10 most generous footballers in the world

Ronaldo

Many a time, footballers and charity have always being looked upon with a sense of cynicism considering the huge amounts that are doled out on them by the big club super powers. However, a few footballers from time to time remind us that the game and its players at the highest level are not all about the “bling”.

Football, “the beautiful game” gets its nickname not only from the aesthetics of the way it is played, but also from the beautiful manner in which its practitioners at the highest level open up a world of opportunities for others.

Footballers who make it through to the highest level rarely forget the hardships that they themselves have gone through in their youthful years and we find many of them opening up foundations; opening up their arms to many in need.

Today we look at ten such players who are always at the forefront when it comes to munificence.

This not sorted any order. Let’s keep the rankings aside for once.

Messi Charity

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi not only has a golden touch on the ball, but also has a golden heart. He is an active participant in the various activities carried out by UNICEF.

He along with Serena Williams recently helped launch the ‘1 in 11’ campaign with the help of FC Barcelona Foundation, Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) and UNICEF. The campaign aims at extending educational opportunities to marginalized children in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal, with the goal of expanding to more countries.

He has also been involved in many other charitable activities back in his native Argentina and even spent his son Thiago’s first birthday with UNICEF.

Drogba Bono

Didier Drogba

Didier Drogba’s colossal status is not limited to within the lines on the pitch. The man from Ivory Coast not only plays tough on the field but also goes about setting records for all sorts of kindness off the field. One of the most decorated players to come out of Africa, Drogba is equally celebrated off it because of his saintly works in society.

The Chelsea forward once donated the full $3 million fee that he had once commanded for endorsing the soft drinks giant Pepsi to set up a hospital at his native ivory Coast.

But, his biggest and most memorable work till date has been the establishment of the Didier Drogba foundation, which has set its sight on improving the education and health of children in Africa.

Bellamy Charity

Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy’s antics on the pitch and things surrounding football doesn’t always yield him many plaudits, but his actions off it certainly do.

In 2007, the Welshman, travelled to Sierra Leone and was deeply touched by the poverty and state of living in the country. Two years later, in 2009 the then Liverpool man launched the Craig Bellamy foundation along with UNICEF.

The academy not only helps in helping kids excel in football but also in their academics; helping to create a better society rather than just concentrating on making better footballers. In 2013, Bellamy shunted out £1.4m of his own money for the project.

Essien Charity

Michael Essien

The Ghanaian native doesn’t only make national headlines for his play on the field. The midfield general has a ruthless streak while on the pitch and the heart of a lion off it.

The Michael Essien Foundation founded by him, tends to the unprivileged in his hometown; providing them with amenities such as healthcare equipment, libraries, public toilets and clean drinking water.

The African midfielder is also involved in another initiative known as ‘Reading Goals’, which helps to inculcate reading habits amongst youngsters in his native country.

Ronaldo Charity

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is truly a king, both on and off the pitch. He gives it all and gives them in ample; whether it be goals on the field or extending his arm to the needy.

The Portuguese international was recently involved with Save The Children in helping the people devastated in the recent Nepal earthquakes. The past has seen him auction off his Golden Boot in 2012 to the ring of €1.5million; all of which was used to make schools in war-torn Gaza.

His other actions involve setting up of a cancer centre in Madeira and being the global ambassador for Save the Children, an initiative which is dedicated to helping children who suffer from hunger and obesity.

Ozil Laureus

Mesut Ozil

The German international was awarded the Laureus Prize for charity work after he donated all of his winnings from the World Cup last year i.e. 237,000 pounds. The funds are to be used to treat 23 children from Brazil who are in need of finances for the medical needs.

The move was widely lauded by the footballing community for his selfless act and was among the few who was widely recognised for it.

Prior to the World Cup the intention was to sponsor surgeries for 11 children, one for each member of the German team but by the time it was concluded, Ozil raised the number to 23 saying every member of the squad was important in their World Cup victory and not just the first team eleven.

David Beckham Charity

David Beckham

David Beckham is not only the biggest brand, pop star or icon that this game has ever seen but arguably also greatest philanthropist. The former English captain has used his iconic status time and again to ramp up projects around the world.

Currently, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, the former England captain has had many philanthropic interests. He is a founding member of the Malaria No More UK Leadership Council, and a supporter of Help for Heroes, a charity aimed at helping injured service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Besides these, he has his own foundation in trust, which he opened along with his wife Victoria Beckham duly named Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust.

Beckham has helped raise $185,500 for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) by auctioning off two tickets to the World Cup party on eBay. He was entered into NSPCC’s Hall of Fame in 2004.

In case you missed it, he also donated all his wages during his short stint playing for Paris St. Germain.

Kuyt Foundation

Dirk Kuyt

Coming from small the seaside town of Katwijk, Dirk Kuyt lived his dream; playing at the biggest stage: the finals of both the Champions League and the World Cup. The Dutchman was real grafter and let his work on the pitch do the talking most of the times. Away from the field, he isn’t so different.

The Dirk Kuyt Foundation has been his passion for nearly a decade, since coming into existence in 2006. The organization has helped better the lives of children across the globe; from Holland to Brazil and from Nepal to Ghana.

Kanu Heart Foundation

Nwankwo Kanu

A legend in his native Nigeria, the ex-Arsenal forward had to overcome an acute heart disease to further his career in his fledgling days as a footballer.

Having overcome such adversity, he went on to become UNICEF ambassador, showing his talents off the field by establishing his “Nwankwo Kanu Heart Foundation” (KHF) in 2000.

The foundation has helped children in Nigeria and other African countries obtain heart surgeries and treatment that was sorely needed. KHF has had over 415 heart surgeries performed by 2014.

Zidane Charity

Zinedine Zidane

One of the greatest footballers to have ever stepped on the pitch never let the bright lights of modern football.

Coming from humble roots, the Frenchman has used his stardom to good effect, having become one of the main man behind the annual event called “Match against Poverty”, a game involving stars from across the globe to help raise money for United Nations Development Programme, which benefits project in more than 27 countries.

He also regularly plays in the charity matches organised by the Real Madrid foundation.

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