Jan Moons is another example of a footballer who is different from the norm. KRC Genk's goalkeeper was a medical student at the KUL University in the Belgian city of Leuven, but gave up his studies after five years to become a professional goalkeeper.
Football and family
For the time being, the 32-year-old, who is suspended for tonight's trip to AS Roma after being sent off against the Italian team on Matchday Three, is concentrating fully on football and family. "I don't think anymore about my studies, and I will certainly not go back to university for a long period after my football career," says Moons. "What I might do is take some quick certificate courses just to have a professor diploma in chemistry, for instance, or physics."
uefa.com: On a match day, what do you eat for breakfast or lunch?
Jan Moons: You have to respect your diet all the time. We have a diet specialist in Genk who tells us what we can and can't eat, and when. So, on a match day, for breakfast, it's the usual yoghurt, fresh fruit and bread, maybe with an egg. At lunchtime, we have pasta, and then pasta plus a little chicken three hours before the game.
uefa.com: Do you take special care of your hands? Are you careful when opening doors, for example? They are, after all, your tools!
JM: No, I do not think about that at all, I even work at home with hammers or saws. You can have an accident anywhere!
uefa.com: You go to the stadium for the match…do you have a set routine in the dressing-room? Do you have any superstitious rituals?
JM: No, I am not superstitious. I change my shirt or socks without thinking that I want to keep this one or not. But in the warm-up, we always do the same exercises in the same order. That is the most extreme ritual for me. But, of course, if someone feels good to be superstitious, good for him.
uefa.com: When do you normally go out to warm-up on the pitch, and what does your warm-up routine consist of?
JM: I start 50 minutes before the game, and five minutes earlier for the Champions League matches because of the pre-game protocol. And 15 minutes before the game, I go back into change my clothes. What I do is always the same: jogging, relaxing, stretching, playing the ball with the feet, some easy dives left and right, crosses, shots. There are a number of exercises that I always go through with the goalkeeping coach.
uefa.com: What do you take out on to the pitch for a match – gloves? A cap? Any good luck charms?
JM: The only things that I take on the field are a pair of extra gloves with a small handkerchief if it gets really wet. I play between five and eight games with the same gloves, and when they are not perfect anymore, I use them for practice.
uefa.com: After a match, how do you warm-down as a goalkeeper?
JM: I do the same as the other players. Normally we relax, jog, stretch and do stability work the day afterwards for the ankles, knees and back - but because we are playing more games with the Champions League, we now do our warming-down directly after games at the weekend, so we have the Sunday free.
uefa.com: And finally, a goalkeeper must have different aches and pains the morning after a match…
JM: I do have a weaker spot in my body - my back, like so many other players, of course. Sometimes I feel it after playing a lot of games, but I don't really suffer from specific aches.
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