Reviled by many, Cristiano Ronaldo is, nevertheless, an absolute star.
It’s a common practice among young schoolchildren—to pretend to be their favourite footballer when playing the game. That life seems pretty Utopian to a young fan—and to a lot of other fans, too.
However, despite huge sums of money available to most players in the top leagues across the world, there are only a handful whose lives make us truly envious. These guys seem to have everything, and it’s difficult to deny that we want it too.
The following list focuses on the ones who enjoy the best of everything the sport has to offer.
David Beckham is a football brand all by himself.
Unless the day we become David Beckham is the day after he was sent off in the 1998 World Cup, it would be pretty safe to pick any 24 hours to walk in his shoes.
From refusing to give up anything while playing in an England shirt, to donating his PSG salary to a children’s charity, the man can seemingly do no wrong.
He’s the only England footballer to become a franchise himself, a celebrity icon across the world and generally a credit to the game. His life involves courtside seats at Lakers games, £15,000-a-night hotels while preparing for his PSG debut and remaining unconcerned when his L.A. mansion loses £7 million in value.
Oh, and occasionally playing some football. That doesn’t sound too bad.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world.
A polarising figure, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world, an arrogant showman who will always be second best to Lionel Messi and a selfish character whose love for the game will never compare to his love for himself.
Sometimes he is all these things at once, which makes him nothing if not compelling.
Wouldn’t you love to be Ronaldo for a day, just to find out what makes him tick? Sure, the luxurious lifestyle he leads in Spain would sweeten the deal, but he’s such a fascinating character that it would be worth so much more than that.
Oh, and the girls he's been seen with would probably help.
Lionel Messi is the popular choice in the discussion about the best player in the world.
To win the Ballon d’Or is a wonderful achievement that few get to experience. When you win the award four times, it’s safe to assume that you’re at the pinnacle of the sport.
Such is the case with Lionel Messi.
There are some who maintain that Ronaldo is the best player in the world—it certainly seemed that way when Real took down Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. However, Messi is usually the first name on everyone’s lips when asked to rank the top footballers playing today.
To be Messi for a day would be all about football. Of course he gets paid a staggering amount of money when compared to the rest of us, but reports of his lifestyle never suggest a tendency towards opulence.
He’s a football player first, which is why a lot of people warm to him more than Ronaldo. If you were Messi for 24 hours, you’d want to play as much football as possible.
Mario Balotelli has had a good start to his Milan career.
If we had to pick any footballer to be, based purely on having a good time and doing exactly what you wanted, it’d be Mario Balotelli.
You want to throw darts at the Manchester City youth team? Go for it. Ever wondered what it’s like in a women’s prison? Just drive in. Then, if your 24 hours as Super Mario includes football, go and frustrate people with a half-brilliant, half-maddening display on the field.
Life as Balotelli is certainly full of controversy—but we think it would be a huge amount of fun, too.
A recent report in The Guardian stated that Balotelli has ordered a life-size statue of himself for his new Brescia home, apparently in the pose he struck after scoring in the Euro 2012 semifinal.
That’s the sort of extravagance we like to see, Mario.
Neymar has the world at his feet at a young age.
To be 21, as well as one of the hottest football prospects in the world? That’s a pretty easy decision to make.
Every transfer window seems to bring new discussions of big-money deals that will bring Neymar to one of the top leagues in world football. However, right now he seems open to staying in Brazil. The Sun recently reported that Santos vice-president Odilio Rodrigues intends to extend Neymar’s contract until 2014, at least.
Neymar’s future is going to hold incredible things, and right now he has the power to choose anywhere in the world as his next career move. That’s got to be tempting.
Plus, if we were Neymar for a day, we could sport that haircut in public without suffering a life of ridicule.