Who are the most intelligent footballers in the Premier League?
The tag ‘footballer’ often comes with the unintelligent stereotype; that some players don’t warrant. While it makes sense to follow your footballing career rather than pursuing other interests, some Premier League players have qualifications and degrees that will help them beyond football.
3. Vincent Kompany
The Manchester City captain is known for his defending and leadership qualities, but he also has interests outside the sport such as politics and business. He currently holds an MBA (Master of Business Administration) after graduating from the Manchester Business School and says that it’s important that he understands how to manage his money. He’s also stressed the importance of education over the years and has been able to commit more time to studying because of his long injury lay-offs.
With his business acumen, Kompany sees himself as an entrepreneur as well as a footballer and has set up two bars in his home country, Belgium. The bars are focused on sport, with one in Brussels and the other in Antwerp, and were not-so-subtly called ‘Good Kompany’. Neither took off and the defender did a different type of closing down after turnovers couldn’t cover the initial costs. Kompany is also fluent in four different languages, helping him immensely in the world of football and the world of business.
2. Simon Mignolet
What the Liverpool goalkeeper sometimes lacks in footballing ability, he has other talents off the pitch that are just as impressive. Like his compatriot Kompany, the Belgian can speak five languages which include French, English, Dutch and German as well as his native Flemish. Mignolet has a degree in political science from the University of Leuven in Belgium after being pushed into finding something that would back him up if his footballing career didn’t come to fruition.
In fact, he sat his final exams in the summer of 2012, when a few of his Sunderland teammates were playing at the Euros in Poland and Ukraine. I’m not saying he’s going to follow in the footsteps of George Weah but let’s just say he’s more likely to become Prime Minister of Belgium than Thibaut Courtois.
1. Juan Mata
Whoever you support in football, you just can’t hate Juan Mata. The little Spaniard is probably the most thoughtful and intelligent player on the planet and commits a lot of his time to charity. The Manchester United midfielder studied journalism at university in Madrid before obtaining degrees for sports science and then finance during the early years of his footballing career. You rarely see one footballer with a degree but two is something else. Mata is also fluent in English, taking very little time at all two learn the language after he joined Chelsea in 2011 but it’s his charity work that really catches the eye.
Last year he set up the Common Goal initiative with Jurgen Griesbeck, urging players and managers to follow him in pledging 1% of his salary to charity. Since then, he’s been joined by over 30 footballers, including Mats Hummels, Georgio Chiellini and Alex Morgan, as well as the UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin.
Mata was inspired to start Common Goal after travelling the world with Griesbeck and going to impoverished countries to see what needed to be done in person. Mata intends to grow Common Goal in order to help these less developed areas of the world through the power of football, told you that you just can’t hate this guy.