The brainiest footballers ever


THEY’RE football’s smartest men.  For years footballers have had their intelligence questioned, but that’s just not the case with this lot  Sure, many players neglect their studies to concentrate on making it in the professional game, and that’s fine  But some like to use their brains further in getting degrees that could help them in life after football  Take Chelsea star Fikayo Tomori, for example, who recently talked about studying for a business management diploma, while on England duty  “Football won’t go on for ever,” he wisely said in a recent press conference.  “When I retire or, God forbid, I get an injury, then I have something I’m working towards that can stand me in good stead for the future ”  And he’s not the only one who has thought about a life after football.  Join SunSport in introducing you the brain-boxes of the beautiful game JUAN MATA  Not only is he an all-round nice guy doing tons for charity, he’s also super smart  The Man United wide man studied journalism at Universidad Politecnica e Madrid.  And during his time at Old Trafford, dancing down the wing, he’s managed to complete a sports science and finance degree too  Not many in the game can lay claim to two degrees. ANDREY ARSHAVIN  If it wasn’t football, it would’ve been fashion for Arshavin  The mercurial Russian playmaker graduated from the St Petersburg State University of Technology and Design  He studied clothing technology, and has put that talent to use by launching his own clothing range in Russia SIMON MIGNOLET  He’s not just a talented keeper, you know.  The Belgium shot-stopper has a coffee shop in his native country, so he’ll always have that to fall back on when his career ends  But should he want to, Mignolet could lean on his degree in law and political sciences for a career change FRANK LAMPARD  Super Frank excelled at Derby, and is doing a credible job with Chelsea and their youngsters  But that should be child’s play for the Blues’ all-time leading goalscorer.  After all, the Chelsea legend reportedly scored over 150 in an IQ test with Mensa  That result meant that Lamps is among the most intelligent 0.1 percent of the world’s population GIORGIO CHIELLINI  The tough-tackling Juventus centre half isn’t as much of a brute as you’d think  Chiellini was a whizz at high-school, passing all his exams with ease.  He later went to the prestigious University of Turin where he graduated with a business economics degree, just like Tomori is studying for  Must be something about uncompromising defenders. GLENN JOHNSON  The former Stoke City right-back has commanded high-numbered transfer fees during his time, so it’s lucky he’s not numerically challenged  In fact, Johnson is so good with digits he enrolled at The Open University to do a degree in Maths  He can start negotiating his own contracts, surely? CLARKE CARLISLE  Dubbed Britain’s most intelligent footballer, Clarke has the right CV to back that up  He was a contestant on Countdown, and was also the first player to appear on Question Time  Clarke has a degree in sports writing and broadcasting from Staffordshire University ROMELU LUKAKU  Man United’s heavyweight striker isn’t just your average footballer  The skilled forward is also a natural linguist, speaking as many as five languages including English, Spanish, Dutch, French and Portuguese  Lukaku is also said to understand German and Swahili, as well as hold a degree in tourism and public relations EDWIN VAN DER SAAR  Another Man United man with a great brain – no wonder they’re so successful  When the Red Devils Dutch keeper retired he studied for a masters degree in sports and brand management at the Johan Cruyff Institute  After becoming a marketing director at the Dutch giants, he’s now their CEO and has been linked with a move to Manchester United to become their director SOCRATES  Recognised for his headband and beard on the football pitch, the late Socrates was one of Brazil’s favourite sons  He held a bachelors degree in medicine from the Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto while he was still playing  Socrates also wrote columns for Brazilian newspapers on everything from sport to politics to economics DUNCAN WATMORE  The Sunderland footballer became only the second player in the Premier League ever to graduate with a first  Midfielder Duncan studied economics and business management, which he finished at Newcastle University  He juggled breaking into the first team with catching up with lectures in the evening while poring over textbooks OLIVER BIERHOFF  The former German centre forward, who famously scored the first golden goal of football at Wembley, is a smart man  Not only is he revered by his home nation for scoring 37 international goals, he’s championed for having a economics degree  Economics is a degree that runs in football, with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also having a diploma in economics  It just goes to show, footballers are much smarter than you think. The greatest goals of Socrates

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