Who Are the Most Charitable Football Players in the World?
To be among the most charitable football players in the world, one doesn’t necessarily have to be the richest.
Because of the large profits footballers make for their teams, they usually have very lucrative salaries; therefore, some argue that footballers today have become greedy. But the amount of money that some of these players donate to the different charities annually proves otherwise.
Who are the most charitable football players in the world? Let’s find out.
Are you curious to see if your favorite footballer is charitable enough to make this list? Let’s see!
If you start talking about footballers giving wages to charity, Drogba’s name is bound to be mentioned at some point in your conversation. The former Chelsea forward Didier Drogba’s effort to help the people of the Ivory Coast in the 2006 World Cup finished a 5-year-old civil war in Drogba's home country. His name was mentioned in TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2010.
Drogba also founded the Didier Drogba Foundation in 2007 to help improve healthcare and educational conditions in Africa. Not many people have done as much off the field for their homeland as Didier Drogba.
Considered by many as the best football player in the world, Lionel Messi, the brand ambassador of UNICEF, is definitely known for being one of the most charitable football players in the world.
He has been actively reaching out to and helping the less privileged children in Nepal, Bangladesh, and Indonesia through the Asia campaign, which resulted in the improvement of the education systems in Indonesia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Other than his work with UNICEF, Messi also contributes money to community projects in Argentina. And on top of that, he paid for the renovation and modernization of a hospital in his hometown.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous footballers engaged in charity these days. As a tribute to his charitable work, Ronaldo was awarded the "Athletes Gone Good Award" for most charitable work. Ronaldo is also known for donating $83,000 to the fund for the surgery of a 10-year-old kid.
You rarely come across athletes who have donated to charity as much as Ronaldo has. He is worth about $108 million, and he is at the top of the list of famous footballers who are engaged in charity. In 2012, Ronaldo raised 1.5 million euros to build a school on the Gaza Strip by auctioning off his Golden Boot award.
In addition to his other charitable work, Ronaldo got involved with the “Save the Children Foundation”, a foundation formed to raise money for the earthquake relief in Nepal after the country was hit by a major earthquake back in 2015.
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The Arsenal and German national team player Mesut Ozil did one of the most selfless things as he donated the earnings from his World Cup victory, in the amount of 237,000 pounds to Brazil, the country hosting the World Cup, to finance the surgery of 23 Brazilian children.
In 2017, Ozil did it again! Working with “My Shining Star”, he helped provide children fighting cancer the chance to fulfill their dreams, like the time invited one child to be his personal guest at a match with Sunderland.
After being introduced to the "Sun and Happiness charity foundation" that supports the children struggling with poverty and illness, the Everton midfielder Gareth Barry gave away his luxurious Villa in Spain to the foundation in 2011 to provide living space for homeless kids. That puts Barry among the most charitable football players in the world.
The former Ghanaian national team player and Jose Mourinho’s top pick for the midfielder position is one of the most charitable footballers in the world.
The “Michael Essien Foundation” started by Essien himself is one of the most well-known football players charity foundations and is also known for providing necessities such as health care facilities, clean drinkable water, public lavatories, and libraries in his hometown.
Michael Essien got famous as the guy who would do anything to make sure his team wins. Off the pitch, Essien is just as passionate as he is during his matches and works round the clock to provide the necessary help for Ghana and its neighboring areas.
One of the most famous football players of all time, David Beckham is a member of many charities apart from his foundation created by Victoria and David Beckham named Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust. He is also a strong supporter of a charitable campaign to aid injured Army veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
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You probably didn’t expect Balotelli to be on this list. Usually, when Balotelli is on the news, it is for all the wrong reasons. He is known for his bad attitude and his short temper on the field, but apparently, he is a sweetheart when he gets off the field.
Considering that he donates 50% of his earnings to help the children in Africa, he is truly one of the most charitable football players in the world. Nicknamed ‘Super Mario’ by his fans, he is one of the many footballers giving wages to charity.
The former member of the Liverpool team, Dirk Kuyt is partly famous for his Foundation the “Dirk Kuyt Foundation” which aims to help the children in his home country, Holland in addition to Brazil, Nepal, and Ghana since 2006. His foundation is one of the most effective organizations among other football players charity foundations.
Dirk Kuyt began his professional football career as a striker, but he became famous after he started playing as a winger. When he retired, he made it his goal in life to teach the sport he is most passionate about, to children.
His other foundation, “Fun for Everyone”, organizes games and events in which disabled children can participate. He believes that playing sports can help these children do better in their social lives.
The Premier League star started his own Craig Bellamy Foundation, that provides young minds with education as well as teaching them football and has also given away 1.4 million pounds of his income to start the foundation in Sierra-Leone.
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While we don’t know how much money Jermain Defoe has donated to charity, we do know that he’s without a doubt one of the most charitable football players in history. Every time he finds a cause he truly cares for he takes it personally.
When Defoe heard about Bradley Lowery, the young Sunderland fan who was diagnosed with cancer, he made extra effort to meet Lowery and make him the team’s unofficial mascot. When Lowery passed away because of cancer, Defoe tattooed his name on his right arm and said, “God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in my heart. Sleep tight little one. My best friend.”
Defoe's charity work has been very significant in the last few years so much so that last year he was awarded an OBE by the Queen of England. Knowing that he’s one of the most active footballers giving wages to charity, that award is well deserved. He started the “Jermain Defoe Foundation” in 2013 to support the Caribbean children who required help, then his friendship with the late Bradley Lowery made everyone love him for his kind heart.
While he was playing at Sunderland, Defoe met the young Bradley, who was struggling with a rare type of cancer called Neuroblastoma. He took Lowery onto the pitch during games as a mascot both with Sunderland and England. He also attended his birthday party and visited the family on many times before Bradley's tragically passed away in July of 2017.
During the ceremony where he received his OBE title, Defoe dedicated it to Lowery and everyone involved with the Jermain Defoe Foundation. If that doesn’t make him one of the most charitable football players in the world, I don’t know what does.
Regarded as one of the most charitable soccer players in the world, Kanu set up the “Kanu Heart Foundation” in Nigeria to make sure that children who suffer from cardiac ailments received the help they needed. Since the foundation was started in 2000, over 500 intensive open-heart surgeries have been performed on children who needed them.
Neymar is one of the top three highest-paid footballers of all time and definitely one of the most charitable football players in the world. And he knows just what to do with his money. He put his earnings to good use by becoming one of the many famous footballers who are engaged in charity.
Not only does Neymar donate such large sums, but he has also started his own foundation, “Waves for Water”. Neymar’s foundation helps raise funds to provide Brazilians with clean drinkable water resources. In addition to all of those charitable efforts, he also organizes charity events and games that raise millions of euros to be spent on good causes.
Hector Bellerin has so much potential as a star football player, so it’s great that he’s learning to be generous at a young age. While the Spanish star was playing in the U-21 European Championship, he announced he’s going to donate 50 pounds for every minute he played on the field.
After the tournament, Bellerin had managed to play a total of 381 minutes. He then kept his promise and donated 19,050 pounds to the British Red Cross. Surprisingly, Bellerin later reached out to his fans asked them to suggest other charities for him to support.
Bellerin has already given away so much money to various charitable organizations that it’s safe to say he is one of the most charitable football players worldwide.
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Frederic Kanoute started his professional career in the Premier League in 2000 with West Ham United. In 2003, he was transferred to the Tottenham Hotspurs and was later sold to Sevilla. Right after leaving Tottenham, Kanoute started the “Kanoute Foundation” in Mali.
Being originally from Mali, Kanoute wanted to give back to his home country, therefore he used the foundation as the means to help the people of Mali. He successfully built a “Children’s Village” there which is known as Sakina, where orphans and needy children will be taken care of. The kids have access to healthcare and athletic facilities right in the village.
Rafa Marquez only had a short career in Europe and made the most impact in the United States and Mexico. Yet, with everything he’s done to enhance the lives of the poor, he deserves to be mentioned among the most charitable football players in the world.
In 2005, Marquez founded several Soccer Clinics in his home country of Mexico. He built the clinics in areas where children were underprivileged and got in trouble with the law. He also managed to start nutrition and education programs to give these young people the chance they would need to be successful in life.
As the next player in our list of the most charitable football players worldwide, we have to talk about Samuel Eto’o.
Samuel Eto’o has spent more than 20 years as a pro soccer player. Starting his career with Real Madrid in 1997, he currently wears the Qatar SC's jersey. His turbulent football career has helped Eto’o become deeply aware of just how poor some parts of the world are.
Like many others on the list of most charitable football players in the world, Eto’o has directed his attention to his home country; Cameroon. Through his foundation, the philanthropic athlete has been able to give orphans education, food, toys, and clothes.
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Same as Jermain Defoe, who was mentioned earlier on this list, Jack Wilshere took charity seriously after meeting Jack Marshall. Wilshere was 22 when he met the four-year-old cancer patient. Overwhelmed with feelings, Wilshere became a close friend of Jack and his family right until the tragic end.
After meeting Marshall, Wilshere continued to stay in touch with the family. He even made an effort to help when he realized that Jack’s brother was being bullied at school. Wilshere played football with him in the park while his stalkers watched.
Considered one of the best goalies worldwide, Iker Casillas is also one of the most charitable football players in the world. In 2011, he was chosen to be the Goodwill Ambassador of one of the Development Programmes of the United Nations.
Casillas was involved with the program to advocate for the rights of the children everywhere while also fighting poverty among children. In addition to his work as part of the program, Casillas also donates money to needy Spanish families who have been hit by different crises.
Kylian Mbappe was only 19 when he won the World Cup with the French national team in 2018. For a teenager, receiving a check for 265,000 pounds is a big deal. But Mbappe surprised everyone when he donated all the money to charity and therefore guaranteed his spot on the list of the most charitable football players in the world.
In 2017, Mbappe donated his whole paycheck to a charity that he was involved with. This charity focused on disability awareness and provided aid and services for people struggling with different types of disabilities.