From PSG to driving Uber: the story of Daniel Kenedy

Estimated read time 4 min read

Football is a treasure island for many, especially the modern game where the football stars do not only amuse their fans with their footballing skills but also their luxury lifestyles. That aside, it is not uncommon to hear of the grace to grass stories of footballers. Today our lenses focus on one Portuguese football star who after 20 years in 5 different countries has decided to become an Uber driver to make a living. Meet Daniel Kenedy.

Daniel Kenedy Pimentel Mateus dos Santos, the Portuguese wing-back was born in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa in the year 1974. Named after the 35th United States President John F. Kennedy, Daniel Kenedy played in five different countries during his 20-year footballing career.

His professional career kicked off with Benfica in 1993 where he played the next three seasons before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in 1996. At Parc de Princes, he did not exactly cut in and managed only one season resulting in 29 league appearances. Daniel Kenedy moved back to Portugal with FC Porto but spent one season there before moving on loan to Spain with Albacete the following season. He did not also settle there as he managed just 3 appearances before moving permanently to Estrela Amadora where he spent 3 seasons.

The 1996 PSG squad which included Daniel Kenedy

Daniel Kennedy also had stints with Braga and Academica in his home country before heading to Cyprus where he played for APOEL. He then headed to Greece where he played for Ergotelis, Kalithea, Aias Salamina and Peramaikos.

After hanging up his boots in 2012, the two-time Primeira Liga champion made decisions that shoved him into poverty. To compensate for his lack of activity on the football pitch, Daniel Kenedy turned to sports betting and casinos for entertainment.

However, that would mark his walk to grass from grace as he became addicted to gambling. It drained him of everything he had before he could put a stop to it.

He decided to get back into football through management but short stints with Pinhalnovense, Vitória Sernache, Coruchense, Almancilense and Leixões did not give him a new lease.

Speaking to the Record Newspaper in 2020, 8 years after he hanged his boots, Daniel Kenedy said he lost everything and is now trying to rebuild his life so he can support his family. He even participated in a celebrity TV show, Big Brothers Famomos in 2022 but that did not help either.

Daniel Kenedy in actin for Estrela Amadora

Now he wants to turn his life around by becoming an Uber driver. He said he has dreams and hopes this will help him turn around.

“I have my dreams. My dream is football, I love football. But my dreams are fast approaching. Today, I will start my job at Uber with great honour and dignity,” he said in an interview.

Speaking ahead of the start of his new job as an Uber driver, Daniel Kenedy said he hopes it will be a happy day for him. “My first day. Today I’m going to start my first day at Uber and I hope it will be a very happy day for me,” he told Correio da Manha.

Apart from seeking to find his feet and support his family, the 50-year-old is doing his best to stay away from the grips of the law. He recently was declared bankrupt by a Portuguese court. Daniel Kenedy according to reports, owes his creditors 195,729 euros, including about €40,000 to the Tax Office and Portuguese Social Security.

The revelation shows how deep the former star who nearly made it with the Portuguese team to the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan. He was only denied a chance at the mundial due to a positive test for furosemide, a banned diuretic that was in his slimming pills.

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