Contrary to popular belief, not all athletes have air or rocks for brains. In fact, there are quite a lot of athletes who defy the stereotype. For example, the late Brazilian legend Socrates earned a medical degree during his playing career, and after retiring, he made full use of the degree.
There are also a number of footballers who are knowledgeable about and care for the environment, about keeping the world clean and keeping themselves clean as well. Below are a few of the most notable examples.
The Tottenham defender loves his cars and has quite a few, including six classic Ford Mustang Shelby GT500s. He previously drove a Bentley, and he currently rolls around in an Audi A1, but the France-born Cameroon international used to drive the cute, compact, environment-friendly Smart Car. It was almost as much an economical decision (not that he has to worry about pinching pennies though) as it was an environmental one, but it’s a good deed nonetheless.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Assou-Ekotto is a supporter of the United Nations Millennium Campaign, which has goals to end global poverty by 2015 and to provide fresh drinking water for all, and he also made a large contribution to the London Evening Standard‘s Dispossessed Fund, which aims to fight poverty in London.
The former England #1 keeper, who’s still going strong at 41 with Championship side Bristol City, has long been one of football’s unique personalities. There’s the many hairstyles he’s had over the years, some more of a hit than others. There’s his extremely well-written and insightful regular column for The Observer, in which he covers many subjects, from football, to life as a footballer, to life in general.
And he was also an environmental nut before some others in his profession jumped on the boat, with this article summing up his vast interests and endeavors quite well. And as with some of his hairdos, not all of his environmental experiments were a success.
When it comes to Earth-loving footballers, it’s hard to top Gary Neville. The former Manchester United and England defender, who’s now on the other side of the screen for Sky Sports, gained a wealth of attention two years ago when it was revealed that he had applied for planning permission to build an eco-friendly home in rural Lancashire.
Unfortunately for Neville, that attention wasn’t all positive. Initially, he was given the go-ahead, but after objections from locals, his application was rejected at the final hurdle. But as the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.
While his house plans didn’t come to fruition, he did have what was described as the most environment-friendly match in English football history when he had his testimonial against Juventus in May of last year. At his request, everything at Old Trafford that night was powered by 52 windmills across the UK, thanks to a firm named Ecotricity.