Sports fanatics are obsessed with their favorite teams and players. We buy the jerseys, pay the high costs for all the extra cable or satellite channels just so we see as many games as possible, scour the internet for any important info and look forward to transfer deadlines with the anticipation of a child waiting to open a present. Our love of sports and the athletes who play in them often goes beyond the playing field, arena or stadium, however. Those of us with an obsession just a notch or two below being a full-blown stalker often try to learn everything we can about our favorite athletes, including background, lifestyle, relationships and anything else not directly related to sports.
Perhaps one of the biggest things fans are interested in when it comes to their favorite athletes away from the game is what kind of ‘stuff’ they own. Big houses and expensive boats on the French Riviera are just a couple things which catch our attention. However, one of the most popular possessions of athletes are their cars. Making millions of dollars a year means they can buy some pretty spectacular cars. Of course, it’s not always the Ferraris and Lamborghinis that these players drive – although they always seem high up on any list. Sometimes there is a mix of practical ‘real’ cars and SUVs that many of us could afford.
Soccer players (or footballers as I sometimes call them throughout this list) buy and drive a wide variety of cars, just as you might suspect. Making tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars a week, these players can live out automotive dreams that most of us can only experience on a Playstation or Xbox. The following list looks at 15 of the more popular brands and models driven by footballers around the world. Some of these cars might surprise you in their attainability and practicality. For the most part, however, they are so exotic that some people may have difficulty pronouncing their names. If you like cars and you like following soccer, then you’ve come to the right place.
15 Audi Q7 - $47,700 (base)
Starting this list off is a vehicle which is practical and not overly flashy. The first SUV offered by Audi, the Q7 was first produced in 2005. It was developed from the Pikes Peak Quattro concept car, a vehicle which celebrated Audi’s dominance of the rally competition of the same name. This SUV comes with a range of naturally aspirated, turbo and supercharged engine options from a 3.0L V6 gas to a 6.0L V12 turbo-diesel. Power output ranges from a modest 230hp to a respectable 493hp. Well-built, comfortable and with enough performance, it is understandable why soccer stars like this SUV. Owners include Emmanuel Adebayor, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres, Thierry Henry and Rio Ferdinand.
14 Porsche Cayenne - $48,850 (base)
It is fitting that the second car on the list is the Porsche Cayenne as it shares the same platform as the Audi Q7. That said, all specific designing, tuning and production are done by Porsche. Now in its second generation, the Cayenne is Porsche’s sole SUV. It’s for the driver who wants a Porsche but needs the capability and space found only in a larger SUV. Since production began in 2002, the Cayenne has come with a wide assortment of gas and diesel engines ranging from the non-turbo 3.2L V6 to the 4.8L twin-turbo V8. Like the Q7, this provided a wide range of power from 250hp to 540hp. Players who want to spend a little more for the Porsche badge include Steven Gerrard, Carlos Tevez, Jerome Boateng, Cristian Rodriguez, Robin van Persie and Yaya Toure.
13 Audi S5 - $52,500 (base)
The Audi S5 is the high performance version of the company’s A5 car. Built since 2007, this car looks the part to take on the competition from Mercedes and BMW. It’s refined, yet sporty, exterior is matched by the power from either a 329hp 3.0L supercharged V6 or a 349hp 4.2L V8. That said, since 2012 the 4.2L has been discontinued in this model which leaves just the 3.0L option. A luxurious and practical interior makes this the perfect car for a footballer who wants to have some fun on the way to training without attracting too much unwanted attention. Players who own this car include Spanish national teammates Koke and Andres Iniesta.
12 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG - $65,400 (base)
The C63 AMG combines the quality you’d expect from a Mercedes with the power and performance AMG is world famous for. All versions of this car get their power from a 6.2L V8. Just how much power you get from this engine depends upon the model and features. The ‘base’ model puts out a respectable 451hp. The AMG Performance Package adds 30hp more and gives a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds. The top-of-the-line model is the AMG Black Series which tops out at 510hp and a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. For 2015, the 6.2L engine is to be dropped in favor of a 4.0L twin-turbo motor. This car is a favorite of Formula 1 drivers and, it appears, famous footballers have jumped on-board. Owners include Mile Jedinak, Jordy Clasie, Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj.
11 Porsche Panamera - $78,100 (base)
For those people who want a Porsche 911 but need something a little more practical, Porsche has created the Panamera. Opinions are divided on this car and anyone who watches the British show Top Gear will know the looks of this vehicle got a lot of criticism. Engine options include a 3.0L diesel and everything from a 300hp 3.6L V6 to a 4.8L V8 twin-turbocharged motor which puts out an impressive 550hp and allows a top speed in excess of 300 km/h. There is even a hybrid version for the footballers who don’t want to melt the icecaps. Famous players who find the Panamera right for them include Neymar, Mesut Ozil, Carlos Tevez, Thibaut Courtois, Edin Dzeko and Ron Vlaar.
10 Audi R8 - $115,000 (base)
In the world of pro-sports, one of the most popular cars must surely be the Audi R8. A great combination of power and looks, the R8’s price is actually reasonable considering some of the other sport and super-cars on this list. The R8 has been produced with two different engine platforms. The 4.2L V8 produces 414-430hp (depending on model and year) and can go 0-60 in under 5 seconds. A 5.2L V10 produces anywhere from 525 to more than 560hp (model and year dependent) and can get the car to 60mph in 3.6 seconds. The car has turned the heads of a lot of people and is likely to turn more when you see Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Mario Balotelli, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Stephen Ireland, Angel Di Maria, Alexis Sanchez and Roman Weidenfeller driving theirs around.
9 Audi RS6 - $124,000 (base)
Footballers sure love the cars from ze Germans. Yet another Audi and the 7th straight German car on this list. This Audi combines practicality with performance which is why it’s so popular. Being the RS version, this is the highest performance specification in the A6 family. Production began in 2002 and the RS6 has gone through three distinct generations. Depending upon the generation, the engine can be anything from a 4.0L V8 twin-turbo to a 4.2L V8 twin-turbo to a 5.0L V10 twin-turbo. Power output ranges from 440hp to 571hp and, of course, is mated with Audi’s famous all-wheel-drive system. For those players who need a little more room for the family dog or groceries, there is a wagon version known as the RS6 Avant. Players who own this sporty, yet practical, car include Karim Benzema and Dani Alves.
8 Bentley Continental GT - $187,900
This car may look more suited for luxury than performance but don’t let that fool you. Since 1952, Bentley has produced the Continental in an assortment of versions with varying levels of luxury, performance and, of course, price. Classified as a Grand Tourer luxury car, the Continental GT has a very British feel, despite sharing a platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton. The Continental GT is powered by either a 4.0L V8 twin-turbo or a 6.0L W12 twin-turbocharged motor which produces anywhere from 500 to 626hp. This allows the car to car to go 0-60 in a little over four seconds, depending on year and engine. An extensive list of soccer players who own one of these cars include Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Balotelli, Samuel Eto’o, Lukas Podolski, David Silva and Jerome Boateng.
7 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale - $209,500 (base)
In the garages of Lionel Messi and Mario Balotelli sits this very special version of Maserati’s famous GranTurismo. Beginning limited production in 2011, the Stradale took an already great car and incorporated new features to improve power, handling and fuel economy. The original GranTurismo started around $143,000 – so what does an extra $60,000 get you? The Stradale is lighter and more aerodynamic than the ‘regular’ GranTurismo. Anti-friction technology from Formula 1 is incorporated into the 4.7L V8 engine design, helping it to create 460hp. The power goes through a 6-speed gearbox which shares parts with the Ferrari 599 GTO. All of this combines to allow the car to break 300km/h, the first Maserati to do so. It’s a good thing the carbon ceramic brakes are upgraded as well.
6 Lamborghini Gallardo - $211,500
Available from 2004 to 2014, the Gallardo is the best-selling Lamborghini to date. It may not have the V12 engine found in some of its brothers, but the Gallardo’s V10 gave it good power when connected to either the rear-wheel or all-wheel drive systems. Up until 2008, these cars were powered by a 5.0L V10 which produced between 493hp and 523hp, depending on model type. The second generation cars were fitted with a 5.2L V10 which upped the output to anywhere from 542hp to 562hp. Depending on model, this power gave the Gallardo a 0-60 time between 3.4 and 4.3 seconds. Footballing fans of this car include Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Tim Cahill and Nani.
5 Ferrari 458 Italia - $233,500
Our first Ferrari on this list and what a car it is. The 458 looks like a real performer, the kind of car that looks as good sitting still as it does ripping down the road. Production began in 2009 and the company said that the 458 was not only the successor to the 430, but that it would also incorporate technologies derived from Formula 1. The engine is a 4.5L V8 which produces and impressive 562hp and gets the car from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. Top speed is a reportedly neck-breaking 325km/h. This rear-mid-engine, rear-wheel drive car is not in any way practical, but no-one really cares. Players who have no need to carry more than one passenger include Mesut Ozil, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Edinson Cavani, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere.
4 McLaren MP4-12C - $269,000 (base)
This British car was built to fight it out with the Italian exotics, such as those produced by Lamborghini and Ferrari. The 12C is the first car built by McLaren since the legendary F1. Production started in 2011 and ended this past spring. In addition to its fantastic lines, the 12C has a surprise inside. The car is powered by a 3.8L twin-turbo V8 which produces a blistering 616hp and enables the car to accelerate from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. Weight is kept down with a healthy amount of carbon fiber, plastic and aluminum throughout the body. A favorite of Formula 1 stars Jensen Button and Lewis Hamilton, it is no surprise that this car can be found in the garages of Portuguese teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Costa.
3 Ferrari 599 - $278,300 (base)
The Ferrari 599 replaced the 575M Maranello as the flagship of Ferrari in 2007. Built until 2012, the 599’s primary model was the GTB, powered by a 612hp 6.0L V12 engine – incredible power considering it was accomplished without any forced-induction. This car has a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of reportedly more than 330km/h. In 2010, a 599 GTO variant was released. Lighter and 50hp more powerful than the GTB, the GTO is reported to be faster than the Enzo, completing the Fiorano test track a whole second faster. To be honest, you had me at “6.0L V12” and players who agree include American Julian Green and Cristiano Ronaldo.
2 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta - $318,900
In 2013, the Ferrari 599 was replaced as the company’s V12 flagship by the F12 Berlinetta. The F12 continued to use the front-mid-engine rear-wheel-drive layout so common to Ferrari. There was one small difference. The engine displacement was increased over the 599 to make it a 6.3L V12. The new engine produces a staggering 730hp and gets the car from 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. Overall, Ferrari’s Formula 1 technology and some designs found in the Ferrari FF have found their way into the engine and aerodynamics of the F12 giving it significant improvements across the board when compared with the 599. Players who enjoy trying to control this beast include AC Milan teammates Mario Balotelli and Jeremy Menez.
1 Lamborghini Aventador - $397,000 (base)
Topping yet another list is this exotic from Italy’s own Lamborghini. The Aventador is the successor to the famous Murcielago. Like its predecessor, this new Lambo uses a mid-mounted, 6.5L V12 which is connected to an all-wheel drive system through a 7-speed gearbox. The Aventador’s engine is rated to 690hp and can get the car from 0-60 in a blistering 2.9 seconds. The roadster edition of this top-performer will run you an additional $50,000 above the ‘regular’ Aventador. With only 4,000 planned units, those with enough money have been snapping these cars up as fast as they are made. In world football, Aventadors have found their way into the garages of Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery, Bacary Sanga and Sulley Muntari.