From Chelsea tractors to two-seater supercars that can barely navigate a speed bump, professional footballers are often more associated with their immense wealth and four-wheeled assets than anything else.
Even the most hit-and-miss performers are laden with enough funds to drive the most exclusive of motors. But who can be classed the flashiest footy player of the lot, and are there any humble teammates among them?
Analysing data on weekly earnings, total car value, online following and team appearances, Vanarama outlines the flashiest footballers across several leagues, and determines whether on-pitch performance is the only factor in wealth.
Ex-Arsenal Striker Aubameyang Is The Flashiest Footballer
Comparing each player’s salary with the total value of their cars, we calculated how many days’ earnings are required to cover the cost. Of the 30 footballers analysed, Barcelona frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes out as the flashiest player in our research – needing nearly a full year’s wages (341 days) to pay off his entire garage.
Despite sitting only fifth on total car value, he tops the table for days needed to pay off the equivalent amount – thanks to the 77% pay cut he took moving from Arsenal to Barca, dropping from £350k a week to ‘just’ £80k.
Just below him is Cristiano Ronaldo. Making his emphatic return to Man Utd this season, CR7 is second only to Aubameyang on days required to pay off his garage. Despite his £385k weekly wage, Ronaldo’s £18m garage needs 327 days’ pay to cover. And more than half of that is accounted for by his £10m Bugatti Centodieci.
At previous club Juventus, however, his £540k-per-week earnings would’ve covered his garage in 233 days – three months sooner.
Alongside Lionel Messi, Ronaldo is often debated as the greatest footballer of our generation, but it’s the former that wins on garage value. Although the Argentine’s £28m car collection is by far the costliest, trumping even Ronaldo’s by a whole £10m, his mind-boggling PSG salary of £704k per week would pay off his cars in 278 days – more than a month and a half sooner than Ronaldo.
Between them on the table is Zlatan Ibrahimovic in third. The ever-scoring Swede, still netting for fun at the age of 40, has also put a considerable wedge of his earnings into cars – amassing a collection worth nearly £5m (£4.6m). Currently on £114k a week at AC Milan, 282 days’ pay are needed to cover the cost.
Chelsea’s Kante Revealed As Footy’s Least Flashy Player, Needing Only Two Days To Pay Off His Cars
At the humble end of the table, perhaps unsurprisingly, is N’Golo Kante, commonly known as one of the Premier League’s genuine good guys. First arriving at Leicester City in 2015, Kante was known for driving the same modest MINI Cooper for many years – even driving with a dinged frontend after colliding with a lorry.
More recently, the French midfielder’s added a flashier Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe to his collection, but remains one of only four players with a garage value of less than £100k. With a whopping salary of £290k per week, Kante would have his garage paid off within 48 hours. Liverpool’s Diogo Jota has the lowest garage worth of all players analysed, courtesy of his £33k Merc GLA.
FA Cup Finalists Liverpool And Chelsea Among The Most Humble
The 2022 FA Cup final lands this month, showcasing some of the best talent in English football. And yet finalists Liverpool and Chelsea alone make up the five most humble players in our research. ‘Keepers Edouard Mendy and Alisson are joined by Virgil Van Dijk, Kante and Jota.
Of those, only Van Dijk’s garage tops £100k, with all five players needing no longer than one week to pay off the cars on their drives.
Our Research Shows The More Online Followers A Footballer Has, The More Their Garage Is Worth
When it comes to the most flamboyant footy players, extravagance often precedes footballing ability. Applying that theory to data, we determined whether on-pitch performance or online following has the biggest impact on garage value. While team appearances this season had little bearing on the results, the tables below show that the more social media followers a player has, the more their garage is worth.
Of the five players with the largest followings, only one doesn’t feature in the five most expensive garages – Neymar, whose 319m followers make him the data’s only real anomaly.
Karim Benzema, Ronaldo and Messi are the only others with more than 100m followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. They’re also the only owners of car collections worth more than £5m.
That trend, of more followers equating to more expensive motors, shows throughout the graph, too. Players with less than 10m followers only appear in the bottom half of the results, alongside garages of less than £750k. With the fewest followers, Jota (4.7m) and Mendy (5.6m) also have the most modest garages – costing just £89k combined. That’s 300 times more affordable than Messi’s cars.
On-Pitch Performance Has Less Of An Impact On Garage Value Than Instagram Followers
Despite being the source of a footballer’s earnings, appearances have no correlation with garage worth. Four of the five players with the cheapest garages have played 28 or more times this season, almost every game, while the only players in our research with less than 10 appearances feature at the flashier end of the table – with more expensive garages.
And the players at the bottom of our results are far from unsuccessful on the pitch; all five of the players with the cheapest garages are FA Cup finalists with Liverpool and Chelsea – Jota, Mendy, Alisson, Kante and Van Dijk.
Their mention here also supports our earlier claim of Liverpool and Chelsea players being among the most humble, despite three of the bottom five earning in excess of £150k each week – making for a yearly salary of £7.8m. Kante, on £290k, makes £15m per year.
Gathering weekly earnings and vehicle info for 30 players across several countries and leagues, Vanarama calculated the number of days required to pay off their garages on their current salary.
We then compared total garage value to each player’s social media following (across verified Instagram, Twitter and Facebook profiles) and also team appearances in the 2021/22 season, to determine which factor has the strongest correlation with garage value.