As some of the highest-paid sportsmen on Earth, top footballers have long been synonymous with buying the most expensive hypercars and supercars on the market. The stars of this year's World Cup are no different, with a spare dirham or eight between them to spend on luxurious petrol-powered toys – well, most of them anyway. Here are the flashiest footballers when it comes to cars at Russia 2018, but there are a few exceptions to the rule.
If Portugal megastar Cristiano Ronaldo's record at major tournaments was even half as good as his car collection, he could rest easy knowing he was undisputedly the best player in the world. But when you earn a reported annual salary of €21 million (Dh90.7m), the planet's finest automotive eye candy is almost pocket change, so you can probably excuse him splurging on a garage that includes this "CR7"-emblazoned Bugatti Chiron, below. Want one in the UAE? No problem: that will be Dh11m, thank you very much.
Among Ronaldo's other four-wheeled fancies is this Ferrari F12tdf:
The argument over whether Ronaldo or Argentine maestro Leo Messi is the best player ever wasn't resolved by the World Cup, with both players experiencing ignominious last-16 exits – indeed, given they are both now in their 30s, this may be the last World Cup that either ever grace. Messi can at least console himself with the contents of his (presumably massive) garage, which has reportedly featured everything from a Ferrari F430 Spider to a Pagani Zonda Roadster. That said, when he was rumoured to be the the highest bidder on a 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti driven by Sterling Moss that sold for €32.1m at auction a couple of years ago, he seemed to deny such spending with the cheeky Instagram post below:
The current top scorer at this year's World Cup has built a reputation not only for knocking in goals aplenty for England and his club Tottenham Hotspur, but also as a fairly down-to-earth chap in the stratospheric, hyper-real existence that is professional football. So it follows that he is less about eye-popping supercars and more about classy practicality, while keeping things British with his car collection, such as the Jaguar F-Pace seen below. According to the British tabloids, he also drives a Range Rover Autobiography and, in slightly more ostentatious scenes, a limited-edition Bentley Continental Supersports. Another recent report claimed that England's World Cup players are set to spend a record amount on new cars after the tournament, at an average of price of £215,000 (Dh1m) per car.
A national hero in Egypt, Mo Salah sadly didn't have the World Cup that his star status might have dictated, missing the first match through injury in a disappointing, winless tournament that saw the North African nation crash out in the group stages. One of football's humbler characters, Salah's cars seem to reflect his personality, with tales of him driving a Toyota Camry, in addition to an Audi Q7 and a Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe. Although there are also stories that he owns a Lamborghini Aventador, which suggests he is getting a taste for automotive exotica.
Brazil's talisman Neymar was subject of the priciest transfer in history last year when he moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222m (Dh959m). Those kind of figures have kept his car collection ticking over nicely, even if he doesn't show off his rides on social media as much as the likes of Ronaldo. Probably the most remarkable is a Maserati MC12, a mid-2000s two-seater sports car from the Italian marque that originally sold for €600,000, owing to its limited-edition run of just 50 cars. While at Barcelona, he was also spotted driving to training in an Audi RS 7, which appeared to sneak into his Insta feed below:
Croatia are by far the least-decorated team in this week's World Cup semi-finals, but their captain, Luka Modric, does play his club football at Real Madrid, so it follows that he has a taste for galactico-worthy cars. He has been seen driving a footballers' favourite, the Bentley Continental GT, but his past social-media activity has also revealed he enjoys even quicker transport, such as this 1,140hp monster, the Koenigsegg Agera R:
After being cast as the pantomime villain of this season's Uefa Champions League final for injuring Liverpool's Mo Salah while playing for eventual winners Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos experienced footballing karma when his Spain side were knocked out by hosts Russia on penalties in the last 16 of the World Cup. But your opinion of the combative midfielder might be changed by the knowledge that he drives a personalised vintage Fiat 600, replete with "SR4" on the flanks (his initials and shirt number). As you can see in the video below, it looks like a Matchbox model compared to the other cars in Madrid's Audi-strewn car park:
Currently in the World Cup last four with France, France midfielder Paul Pogba was formerly the most expensive player in the world. And his motoring tastes are suitably sizeable: earlier this year, he was spotted driving to training with Manchester United in a Rolls-Royce Wraith, which from paparazzi photos appears to be one of the Black Badge special editions. That isn't the only Rolls-Royce he has been pictured with, either – on this occasion alongside club teammate (and Belgium striker) Romelu Lukaku:
When France line up against Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday evening, with aforementioned stars such as Pogba and Lukaku on the teamsheets, the combined value of the two sides' car collections will probably match the GDP of a small nation. Much like the hard-working, unfussy style of play that has seen him claim two English Premier League winner's medals, however, France midfield general N'Golo Kante is more interested in getting from A to B than cruising around in anything too showy. Indeed, before buying his Mini Cooper S, when he arrived at previous club Leicester City, he intended to eschew car ownership in favour of running to training. As this Twitter user put it:
It would be remiss not to mention the latest set of keys in the possession of Serbia's Aleksandar Kolarov: after he scored a pile-driver free kick in his country's 1-0 win against Costa Rica during the group stages of the World Cup last month, the governor of Samara, where the game was being played, offered the defender a rather special gift. We look forward to seeing the tattooed footballing tough nut behind the wheel of his shiny new Lada 4x4, which are manufactured in the Samara region.