Top 10 Professional Soccer Players That Smoke Cigarettes

Professional football players who smoke cigarettes are rare due to the harmful effects of smoking on their performance and overall health. Smoking can impair lung function, decrease endurance, and increase the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Most players understand the importance of maintaining physical condition, which includes avoiding habits like smoking that can compromise their abilities on the field. Regardless, some players enjoyed Indulging In smoking.

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Professional Soccer Players Who Smoke Cigarettes

  • Mario Balotelli
  • Wayne Rooney
  • Ashley Cole
  • Neymar’
  • Jack Wilshere
  • Wesley Sneijder
  • Marco Veratti
  • Wojciech Szczesny
  • Frank Lampard
  • David James

1. Mario Balotelli

mario balotelli

Mario Balotelli, a professional soccer player, has been known for his struggles with smoking. He once remarked, “I can finish two packs a day. But since I’m a professional footballer, I finish just one.”

Under coach Roberto Mancini, his smoking reduced, but reports suggest he still struggles to quit entirely. Balotelli faced bans from AC Milan for smoking and extravagant haircuts.

His smoking habits were believed to have negatively impacted his performance, particularly during his time at Liverpool.

Despite efforts to curb his habit, Balotelli’s reputation for drug usage and smoking has followed him throughout his career, posing challenges for both him and the teams he’s played for.

2. Wayne Rooney

wayne rooney

Wayne Rooney smoked cigarettes during his younger years at Manchester United. However, he managed to exercise some control over the habit.

Rooney admitted to smoking during nights out and holidays but maintained the discipline to Impress on the field. His primary focus was always to perform at his best during matches.

Despite occasional indulgence, Rooney’s dedication to his craft paid off immensely. He emerged as one of the best strikers of his era, winning accolades and recognition for his exceptional skills. His contributions to Manchester United were so significant that he was honored as a Hall of Famer by the club.

Rooney’s ability to balance his habits with his professional aspirations showed his commitment to his career and served as an inspiration to aspiring footballers.

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3. Ashley Cole

ashley cole

Ashley Cole was frequently photographed smoking cigarettes while playing for Arsenal, Chelsea, and LA Galaxy. Despite this habit, Cole became one of the best premier left-backs in league history.

He was known to indulge in smoking during summer breaks, but it didn’t hinder his performance on the pitch. Even amidst his smoking habit, Cole’s talent and dedication to the game earned him praise from his peers.

Emile Heskey once commented, “Chain-smoking didn’t stop Ashley Cole from becoming the best of England’s Golden Generation.”

This acknowledgment underscores the fact that Cole’s smoking habit didn’t detract from his abilities as a footballer. While smoking is generally discouraged due to its potential health risks and impact on athletic performance, Cole’s case highlights that individual success in sports can sometimes exceed personal habits.

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4. Dimitar Berbatov

dimitar berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov has been caught indulging in a cigarette on a few occasions. It’s been said that he enjoys relaxing with a glass of port and a fine Cuban cigar, perhaps in a wing-backed chair.

When questioned about his smoking habit by The Independent, the Bulgarian Fulham forward brushed it off, suggesting that sometimes he simply pretends to smoke to appear cooler in photos.

While Berbatov’s smoking has drawn attention, it doesn’t seem to have had a significant impact on his career or performance on the field.

Despite occasional sightings, Berbatov’s habit hasn’t caused major controversies or disciplinary actions. However, even smoking in moderation, can still carry health risks, but in Berbatov’s case, it appears to be more of a personal choice or occasional indulgence rather than a habit that affects his professional life.

5. Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere, during his time with Arsenal FC, faced public scrutiny for his smoking habits. He was repeatedly caught smoking, with one infamous incident involving a photo of him smoking while urinating in the street that went viral.

His behavior drew criticism from his manager at the time, Arsène Wenger, who expressed his disapproval strongly. Wenger emphasized that such behavior was detrimental to Wilshere’s health as a footballer and tarnished his reputation.

The manager made it clear that he would address the issue with Wilshere, though he didn’t specify any punishment. Wilshere’s smoking habit was seen interfering with his performance on the field, raising concerns among fans and management.

Despite his talent as a player, Wilshere’s public image was marred by his recurrent smoking incidents, highlighting the challenges faced by professionals in maintaining both their physical and public well-being.

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6. Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder is not just for his skills on the pitch but also for his habit of smoking cigarettes. Despite this, he was one of the best players in 2010.

Sneijder revealed in an interview that during his time at Inter Milan, coach Jose Mourinho permitted the players to indulge in drinking, smoking, and having fun.

He also believed that this leniency played a significant role in the team’s success, winning their first-ever treble-winning season.

This highlights the unique dynamics within professional soccer teams, where different coaching philosophies and approaches to player discipline can impact performance and team cohesion.

While Sneijder’s smoking habit may seem unconventional for a professional player, it didn’t hinder his success on the field.

7. Marco Veratti

Marco Veratti

Marco Verratti has drawn attention for his smoking habit, which has sparked criticism. In August 2022, he made headlines when a fan caught him smoking as he arrived at the training center.

The fan advised him to conceal his cigarette next time, to which Verratti responded with a slight frown face before driving off.

This incident highlighted Verratti’s disregard for public perception regarding his smoking behavior. Despite being a skilled midfielder, his off-the-pitch habits have often overshadowed his talent.

Critics argue that such habits may affect his overall performance and health in the long run. While Verratti’s smoking habit may be a personal choice, it reflects poorly on his image as a professional player.

Some fans and pundits have called for him to set a better example for younger players and fans who look up to him. However, it remains to be seen whether Verratti will address his smoking habit and its potential impact on his career.

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8. Wojciech Szczesny

Wojciech Szczesny

Wojciech Szczesny, the former Arsenal goalkeeper smoking habit at times spiraled out of control. In a notable incident in 2015, after a 2-0 defeat by Southampton, he was caught smoking in the dressing room showers.

The coach, upon learning of this behavior, imposed a hefty fine of $20,000 on Szczesny. The incident caught media attention, stressing the seriousness of the situation.

Szczesny’s smoking addiction not only drew negative attention but also raised concerns about his commitment to his profession as a goalkeeper.

While smoking is not uncommon among athletes, Szczesny’s public display of the habit, especially in the aftermath of a defeat, raised eyebrows and sparked debates about professionalism in sports.

Despite facing consequences for his actions, including fines and public scrutiny, Szczesny continued to struggle with his smoking addiction throughout his career.

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9. Frank Lampard


frank lampard

Frank Lampard enjoyed a stellar career with Chelsea Football Club. Despite his success on the field, Lampard is often seen smoking cigarettes.

This habit seems to be a regular part of his lifestyle, as he appears comfortable with it in public. A picture of him surfaced online when he was seen smoking a celebratory cigar after Chelsea’s victory in the 2021 Champions League.

Regardless of the health risks associated with smoking, Lampard’s love for cigarettes has persisted throughout his career.

While it may not have impacted his performance as a player, as a manager, it sets an example that some may view unfavorably, especially considering his high-profile status in football.

10. David James

David James

David James, a former professional soccer player used to be a smoker but later quit the habit at the age of 30. In 2008, he became the face of an anti-smoking campaign, showing his commitment to helping others avoid the dangers of smoking.

In an interview with The Guardian, James expressed regret over his smoking habit, admitting that smoking before matches and even on the team’s coach made him feel unwell.

Some speculate that his smoking affected his performance on the field, particularly in situations where he needed to sprint or cover ground quickly, such as when cutting off crosses.

The impact of smoking on his cardiovascular health may have led to him feeling short of breath and unable to reach the ball in time. However, James’ decision to quit smoking improved his health and also set a positive example for others.