Kicking ball to soften hearts

Chelsea‘s Didier Drogba has attracted praise for his decision to donate £3m to charity, but he is not the first footballer to show his generous side. FanHouse takes a look at 10 players who have found it’s good to give.

1 – Didier Drogba intends to donate all the money he will receive for being the “face” of Pepsi. The Ivory Coast striker will finance the building of a hospital in his homeland. A 150-200 bed facility will be set up to treat children and it will also be used as an orphanage.

2 – Cesc Fabregas has convinced his team-mates to give up a day’s salary and a win bonus this season in order to raise up to £1m for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Last year, the Gunners raised an impressive £532,816 for the Teenage Cancer Trust and plan on making their donation an annual event.

3 – Niall Quinn
gave nearly £1m – the money raised by his 2002 testimonial game at Sunderland – to a host of charities in the north east and Ireland and also funded the construction of a hospice in India.

4 – Sami Hyypia was at Liverpool last season when heard on a local radio station that a playroom at nearby Arrowe Park Hospital would not be completed because of a shortage of cash. The defender stepped in with a gift of £23,000 to make up the difference and the playroom was finished.

5 – Michael Essien set up the Michael Essien Foundation to help children in his native Ghana. It is believed that Essien will plough as much as £500,000 into the project over the next 12 months.

6 – Gary Kelly, the former Irish international defender, donated 750,000 euros after his Leeds United testimonial in 2002 to a cancer charity that had helped his sister Mandy. She died of cancer in 1998, prompting Kelly’s big-hearted gesture – the equivalent of more than £460,000 at the time – and the Gary Kelly Support Centre opened in 2003.

7 – Craig Bellamy may not be the most popular footballer in the Premier League, but, without wanting publicity, he set up a Sierra Leone charity in 2008. The Craig Bellamy Foundation aims to help youngsters affected by civil war and he pumped in £650,000 of his own cash to get the idea off the ground.

8 – Alan Shearer decided that the profits from his testimonial should split between charities in Newcastle and The Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research. Fourteen charities received a healthy share of the money from Shearer’s farewell game.

9 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer marked histestimonial in front of a packed Old Trafford against Espanyol in 2007 by giving £2m to Unicef so they could finish off school building projects across the world, including Angola and Mozambique.

10 – Rio Ferdinand, the Manchester United defender, has set up a charitable foundation, donating substantial sums to try and get youngsters off the street and more involved in their communities.



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