THEY just can’t get enough of the competition, can they?

Chelsea legend Petr Cech has only just hung up his gloves after four years at Arsenal at the age of 37.

 Petr Cech will play ice hockey for Guildford Phoenix this season

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Petr Cech will play ice hockey for Guildford Phoenix this seasonCredit: @PetrCech

But after 20 years playing professional football, he’s decided to find a new goalie job – playing between the sticks for ice hockey giants the Guildford Phoenix.

However, Cech isn’t the first star to swap sports.

SunSport uncovers more who were thirsty to win at something else.

USAIN BOLT

When you’re the fastest man in the world, it’s natural you will want to try your hand at something that involves running.

Last year, Jamaican legend Bolt began training with Australian A-League club the Central Coast Mariners as a left-winger.

He did score twice for the side in a friendly match, but after just three months his dream was over and the Mariners revealed they weren’t going to give him a professional contract.

This year Bolt confirmed that he was giving up on his football ambitions.

Good job, probably.

 Last year Usain Bolt began training with Australian A-League club the Central Coast Mariners

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Last year Usain Bolt began training with Australian A-League club the Central Coast MarinersCredit: EPA

 After an unsuccessful trial Bolt gave up on his footballing dreams

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After an unsuccessful trial Bolt gave up on his footballing dreamsCredit: Getty Images – Getty

SIR BRADLEY WIGGINS

After winning the World and Olympic championships on both the track and the road, as well as the Tour de France, it was only natural Wiggins would want to try something else.

In 2017, Wiggo revealed he was taking up rowing and enlisted the help of James Cracknell to get him up to speed.

He took part in the British Rowing Indoor Championships, but finished a disappointing 21st after making a slow start because he thought the race had false started.

In 2018, he declared he was ditching his rowing dream of competing at the 2020 Olympics.

 In 2017 Sir Bradley Wiggins revealed he was going to try his hand at rowing

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In 2017 Sir Bradley Wiggins revealed he was going to try his hand at rowingCredit: PA:Press Association

FABIEN BARTHEZ

Recognised for his distinctive appearance, Barthez was an idol for the French national team – keeping sticks during their famous 1998 World Cup win.

He also lit up our lives in the Premier League for Manchester United, with some mad antics too.

But when he retired, he did something completely different.

Barthez, who loved fast cars, took up motor racing in 2008 and has competed in an incredible four LeMans races.

 Fabien Barthez took up motor racing after football and has competed in four LeMans races

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Fabien Barthez took up motor racing after football and has competed in four LeMans racesCredit: AFP – Getty

VICTORIA PENDLETON

Forget the two gold medals Victoria won at the Olympics in cycling.

In 2015, Pendleton announced her intention to become a jockey with the idea of competing in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016.

She enlisted the help of horse trainer Paul Nicholls, and won her first race on  5–4 favourite Pacha Du Polder at Wincanton.

Weeks later she achieved her dream, competing at Cheltenham and finishing fifth in the race she declared she wanted to race.

 Victoria Pendleton achieved her dream of competing at Cheltenham

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Victoria Pendleton achieved her dream of competing at CheltenhamCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

PAOLO MALDINI

One of the greatest footballers of all time, the AC Milan and Italy legend played tennis as a hobby.

Because he was quite good, he thought he would take it to the next level – and some nine years after he retired from the Beautiful Game he entered a doubles event at an ATP Challenger tournament in Milan.

Sadly, his tennis career was to last only 43 minutes when he was beaten 1-6, 1-6.

“Those who know sport know very well that it’s impossible to invent yourself as a professional from one day to the next,” he said after.

 Paolo Maldini's tennis career lasted only 43 minutes

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Paolo Maldini’s tennis career lasted only 43 minutesCredit: AFP or licensors

RAFAEL VAN DER VAART

After starring at Ajax, Real Madrid and Tottenham, the former Dutch footballer wanted a new challenge when he retired.

This year, just a few months after he hung up his boots, the midfielder joined the British Darts Organisation.

And back in May, Rafael ‘van Der Dart’ made his debut at the BDO Denmark Open – winning 4-2 over local player Thomas Anderson.

However, his run came to an end against Mogens “Turbo” Christensen who beat him in the semi final.

 Rafael Van Der Vaart went from football to professional darts

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Rafael Van Der Vaart went from football to professional dartsCredit: Instagram @rafaelvdvaart

FREDDIE FLINTOFF

While you can’t turn on the telly or the radio now without him popping up, Flintoff first turned to boxing in the wake of his retirement from cricket in 2010.

And, in November 2012, he had his one and only bout against the American Richard Dawson at the MEN Arena.

Dawson, a 17st 3lb brawler from Okmulgee, Oklahoma who had served time for aggravated assault and battery, floored Flintoff in the second round but the Preston Pugilist recovered to take the four-round fight on points.

“You talk about the Ashes and things but as a personal achievement, this is the best,” said Freddie after his victory.

He never fought again.

 Ashes cricket brought the best out of Andrew Flintoff as a sportsman

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Ashes cricket brought the best out of Andrew Flintoff as a sportsmanCredit: Getty

 But Flintoff also had a boxing bout against American fighter Richard Dawson

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But Flintoff also had a boxing bout against American fighter Richard DawsonCredit: Getty Images

MICHAEL JORDAN

In 1994, four months after the first of his three retirements, Michael Jordan swapped basketball for baseball, signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox.

And this despite not having played the game since he was at high school.

Jordan spent the season playing for the White Sox’s affiliate club Birmingham Barons but failed to impress, scoring just three home runs in 127 games.

Mind you, he did buy the team a brand new £200,000 luxury bus to travel in so it wasn’t a complete washout.

 Michael Jordan was an NBA legend in Chicago Bulls colours

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Michael Jordan was an NBA legend in Chicago Bulls coloursCredit: EPA

 Michael Jordan tried out as a baseball player with Chicago White Sox

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Michael Jordan tried out as a baseball player with Chicago White SoxCredit: AFP – Getty

 But Jordan managed to hit just three home runs in 127 games

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But Jordan managed to hit just three home runs in 127 gamesCredit: AFP – Getty

ADAM GEMILI

Gemili grew up dreaming of a career as a professional footballer.

When he was eight he signed for Chelsea and spent seven years at the club before having a year at Reading.

In 2010, he joined League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge before being sent out on loan to Thurrock where he played 12 times in the Isthmian League.

And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In 2012, he called time on his football career and made the switch to sprinting.

Thurrock’s loss was our gain.

 British sprinter Adam Gemili was a footballer before swapping studs for spikes

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British sprinter Adam Gemili was a footballer before swapping studs for spikesCredit: PA:Press Association

JUSTIN GATLIN

When athletics’ biggest pantomime villain was banned from athletics for four years in 2006, he turned his attention to the NFL and trained with the Houston Texans.

The following year he almost secured a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after impressing at their trials.

However, it wasn’t to be for the sprinter who soon returned to track and field and recently won silver at the 2019 World Championships, finishing runner-up to Christian Coleman.

 Justin Gatlin almost landed himself a deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Justin Gatlin almost landed himself a deal with Tampa Bay BuccaneersCredit: Getty Images

CLIVE ALLEN

Former Spurs’ ace Allen also tried his hand at the American version of football when his career was over.

In 1997 he signed on the line for the London Monarchs and took his place in the side as a specialist place-kicker.

He wasn’t bad either, kicking three field goals and an extra point in their 16-8 win over the Scottish Claymores in the World League competition.

 Clive Allen is best remembered as a player for his stint at Spurs

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Clive Allen is best remembered as a player for his stint at SpursCredit: Getty Images

 But Allen also kicked goals for London Monarchs

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But Allen also kicked goals for London MonarchsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

IAN BOTHAM

Somehow, English cricket legend Ian Botham managed to combine single-handedly winning the Ashes in 1981 and 1985 with a football career with Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United.

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A no-nonsense, old-school centre-half, Beefy turned out 11 times for the Iron in the Football League and played for a select Football Association XI in 1984-85.

Botham’s son Liam, meanwhile, started his career as a cricketer for Hampshire but switched to play rugby league for a host of teams including Newcastle Falcons, Leeds Tykes and Wigan Warriors.

Must be something in the genes.

 Ian Botham produced legendary Ashes performances for England's cricket team

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Ian Botham produced legendary Ashes performances for England’s cricket teamCredit: Allsport Editorial – Getty

 Botham also played football for Scunthorpe United

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Botham also played football for Scunthorpe UnitedCredit: Getty Images

 Botham with a cuppa in the Scunthorpe changing rooms

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Botham with a cuppa in the Scunthorpe changing roomsCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

 'Beefy' played 11 games as a centre-back for the Iron

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‘Beefy’ played 11 games as a centre-back for the IronCredit: Hulton Archive – Getty

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