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Ryan Babel: ”I was the first and all I got was criticism”

Ryan Babel hung up his football boots at the age of 37. The creative winger boasts an impressive football resume with a series of notable clubs. Babel has experienced many beautiful places and leagues: From the Johan Cruijff Arena to Anfield and the cauldrons of Turkey, he has seen it all. Although Babel has always been busy with music, entrepreneurship, and fashion alongside football, the time has now truly come for his life after football. Although the dribbler is still in his discovery phase, he has plenty of interests and skills.

Ryan Babel

”Now I enjoy my freedom,” said the former Liverpool winger in an interview with NSS Sports. ”I travel a lot and do a lot of things that I enjoy. But I think what I’ve realised now is that it’s hard to figure out what I really want to do and what I wake up and go to sleep with I’ve so many things that I do, but at the same time none of the things I do have ignited my spark and so I’m in a phase where I’m trying to find the right direction.”

Football and fashion

”In my career, especially in the beginning, players didn’t care much about fashion, but those who did often thought that being fashionable meant buying and wearing the most expensive clothes,” says Babel. ”And I don’t think that necessarily means being fashionable. If you look at today, it seems to me that footballers have a much more fashionable style. And the teams and brands have also recognised this and are slowly adapting to promote the players through their fashion and style. When we talk about fashion, I really want to find out more now and see if fashion is something I want to focus on 100 per cent, whether it’s as a creative director or as an ambassador. And yes, right now I’m still in that discovery phase, and like I said, fashion is one of those things, but so is music. I’m involved in the cryptocurrency space. I’m into financial education, investing and helping people manage their finances smarter.”

Making music

The dribbler received a lot of criticism for his extracurricular activities during his football career. ”It’s funny that so many Dutch footballers have now become rappers. From Memphis Depay to Noa Lang, everyone is now going into the studio to record. I was the first and all I got back then was criticism from the Dutch media and fans because they thought my passion for music was distracting me from my commitment to football. That’s why I took a step back, so as not to show that I was too busy with the music.”

But in the background, Babel kept working hard. ”I opened my first music label in 2009 when I was still playing for Liverpool and started scouting for talent. I started signing young and very young artists and helping them realise their dream. At that time I was building a music studio in my house in Liverpool and so I became more behind the scenes, more on the business side, more on the creative side, more focused on helping talent release their music.”