Soccer generates passion, dedication and commitment, and also a lot of money for soccer players.
While many have been criticized for flaunting their money and living a life of excess, others have dedicated their time to helping those in need.
If you didn’t already know about this facet of some of the world’s most acclaimed athletes, pay attention to this selection of active soccer players who seek to contribute to society.
10 – Lionel Messi
Messi’s ability on the field is undisputed, but the Argentine soccer player has also demonstrated his great generosity both in his native country and abroad.
Messi is an active participant in many of the activities organized by UNICEF and has also participated in a campaign to extend educational opportunities to marginalized children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal.
He also has his own foundation that seeks to help underprivileged children fulfill their dreams.
9 – Luis Suarez
FC Barcelona’s Uruguayan player has not forgotten his origins either. Suarez was named ambassador of the Perez Scremini Foundation, which fights against childhood cancer. On many occasions, he visits the children, in addition to starring in fundraising campaigns.
With the floods in Salto in 2016, the player donated quilts, powdered milk, diapers and food, along with other Uruguayan players who also showed their solidarity with Salto and Dolores, such as Godín and Cavani.
8 – Michael Essien
A native of Ghana, Michael Essien is a very successful midfielder with a big heart.
The player created the Michael Essien Foundation, which seeks to help the underprivileged in his hometown by providing sanitary equipment, public toilets, libraries and clean drinking water.
In addition to his own foundation, Essien is involved in an initiative called “Reading Goals,” which helps develop reading habits among young people in his home country.
7 – Mesut Ozil
German player Mesut Ozil is world-renowned on the pitch, but also for his charity work.
Ozil was awarded the Permio Laureaus after donating all his winnings from the 2014 World Cup.
The money went to treat 23 children in Brazil with medical needs.
Before the World Cup, the player’s intention was to sponsor surgeries for 11 children (one for each member of the German team) but at the conclusion of the tournament, the player raised the number to help more children.
6 – Juan Mata
Manchester United’s Spanish player Juan Mata has pledged to donate 1% of his salary to a charity that supports global soccer initiatives for underprivileged children.
He has even been encouraged to invite his fellow footballers to join the cause to support charities around the world.
5 – Keylor Navas
Costa Rican-born Real Madrid player Keylor Navas is no slouch when it comes to generosity.
Not only has he collaborated with various solidarity campaigns to help children in need, but he also cut his hair in honor of children fighting cancer.
4 – Iker Casillas
Spanish football player Iker Casillas has been a notorious collaborator in solidarity initiatives such as the NGO Plan, which carries out several non-profit projects.
He was also named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program.
3 – Mario Balotelli
On the pitch he is considered a player of great character, capricious and complicated.
But Balotelli is not only very mindful of his origins, he also has a very solidary side.
The player has donated money directly to street people, or rented them rooms in hotels during Christmas.
On one occasion, a child asked him for an autograph and upon learning that he was suffering from bullying, he decided to accompany the youngster with his mother to school and met with the principal and the other children to try to resolve the situation.
He is also a dog fanatic and has helped many animal shelters monetarily.
2 – Didier Drogba
African player Didier Drogba has his own foundation that provides food, clothing, educational and health supplies to poor children in Africa.
And he has received an award for his work in Africa with his foundation.
The player has also collaborated in the construction of hospitals and orphanages for children.
1 – Cristiano Ronaldo
The Real Madrid player has always been seen flaunting his money, using the best brands, traveling in private yachts and living a life of luxury and fame.
However, Ronaldo has shown that he also has a generous side.
The player has donated millions of euros to shelters and hospitals, as well as jerseys and his golden boot to charity events.
He has donated thousands of dollars to a cancer treatment center in Portugal and, most recently, he has helped those affected by the fires in Portugal, funding medical care for 370 victims with his own money.