The Footballing Stars Donating to Help Others
We always seem to be hearing about how footballers make too much money, and that it never seems to go to a worthwhile cause. Well, here are just a few examples of soccer stars giving away some of their fortune to help those in greater need.
We’ll start off with someone you might be surprised is no stranger to giving charity: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Although one of the richest footballers in the world, much of Ronaldo’s charity work is done with little media attention and appearing at odds with the egotistical persona presented to the world. For example, in 2012, he paid for the cancer treatment of a nine-year-old fan.
In January he celebrated receiving the FIFA Ballon D’Or (European Footballer of the Year Award) with a group of children suffering from leukaemia, keeping a promise to them he had made on radio that if he won he would celebrate with them.
Then in March, the family of a 10-month-old little boy, Erik Ortiz Cruz from Spain, asked if Ronaldo would be willing to donate signed boots and a shirt to a fundraising auction to pay for the baby’s operation.
Erik was born with a rare brain disorder called cortical dysplasia that causes dozens of daily seizures, and needed a vital operation costing in the region of €60,000 (£47,000). The auction was to raise enough money for Erik to have the op.
But not only did Ronaldo donate his boots and a signed shirt, he also sent along a cheque covering the costs of the operation and offered to pay for any of the follow-up treatments.
Moving on now to Germany and Arsenal star Mesut Ozil. Previous reports suggested that the footballer would be donating his World Cup winnings to the children of Gaza, but these later proved inaccurate. Instead, he was giving the £240,000 to projects in Brazil.
Ozil originally said before the competition that he was paying for 11 sick Brazilian children to have necessary surgery, but after his team’s victorious final, decided to help a further 12 children, to make it up to 23 – the same number of players in the German squad.
Posting on Facebook, he said: “Dear fans, prior to the World Cup I supported the surgery of 11 sick children. Since the victory of the World Cup is not only due to 11 players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23. This is my personal thank you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil.”
For some of the teams participating in the World Cup, it is custom for their pay to be given away. For example, English teams tend to donate their wages from playing in international games, regardless of where they place. But this isn’t just limited to the UK.
The Argentine side finished second in the World Cup after losing to Germany, and were paid $14.6 million. Midfielder Javier Mascherano apparently came up with the wonderful idea of donating their bonuses to the paediatric cancer centre at Hospital Garrahan in Buenos Aires in Argentina. As captain Lionel Messi has previously donated to the hospital before, through his foundation, he oversaw the donation of £80,000 towards an expansion of the centre.
The Algerian World Cup team, the only African side to make it past the group stages of the competition, were paid around £5.25 million for their part in the World Cup, and bonuses after being knocked out in the final 16. The team apparently plans to donate all of it to the embattled people of Gaza.
So while it might be true that football players do earn too much money, at least some of them know that it can be paid forward and try to help those less fortunate than themselves, setting a great example for the children who will inevitably look to them as role models.