can never understand anybody paying to watch it, never mind going all the way across the world to see it. You want to be entertained.”
RM – DAVID BENTLEY
THE ‘next David Beckham’ admits he quickly got tired of football – and made the realisation while on a dog walk.
Bentley revealed: "I remember walking my dog, thinking ‘This ain’t for me’.
"I remember being a bit disappointed in myself. I was thinking: ‘You should love it, what’s the matter with you?'
"But in the end I just got tired of all the bull**** that goes with it, people wanting you to sell yourself as something you’re not."
LM – GARETH BALE
NEVER one to shy away from the boo boys at Real Madrid, Bale’s main passion for golf is known to all.
The ex-Spurs man also clearly enjoys playing for his country Wales, but club football never quite did it for him.
Serial winner Bale said in 2018: “I don’t really watch much football, I’d rather watch the golf to be honest.”
AM – CARLOS TEVEZ
DESPITE playing all over the world, Tevez admits he hates watching footy – and would even turn off El Clasico.
Tevez declared: “I do not like football.
“If you play Barcelona v Real Madrid and there’s a golf tournament on another channel, I’ll watch golf.”
ST – ANDY CARROLL
AFTER joining Liverpool from Newcastle in 2011 for a then-record £35m fee, Carroll admitted he had to GOOGLE his new teammates.
That’s because he has so little interest in football off the pitch, he had no idea who they were.
Carroll revealed: “When I was leaving Newcastle for Liverpool, I was in the helicopter on the way down and I had to go to Google to find out who their players were, looking on the phone.
“I was signing and I didn't know who my team-mates would be.
“I don't really like watching football. My mum and dad watch a game on one screen, listen to radio commentary and have the laptop open for score flashes!
“I walk in the house… oh God! I need to switch off. I don't have it on in my house, unless I have friends over."
ST – MICHAEL OWEN
ONE of England’s most promising talents ever, Owen admits he couldn’t wait to retire after ending up despising football.
And the striker would actively try to avoid receiving the ball after losing confidence in front of goal.
Owen said: “For six or seven years I came to hate football. I couldn't wait to retire, because the one on the field wasn't me.
“I wasn't in a position to shoot and I hid in areas of the field so that the ball wouldn't reach me”.
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