John Terry. Picture: YOUTUBE
John Terry. Picture: YOUTUBE

In these tough economic times, it’s always interesting (and perhaps a little galling) to see there are those who are not affected. We’re not talking about politicians or their friends, but rather footballers who seem immune to economic conditions.

Impress or depress

This might impress you or it might depress you, but a study out of Europe details the cars footballers own and how many minutes of play it takes to pay for them — yes, minutes.

UK online used car dealership Carspring has researched the vehicles driven by more than 250 of the world’s leading football players, including a number of South Africans.

With this information, along with the estimated salaries of each player, the company was able to calculate how many minutes of game time each player would have to play to pay off the value of their vehicle.


In addition, the study shows an interesting correlation between vehicle type and the player’s position on the field.

To determine the vehicles driven by each player along with their estimated salaries, hundreds of newspapers, magazines, social media outlets, fan clubs, message boards and other resources were reviewed.

Vehicle values were sourced from the country in which the athlete plays, with prices taken from dealerships or, in the case of more unique vehicles, official sites for each manufacturer.

To calculate the playing time needed to pay for their car, the player’s annual salary excluding bonuses was divided by the number of games played in their respective league. From this, a salary per minute could be calculated.


"At Carspring the one thing we love as much as cars is football," says Carspring’s co-founder Maximilian Vollenbroich.

"The fact players drive amazing cars was to be expected; nevertheless, it is interesting there are correlations between their position on the pitch and the type of car they drive."

True, the position in which an athlete plays appears to have an effect on the type of vehicle he will buy. Those who play in defensive positions have a higher chance of owning a sport utility vehicle, while those upfront own the flashier sports cars.

Of the 10 players with the most expensive cars, five play in midfield and four in attack positions, while of the 10 players with the cheapest cars, four are defenders and two goalkeepers.

Some 256 players were researched and 100 of them can pay off their car in less than the time it takes to play just one full game.

"At one end of the spectrum, Manchester City’s Jesus Navas could pay for his modest Nissan Micra in less than 11 minutes on the field. Despite being worth more than $15.5m, Navas shows that big money doesn’t always mean big wheels," says Peter Baumgart, another Carspring cofounder.

"At the other end, Burnley’s extravagant George Boyd drives around in a classic Mercedes 300SL worth about $970,000. Just over 30 games are needed to pay for this luxurious car."

In all but one case, the value of the player exceeded the value of the car. That one case? John Terry, whose Ferrari 275 GTB is worth double his value.

Five South Africans appear on the list. Of these Mpho Mak-ola of Orlando Pirates would have to play four and a half games to pay off his Volkswagen Golf GTi, while Kgotso Moleko of Kaizer Chiefs has to play for 20 hours and five minutes to pay off his BMW 135i convertible.

There are, of course, some big international names with cars to match.

Lionel Messi has a car to match his speed in the form of a Ferrari F430 Spider. How long does he have to play to pay for it? Just 31 minutes and 32 seconds.

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has to play for 50 minutes 36 seconds to pay off his Aston Martin Vanquish S, but then there is Cristiano Ronaldo. He has to play for a full five hours and 15 minutes to pay off his car — but then it is a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse so it is worth five hours’ work.

Do any footballers drive green cars?

Riyad Mahrez of Leicester and Jeffrey Schlupp of Crystal Palace are green and sporty with their BMW i8s.

Phil Jagielka of Everton drives a Vauxhall (Opel) Ampera plug-in hybrid which he can pay for by playing just half a match.

But the real eco-warrior is something of a surprise — Joey Barton, who is not exactly known for his polite manners and discipline, can pay off his Toyota Prius in 28 minutes.

Popular choices

Ferrari seems to be the most popular footballer choice, with 25 players owning one, but what is often perceived to be the footballer’s favourite, the Range Rover, comes a close second with 24 on the list.

Lamborghini is the third most popular with 22 followed by 20 Porsches, 19 Bentleys and four Rolls-Royces.

Now you know, we will see you at soccer practice.

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