The World Cup 2022 is in full swing, with England still in the race (at the time this article is published anyway). Football is, of course, an exciting career with lots of progression and growth to be had. But it’s also a career with short longevity for many, which might be why these football players decided to something else in the bag just in case. From languages to business management, and education to PR, these are 10 World Cup football players (or ex football players) with a university degree.

1. Juan Mata

The Spanish star who was well-known in the English Premier League, was also a World Cup winner. But that didn’t deter the football player from higher education, with not one university degree, but two! Mata studied Sports Science and Marketing, which he achieved at the prestigious Universidad Camilo José Cela in Madrid.

2. Giorgio Chiellini

The winner of nine consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus, Chiellini is the Italian defender every striker fears. He’s also hugely intelligent off the pitch, with a distinction for his Masters Degree in Business Administration. While studying at The University of Turin’s School of Management and Economics, he focused his thesis on the business model of his Italian club through an international lens.

3. Fikayo Tomori

Although Tomori was left out of this year’s World Cup, he previously played for England U20s in the 2017 Fifa U-20 World Cup. The Canadian-born, English football player is also a graduate from the Open University with a degree in Business Management.

4. Andrés Iniesta

Iniesta is one of the football players with a university degree
Source: Flickr: Jake Stone

Another Spanish football genius, the Barcelona superstar was part of the national team that won the 2010 World Cup – and the goalscorer in the final. Beyond his football accolades, Iniesta also holds two degrees (yes another football player with multiple degrees for the list). He graduated from Ramon Lull University in Barcelona with Biology and Sports Science.

5. Yuto Nagatomo

One of the current World Cup football players, Nagatomo has a degree in Political Science from the University of Meiji, Japan. He has played for Inter Milan and Olympique Marseille, before playing in a club in his home country. He was part of the line up that beat Germany on their opening game for the World Cup 2022!

6. Vincent Kompany

Part of the Belgian national team, and Manchester City’s supersquad, the (now retired) defender now coaching Burnley. Kompany also achieved an MBA in Business and Administration, where he studied at Alliance Manchester Business School.

7. Shaka Hislop

Now retired, Hislop played internationally for England and Trinidad and Tobago – taking Trinidad and Tobago to the 2006 World Cup FIFA Qualifiers. Besides his lengthy football career, Hislop also studied Mechanical Engineering at Howard University. He even worked at NASA before becoming a renowned goal keeper in the English Premier League – only a little impressive then!

8. Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku has a university degree
Source: Flickr: Crommelincklars

The current Belgian striker playing in Qatar in 2022 is also known for his Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter Milan careers. But Romelu Lukaku is a football player with many talents, including a Tourism and Public Relations degree from the University of Leuven.

9. Simon Mignolet

The former Liverpool goal keeper now plays for Club Brugge, but is also serving his duty for the Belgian squad in the 2022 World Cup.  Aside from football, Mignolet also studied at the same university as Lukaku, but with a degree in Political Science and Law. Not one to give a red card too, or he might object! (Sorry, we couldn’t help it!)

10. Sócrates

Also known as ‘Doctor Sócrates’, the Brazilian star (no, not the Greek philosopher) played in two World Cups and has been considered one of FIFA’s 100 greatest players. He was also a physician, where he studied at the medical school of the University of Sāo Paulo; Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto.

Football and studying seemed to go hand-in-hand for these players, but why not find out which is the most popular sports in UK universities.