George Weah – Liberia
As former FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner, the only African to do so to date, George Weah is now Liberia’s president-elect. Slated to take office in January 2018, Weah took 61.5% of the vote, based on 98.1% of ballots cast, according to the country’s electoral commission.
The election is the African country’s first democratic transition in over 70 years. Weah defeated current Vice-President Joseph Boakai. The 51-year-old will succeed current President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – the latter is Liberia’s first female national leader.
“My fellow Liberians, I deeply feel the emotion of all the nation. I measure the importance and the responsibility of the immense task which I embrace today. Change is on,” Weah said on Instagram.
In his previous successful career as a footballer, Weah had played for European giants Paris Saint-Germain between 1992 and 1995, before signing for AC Milan, winning league titles with both clubs. Among the highest honours he garnered were a Ligue 1 title in the 1993-94 season, Serie A titles for the 1995-96 and 1998-99 seasons, an FA Cup with Chelsea in the 1999-2000 season.
Romario – Brazil
Another popular footballer on the list is Romário de Souza Faria, or simply Romario. The diminutive striker was a goal machine and is widely regarded as one of the all-time-best forwards. The 51-year-old delved into politics not long after hanging up his boots with Rio de Janeiro club Vasco da Gama in 2007.
Although he had briefly returned to the beautiful game, in 2010, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies on a Brazilian Socialist Party ticket. Four years later, he became a senator. His latest ambition is to weed out corruption in Brazilian football.
Romario posted on Instagram, “After FIFA has suspended CBF president Marco Polo Del Nero from any national and international football-related activity, there is a question on the air: who will be the next president of the CBF?”, before announcing his intention to run for president of the scandal-plagued Brazilian Football Confederation. Current CBF president Marco Polo del Nero was suspended by FIFA due to alleged unethical conduct.
Romario was a pivotal member of Johan Cruyff’s FC Barcelona dream team. He was a La Liga winner twice between 1993 and 1995, alongside legends and former teammates Pep Guardiola, Ronald Koeman and Michael Laudrup. For his country, Romario won the 1994 World Cup and crowned the Golden Ball winner as the most valuable player of the tournament, after scoring the winning penalty that won the final against Italy.
Vitali Klitschko – Ukraine
Older brother of Wladimir Klitschko and one half of the dominant Klitschko brothers that ruled the boxing ring for years by holding all major heavyweight titles, Vitali Klitschko is now a Ukrainian politician.
With an 87.23% knockout percentage, Vitali was dubbed Dr Ironfist for his power, skills and an imposing height of 2.01m. Of all 47 professional bouts, he only lost twice. One of those was a controversial loss to Briton Lennox Lewis in a highly contentious stoppage in 2003.
After first relinquishing his WBC Heavyweight title in 2005, he swiftly moved into politics. The same year 2005, Vitali was appointed an adviser to President Viktor Yushchenko.
In 2008, he ran successfully in Kiev’s mayoral election – his second attempt after coming second best in 2006. Since then, he has taken on bigger responsibilities, including becoming the leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform. Today the 46-year-old continues to be Kiev’s mayor and is a proponent for Ukraine’s relationship with the EU.
Manny Pacquiao – The Philippines
Darling of the Philippines, Pacquiao is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in history. His reputation garners viewers from the world over. As a testament to his drawing power, his career earnings are estimated to be around US$300 million so far, according to Totalsportek.com.
Besides juggling between boxing, acting and commercial commitments, Pacquiao is now a senator of the United Nationalist Alliance party.
Having won 11 major world titles, the 39-year-old is the only eight-division world champion in history and was the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes, according to the New Straits Times.