Even if there are no NFL games in 2011, Chad Ochocinco still plans on playing football. The Bengals wide receiver has indicated that he may jump to Europe to play soccer if there’s a work stoppage in the NFL.
It’s no secret that the man formerly known as Chad Johnson loves soccer. He grew up playing the game in Florida and is friends with AC Milan star Ronaldinho. Here’s what he told Sports Illustrated about his soccer days:
I played soccer before football, and I was good. That’s where I get my quick feet — my feet are unbelievable. When I got to high school [Miami Beach High], I had to choose between the sports because they were in the same season. I chose football because I saw more opportunity, but it broke my heart. I still follow soccer; I watched every minute I could of the World Cup. I like to think I play football like Ronaldinho, with the trick moves and the anticipation. When he plays soccer, he looks completely different from everybody else. I try to do that too.
In a twitter exchange with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ochocinco revealed his plans to potentially join Italian Serie A team AC Milan. So he may join his buddy Ronaldinho in early 2011 if the NFL can’t get a deal done. Here are the screengrabs of the tweets:
The most hilarious part of Ochocinco’s potential international soccer career? Chad Ochocinco would become just the THIRD American to ever play in the Italian Serie A. Alexei Lalas was the first when he joined Padova in 1994 and Oguchi Onyewu (out with a torn knee tendon) is currently signed with AC Milan.
It doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Playing in the Italian league would probably pay better than the UFL (or CFL?) and pose less of an injury risk. Ochocinco would also substantially expand his fanbase internationally. Though, one has to wonder if he’d actually make an impact on one of the best teams in the world. He’d be lucky to earn minutes as a substitute considering he hasn’t trained or played in years. And there are still question to be answered about Chad’s move to Italy. Will he change his name to Otto Cinque? Will I have to pay for a new Ochocinco iPhone application? Only time will tell.