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The most charitable football players

The past month has really put the spotlight on world football, amidst the crazy money being spent in the transfer window. On the other hand, the noticeable charitable efforts of current football players are also being highlighted.
Most recently, Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels has been in the headlines for joining Common Goals - – a Berlin founded football charity organization. After Manchester United’s Juan Mata became the first player to join Common Goal this month, Hummels quickly joined in on the act. Common Goals aim to get footballers to done 1% of their salary to initiatives for disadvantaged children. The fund touches over 80 countries, as it is a collection of 120 charities across these countries making the impact worldwide. Hummels said that he feels through initiatives such as Common Goal “we are building a bridge between football and its social impact around the world”. Juan Mata was surprised by Hummels response, as they had never met in person before. Mata and Hummels are not the only high profile football players that make noticeable donations towards charities. Let’s take a look at the football players that are known for the charitable efforts:

Didier Drogba

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Arguably one of Africa’s finest footballers ever, Didier Drogba is not shy when it comes to being a charitable individual. Being the first African player to score 100 goals in the English Premier League and scoring 10 goals in 10 finals for Chelsea is just some of the amazing work he has done on the field. Off the field, has been as spectacular as well. In 2009, he donated the $3 million he earned for endorsing Pepsi, which went to reconstructing a hospital in Ivory Coast, Abidjan – his hometown. He also started the Didier Drogba Foundation to continue his philanthropic work. This charity particularly looks at education and healthcare of African children. He has also done work with UNICEF, and much more organizations partnering with the Didier Drogba Foundation to uplift impoverished communities on the African continent.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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Never one to stay clear of the headlines, even when it comes to the great things. Cristiano Ronaldo was once named the “most charitable athlete 2015/16”, and that’s across all sports. Ronaldo donated his 2016 Champions League winnings, which amounted to €600,000 to worthy causes. He also donated €58,000 to assist the operation of a 10-month old baby, as well as a cancer patient who was only nine years old. Furthermore, the also donated €115,000 in aid of cancer research. After the devastating Nepal earthquake which killed 8000 people, Ronaldo quickly donated £5.5 million to assist the country. The four-time-player of the year clearly has his heart in the right place.

Lionel Messi

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Of course, Lionel Messi makes this list. There are not many lists that include the words ‘greatest’ and ‘football’ in which Messi does not appear on. Messi has always been an active participant when it comes to charitable work, and particularly known for his work with UNICEF. He worked with other stars to bring quality education to the under privileged children of Nepal, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Messi also started the Lionel Messi Foundation, which has helped several foundations and organizations, including medical research in Argentina and Spain. He also donated a substantial amount of money to build 20 classrooms in Syria. This helped 1600 Syrian children get back into school.

Last week it was revealed Messi’s foundation helped to build 20 classrooms for schools in Syria, with the invaluable work helping over 1,600 children caught up in the horrific civil war back into education He also donated €350,000 to needy children in Spain.


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The most expensive player in the history of Football also does more than his bit for charity. Most notably, his project “Waves for Water” had great impact, which looked to provide clean water to needy communities in Brazil. He also partnered with PokerStars to donate to the underprivileged in Brazil (raised over €85k). He also regularly hosts and plays in charity games. The most famous of them being the Neymar Charity Home Game, which gathered 80 players to donate €850.

Mario Balotelli

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One of the most divisive footballers in recent times, Mario Balotelli surprises many by getting onto this list. There is one reason in particular, and that is the fact that he donates 50% of his salary to children in Africa. That’s extremely impressive for someone who often comes off as bad-tempered, spoiled and hated by many. He clearly does have a soft spot.

Michael Essien

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Ghanaian international, and Chelsea Legend Michael Essien, has done tremendous work across the world with the Michael Essien Foundation. Through the foundation, he was able to provide basic necessities and opportunities for the people of Awutu Breku in Ghana. The foundation provides healthcare, libraries, education facilities and clean drinking water. The dynamic midfielder was able to get other big name players involved, including Eto’o, Fernando Torres, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand.

Mesut Ozil, David Beckham, Steve Naismith, Craig Bellamy. It’s great to see the best football players’ names on this list. In fact, several football stars often make the effort to donate to charities. It’s an interesting contrast, in the flashy lives that football players live and the charity which they give.

Saadiq Samodien

Saadiq Samodien

A writer with a passion for all things football! I’ve written for several publications and my love for sport is what keeps me doing this. I enjoy local culture, long walks and extreme sport!

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