FIFA season has come to a close, and the whole world watched it happen. Now that the flags and face paint are being put away, fans are getting back to their normal schedules of office jobs and regular responsibilities. The same can’t be said for the players themselves. Where will the World Cup’s most successful athletes go now to relax, unwind, and escape the public eye?
Paparazzi have caught snaps of these stars spending their hard-earned winnings in elite holiday destinations for years. If their past behaviour is any indication, we can expect athletes like Neymar, Isco, and Cavani to hit up some of their favorite vacation spots ASAP.
If you want to holiday like a FIFA hero, it’ll take more than a killer charge and a sports brand sponsorship. Since these pros basically travel for a living, they know where the world’s most beautiful and exclusive destinations really are. Knowing the best places to go is even more valuable than having winning cash at your disposal. Why spend it on a holiday somewhere that’s not ideal? Their career gives them insider knowledge about the best resorts, clubs, and even entire cities worth visiting.
If you’re interested in following in the cleated footsteps of some of the most famous and successful soccer players, read on and learn exactly where they choose to spend their precious post-tournament time. Then pass this article along to your most soccer-obsessed friends to inspire their future #TravelGoals, too. Every player loves a good pass!
20 Olivier Giroud: Saint Tropez
Olivier Giroud is a forward for the French national team, and he knows how to kick back in more ways than one. Although he spends most of his time in England as an Arsenal player, the French national can’t resist a getaway to Saint Tropez.
Saint Tropez is a city known for its beaches and nightlife. Giroud enjoyed both, along with water sports in the French Riviera and chill time on the beach. He brought along his daughter Jade and wife Jennifer to take in the most sun his country has to offer. If you want to experience French culture and sunshine for yourself, Saint Tropez is the perfect choice.
19 David De Gea: Dalmatia, Croatia
David De Gea isn’t the most celebrated member of the Spanish national team, but nobody can knock his travel game. During the regular football on-season, De Gea earns his keep in the UK as a goalkeeper for Manchester United. Like most European athletes, he chooses to take plenty of weekend trips throughout the continent to spend their hard-earned dollars between training sessions.
These quick trips often go undetected by the paps, but in 2016 De Gea’s visit to Croatia was captured by eager tourists. Fans took selfies with the footballer at the Dalmatia’s Split waterfront, where he mentioned that he was amazed by the beauty of Croatia’s coast. If only we could warn him that Croatia plays soccer beautifully, too.
18 Arkadiusz Milik: Marseilles, France
Milik is a Polish striker with a reputation for staying humble about his goals. He’s less humble about his holidays, jetting off to exotic locations with his gorgeous Polish girlfriend Jessica Ziółek. She’s shared pictures of their trips abroad on her social media accounts, to the delight of Milik’s fans.
The pair recently vacationed in Marseilles. They shopped, dined, and swam in style, taking in views of the famous French city. It was the perfect place for them to enjoy the French coastline from scenic shores full of historic landmarks, like the Notre-Dame de la Garde and the Chateau D’If. Tres chic.
17 Sergio Ramos: Korcula Island, Croatia
Sergio Ramos is the captain of Spain’s national team, and despite this year’s disappointing performance, he’s considered to be one of the world’s best central defenders. He also makes a major paycheck year-round as a player for Real Madrid. With an annual salary of more than $10 million, Ramos can afford to splurge on unforgettable international vacations in his off-time.
When he wants to go off the beaten path and really achieve seclusion and privacy, Ramos has been known to head out on the waters off Korcula Island in Croatia. He was joined by some fellow athlete friends and his partner for some easygoing fun in the sun. Well earned, Sergio!
16 Gerard Pique: Mayakoba Resort, Cancun
When you’re a star soccer player who’s married to Shakira, you know your holidays are going to be lit. Your whole life already sounds like paradise! Gerard Pique and his iconic pop singer wife found paradise on earth at the Mayakoba Resort in Cancun, Mexico for a little post-season R&R in 2014.
The couple has had plenty of amazing vacations with their two young kids, but the Mayacoba stands out above them all. It has luxury boutique villas and rooms that open right out onto their own private slices of tropical beach. Can their high life get any higher? #CoupleGoals
15 Dele Alli and Eric Dier: Mykonos, Greece
Dele Alli and Eric Dier are some of the sweethearts of the British national team, and they boosted their friendship cred with a boys’ trip to Greece last year. The famous duo took a road trip across Greece with Mykonos as their final destination. They brought their fans along via Instagram and Snapchat stories. Thanks guys!
Mykonos is a gorgeously warm and culturally vibrant European destination. Think deep blue waters, whitewashed villas, friendly locals, and great wine. Alli and Dier took it all in before returning to Britain for their pre-season training. If their FIFA performance this summer is any indication, that relaxation did them good.
14 Alexis Sanchez: Paris, France
Alexis Sanchez has earned a few good vacations. After a hectic few months of switching from Arsenal to Manchester United, he brought his family over to Paris to celebrate his success. They took Paris in style, flying in by private jet and then chartering another private plane to show them the best aerial views of the city.
Sanchez shared a lot of his family’s Paris vaycay experiences with his Instagram followers, so if you’re a diehard fan of the Chilean national team you might have noticed pics of them exploring the city of love. Like the tourists they are, the Sanchez fam kicked off their Paris trip with photos in front of the Eiffel Tower – while wearing Manchester United merch.
13 Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez: Miami Beach
These #TeamColombia players are no strangers to tropical heat and sandy coastlines. Their home country is known for bringing the heat! We’d be happy to have a vacation in Colombia, but these native Colombians have cash to burn, so decided to travel and explore different cultures with similar climates.
On several different occasions, Falco has been spotted by paparazzi strolling down secluded patches of Miami Beach with his wife Lorelei Taron and their two daughters. It must be one of their favourite family vacation spots. Rodriguez (or ‘James,’ as fans call him – which is unusual for football fans) is has had fewer Miami Beach vacations, but he also seems to love them. Sea, sand and sun: what’s not to love?
12 Francisco Alarcon Suárez: Encore Beach Club, Vegas
‘Isco’ is just 26 years old and already living his dreams as a Real Madrid midfielder famous for his attack on the field. When he hasn’t been training to represent Spain at FIFA 2018, this player has been photographed at a handful of elite Vegas night spots.
He’s been known to stay at the Caesar’s Palace and spend most of his Las Vegas trip time luxuriating in the lavish Encore Beach Club pools. Less relaxing were Isco’s trips to the local shooting centre, Strip Gun Club, and outings with a “mystery girl” along the Vegas Strip. These trips will set him back plenty of cash, but money just isn’t an issue for pros at this level of the game.
11 Edinson Cavani: Hotel Paradiso, Italy
Edinson Cavani’s personal life is almost as sensational as his soccer career. The Uruguay kicker has kept his fans guessing about his relationship with on-again-off-again ex wife Maria Soledad for years. Back in 2016, the pair were vacationing in Napoli, Italy, but marriage troubles led to them staying at separate (but equally glamorous) hotels.
Cavani himself was reported to be staying solo at Hotel Paradiso, a luxury five-star hotel with amazing views of Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples. Even a lovesick soccer star couldn’t help but enjoy the hotel’s prime location in the Italian countryside. This is how you deal with relationship drama in style.
10 Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba: 1 OAK, Los Angeles
A good FIFA ranking can lead to a good vacation for some athletes. It’s understandable! If you feel like you played well, it can be easier to relax and unwind on a fun trip abroad. That’s the case for French footballers Pogba and Lukaku.
“My holidays after the Euro 2016 final were not good at all,” explained Pogba after France’s win over Belgium. “I still have not fully digested it. I really hope not to lose this final and to have some good vacations afterwards.”
The last time this #bromantic pair splashed out, they spent the bulk of their LA vacation at celebrity hotspot 1 OAK, an uber-exclusive nightclub. Look for them back again if things go well this season!
9 Mats Hummels: Zadar, Croatia
Croatia clearly has something special that attracts top soccer players from around the world, whether it’s for competing internationally or having killer holidays. German national player Mats Hummels knows the best places to go while he is, to put it in his own words: “on vacation, doing nothing but relaxing. :)”
Hummels has posted snaps of himself vacationing in a gorgeous private seaside villa in Zadar, a lesser-known Croatian city nestled like a gem along the country’s coastline. The villa played host to Humels and his close friends/main squeeze, including fellow footballer Luka Modric (who happens to live nearby). To live it up like a local star, choose Zadar over Dubrovnik for your next Croatian stay.
8 Gonzalo Higuain: Formentera, Spain
Hugain is a stand-out player on the Argentinian national team, and he knows how to take a great vacation. Don’t let his nickname fool you; El Pipita is living large. The striker spent some weeks in Formentera, Spain soaking up the sun with a handful of friends.
Formentera is the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands, next to (but much quieter than) Ibiza and Mallorca. Guests on the island can snorkel and sail in the Mediterranean sea, relax along Formentera’s cliff-strewn shores, and charter boats if they don’t bring their own yachts. Hugain stayed humble and just hit the world-class beaches.
7 Antoine Griezmann: Macon, France
Antoine Griezmann came from humble beginnings as a left-footer for Real Sociedad, and look at him now! His skills on the field have helped France reach the finals of #FIFA2018. As a French national you can trust Antoine to know the most luxurious place to kick back and relax in France – and it isn’t Paris.
Griezmann has been spotted enjoying beachy vacations in Mâcon, a historic city in the Burgundy region of east-central France. Not only does Macon have sweet harbours for celebrity yachts, it offers world-class exhibits at the Musée des Ursulines, archeological excavations around the city, and architecture that will make you say ooh la la.
6 Cristiano Ronaldo: Costa Navarino, Greece
Portugal’s photogenic forward Cristiano Ronaldo is a big believer in the work hard/play hard philosophy. Paparazzi have caught this baller living it up everywhere from Ibiza to Reykjavik throughout his off-seasons, usually with his gorgeous wife and kids in tow.
Ronaldo recently opted for a holiday further from the public eye. His hideaway of choice was the luxurious Greek resort, Costa Navarino. According to reports, he and his family arrived by private plane to the nearest airport on the Peloponnese peninsula, and then took a helicopter to their ultra-secluded villa. Sly paparazzi were still able to get some shots of the family playing tennis and swimming from boats along the coast.
5 Luka Modric: Habtoor Grand Resort, Dubai
Croatia’s captain has seen his team to a historic placing in this year’s World Cup, but he’s been on the scene for a while. While playing for Real Madrid, Modric helped his team land some major wins before jetting off to Dubai with teammate Mateo Kovacic for Christmas 2016 with their respective families.
Modric, his two young kids, and his stunningly pretty wife spent a quick vacation in Dubai’s Habtoor Grand Resort. Habtoor is a beachfront resort with a luxury spa, where this hardworking footballer could have had one of the resort’s famous Elixir body treatments. We can’t say for sure whether he did or didn’t, but we hope he at least made time to put his feet up, poolside.
4 Neymar: Palace of The Lost City, South Africa
When you think of Neymar, ‘family man’ probably isn’t the first term to come to mind. It might surprise you to learn that he loves to splurge on luxury vacations for his family, like the trip they took to South Africa last year. Neymar checked into Palace of the Lost City, a five-star hotel in Mzansi’s famous Sun City resort.
It’s got sculpture-lined hallways, opulent waterfalls, and palatial architecture. As if it weren’t enough, one step through its doors take you into the heat and wildlife of South Africa. Neymar took advantage of the resort’s location to take a bush walk, where he and his mama interacted with authentic African wildlife. We’re talking lions, elephants, and cheetahs, people! So cool.
3 Luis Suarez: Niyama Island Resort, Maldives
If you caught the moment when Uruguay beat Russia, you’ll know Luis Suarez as the free-kicking hero with the bicep tattoos. This superstar has chosen to rest and recuperate on sunny Dhaalu Atoll in the Maldives, at the stunning (and exclusive) Niyama Island Resort.
You might know Niyama for its water villas, white sand beaches and unbelievable bright blue ocean views. Unique to this resort is its Thakuru butler service and gourmet in-room mini bars. Other celebrity guests that have stayed in Niyama include Bar Rafaeli, John Legend, and Chrissy Teigen, so you know it’s one of best Caribbean places to be. Suarez is in pretty impressive company.
2 Harry Kane: The Albany, Bahamas
The Bahamas are often Harry Kane’s top choice for vacationing. He proposed to his childhood sweetheart on a beach in Nassau, and he’s been known to post some #TBTs about his time soaking up the Bahamian sun.
Where does a potential World Cup winner choose to spend his hard-earned cash on these islands? Kane has stayed in multiple resorts, but his closest connection is to the Albany, luxury accommodations which also happen to host soccer training camps for kids. You might be able to recognize the Albany’s pink beachfront Bahamian manor house – it was used for shots of the Bond movie Casino Royale. It doesn’t get much more glam than that.
1 Lionel Messi: Rosewood Resorts, Antigua
When you’re as skilled and successful as Lionel Messi, you really have your pick of elite vacation destinations. A well-traveled player with plenty of hot holidays under his belt, Messi raises the bar with his choice of the Rosewood Resort luxury villa.
This 4,150 square foot villa costs more than $8,500 per night. Messi checked in with his wife and two sons and enjoyed its incredible views of the bright blue Caribbean Sea and the sandy island of Antigua. Throughout the family’s week-long stay they enjoyed private beach access, chic indoor/outdoor recreational spaces, and even a visit from Messi’s Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez. Both VIPs and MVPs, these athletes show us how to relax in style!
References: The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Instagram, TottenhamHotspur.com, TornoNews.gr, CroatiaWeek.com, Napoli Today, Mirror.co.uk, Party.pl/newsy