The king of football, Pele had once described the sport as the beautiful game not only because of the way it is played on the pitch but also because of the fact that it motivates hundreds and thousands of people from across the globe in some or the other, and simply makes the world a happier place to live in.Sometimes, it feels really refreshing to see a number of footballers – who have attained the status of superstars- not forgetting their roots and lending a helping hand to the society in order to lead by example.Here is a team which consists of some of the most charitable footballers.Note: The formation of the side is 3-4-3.
#1 Jack Butland (Stoke City)
The 23-year-old Stoke City goalkeeper started his professional career with Birmingham City in 2010 and has since earned 3 England caps in the process.
Recently, an online appeal was made by a social welfare organization in order to raise 10,000 pounds to send the British audibly impaired women’s football team to attend the Deaf World Cup 2016 to be held in Italy in June.
The target was reached in no time, thanks to Jack Butland who donated 5,000 pounds – half of the entire amount which was needed- in order to show his solidarity to the Great Britain deaf women’s team.
#2 Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal)
The French centre-back who had joined the Gunners from Lorient back in 2010, has already made 170 plus appearances for his club in all competitions and 23 appearances for his country.
Laurent Koscielny was born and bred in the Gallic town of Tulle which is incidentally also the home constituency of the French president Francois Hollande.
Back in the year 2014, the French footballer – who reportedly earns 2.6 million pounds at the Emirates every year – donated nearly half a million pounds to save a local an accordion factory from going into bankruptcy after the local mayor, Bernard Combes reached out to Laurent Koscielny for financial support.
#3 Daniel Agger (Brondby FF)
The ex-Liverpool defender, Daniel Agger who now plays for the Danish side Brondby FF had made 175 appearances for the Reds and won a League Cup and a Community Shield with the Merseyside team.
The 31-year-old former Redman has a heart of gold and paid the entire amount of 2,100 pounds needed by the Danish homeless football team to go to the Homeless World Cup in Chile back in 2014.
Agger has also founded the Agger Foundation in 2012 aiming to help the children in need. The non-profit organization launched their new website in May 2013.
#4 Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal)
Yet another Gunner in the list, Gabriel Paulista was born and brought up in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo. The 25-year-old centre-half who was signed from the Spanish side, Villarreal reportedly for around 11.2 million pounds in 2015 hasn’t quite been able to stamp his mark yet in the first eleven at the Emirates.
Though he was raised in extreme poverty, the Brazilian still remains proud of his community and continuously contributes financially to the youth football team for which he used to play.
In an interview, he had said, “We didn't have water in our pipes and electricity we took from the mains cables. I've seen many bad things, I was robbed. I've seen crimes.”
Later, he also added, “In the beginning it was quite tough, we had to live in such difficult conditions. I had to see things that I don't want to see ever again. It was a violent environment. That situation made me feel stronger to achieve success in football, that's what I always dreamt of.”
#5 Nemanja Matic (Chelsea)
The 27-year-old Chelsea FC defensive midfielder, Nemanja Matic has become a local hero in his home village by paying off his fellow villagers’ debts.
The defensive midfielder was bought by the London club back in 2009 for around 1.5 million pounds before being sold to Benfica and then again from the same in 2014 for 21 million pounds.
According to the villagers of Vrelo in western Serbia, Matic has not forgotten his roots and has become an example in his country by financially helping his villagers constantly, year in and year out.
The Blues man has paid off the tabs or debts at the local store and has contributed money time and again, for repairs to be made at the elementary school that he himself had attended.
#6 Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
The German midfielder, Mesut Ozil is arguably one of the most generous football players of all time. The Arsenal playmaker who had previously played for the Spanish giants, Real Madrid FC has earned 70 international caps for his home country.
He was also thoroughly instrumental in the German triumph of the FIFA World Cup in 2014. After winning the 2014 World Cup, the Arsenal star spent his entire World Cup bonus by funding the surgery of 23 Brazilian children.
Later, Ozil was also awarded the Laureus charity award and made the brand ambassador of the same. The 27-year-old had also won the German football ambassador thanks to his charity work.
#7 David Beckham (Retired)
David Beckham is not only one of the most famous football players of all time but the ex-England superstar is also known for his philanthropic activities.
From being an active member of ‘Malaria No More UK Leadership Council’ to a financially aiding a campaign aimed to help the injured army personnel returning from Afghanistan and Iraq- the ex-Manchester United midfielder has been a part of numerous humanitarian campaigns.
The sensational style icon along with his wife, Victoria Beckham also runs his own trust named ‘Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust’ and has raised 1,85,500 pounds for National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
#8 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
The Los Blancos winger and Portuguese superstar Christiano Ronaldo doesn’t need any introduction. He is not only a top rated footballer but also one of the most charitable footballers of all time.
The 31-year-old who has scored 252 goals for Real Madrid in 229 appearances in all competitions has won the ‘Athletes Gone Good Award’ for his philanthropic activities.
The 6 feet 1-inch tall Portuguese winger who has won 123 caps for his native country has recently donated an amount of 1,65,000 dollars to a local cancer hospital in Portugal.
Ronaldo is also a part of the various awareness campaigns which fight against causes like HIV, drug addiction, child hunger etc.
Amongst a lot of philanthropic activities that he has been involved with, in January 2013, CR7 became the Global Ambassador for 'Save the Children’ through which the footballer hopes to fight a number of social vices such as obesity and child hunger.
#9 Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact)
Ex-Chelsea forward and Ivory Coast superstar, Didier Drogba is, again, one of the most philanthropic footballers the sport has ever seen. Listed in Time magazine’s ‘Top 100 most influential people in the world’, Drogba has built innumerable hospitals and orphanages in the western African nation of Ivory Coast.
The Chelsea legend has played a total of 341 matches for the Blues finding the back of the net an impressive 157 times.
In the Champions League final of the 2011-12 season, Didier Drogba scored the equalizer against Bayern Munich as the London club won their first ever Champions League since its inception in 1905.
#10 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
The little magician who has racked up 308 goals for FC Barcelona in his 339 appearances for the club is the brand ambassador for UNICEF. The 28-year-old who has represented his country in three FIFA World Cups most recently guided his fellow Argentine colleagues to the finale of the world event in its latest edition in Brazil.
Lionel Messi is an active member of a number of UNICEF’s social awareness campaigns such as ‘Reach out to Asia’ which helps the lesser privileged children in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
La Pulga had also founded his own charitable organisation called the ‘Leo Messi Foundation’ back in 2007 which lends its support to education, health-care, and sports for children.
#11 Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
The ex-Liverpool forward and current FC Barcelona target man, Luis Suarez had helped Uruguay to win their record 15th Copa America title back in 2011.
During his stint at Liverpool, the Uruguay goal machine donated 10,000 pounds to ‘Teleton’, which is a charitable institution that looks after children with neuromusculoskeletal disabilities.
Since his move to Nou Camp in 2014, the 29-year-old striker – who has also earned 82 international caps for Uruguay – has racked up more than 40 goals in his 50 plus appearances for the Blaugrana.