|Life After Football|
Something of an icon for more reasons than just his football throughout his career, the Dutch international, Ryan Babel, has just arrived back in the Premier League.
Initially joining Liverpool as one of the hottest prospects in Europe aged 20, the former Ajax player was tipped for greatness. On occasion, he showed exactly why for Liverpool, scoring some ludicrous goals and featuring for Rafa Benitez's side in their impressive title challenge of 2008/09.
12 years on from that move to Liverpool, Babel is back in the Premier League having signed for struggling London side, Fulham. Back in the Dutch national team set-up, too, Babel looks to have a new sense of motivation. But, today is the anniversary not of one of Babel's memorable long-range strikes. Nor even one of his trademark darts down the left-hand side.
Today, eight years on, is the day that Ryan Babel made football history by becoming the first ever player to be fined for comments he made on Twitter. Following an FA Cup defeat to Liverpool's rivals, Manchester United, a game which saw the Reds' captain Steven Gerrard sent off, Babel took to the then rapidly growing social media platform to vent his frustration.
'And they call him of the best referees? That's a joke. SMH.' tweeted the Dutchman post-match to his thousands of followers, attaching a mock-up photo of the ref that day, Howard Webb, wearing a Manchester United shirt. Some saw the funny side and even his then newly appointed manager, Kenny Dalglish, urged the FA to have a sense of humour. However, days later after Babel pleased guilty to misconduct, the winger was hit with a 10,000 pound fine, the first of it's kind.
From that moment on we really entered this football and social media era and it's changed the game massively. As for Babel, now older and wiser and with a point to prove back in England, we look forward to sitting back and enjoying him at his best.