The Pets of Famous Soccer Players

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A puppy lies asleep next to a soccer ball.
BetMGM Aug 02, 2022, 10:57 AM

Like many of us, famous soccer players share their homes with a medley of weird and wonderful creatures. As you’d expect, most open their hearts to dogs and cats, but there are also many pros who prefer the companionship of exotic animals.

Aside from dog and horse racing, you won’t find many of these critters mentioned in online sports betting. However, for those fans who like a well-rounded view of their favorite players, we’ve done some digging on their home menageries just for you. Here are six famous soccer players and their beloved pets, ranging from hounds and house cats to iguanas and tigers.

1. Lionel Messi

Argentinian legend Lionel Messi is well-known for his ability to dazzle defenders. With eight Ballon d’Or awards and multiple records, it’s no exaggeration to call him one of the giants of modern-day soccer… and his choice of pet certainly suits his larger-than-life status.

Messi owns a massive French mastiff named Hulk. As the name might suggest, Hulk is a 150-pound juggernaut that can take down an intruder in a heartbeat. But despite his bulk and muscular frame, he’s a gentle giant who loves spending time with his family.

Barcelona’s superstar also has two other dogs: a miniature poodle named Abu and a boxer called Facha. All three mutts are great with the kids and are considered happy additions to Messi’s growing family.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

You don’t need to be an expert at soccer odds to know that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most reliable soccer talents in the world. He’s also one of the most considerate sports celebrities, with countless examples of his charitable nature on social media.

Nowhere is that kindness more obvious than in the way he cares for his pets. Ronaldo and his girlfriend, Georgina Rodríguez, are the proud owners of three cuddly cuties. They’ve got two dogs named Marosca and Antonia, and a hairless cat by the name of Pepe.

Marosca is a labrador, Antonia is a poodle and Pepe is a thoroughbred sphynx. Marosca has been Ronaldo’s loyal companion since 2015, while Antonia and Pepe both joined their picture-perfect family within the past three years.

3. Marcelo

Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, known simply as Marcelo, is one of Real Madrid’s most talented athletes. He’s also highly active on social media, so his fans will no doubt be familiar with the six fluffy furballs he spends so much of his time with.

The most famous of them is easily Lola, a rare Newfoundland dog breed with thick black hair, just like her owner. Lola is a common sight on Marcelo’s Instagram feed and seems to find herself at peace in nature.

The hero defender also has a labrador called Nalla, and four smaller pooches known as Kiara, Ully, Thaig and Bella. Dogs clearly hold a special place in Marcelo’s heart, and the constant affection he shows them is always a heartwarming sight. 

4. Mohamed Salah

There’s no doubt that Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s greatest player right now. He scored the most goals in the English Premier League last season and is the only player to score more than 20 goals for Liverpool over the course of three consecutive seasons.

Salah isn’t just a prolific pro; he’s also a vocal animal rights activist and a self-confessed cat lover. He owns two Balinese cats at the moment – a long-haired Siamese breed with piercing blue eyes and a thick coat of fur.

Having owned a variety of pets in his life, Salah enjoys sharing the lessons he has learned with his followers. His media posts over the past few years have often featured personal statements about animal rights, along with plenty of pics of him together with his feline friends.

5. Arturo Vidal

Chilean star player Arturo Vidal is one of the world’s strongest and most aggressive midfielders. His fierce tackling and sheer tenacity on the field have earned him the nickname “The Piranha,” and his passion for adrenaline-filled competition is in every inch of his being.

Whether it’s tattoos and soccer betting or Ferraris and horse racing, Vidal lives life in the fast lane and seizes every opportunity that comes his way. In 2014, his love for racing led to him buying six horses and a stable in his home country. But he didn’t stop there.

Vidal now owns more than 60 horses, a handful of which race at a thoroughbred track in Chile’s capital, Santiago. When he’s not playing the beautiful game, Vidal often takes time off to care for his horses and ensure they get all the attention they deserve.

6. Karim Benzema

As one of Real Madrid’s highest goal-scorers, Karim Benzema is never content with mediocrity. His uncanny ability to find the back of the net makes him a threat to any defense, but his intense drive to pursue glory hasn’t always worked out in his favor.

Benzema has a habit of posing in photos alongside rare and endangered species, from chimpanzees to iguanas. As you can imagine, reactions to his social media posts are somewhat mixed, with many replies accusing him of irresponsible behavior.

To his credit, Real Madrid’s star striker has always stuck to the law when it comes to animals. When photos of his family playing with tiger cubs hit the web, he responded to naysayers by suggesting that the public had misinterpreted his love for rare species.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.