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Smartest Football Players: Brilliance On and Off the Pitch

We’ve become quite accustomed to stories like Jermaine Pennant leaving his Porsche at a train station parking lot in Spain after forgetting he owned it; it might be a sign of the fortunes these young men are handed. There are football players out there who bring us hope, utilizing their spare time to build businesses, study a subject or language, or generally show keenness. is here to provide you with a list of the smartest football players.

Who is the smartest soccer player?

10. Yuto Nagatomo

Inter Milan wing-back Yuto Nagatomo has made an impact with 88 caps for the Japanese national team since joining from FC Tokyo in 2011. However, what’s more noteworthy is his diversity and depth in educational achievement. Nagatomo graduated from Doshisha University in Japan with a degree in Economics, thus asserting himself not just as a stellar player but also as a creative and knowledgeable individual.

Smartest football players: Yuto Nagatomo
Smartest football players: Yuto Nagatomo

Nagatomo not only impresses on the field but also in academia and life beyond. He has documented his knowledge and experiences in two books, demonstrating the depth and richness of his intellect and vision. One of his notable works, titled ‘The Important Thing is to Feel Overflowing Happiness,’ not only shares personal emotions and experiences but also inspires and encourages readers to enjoy life and pursue their passions with relentless enthusiasm and determination. This demonstrates that Nagatomo is not just a footballer but also a passionate and knowledgeable individual, always eager to share and inspire the community.

9. Patrick Bamford

A product of the Nottingham Forest academy, Bamford is not just a talented player but also a valuable asset, with an impressive goal-scoring ability every time he steps onto the pitch (except against Palace!). Patrick Bamford, one of the standout products from this academy, has had a fascinating and unique journey.

Coming from a wealthy family in Nottingham, Bamford received a good education from Nottingham High School for Boys. However, fate had a very special opportunity in store for him at the age of 16. That was the opportunity to go to Harvard University on a football scholarship. Harvard, an icon of excellence and prestige in education, represents one of the highest standards of education in the world.

Smartest footballers: Patrick Bamford
Smartest footballers: Patrick Bamford

However, Bamford made a bold and meaningful decision. Instead of pursuing academic paths at one of the world’s top universities, he turned down that offer when he realized that his passion and mission lay in football. Bamford’s decision demonstrated the focus and determination of someone who wants to pursue a professional football career, despite facing tempting opportunities from one of the world’s top universities.

8. Didier Drogba

Becoming a footballer in the Premier League hardly seems impressive when you’re compared to Didier Drogba. This comparison becomes even more apparent when you realize that Drogba is also a qualified accountant, who has been invited to become the future President in his war-torn homeland of Ivory Coast.

Smartest football players ever: Didier Drogba
Smartest football players ever: Didier Drogba

After a bloody civil war, Drogba established the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal the wounds of the nation and reunite its people. Although Drogba has stated that he does not wish to become the President of Ivory Coast, we can hardly think of anyone better suited than Drogba considering his achievements.

7. Simon Mignolet

Liverpool’s number 22 has faced criticism in recent seasons for inconsistency. However, it can never be said that he does not value his education. Simon Mignolet holds degrees in law and political science.

Despite playing second fiddle to Thibaut Courtois, the competition around him on the bench is not an issue as he is proficient in English, French, Dutch, and German.

Smartest football players IQ: Simon Mignolet
Smartest football players IQ: Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet evidently values his education greatly; perhaps he could self-study a bit more on keeping the ball out of the net in the coming season unless he wants Karius to surpass him to become the first choice.

6. Duncan Watmore

After Watmore’s move from Altrincham, a non-league team, he not only maintained but also further developed the ethics that had propelled him in his football career. Not limited to the field, he also applied these values in his educational journey.

Who is the smartest soccer player: Duncan Watmore
Who is the smartest soccer player: Duncan Watmore

Watmore’s graduation from Newcastle University with first-class honors in Economics and Business Management is not just a remarkable achievement but also evidence of his perseverance and relentless effort. This serves as a significant motivation for him to continue his current full-time training journey.

5. Matt Smith

This towering forward rose through the ranks to Championship side Fulham after a spell in non-league football. Released from Cheltenham Town’s academy at 18, Smith pursued educational opportunities, later attending Manchester Business School, where he played football for the University team alongside famous comedian Jack Whitehall.

Smartest football players: Matt Smith
Smartest football players: Matt Smith

He graduated with a business degree, and after a stint away from competitive football, his career has flourished, with the possibility of a call-up to the Scotland national team looming.

4. Fraser Forster

The towering Geordie, renowned for his commanding presence both on and off the field, was ceremoniously introduced to Southampton’s fervent fanbase upon completing his transfer from Celtic. Following a series of triumphant seasons solidifying his reputation and honing his skills in the fiercely competitive environment up north, Forster embarked on a new chapter in his career by venturing southward in 2014, eager to further showcase his talents and contribute to his new club’s success.

Smartest footballers: Fraser Forster
Smartest footballers: Fraser Forster

Since joining the Saints, he has embarked on a business course at university. Besides breaking records for the longest time without conceding a goal in a Saints shirt, he clearly has something more. He may look very muscular, but he’s definitely striving to prove that there’s a brain behind that!

3. Glen Johnson

Glen Johnson, a wing-back born in Dartford, has had an impressive career playing for several big clubs in the Premier League. However, it was at Liverpool where he particularly focused on advancing his education.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Glen Johnson revealed that he is studying Mathematics. He shared his joy in pursuing this and admitted that facing and proving to teachers at school, who may have doubted his abilities, has been a great motivation for him.

Smartest football players ever: Glen Johnson
Smartest football players ever: Glen Johnson

Johnson’s commitment to learning is not just a way to enhance his personal knowledge but also a testament to the determination and strong will of a professional footballer. His goal-setting and dedication to studies also show that success doesn’t just come from on-field performance but also from development and progress in all aspects of life. This is truly a powerful motivation for Glen Johnson and for those pursuing their goals both in the world of football and beyond.

2. Juan Mata

The diminutive Spanish player has brought smiles to the faces of Premier League fans since joining Chelsea from Valencia. His always-grateful attitude towards his fans has made him the Player of the Season more than once at Chelsea before moving to Manchester.

Smartest football players IQ: Juan Mata
Smartest football players IQ: Juan Mata

Mata also uses his spare time outside of football very positively; after obtaining a degree in Journalism from Madrid University, he seems to continue this trend by pursuing degrees in Marketing and Sports Science from Manchester University. Carrying his team’s burden one week and carrying his study group’s workload the next?

1. Frank Lampard

There’s only one person who can top this list, and it might surprise some. Don’t let Frank Lampard’s fame overshadow his intelligence. Lampard is not just an outstanding player but also an exceptionally intelligent individual. With an IQ score of 150, he ranks in the top 0.1% of the population, a remarkable achievement.

Smartest football players: Frank Lampard
Smartest football players: Frank Lampard

If you find that impressive, consider this: Lampard is only 10 points behind Albert Einstein in that IQ score. This is a very impressive comparison, showcasing Lampard’s intellectual strength and vision.

After completing his mission in New York, perhaps Lampard could face a new challenge and tackle complex issues like the Hadron Collider in Switzerland. The combination of the power of a great player and the intellect of a rare talent, like Lampard, is truly admirable and full of potential.


In summary, the journeys of footballers Fraser Forster, Glen Johnson, Juan Mata, and Frank Lampard encapsulate the essence of holistic success in the world of sports. Their dedication to both their athletic careers and academic pursuits exemplifies the importance of continuous learning, resilience, and personal growth. These players serve as role models, demonstrating that success on the field is enhanced by intellectual curiosity, perseverance, and a commitment to education. Their stories inspire us to strive for excellence not only in sports but also in all aspects of life, emphasizing the transformative power of education and the pursuit of knowledge.

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