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Call of Duty, binging 'Tiger King' and listening to Drake - What soccer players are doing during COVID-19 downtime

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How to add a footballing flair to household activities (2:07)

The Exploding Heads put their spin on how footballers can use home essentials to stay match-ready. (2:07)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced football players to adjust to a very different daily routine. Many are maintaining a relentless physical regimen (Cristiano Ronaldo), others are throwing parties for themselves (Dele Alli), while some are just cutting the lawn one grass blade at a time (James Milner).

But like most other people, footballers are finding comfort during these times with family, food, hobbies, as well as video games and and binge-watching TV.

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ESPN checked in on players from the world's top leagues to see how they are passing the time. Have they picked up a new instrument? Discovered a new show? Kept their hands out of the cookie jar? Here's what they told us.

JUMP TO: Video games | TV shows | Music | Hobbies | Food

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0:18

Gareth Bale re-creates UCL final goal vs. Liverpool at home

Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale juggles for the 2.6 challenge, re-creating his famous UCL goal at the end.

What games are you playing?

As you can imagine, soccer players are really into FIFA 20. It's become such a thing that leagues are having players participate in online tournaments, with dramatics almost reaching the level of the real thing.

It's no surprise, then, that the overwhelming majority of those surveyed are taking solace in the virtual edition of the sport -- from MLS stars Hany Mukhtar, Kaku and Francisco Calvo to icons like Vinicius Junior, Everton's Alex Iwobi, the ageless Santi Cazorla, Pablo Zabaleta and Norwegian phenom Erling Haaland -- but it's not the only popular game.

Shoutout to Bayern Munich and Canada phenom Alphonso Davies for picking Pro Evolution 20 instead, while Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is also extremely popular, with Mexico internationals like Jurgen Damm and Guillermo Ochoa, and U.S. internationals Keaton Parks and Tyler Adams all getting involved.

Another consensus pick? Fortnite! Plugged-in players like Houston Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez, Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon, Monterrey/Mexico midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez and Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna are spending their time in battles royale instead of playing out their real-life job on Xbox or PlayStation.

But not every pro at home is spending free time gaming online: Columbus Crew SC defender Aboubacar Keita ("trying to focus on other things like reading"), Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, Pachuca attacker Colin Kazim-Richards, Bayern Munich duo Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski, Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha ("my kids won't allow me the time to play!") and Barca's Rafinha are filling their days with other pursuits.

What the players said:

"FIFA like everyone else. I tried Call of Duty with a bunch of people, but my level is way lower than the other guys so I quit." -- Kei Kamara, Colorado Rapids/Sierra Leone

"I used to play FIFA and Call of Duty, but when my first son was born in 2016, my free time was over, so I stopped playing. After four years, I am back on the PlayStation again when the kids are sleeping, playing FIFA, but I need to improve my skill a lot." -- Adrian, Liverpool/Spain

"Fortnite. I spend many hours playing it. I'm improving and I'm at a high level." -- Inaki Williams, Athletic Bilbao/Spain

"I've been playing a lot of Fortnite and FIFA. Probably a little bit too much, but I'm enjoying them." -- Giovanni Reyna, Borussia Dortmund/United States

"I'm a Call of Duty guy. If you want to win, team up with me." -- Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen/United States

"I play FIFA 20 with my boys from my hometown in Norway." -- Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund/Norway

"F1 and NBA 2K. With the NBA, I am doing NBA Sundays where I play the game against current NBA players, influencers, celebrities. It's great. I play with the Chicago Bulls All Star team." -- Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid/Belgium

"No video games for me. Instead, I have been playing a lot of Monopoly!" -- Olivier Giroud, Chelsea/France

"I am not playing video games. Instead, I have been playing a lot of Jenga!" -- Oriol Romeu, Southampton

"No time for video games, I've got three kids, a wife and eight dogs! No time at all, I don't even have a computer." -- Colin Kazim-Richards, Pachuca/Turkey

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Japan's Makino attempts tablecloth trick while juggling

Japan international Tomoaki Makino keeps busy during isolation by upping the ante during his juggling routine.

What show are you watching?

There seems to be a consensus among players from Spanish-speaking countries: they're all hooked on "La Casa de Papel."

Known as "Money Heist" in English, Netflix's critically acclaimed crime series from Spain has loads of players tuning in including Reguilon, Vinicius Junior, Giroud, NYCFC attacker Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Pablo Zabaleta, Valencia playmaker Dani Parejo, Scottish international Oliver Burke and the ageless Santi Cazorla (lucky for them that the second half of Season 2 was just released on Netflix on April 4.) Even Bayern duo Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies are self-proclaimed fans.

A thriller packed with high-stakes drama and memorable characters; what's not to like? But it's not the only show that's keeping players entertained, with new hits and old classics also being mentioned.

Oh, and a certain new docuseries on NBA superstar Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls (stream "The Last Dance" episodes on ESPN seems to be getting rave reviews. It's got a global appeal, too, with everyone from Thibaut Courtois and Artur (Columbus Crew SC) to Oriol Romeu and Kemar Lawrence (Anderlecht/Jamaica) tuning in.

Other shows getting heavy rotation: "Breaking Bad" (Rafinha); "Ozark" (Real Salt Lake's Justin Meram, New England Revolution striker Teal Bunbury, Nashville SC defender Walker Zimmerman); "Rick and Morty" (America de Cali forward Matias Pisano); the short-lived Marvel spin-off Jessica Jones (Alex Iwobi) on Netflix; HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long); "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (Keaton Parks); and "How I Met Your Mother" (Deyna Castellanos, Atletico Madrid Femenino). As for more recent phenomenons, how about "Tiger King"? USMNT and Werder Bremen striker Josh Sargent name-checked the new streaming show, having just finished the wild ride.

What the players said:

"Peaky Blinders." -- Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich/Germany

"I'm watching 'Power' on Starz. It's a very good show." -- Sebastian Saucedo, Pumas UNAM/United States

"I binged 'Ozark' and 'All-American.'" -- Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig/United States

What type of music are you listening to?

Think of any musical genre and it's bound to have been mentioned. Classic rock? Pablo Zabaleta and Rafinha have you covered. Reggaeton stars like Ozuna and Bad Bunny? Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois and MLS players Mauricio Pineda, Luis Diaz and Memo Rodriguez are all fans. Robert Lewandowski loves Polish hip-hop. And Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr. is big on Brazilian styles like sertanejo, funke and pagode.

And of course, there are lots of admirers of Drake. Chelsea youth star Tino Anjorin, Bayern's Serge Gnabry, Nashville SC's Hany Mukhtar and Dortmund's Giovanni Reyna name-checked the ubiquitous rapper, though there was plenty of love for "old school grime" (Nedum Onuoha), British DJ Hot Since 82 (Isaac Burke), Eminem (Artur), Shakira (Jurgen Damm), Ibiza club mixes (Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka), "music from the '90s" (Charlyn Corral, Atletico Madrid Femenino) and Tupac Shakur (Sebastian Saucedo).

The best reply? That may have come from Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who claimed he mostly listens to "news and relaxed music" he hears on the radio.

What the players said:

"[NYCFC teammate and former Eurovision participant] Gudmundur Thorarinsson's song on the COVID crisis." -- Heber, NYCFC/Brazil

"[Cuban songwriter] Silvio Rodriguez and Backstreet Boys." -- Matias Pisano, America de Cali/Colombia

"[Italian pianist] Ludovico Eunaldi" -- Oriol Romeu, Southampton

"Whatever my discovery weekly on Spotify has for me. It knows me better than I know myself!" -- Justin Meram, Real Salt Lake/Iraq

"I listen to Norwegian music and some Spanish music and that's it." -- Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund/Norway

Have you started any new hobbies?

Cooking and eating are can't-miss favourites (more on that later), but some endeavours are rather surprising.

Alfonso Davies and Josh Sargent have been learning to play the piano, Davies' Bayern teammate Leon Goretzka is trying his hand at boxing (when not reading books), Alex Iwobi is working on sketching/artwork and USMNT star Tyler Adams is getting into photography. Pumas midfielder Juan Pablo Vigon is busy with several activities -- "reading, yoga, listening to audiobooks, puzzles with my wife and playing PlayStation" -- and Mexico midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez is learning French. Wonder if he's considering a move to Ligue 1 in his future?

New England midfielder Justin Rennicks boasted of a 3,000-piece jigsaw puzzle -- we can't imagine how long that would take -- while fellow MLS player Teal Bunbury may or may not have been serious when he said he was "sharpening up his magic routine." (It can't hurt to cultivate a bit of off-field wizardry.) Chicago Fire/Poland midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski is too busy with his son, "who has a lot of energy," to have other hobbies. Meanwhile, Nedum Onuoha is "learning to play basketball properly" and "looking forward to dunking on everyone when the pandemic is over."

"Playing the guitar, without a doubt. It's my other passion." -- Rafinha, Barcelona (on loan at Celta)/Brazil

"I'm starting up classes again in the summer. I'm a psychology major." -- Mauricio Pineda, Chicago Fire/United States

"I'm trying to learn new magic tricks. I've learned how to throw a card into an apple." -- Tino Anjorin, Chelsea/England

"Rap battles." -- Inaki Williams, Athletic Bilbao/Spain

Do you have a guilty pleasure food?

You are what you eat, the old saying goes. And to be a top-level athlete, you need to keep a pretty strict diet (Olivier Giroud insists he's still eating a lot of mixed salads). But with no games going on, players are loosening up the rules (and their belts) on what they're munching on.

New York Red Bulls star Kaku loves him some pancakes, while his teammate Amro Tarek enjoys fried chicken. People eat well in Spain so it's no surprise that Valencia's Dani Parejo enjoys regional comfort food paella, Rafinha is a big fan of chocolate pies, and Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez loves a Spanish omelet.

Two other La Liga players yearn for home cooking as Seville's Reguilon enjoys his mother's lamb while Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams singled out his mom's spicy rice with meat.

Mexico's Jurgen Damm admits to eating doughnuts and chips but justifies it with two hours of training each day -- certainly allowable.

Over in Germany, Erling Haaland and Serge Gnabry can't stop scarfing Kinder Choco-Bons. Those are ubiquitous chocolate treats that have a soft hazelnut cream encased in a shell of fine chocolate.

What the players said:

"Milanesa [pan-fried beef cutlet] with mashed potatoes." -- Pablo Zabaleta, West Ham United/Argentina

"My weakness is Nutella, so I have to control myself, otherwise I come back to training too fat." -- Adrian, Liverpool/Spain

"Jaffa Cakes!" -- Alex Iwobi, Everton/Nigeria

"Goldfish, they're way underrated." -- Memo Rodriguez, Houston Dynamo

"Chocolate-covered almonds from Costco." -- Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls/United States

"I baked some cakes because of laziness." -- Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich/Germany

ESPN's Jeff Carlisle, Noah Davis, Tom Hamilton, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, Moises Llorens, Tom Marshall, Stephen Uersfeld, and Mark Ogden contributed to this report.