Professional athletes don’t necessarily get much credit for being the brainiest bunch. With so much focus on their athletic capabilities, many overlook what athletes have going on in their heads. These soccer stars were not all about sweating in the gym, they gave their minds a workout just as often.
This English soccer star spent most of his playing career with Chelsea, helping them win the Premier League and Champions League. He was known for his intelligence on the field, often perfectly timing his runs to make him one of the highest-scoring midfielders of all time.
It wasn’t just on the soccer field that Lampard was smarter than most, and in a 2009 MENSA test, the Chelsea legend had impressive results. A Chelsea doctor art the time said that Lampard’s results put him among the smartest ever. He is understood to have an IQ of over 150, putting him in the top 0.1% of human brains, by comparison, Albert Einstein’s IQ was 160.
Soccer players are used to making the headlines. Through great or terrible performances their names can be splashed all over the papers the day after a big game. Juan Mata knows more about headlines than most of his teammates. The Spanish midfielder has a degree in journalism, so knows exactly what to say to reporters in post-match interviews. He’s not just an elite professional, Mata has been pledging 1% of his astronomical earnings to charity and by raising awareness has encouraged many other pros to do the same.
Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet hasn’t always had the best of times in the English Premier League, but after the game, he knows not to sweat it too much. Mignolet has a degree in Law and Political Science, but that isn’t the end to his capabilities. Being Belgian means he can speak several languages, and Mignolet is fluent in four in total, English, French, German, and Dutch are all not a problem for him.
Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo has had to learn several languages during his career, thanks to seasons spent in Italy and Turkey, but he’s got more strings to his bow. Nagatomo studied for a degree in economics back in his native Japan. In addition to his impressive degree, Nagatomo has written two books, proving he doesn’t just do his talking on the field.
The Holland and Arsenal legend stood apart from his colleagues on the field thanks to his intelligence. Bergkamp could find spaces that no one else was occupying, and found passes that didn’t look like they were possible. He was one of the craftiest forwards in world football, and he can thank much of his excellent play on his cunning mind. Determined not to leave the game without a qualification, Bergkamp studied for a medical engineering degree while playing with Arsenal.
It’s not all about raw physicality on the field, and these players have perfectly combined both brains and brawn. They are exceptional athletes and also the most intelligent among their fellow players.