When you’re learning to drive, driving your first car is the most important goal, but everyone has a dream car, the one they wish they could own.
For professional footballers, this dream is a reality, as they’re well known to love to splash their cash on motors. With the most up-to-date supercars or rare vintage classics and with their salaries often running into tens of millions, they rarely bat an eyelid when it comes to buying a new set of wheels.
But just how long did it take some of the biggest names in football to pay off their flashy car collections and how long did it take them to cover the UK’s most popular car?
We’ve dived into the data to find out, looking at the number of minutes each player spent on the pitch and dividing this by their salary.
The shortest time for footballers to pay for their wheels
- Gareth Bale 16 minutes
The Welsh winger, widely hailed as one of the best forwards of his generation and one of the greatest Welsh players of all time, took the shortest time to pay off his car collection from our list of superstars. Bale only needed 16 minutes on the pitch to earn the estimated £483,000 value of his vehicles.
Despite his love of exotic cars, Bale has had to give up on the luxury vehicles as he admitted the low slung seats play havoc with his hamstrings.
- Eden Hazard 17 minutes
The Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard comes next. Despite a season plagued by injury, leaving many fans wondering if he’ll be able to hit the peak performance he showed at Chelsea, it took the Belgian international just 17 minutes on the turf to pay for his £622,000 car collection.
The most notable of his collection is an Aston Martin Vanquish, worth just under a third of the total value of his collection (£199,950).
- Luis Suárez 45 minutes
The Uruguayan international and Atletico Madrid striker is regarded as one of the all-time best and one of the most valuable players in the sport.
Currently earning £13 million a year at Atletico Madrid, it took Suárez slightly over 45 minutes on the pitch to pay off the value of his car collection, which at one point boasted more than 15 vehicles.
The longest time for footballers to pay for their wheels
- Cristiano Ronaldo 2,028 minutes
The 5 time Ballon d’Or winner and petrolhead is known for treating himself after wins,
recently adding a £200,000 Aston Martin Superleggera to his luxury fleet after his hat-trick against Spurs, bringing the estimated total of his car collection to £18 million.
Earning £8,900 every minute he played last season, Ronaldo had to play for over 33 hours, or 22 games to earn the value of his car collection.
- Lionel Messi 1,638 minutes
The Argentinian forward currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain is the world’s highest-paid footballer with an annual salary of £52 million.
Messi is also an avid petrolhead, owning more than 10 supercars worth over £28 million, just under half his annual salary, which took him 1,638 minutes or just over 18 full matches last season to pay off.
His collection includes a rare Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti, which he purchased in 2016 for a whopping £25 million.
- Karim Benzema 1,598 minutes
Renowned as one of the greatest forwards of his generation and ranking third as Real Madrid’s top goalscorer, the striker has a passion for high-performance cars. His collection includes two Bugattis, two Rolls Royces and two Lamborghinis as well as a Ferrari 458 Spider.
Benzema’s collection is worth an estimated £7.8 million and as his salary per minute of play was £4,900 last season it took 1,598 minutes on the pitch to earn their value.
The shortest time for footballers to pay for the UK’s most popular car
We’ve looked at the time it took to pay off their extensive collections of classic and exotic cars, but how long did it take them to pay off the average motor?
We’ve calculated how long it took these footballers to earn the value of a brand new Vauxhall Corsa Design, the UK’s most popular car. With over 6,000 new models sold in 2021, the Corsa is the nation’s favourite.
- Eden Hazard 30 seconds
The Real Madrid winger and captain of the Belgian national team had the shortest time to pay for a Vauxhall Corsa, it took him only 30 seconds on the pitch last season to earn its £17,330 value. Often compared to Messi and Ronaldo, Hazard earned over £37,000 every minute he played in the 2020-21 season.
- Gareth Bale 36 seconds
The second Real Madrid winger on the list took just six seconds longer than his teammate Hazard to be able to afford a Vauxhall Corsa. Gareth Bale earned £7,000 less than Eden per minute on the pitch, although he played 388 more minutes or four full games, which lowered his salary per minute.
- Neymar Jr. 48 seconds
The Brazilian forward currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain was one of the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021, so it’s no surprise he’s in the top three fastest times, it took him just 48 seconds on the pitch to earn the value of a brand new Corsa. Although the cheapest car in Neymar’s collection is a Volkswagen Touareg, with a starting price four times that of the UK’s most popular car.
The longest time for footballers to pay for the UK’s most popular car
- Memphis Depay 6 minutes 12 seconds
The Barcelona forward often simply known as Memphis took the longest to earn the value of the UK’s most popular car. This comes as no surprise as he had the lowest salary per minute played at just under £3,000, meaning it took him just over six minutes on the turf to earn its value.
- Son Heung-Min 5 minutes 24 seconds
The Spurs midfielder who can boast of owning a car collection worth £1.5 million including a super-limited edition Ferrari LaFerrari was the second slowest player to earn the £17,330 value of a Vauxhall Corsa. It took Son Heung-min over five minutes on the field to be able to pay off the UK’s most popular car.
- Sadio Mané 4 minutes 42 seconds
Half a minute faster than Heung-min is the Senegalese winger currently playing for Liverpool. As Mané earned £3,700 per minute of play last season it took just under five minutes to be able to buy a Corsa. Although Mané is much more likely to be seen behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental.
Estimated figures for the value of each footballer’s car collections were taken from list articles. Note that these figures are approximate and may not account for the entire collection as the details of some collections may be kept private.
The salaries of footballers for 2021-22 season were sourced from Salary Sport. These figures were divided by the total minutes played by each player in the 2020-21 season, sourced from FBREF to find the salary per minute played. The estimated value of each player’s car collection was divided by salary per minute played to find the minutes played needed to pay for the car collections.
The price of a Vauxhall Corsa was sourced from Vauxhall.