Footballers are without question some of the most well-traveled athletes in the world – so why not make those travels in style? The footballers on this list definitely do, scoring big with private planes and a luxurious lifestyle that’s hard to beat.

Some things in this world just go together perfectly. Peanut butter and jelly. Gin and tonic. Manchester United/Liverpool and an English pub at night. And yes, footballers and private jets. Of course, private jets aren’t exclusive to footballers. LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Roger Federer have all been known to take to the skies in state of the art private jets. Even so, there’s something about footballers that make them uniquely suited to the jet-setting life.

For one thing, the best players get paid a ton. That’s true in every sport, of course, but it’s truer of some than others, and European footballers are among the top-paid athletes in the world. For example, the top-paid NHL player in 2020, Auston Matthews, made $15.9 million. That’s not bad at all, but it pales in comparison to the top-paid footballers in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi alone made $94 million and another $34 million in endorsements in 2020.

Then there’s the fact that football/futbol/soccer is truly an international game. Its top players have a ton of international prestige. Much as America loves the NFL, more people globally want to see Messi or Ronaldo than Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes.

With that global spotlight comes more demand for international games and engagements. The big stars like Messi and Ronaldo fly out to play games and make public appearances all over the world, and that isn’t even counting international contests such as COPA, UEFA, and the World Cup.

These are the top nine footballers with private jets.

1. Neymar (Embraer Legacy 100/Cessna Citation Sovereign+)

Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign ‘D CAWS
Alan Wilson Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign ‘D-CAWS’ (similar to Neymar’s Cessna Citation Sovereign with registration code ‘PR-SMK’)

An icon of Brazilian football, one of the greatest players in the world, and the third-highest paid footballer in 2020, Neymar can seem unstoppable on the pitch. However, there’s one thing that can stop even the strongest of strikers and proudest of private jet owners — the tax man.

Neymar’s first private jet, an Embraer Legacy, was repossessed after a 2016 tax scandal that required the striker to pay £33M back to the Brazilian government. The lesson from this incident was obvious: buy an even bigger and more advanced private jet, and so he did, upgrading to a Cessna.

That latter private jet measures 61’6”, is powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D turbofans which can help it reach speeds of 531mph, has an infrared camera, and has space for up to 12 passengers with its spacious interior, which Neymar’s shown off repeatedly on Instagram.

2. Paul Pogba (Gulfstream G280)

Gulfstream G280 N280GD
Antony Pratt Gulfstream G280 N280GD

The great World Cup-winning French midfielder has for years been a fixture of the Manchester United midfield attack. However, Pogba can also get back on defense with the best of them. He’s a versatile player, and that versatility is a trait that he shares with his top-flight private jet.

Gulfstreams are among the most expensive private jets, but with a €20 million a year salary, Pogba can more than afford it. It can fly nonstop from New York to Manchester. It’s a favorite of his for private vacations to the US as well as quasi-business trips while promoting Adidas.

The Gulfstream G280 measures 66’10”, has a range of 4143 miles, is powered by 2 × Honeywell HTF7250G turbofans, and affords the 10 passengers luxurious interiors, brilliant washroom and all.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Cessna Citation Longitude)

Textron Cessna 700 Citation Longitude N703DL.
Jean-Luc Altherr Textron (Cessna) 700 Citation Longitude ‘N703DL’.

The world-famous AC Milan striker can be a larger-than-life presence on the pitch, so it makes sense that he’d favor a larger private jet too. What’s more, not only is the Cessna Citation Longitude big with its 65-foot wingspan, it’s also quite new, having hit the scene in 2017.

Ibrahimovic is able to take advantage of luxurious leather seats and spacious interiors, allowing the striker to rest up between matches. As with so many of the other footballers on this list, he’s understandably also more than happy to show the plane off on social media.

The Cessna Citation Longitude is 73’2” long, is powered by 2 × Honeywell HTF7700L turbofans, has a cruising speed of 556mph, can cover a range of 4028 miles, and has a takeoff weight of 39,500 pounds.

4. Lionel Messi (Embraer Legacy 650P)

Embraer Legacy 650 airborne
Aero Icarus Embraer Legacy 650 airborne

There’s no denying that Messi is one of the all-time great footballers, with six Ballon d’Ors to his credit. He is the second-highest paid footballer on the planet, which makes dropping a cool £25 million on a private jet as easy as blasting a goal by a poor unsuspecting goaltender.

The Legacy 650 debuted all the way back in 2000. It is a heavy jet that was designed to compete with the Bombardier line. However, sales of the Embraer 650 were halted in August 2020. The 650P measures 86’5”, has a wingspan of 68’11”, has a maximum takeoff payload of 4939 pounds, is powered by 2 x Rolls-Royce AE 3007A2 engines, and can attain a maximum speed of 528mph.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Gulfstream G650)

For as great as Neymar and Messi are, and for as much money as they’ve made in the game, Ronaldo still tops them both as the highest-paid footballer in the world and second only to Roger Federer as the highest-paid athlete on the planet.

Needless to say, he can afford a private jet or two. In keeping with his status, the Gulfstream G650 owned by the Juventus striker is also the most expensive owned by any footballer, costing an incredible £28 million. So what does the five-time Ballon d’Or winner get for his money? The G650 measures 99’9”, is powered by 2 x Rolls-Royce BR725 A1-12 engines that allow the craft to attain a top speed of 610mph, and can carry up to 19 passengers.

6. Gareth Bale (Cessna Citation XLS+)

Cessna 560XL Citation XLS Plus D CEFO
Eric Denison Cessna 560XL Citation XLS Plus ‘D-CEFO’

The star winger for Tottenham Hotspur is known for his incredible quickness and long-range strikes, so it makes sense that he’d favor a private jet that possesses plenty of speed and range itself, and such is the case with his Cessna Citation XLS+.

While he can’t compete with Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo in terms of his payday (who can?) Bale still cracks the list of the Top 10 most highly paid footballers. That’s good, because a Cessna Citation XLS+ can cost anywhere from $6.4 million to $9.3 million.

In terms of its capabilities, the Cessna Citation XLS+ measures 63’6”, has a wingspan of 72’4”, has room for 12 passengers, and is powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D engines that allow it to reach top speeds of 613mph.

7. David Beckham (Bombardier Challenger 350)

Bombardier Challenger 350 at KCLE
GeorgeM757 Bombardier Challenger 350 at KCLE

Nobody knows how to “Bend it Like Beckham” like the original himself. One of the most popular footballers of all-time, David Beckham is a world icon — and between representing England and jetting off to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy, it’s safe to say that he’s logged some frequent flyer miles.

Add to that his marriage to popstar Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice for you ’90s pop listeners) and it’s fair to say that the two can afford to live the jet-set lifestyle. They own one of the most prestigious private jets on this list in the Bombardier Challenger 350.

This jet measures 69’, has a maximum payload capacity of 3400 pounds, has room for nine people, and is powered by 2 x Honeywell HTF7350 engines that allow it to reach a top speed of 636mph.

8. Kaká (Embraer Phenom 100)

Embraer Phenom 100 D IAAB
Antony Pratt Embraer Phenom 100 ‘D-IAAB’

Another Brazilian football legend, Kaká made Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People, an honor that he shares with Messi. Starring for Sao Paulo, Real Madrid, and especially AC Milan, he is one of only eight players to win the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or.

As you might expect from such excellence, Kaká is another example of a footballer on this list who’s quite wealthy, with a fortune of at least €100 million. He’s spent some on an elite private jet, the Embraer Phenom 100, which is a model also owned by another Brazilian football legend, Ronaldinho.

The Embraer Phenom 100 measures 42’1”, can house five to seven passengers in style, has a maximum takeoff weight of 10,582 pounds, and 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F1-E engines that allow it to reach speeds of 518mph.

9. Wayne Rooney (Dassault Falcon 900XL)

Dassault Aviation Dassault Falcon 900LX F HDOR
Eric Denison Dassault Aviation – Dassault Falcon 900LX ‘F-HDOR’

A mainstay on Manchester United and the English national team before his retirement, Rooney now coaches for Derby United FC. He appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ FIFA game series from 2006-12. Even with his playing days done, he still has a net worth of at least £100 million.

He’s had his fair share of off-field troubles during and after his playing days, but Rooney still maintains an active lifestyle; as we’ve seen, for a top-flight footballer, that often means a private jet. Sure enough, Rooney owns a Dassault Falcon 900X, which measures 66’4”, has a wingspan of 63’5”, has a maximum takeoff weight of 45,503 pounds, has room for 19 passengers, and is powered by 3 × AlliedSignal TFE731-5BR-1C engines that are capable of a top speed of 644mph.

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