Which Soccer Player Donates the Most?
While some soccer pros are often accused of living off the grid and being flashy with their money, others are known to be generous. We’ve rounded up five of the world’s most charitable athletes that are making a difference off the field.
Messi has his own foundation that helps improve standards of education and healthcare around the globe. He also selflessly donated a million euros to aid hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is a soccer legend who earns millions of dollars each year in salary and endorsement deals. Despite this, the superstar from Portugal is always giving back to the community.
He has served as an ambassador for major charities, including Save the Children and Unicef. He has also helped children suffering from cancer in their native Portugal by paying for their medical treatment.
In addition, Ronaldo has also donated his boots and a jersey to help raise money for a boy who needed brain surgery. The star even went as far as to personally write a check for $83,000.
He has also helped a 7-year-old tsunami survivor rebuild his family’s home and paid for the child’s education. He and his wife Georgina are active in helping children with life-threatening diseases.
2. Lionel Messi
Soccer players are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world (as you might know if you’ve ever wager on soccer games with an online bookmaker), so it’s no surprise that many choose to give back to society by donating their time and money to help those less fortunate. This is particularly true for professional soccer players, who often donate incredible amounts to charity.
Lionel Messi is one of the most famous soccer players in the world, and he’s also a philanthropist. He founded the Leo Messi Foundation in 2007, and his organization works to improve standards of living in Argentina and around the world, with a focus on children.
Hector Bellerin is another soccer player who regularly contributes to charitable causes. He plants trees each time his team wins a game, and he recently became the face of BYJU’S Education for All initiative, which offers free education to students worldwide.
3. Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is known for his kindness both on and off the pitch. The Arsenal star was criticized for rejecting Arsenal’s pay cut during the coronavirus crisis, but he quickly made up for this by making a huge donation to help families in Turkey and Syria.
He also donated his World Cup bonus to the BigShoe charity, funding operations for 23 children in Brazil. This is an incredible act of generosity from a player who could easily have spent his money on flashy cars and jewellery.
It’s important for players to remember where they came from, and Mesut Ozil certainly does this. He has also invested a lot of his time and money in his native Germany, ensuring that locals have access to clean drinking water and quality roads.
4. Rafa Marquez
The 39-year-old is the most successful Mexican player ever on the world stage. He’s won titles with clubs in Mexico, France and Spain and has captained the national team in four World Cups.
Despite his success on the field, Marquez has had trouble off it. A long-running drug trafficking investigation resulted in his accounts being frozen and his U.S. visa being revoked.
Marquez spent time in New York as a Red Bull but has since returned to his boyhood club Atlas. He’s also a founding member of the charitable campaign Common Goal along with Thomas Preiss, Jurgen Griesbeck and other players. The program encourages professional players to donate 1% of their salary to a collective fund that distributes the money to soccer charities around the world.
5. Samuel Eto’o
Samuel Eto’o is one of the most decorated soccer players ever, having won three Trebles—winning the league, national cup, and Champions League—with Barcelona, as well as two African Cup of Nations titles and a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. But the Cameroon striker isn’t content to rest on his laurels and his foundation focuses on helping disadvantaged youth in Africa.
His priority is to protect young people from poverty by providing emergency aid, education, and healthcare to give them a better chance of lifting themselves out of the cycle of poverty. The foundation also hosts football training camps and has produced 18 professional footballers.
The four-time African Footballer of the Year also donated ten ambulances to his home country of Cameroon during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021.