When you actually consider it, professional footballers have a very special line of work, and vacation time is no exception. They are bound by contracts and are therefore obligated to be available to their clubs for the majority of the year.
One might, then, wonder what footballers how and where footballers spend their off-season. In other words, where are popular footballers vacation locations?
Well, this article seeks to answer those bugging questions. From football stars like Messi and Ronaldo to other exceptional players like Salah and Mendy, we will provide an exposé on the top footballers favourite vacation spots, all over the world.
1. Lionel Messi
Unarguably one of the most phenomenal footballers the world has ever seen, this Argentinian man has inscribed his name in gold. Ever since starting his senior career in Spanish powerhouse, Barcelona, the 35-year old proceeded to net about 672 balls in 778 appearances for the club. In August 2021, he transferred to Paris Saint-Germain and has not failed to make the French team proud. In 2021, Messi won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a record seventh time.
Together with his earnings from football, he has signed endorsement deals with Socios and sportswear giant Adidas, among others. As per Forbes, as of 2022, Lionel Messi racks nothing less than $130M in annual earnings, making him one of the world’s highest paid athletes. With such astronomical figures, the PSG winger can comfortably afford some of the world’s best travel destinations.
One of his favourite places to visit is his birthplace and hometown, Rosario. When one thinks of Argentina, one of the first ‘major’ settlements that come to mind is Buenos Aires. But this is not so for Lionel Messi. Showing true devotion and regard for his roots, the Argentine man officially tied the knot with Antonela Roccuzzo in 2017, in Rosario. Ever since then, Messi has been spotted several times in Rosario — which doubles as Argentina’s third largest city. It might not be much but the way this city rests by the Parana River bank, the long sunsets, the hot summers, the town’s old straight streets, tall trees and the overwhelming slightly slower pace of life could be tempting to anyone. To Messi, this is where it all began.
Arguably one of Messi’s favourite holiday vacation spots, it is safe to conclude that the iconic nature of Ibiza is not lost on the football star. Loaded with scenic beauty together with a ton of culture and history, this Spanish city is extremely vacation-worthy. The city is close to Barcelona, where he used to compete on a weekly basis. And he’s usually seen enjoying a bit of personal time on his yacht, whenever he’s over there. At times also, whenever Messi decides to play out of the norm a bit, he’s frequently spotted in Formentera — an island near Ibiza. The relaxing atmosphere brought about by the chic beaches, calmness and greater seclusion might be just a little bit more Messi-style.
Ending the list of our top favourite vacation spots for Messi is Antigua! Given the invasion of privacy commonly experienced by celebrities, you don’t need to think too far to understand why a secluded yet fascinating island like Antigua could be an appealing prospect to the father of three. He is reported to have spent his honeymoon there and despite the costliness of the place (about £5,000 per night), his humongous salary proves that it’s nothing to worry about. The celebrity footballer has, once in a while, also been photographed in Rio de Janeiro, Dubai, United States, London, Barcelona and Milan, to mention but a few.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Deemed by some to be the best footballer in the history of football, this man from Portugal has been nothing short of sensational! He moved from Juventus to Manchester United in 2021 — the same club he played in between 2003 and 2009. The same year, the Portuguese man became the first person in the world to have 500 million followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. As of May 2022, he had reached over 690 million.
Ronaldo is a five-time FIFA player of the year and in 2022, according to Forbes, he became the first active team-sport athlete to surpass $1 billion in career earnings. Apart from his football remunerations, the Manchester United striker also has a lifetime deal with Nike and other endorsement deals with Clear Shampoo and Unilever, and suchlike. He has a total estimated earnings of $115M.
One renowned location associated with Ronaldo is Greece, particularly at Costa Navarino. In 2019, news reports surfaced that the father of four rewarded the staff at the resort with an outrageous tip of €25,000. This was after spending quality time in the hotel, spending a whopping sum of €8,000, every night.
Another favourite vacation spot of the Portuguese superstar is Madeira, his hometown. In Madeira, Ronaldo is more or less treated like a god. There are several places named after him — including an airport, a museum and a hotel — and his townsmen have even gone as far as erecting a statue of him. The footballer has been spotted on several occasions in the city, proving to us that he has not forgotten where he came from.
One of Ronaldo’s most memorable vacation moments was at the Bahamas. In the pictures that broke the internet, the then Real Madrid star was seen playing football with his son on the island’s beautiful beaches. Cristiano Jr. drew public attention, with his skills with the ball, which included tricks like step-overs and flicks. The Bahamas and the Maldives are some of the most notable monikers for a vacation, both of which the 37-year old has frequented. No matter what he’s doing or where he’s going, Ronaldo likes to go all out, so you can guess why Ronaldo must have had a taste for these destinations.
Finally on our list of the footballer’s favourite vacation spots is Dubai. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also doubles as one of the most popular holiday destinations of Premier League footballers. From Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, to Jack Grealish and Ruben Dias; several Premier League stars have been seen enjoying their time off in the warmer climes of Dubai. Earlier this year also, the Portugal international shared a photo of his family — Rodriguez and his four kids — basking under the orange Dubai sun.
Ronaldo has also been sighted spending his vacation in Madrid, Thailand, Marbella, France, Miami and Ibiza, to mention but a few.
3. Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr.
At the age of 30, this man has lived a life most can only dream of living. He moved to PSG in 2017, from Spanish powerhouse, Barcelona — where he had played for four years. He enjoys a host of bonuses, thanks to his contract with the French club.
Apart from football, Neymar also earns from a number of endorsement deals with top brands, one of which is popular sports brand, Puma. Also, he has been revealed to be actively involved in the NFT world of cryptocurrency. Forbes sets the net-worth of the Brazilian at about $95M, placing him fourth on the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
Topping the list of Neymar’s go-to vacation spots is Miami. In this picture that made the rounds, Nottingham Forest’s Jesse Lingard had run into the Brazilian international in Miami Beach. Also, earlier this year, a photo of the star — relaxing at sea with his ravishing sister, Rafaella and his girlfriend, Bruna Biancardi — broke the internet. The location of the mini-vacation was later revealed to be Miami in the USA. It’s safe to conclude that the fantastic warm weather, non-stop nightlife and pristine beaches of Miami are not lost on the PSG forward.
When Neymar is not holidaying in the States, he can be found in Ibiza. Although it has a reputation that we are all familiar with, Ibiza is actually quite magnificent. If you questioned Neymar about it, he probably would agree with the majority of visitors who frequently have positive things to say about the location. Afterall, it’s not in every vacation spot you’re likely to chance upon football’s ‘Big Three’.
Ending the list of Neymar’s favourite off-season destinations is (quite surprisingly) South-Africa. The 30-year old has been spotted, at least once, at the infamous Sun City resort of South Africa. The father of one just might be a fan of the pure fantasy associated with the distinct heartbeat and African rhythm of the resort. Some other travel destinations of the superstar include Antigua, Las Vegas and Barcelona.
4. Mohamed Salah
Egyptian family man, Mohamed Salah, has scored the all-time highest number of goals in the Champions League for Liverpool FC. The 30-year-old has also managed to become the fastest player to score 100 goals for the club’s topflight, in the Premier League. His exceptionality on the field is said to have drastically reduced Islamophobia in Liverpool; a feat that earned him commendation in Adidas “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign.
Mohamed Salah has won the Premier League Golden Boot award an impressive number of three times and is esteemed by many to be the one of the best footballers Africa has ever produced. He’s number 33 in the Forbes World’s Highest-Paid Athletes and also features on the Sports and Games category of Forbes 30 under 30 Europe.
It will be misleading to think that because of the machine-esque work rate the Egyptian international boasts, he barely has time for holidays. The Egyptian man has been long recognized as a lover of the Maldives. Simply by looking at a photo or two of the Maldives, you can see why Mo Salah of all people would want to visit there. You won’t be surprised to learn that it’s one of the most expensive choices on this list because it’s a haven of beauty and tranquility.
Judging from the pictures that emerged after he signed a new contract with Liverpool earlier this year, Mohamed Salah seems to also be a lover of sun-soaked holidays in Greece. Photos of the goal-machine in the popular Island of Mykonos revealed him enjoying a soothing dip in the sea after basking in the glorious Greek heat. There’s the possibility that Cristiano Ronaldo and Mo Salah have similar tastes when it comes to holidaying and getting away from the madness.
Mo Salah’s list of favourite holiday spots wouldn’t be complete without a proper mention of the many tourist centers in his very own fatherland, Egypt. The three-time Golden Boot winner visits his home country regularly, using his fame as an avenue for marketing the country’s many tourist sites. By releasing photos of him passing his vacations at the Pyramids at Giza, the Valley of the Kings, the Al-Alamein Beach and even Hurghada, Mo Salah has demonstrated undiluted patriotism for his motherland, spearheading the propaganda for tourism in Egypt.
5. Edouard Mendy
Edouard Mendy is the first African goalkeeper to play for the Chelsea senior team. The African man is a citizen of three countries — Senegal, Guinea-Bissau and France. However, he pledged allegiance to Senegal, going ahead to compete for the team in the AFCON, a tournament he helped the nation win in 2021 and also got recognized as the league’s best goalie.
The 30-year-old also doubles as the first African in football’s history to win both the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year and the Best FIFA Goalkeeper Awards. Interestingly enough, the Chelsea goalie is one that saves beautiful moments as passionately as he saves balls on the pitch.
Sometime in May, the Senegal International uploaded a video that showed him training with kids on a beach in his home country, Senegal. Apparently, the gloves man had chosen to pass his vacation amidst his own, after the 2021/2022 season. The video involved him taking the lads through various goalkeeping drills. Mendy seems to have understood the fact that roots are what support us and make us stronger.
When he is not in his fatherland, Edouard Mendy could be found in Dubai. The Senegal goal-stopper was pictured with his sister, sometime in February, boat-riding amidst the heat waves of the UAE. For a footballer of his caliber, it comes as no surprise that Edouard occasionally loves blowing some of his hard-earned millions in Dubai, the epicenter of all things opulent. Despite not having the same level of historical significance as some other holiday destinations in this article, it appears to be steadily moving up the ranks as a vacation spot.