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Coral’s five returning sporting stars following exiles

| 13.05.2015

Following the news that Kevin Pietersen’s England cricket exile is to continue, after new directer Andrew Strauss confirmed in an interview, we find five other top names around the world of sport that managed to find a way back after previously being exiled.

Muhammad Ali
Widely considered to be the greatest boxer history, the only ever three-time lineal World Heavyweight champion was a genuine sporting great. However, even the ‘the Greatest’ came under the spotlight and was banned during what would have been the peak of his fighting career.

In 1967, three years after winning the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston, Ali refused to be conscripted into the US Military, citing religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War as his reasoning, eventually being arrested and found guilty of draft evasion charges as he was stripped of his title.

After not fighting for years, the historic sportsman had his conviction eventually overturned and went on to clinch two further world titles in 1974 and 1978, regaining his earlier deprived belts.

Watch Ali enter the ring after George Foreman’s fight and lay an onslaught of criticism on his rival…

David Beckham
‘Becks’ is one of, if not, the most recognisable sporting figures in the world of sport, however has made a career of battling against the odds and proving managers, punters and fans wrong.

Although Sir Alex Ferguson is perhaps the one exception, not giving into his charms, Beckham won over then-Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello and ex-England head coach Steve McClaren, after they previously implied there was no way back.

Back in January, 2007, Beckham announced that he had signed a pre-contract with MLS outfit LA Galaxy, whilst still at Los Blancos, which then prompted Capello to say that the midfielder had played his last game for the club. The Italian went back on that statement, though, and picked him in key matches for the rest of the season.

Capello later managed Beckham with England, and gave him his 100th cap, however got the last laugh as the current Russia boss effectively brought the curtain down on his international career.

Watch Beckham’s goals for Real Madrid…

Dwain Chambers
British sprinter Chambers was one of the most highly-rated youngsters in athletics before being banned from taking part in events for two years after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

he tried out other sports in the meantime, but was overall unsuccessful in his attempts to become a professional NFL and rugby league player.

Part of Chambers’ ban meant that he would never be able to take part in an Olympics, Commonwealth Games, or many events on the European racing circuit, but eventually that decision was overturned and he later took part at the 2012 London Olympics.

Watch Chambers in action for rugby league side Castleford against York…

Alex Higgins
Two-time world snooker champion ‘The Hurricane’ captivated snooker with his eccentric nature on and off the baize, possessing a ferocious temper which combined with a thrilling style of play to make the Belfast-born potter a truly exciting sports star.

The most sensational controversial off-the-baize incident came in 1986, when ‘the People’s Champion’ was banned from the sport for 10 months and fined £12k, after head-butting an official at the UK Open in Preston, following a request to take a drugs test.

Following the high-profile altercation, Higgins was asked whether he could live without snooker, to which he replied in typically confident fashion: “Can snooker live without me?”

Returning from his lengthy dismissal, the Triple Crown winner never really rediscovered his previously flamboyant and irresistible snooker talents, though he did qualify for the world championship again in 1994, but further controversy followed before eventually retiring ungracefully.

Never short of shocking moments, watch Higgins have a spectator removed form the arena before arguing angrily with the referee…

Roy Keane
Fiery former footballer Keane was never afraid to speak out, and a clash of personalities with then-Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy (whose current team Ipswich Town are 2/1 to qualify for the Championship play-off final) led to him being sent home from a World Cup.

After he complained about conditions at his national side’s training camp in Saipan at the 2002 South Korea and Japan finals, it clearly irked McCarthy, and it is fair to say that the duo fell out.

“Mick, you’re a liar… you’re a f****** w*****,” Keane explicatively stated after an apparent argument. “I didn’t rate you as a player, I don’t rate you as a manager, and I don’t rate you as a person. You’re a f****** w***** and you can stick your World Cup up your a***. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country!”

Before adding the final clincher to his rant: “You can stick it up your b****cks.”

Keane didn’t play under McCarthy again but, following the manager’s resignation, his successor Brian Kerr recalled him in 2004.

Watch McCarthy’s response to questions about Keane being appointed Ireland assistant coach…



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.