Whilst some people aren’t huge fans of professional football, also known as soccer to the masses in America, it tends to be regarded as one of the most popular sports on the planet. Because of that, there’s a certain level of fascination that a lot of individuals have when it comes to the more well-known stars of the beautiful game, and of course, the two most notable examples are Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The two men are widely considered to be the greatest players of their generation, and also two of the greatest players of all time.
They both may be moving out of the prime of their careers, but even in that sense, they’re still considered to be head and shoulders above the rest of the playing field when it comes to elite football stars. As such, every little thing they do is put under a microscope - and that includes when they go on holiday. Both men enjoy the odd trip away, especially during the summer months, and we’ve put together a list that summarises some of the most notable locations they’ve visited over the years.
Remember that the term ‘holiday’ can be quite loose, and before you move towards questioning one of the entries, remember that there’s always an explanation behind these things - and without speaking to both men exclusively, this is what we’ve been able to get together. The majority of it is accurate courtesy of the images that can be found of the two men online, as we’re sure you probably know by now.
20 Lionel Messi - Rio de Janeiro
This iconic city in Brazil isn’t known for being a traditional holiday destination, but Lionel has been here on a number of different occasions throughout his career. It’s quite nearby to where he’s originally from, and it’s also where he played in his one and only World Cup final when Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany.
Messi has been pictured in Rio before, mainly in his younger days, but it’s clear to see that he appreciates a historic city when he sees one. It’s not like we’re suggesting he’s going to get a holiday home there or anything like that, but we can say with some confidence that the history of Rio isn’t lost on him.
19 Cristiano Ronaldo - Greece
We move onto the poster boy of all things marketing in the world of football: Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite possessing a similar amount of skill and ability to Mr Messi, CR7 couldn’t be more different. Case in point - he’s just made the switch to his third major club, Juventus.
Prior to the switch, though, he had a relaxing holiday over in Greece. Cristiano was said to have left a very generous tip to the hotel he was staying at, and on top of that, he actually finalised the move over to Italy at the resort he was staying at. Madness.
18 Lionel Messi - Rosario, Argentina (His hometown)
Buenos Aires is the first real ‘major’ city that comes to mind when you think of Argentina, but it isn’t the only one. Rosario is a major port city in the Santa Fe Province, and beyond that, it’s well known for being the birthplace of the one and only Lionel Messi.
The fact that he decided to get married back home should tell you all you need to know about Lionel as a person, with it being clear that he cares a great deal about where he comes from. It’s not the biggest and it’s not the most noteworthy, but to Lionel, it’s where it all began.
17 Cristiano Ronaldo - Ibiza, Spain
Sunny Ibiza is the only location out of all twenty that is actually shared between Ronaldo and Messi, which pretty much confirms how great the place is. Whilst CR7 is probably slightly more adventurous when it comes to what Ibiza has to offer, he’s probably still there predominantly to chill out.
Ibiza has a reputation that we’re all well aware of, but in reality, it’s actually pretty breathtaking. The majority of people who go there often have glowing reviews of the place, and if you asked Cristiano Ronaldo about that, he’d likely echo those sentiments.
So, in short, book your flights ASAP.
16 Lionel Messi - Formentera, Spain
For when Lionel is feeling like he wants to go outside of the norm a little bit, aka Ibiza, he tends to travel to the nearby island of Formentera. It’s a little bit more secluded, it’s a little bit calmer, and it’s a bit more of Messi’s style - especially as he gets a bit older.
He was recently pictured on holiday there with Cesc Fabregas and their respective families, despite the fact that they haven’t played together for a few years now. It seems as if they’ve remained good friends, which is always nice to see in the modern day.
15 Cristiano Ronaldo - Miami, USA
Much like we’ve noted with Lionel Messi, there’s a high possibility that Ronaldo will consider making the switch over to Major League Soccer in his glory years. With that in mind, Miami wouldn’t exactly be the worst location in the world to set up shop.
He’d be one of the league’s greatest ever players by a country mile, and he already seems pretty familiar with the lifestyle over there. Ronaldo has had a series of sponsorship deals stemming from the States, and he has a parade of fans over there both young and old. Two and two equals four here, guys.
14 Lionel Messi - Dubai
Dubai is at the forefront of all things luxurious, and as arguably the greatest footballer of all-time, it’s hardly surprising to learn that Lionel enjoys spending his well-earned millions every now and again. He’s been over to the UAE a few times, pictured looking very dapper with a big smile on his face.
It’s a place that seems to be progressively rising up through the ranks as a holiday destination, despite not really possessing the same level of historical significance as some of the other entries on this list. Still, the multi-millionaire footballers seem to enjoy it, so who are we to judge?
13 Cristiano Ronaldo - Madeira, Portugal (His hometown)
They say you should never forget where you came from, and that certainly applies here. Madeira, in Portugal, where the legend of Cristiano began when he was born there a few decades ago. You can tell what the people of Madeira think of him purely from the fact that they’ve made a statue of the guy - and he hasn’t even retired yet.
Madeira is viewed as a popular tourist destination, and by the time Cristiano’s career comes to an end, we wouldn’t even be surprised to see a museum in his name. So if you’re looking for a getaway in Portugal, don’t rule out Madeira.
12 Lionel Messi - Ibiza
We’ve arrived at arguably the most favoured item on this list for the Argentine sensation: Ibiza. This seems to be his go-to location for all things vacation related, with Messi often enjoying time on his yacht when he’s over there.
It’s not too far away from where he competes on a week to week basis with Barcelona, the weather is always great, and there’s much more to it than just the party scene. Obviously, that’s what a lot of people go there for, but you only need to take one look at Lionel to realise that he’s not exactly a party boy. At least, not on the same kind of level as some of his peers.
11 Cristiano Ronaldo - Saint-Tropez, France
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the money-orientated locations, shall we? We’ve arrived in Saint-Tropez, which is a well-known location amongst the world’s elite. Hell, even the USA folk know about Saint-Tropez, making frequent visits during both the summer and the winter months.
It’s a place that suits Cristiano Ronaldo down to the tee, and it’s somewhere he’ll probably be visiting for many more years to come. After all, the guy wants to play until he’s 41, so he’s going to need a little bit of rest and relaxation here and there as the best of the rest continue to catch up with him.
10 Lionel Messi - United States
This one is a little bit broader, but it’s something that’s worth keeping an eye on in the future. Lionel has been over to the States multiple times, whether it be for pre-season games or just for a holiday or two.
The reason we’re bringing it up is that dozens upon dozens of people firmly believe that he’ll head on over to the MLS for the final few years of his career. It seems somewhat unlikely at this moment in time given what he’s still able to produce for Barcelona, but as the years go by, it’s worth keeping an eye on this.
9 Cristiano Ronaldo - Bahamas
Despite being one of the most notable ‘names’ for a holiday, the Bahamas aren’t quite as popular or often frequented as you’d think, probably because it’s a bit harder to get there and probably quite expensive. Still, that hasn’t stopped CR7 from making a trip or two there over the years.
Ronaldo is a man who likes to go all out regardless of what he’s doing or where he’s going, so you can imagine that there was plenty of good times to be had when he visited. Plus, there are plenty of places to hide away from the paparazzi, too.
8 Lionel Messi - London, UK
This might come across as a somewhat ‘jokey’ inclusion, but we genuinely think it holds up. Aside from the obvious fact that Lionel has openly stated that he enjoys the city of London and everything it provides, it’s also a great professional location for him.
He’s scored multiple goals against both Arsenal and Chelsea here and on top of that, he played a huge role in guiding Barcelona to victory in the 2011 Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley. It’s one of the defining moments of his career, and we’re confident he’ll never forget it - and he won’t mind heading back here, either.
7 Cristiano Ronaldo - Marbella, Spain
As much as this may seem like a pretty stereotypical one given that Marbella is a popular tourist destination, in our mind, it actually isn’t (stereotypical that is). Marbella usually brings in a lot of Europeans and Brits looking for slightly more affordable holidays, and isn’t considered to be somewhere that the rich and famous go in comparison to some of the other entries.
Still, Ronaldo went over there a few times when he was younger, so there must be a certain appeal to it. The place is certainly still beautiful and worth visiting, but we’d question whether or not he’ll be returning in the years to come.
6 Lionel Messi - Antigua
Whilst most of the locations have been somewhat stereotypical thus far, this one certainly isn’t. Antigua is a small island with coral reefs, sandy beaches and a lot of seclusions which, as you can imagine, is an appealing prospect to someone who can’t escape the headlines no matter what he does.
Invasion of privacy is something that tends to be a big issue for these footballers, and given the circumstances, we can understand why they get so frustrated by it. It’s all well and good wanting to go over and get a selfie, but going out of your way to take snaps of them whilst they’re trying to enjoy a relaxing holiday is a bit too much.
5 Cristiano Ronaldo - Thailand
This one is a little bit more unconventional amongst professional footballers, but with travellers in general, it’s still a pretty popular option. Thailand is a breathtaking country in every sense of the word, and the fact that CR7 holds it in such high regard is a testament to that.
It’s a little bit more out of the way, and he could probably get away with being more closed off from the rest of the world and the media. You’ll often feel like you’re the only person on the planet when going on some of the excursions that are available, and that’s always fun.
4 Lionel Messi - Barcelona, Spain
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but as the years go on and as Lionel Messi moves closer towards retirement, he’ll always look back on Barcelona as his home away from home and rightly so. It’s where he made his name, and it’s where he wrote his name into the history books.
Barcelona is known for being a holiday destination regardless of football, and we can picture an old Lionel returning to his old stomping ground in the next few decades with his fully grown children. It’s a great image to have, as the great man prepares for his glory years in the game.
3 Cristiano Ronaldo - Maldives
All you need to do is take a look at one or two pictures of the Maldives to understand why Cristiano Ronaldo of all people would want to go there. It’s a hub of beauty and serenity, and it won’t shock you to learn that it’s one of the more expensive options on this list.
Ronaldo has only been here once or twice based on what we’ve discovered, but given how ‘elite’ you’d have to be or how long you’d have to save up for in order to afford a holiday there, it’s not too hard to imagine him making a spontaneous trip there over the years.
2 Lionel Messi - Milan, Italy
Back in the day when AC Milan were considered to be pretty big players in European football, there were some rumours floating around that Lionel Messi could be tempted to jump ship from the Nou Camp to the San Siro. One of the things that fuelled the rumours was the fact that he was reportedly a big fan of the city.
Now, in the present day, that’s the case again with their rivals Inter Milan showcasing their interest. Messi has always been a guy who seems quite into his fashion, and as we all know, Milan has a pretty good reputation for that sort of thing.
1 Cristiano Ronaldo - Madrid, Spain
We end with an obvious one: the city where his legend grew to heights that nobody could’ve ever fathomed. Whilst he firmly put himself on the map during his years with Manchester United, his move to Real Madrid saw him become arguably the greatest player in the club’s history.
Even though he’s made the decision to jump ship to Juventus, that doesn’t erase the many, many happy years that he spent at the Bernabeu. He’ll likely head back there many times as his career begins to wind down, and can you blame him?