Top 5 generous footballers – Craig Bellamy makes the grade

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Not content with being named the best footballer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo seems out to prove that he is also the model professional and a thoroughly nice bloke.

The latest act to enhance the Real Madrid man’s soaring persona has seen the Ballon d’Or winner treat the Benabeu back room staff to new cars.

Ronaldo promised the physios at the La Liga giants that should he be crowned the world’s best at the end of last season he would buy them all the car of their choosing and after his dream came true it was time to open the chequebook.

And, with that in mind, we take a look at five other thoughtful members of the footballing community.

David Beckham

Beckham has a longstanding relationship with many charities and is renowned for his giving nature.

Whether it’s small but notable acts – like donating his and wife Victoria’s clothes to local second-hand shops, his headline grabbing work with groups like Unicef or his own Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust – the former Manchester United and LA Galaxy man is dedicated to using his wealth and profile for good.

This was best evidenced when he signed for a short spell at French giants PSG and  the former England captain donated his entire £4m fee to a children’s charity in the French capital.

Craig Bellamy

With a reputation for being somewhat abrasive it is perhaps surprising to see Bellamy’s name on this list but with his golf club-swinging days behind him the Welshman is now bettering the lives of Children in Sierra Leone through his Craig Bellamy Foundation.

Set up with support from Unicef in 2009, the foundation now helps more than 2,000 boys and girls realise their potential both in a sporting and academic sense through the foundation’s professional football academy.

Mario Balotelli

Rumours that the enigmatic Italian donates almost half of his salary to charitable causes predate even Beckham’s PSG gesture but in true Balotelli style his generosity is highlighted in more ostentatious ways.

While at Manchester City, the striker was said to regularly hand out cash in varying amounts to passers-by but hit the headlines after a casino trip once when handing over £1,000 to a homeless man after stating a fondness for his ginger beard and dreadlock combination!

Didier Drogba

Like Bellamy Drogba hasn’t always endeared himself to opposition fans over the years but the Galatasaray forward has always been keen to improve the lives of those less fortunate in his native Ivory Coast.

The former Chelsea and Marseille man set up and continues to maintain the Didier Drogba Foundation and once donated his entire £3m fee from appearing in an advert for Pepsi in order to build a new hospital in his homeland.

Niall Quinn

This may not be as big a gesture as the others on this list but sometimes it’s the little things in life that count.

As Sunderland chairman in 2007 Quinn was serenaded by travelling Black Cats fans who sang their famous ‘Niall Quinn’s Disco Pants’ song when boarding a flight home after a 1-0 win over Bristol City.

While Quinn and his staff were flattered by the attention, EasyJet staff ordered 12 of the 123 passengers off the plane, delaying the flight for over two hours.

EasyJet eventually cancelled the flight, leaving more than 100 fans stranded at Bristol airport at midnight.

Quinn stepped in and ordered a fleet of six-seater taxis to ferry the fans home and put his hand in his own pocket to cover the £8,000 bill for the 320-mile journey.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.