15 Most Intelligent Soccer Players in the World

Who is the smartest soccer player ever?

Playing soccer does not only require physical strengths, but also good cognitive abilities. Logic and reasoning are required to carry on various tactics instructed by the coach, or to make important decisions within the split seconds during a soccer match.

In this article, I presented 15 of the most intelligent footballers in the world. What I meant by the word "intelligent" can be interpreted into different things. Besides academically smart (having a degree from particular university) and possessing high IQ; some soccer players in this list are also able to demonstrate a wide range of talent off the pitch, such as becoming great politicians, journalists, and businessmen. Who are they? Without further ado, here's the list!

15. Nedum Onuoha

Nedum Onuoha, an English defender who was born in 1986 is one of the most intelligent footballers in the world. Before joining Manchester City in 2004, Onuoha graduated from his high school with great results. He was known as the brightest student in the class and he got three "A" for his A-Level exams (exams taken in high school which was used as a consideration in university admissions) in three subjects: Business, Information Technology, and Mathematics.

14. Gudni Bergsson

Gudni Bergsson ended his career as a professional footballer at Bolton Wanderers in 2003. Upon his retirement, he works as a lawyer. The Finnish player enrolled to a special education to be able to work as a professional lawyer in 1995 while he was still actively playing. In addition to that, Bergsson also frequently appears as a host of a soccer program on TV named "4-4-2."

13. Matthew Lawrence

Matthew Lawrence is a British right-back who played for Fulham and Crystal Palace. Although his career was not too bright, he was able to prove himself as one of the smartest soccer players in the world. When playing for the U.S. club, Grays Athletic, Lawrence was able to get an undergraduate degree in American Literature from Hartwick College. He also regularly writes articles on one of the UK's largest newspapers, The Mirror.

12. Juan Mata

Not only showing captivating performances on the pitch, the Spanish playmaker also possesses great intelligence. Mata once was a student of the Universidad Politecnica de Journalism in Madrid. When he moved to England, he studies two majors at the same time, Marketing and Sports Science by enrolling to distance learning university. Mata also joined a lot of different courses and diplomas in London.

11. David James

Although he does not have an academic degree, David James is famous as one of the best footballers who actively publishes a lot of quality articles in the newspapers. James who once became the number one goalkeeper England national team routinely writes for "The Guardian," one of the biggest media in the UK. His article mostly related to soccer, and sometimes are often associated with universal topics such as gender equality, racism, and modern cultures.

10. Eamon Dunphy

Eamon Dunphy is a former Irish midfielder who was once part of Manchester United's Youth Academy in the 1960s. Failed to break to the club's first team, Dunphy eventually played for smaller teams such as Millwall, Charlton Athletic and Reading. After retiring in 1978, he worked as a sports journalist. His career as a journalist was much brighter than his career as a footballer, where Dunphy is currently regarded as one of the most influential sports journalist and commentator in England.

9. Paul Breitner

Paul Breitner is one of the leading players in West Germany national team in the 1970s. Playing as a left midfielder, he was known to have extraordinary dribbling, fast, and agile. Not only that, Breitner was also one of the German players with extraordinary charisma and public speaking skills. He was recognized as a supporter of communism and often openly conveyed his opinions about politics. Breitner also appeared as an actor in many films and TV series. After his retirement, he gained reputation as one of the best football analysts and commentators in the world.

8. Clarke Carlisle

Carlisle is a former England defender who played for several clubs such as Queens Park Rangers, Leeds United and Blackpool. In 2002, he won the contest "Britain's Brainiest Footballer," an event that aims to find the smartest footballer in the United Kingdom. In the event, various aspects of knowledge such as Mathematics, English, and General Knowledge were tested. In addition, Carlisle is also the ambassador of "Kick Out," a program promoting anti-racism campaign in soccer. He even directly met the British prime minister to discuss various issues about racism and homophobia in the world of sports.

7. Steve Coppell

Steve Coppell is a former England midfielder who became one of the leading players of Manchester United in the 1970s. After his retirement, he also coached several Premier League clubs such as Manchester City, Reading and Crystal Palace. During his period as a player, Coppell managed to get a degree in Economics from the University of Liverpool, one of the most prestigious universities in the UK.

6. Oleguer Presas

Oleguer is a former Spain defender who became one of the mainstays of Barcelona's defense in the 2003-2008 period. He also earned a Bachelor of Economics degree when he was still a Barcelona player. Many sources mentioned that Oleguer often missed training and he were willing to pay the fine in order to study for his university exams. After his retirement, he built a reputation as one of the top writers in Spain. He has published several books on various topics such as "Anti-Fascism," "anorexia in children," and "Gulf War."

5. Ramon Vega

Ramon Vega is a former Swiss central defender who helped Spurs win the League Cup in the 1998-99 season. After his retirement, Vega showed that he has exceptional intelligence in the business world. He founded a firm that engages in financial matters called "Vega Swiss Asset Management." According to several sources, the firm handles a total customer funds up to 650 million pounds. Not only that, he also established the "Matterhorn Capital Rosarp," a real estate company that focuses on developing luxury hotels.

4. Iain Dowie

Iain Dowie is a former England striker who played for several clubs such as Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Ham United. After his career as a professional footballer, he worked as a coach for some Premier League clubs such as Charlton Athletic and Coventry City. He has a Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire and once worked for British Aerospace prior to his career as a professional footballer.

3. Shaka Hislop

The Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper once became a mainstay of West Ham United and Portsmouth in the 1998-2005 period. Not only great in goalkeeping, Hislop is also known as an intelligent footballer. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree and once worked as an intern at NASA. Hislop also gave significant contribution in the anti-racism campaign in football through an organization called "Show Racism The Red Card." His great role in the organization earned him the PFA Special Merit Award in 2005.

2. Frank Lampard

I am sure that there aren't many people aware that Frank Lampard is one of the smartest soccer players in the world. When he was in high school, Frank Lampard obtained "A" for all of his 11 GCSE exams, including Latin. Not only that, Lampard also participated in an IQ test organized by Mensa (the largest international organization regarding to IQ testing) and his IQ is rumored to exceed 150.

1. Socrates

The player whose original name is Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira's gained the nickname "Socrates" (one of the greatest Greek philosophers) because of his exceptional intelligence. Socrates was a Brazilian national team midfielder mainstay in the 1980s and once was elected as South American Footballer of the Year in 1983. Socrates graduated from Faculdade de Medicina doctor de Ribeirão Preto. Until now, there are only few soccer players who possess a degree from the Faculty of Medicine. More surprisingly, Socrates was able to obtain the degree when he was still actively playing soccer. In addition to his academic degree, he was also very active in politics through the Corinthians Democracy, an organization that supports democracy and fights against military regime in Brazil.

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