As the world enjoys the on-field magic woven by footballers, an unseen side often goes unnoticed – their relationship with their dogs. These bonds are a testament to the compassion and care that characterizes these athletes off the field.
Despite their fame and fortune, footballers find solace in the unconditional love and companionship pets provide. After all, pets don't care about victories or defeats, goals or assists. They're indifferent to the fever of the pitch, offering a sanctuary of calm and comfort.
Look at some of the world's most famous footballers on their furry companions.
Lionel Messi — French Mastiff
One of the most notable examples of footballers with pets is Lionel Messi. The Argentinian legend is a wizard with the ball and a devoted pet parent.
Messi and his family are known for their love for a massive French Mastiff or Bordeaux Mastiff named Hulk. Known for his colossal size and gentle demeanor, Hulk is a cherished member of the Messi family.
In 2018, Messi's wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, shared a video of Messi playing keep uppie against the then 2-year-old big dog.
Antonela recorded Messi and his kids playing another round of keep away with Hulk a year later.
Ronaldo — Labrador and Yorkshire Terrier
Cristiano Ronaldo shares his home with a couple of fluffy companions. Ronaldo's Labrador retriever, Marosca, and a Yorkshire Terrier, Abelhinha, are as much a part of his life as his rigorous training sessions.
He owned them both while playing for Real Madrid.
The legendary footballer once sent a kennel in Portugal a signed jersey to help raise funds for 80 dogs.
“I've always liked having dogs, but it was impossible in Manchester,” Ronaldo said in 2011. “It was just too cold, and my house wasn't suitable either.”
“They lighten up the house and bring me a lot of joy.” And yes, he also owns a pet cat.
Neymar — Labradors
Indeed, Neymar Jr., the illustrious Brazilian football maestro, is renowned for his dazzling skills on the pitch and his profound affection for dogs. Poker is among his companions, a radiant Golden Retriever whose jovial nature perfectly complements Neymar's spirited personality.
The bond between Neymar and Poker extends beyond the ordinary. Their relationship, as documented through countless snapshots and videos on Neymar's social media platforms, paints a vivid picture of mutual admiration and unreserved camaraderie. The canine-loving Neymar also set up an Instagram handle for the dog with nearly 43,000 followers.
Neymar also owns two more labradors, Truco and Flush.
Harry Kane — Labradors
England captain Harry Kane is also a big dog lover. The goal-scoring machine owns two Labrador Retrievers Brady and Wilson, named after NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
Kane often shares glimpses of his life with Brady and Wilson on his social media accounts, showcasing their deep bond. Whether it's a family photo, a walk in the park, or simply lounging at home, the dogs serve as constant, beloved companions in Kane's life.
Memphis Depay – Chow Chow
Atletico Madrid forward Memphis Depay is a proud dog owner. He has a beloved pet dog named Simba, a Chow Chow breed commonly referred to as the “Fluffy Lion Dog” in China.
He also owns two Rottweilers that often fly with him and offer extra protection. The unconditional love and companionship offer Depay a sanctuary of serenity amidst the high-stakes world of professional football.