Top holiday destinations in the off-season
Ibiza and New York City were the two favourite holiday spots for European players in the off-season10 August 2017 | FT Editor
The recent off-season saw some players do an awful lot of travel, with many criss-crossing the globe regularly.
Dutch travel company, Travel Bird, counted-up the kilometres of players on holiday (pre-season tours not included) and concluded that Barcelona's Gerard Pique went further than anyone.
After heading to Rosario in Argentina for team mate’s Lionel Messi’s wedding, Pique then visited Beirut, Doha, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo – all the while sharing holiday snaps on Instagram. All-up, this is a little under 47,000 km of travel!
The richest footballer in the world, Neymar was next. In addition to Messi’s wedding, he visited some hot party spots including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Sun City in South Africa - although he also ventured out to a game park (below) - and the ultimate party island, Ibiza. Neymar didn’t go home to Brazil.
Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas came in third, under 39,000 km. He didn’t visit as many places as Pique and Neymar; but while Rosario and Ibiza were on the itinerary, he did venture further afield also to Indonesia to lie in the sun with a sparkling view of the beach.
Some players opted not to venture too far at all.
Denmark’s Daniel Wass, who plays for Celta Vigo in La Liga, brought the family to him to travel 31 km to the Islas Cies (below). Prince Oniangue who plays for SC Bastia in Ligue 1 travelled 163 km to Corsica for a family vacation ahead of national team duty.
Overall, Ibiza was the favourite location, with 46 (15%) players spending some time there, followed by New York City with 23 visitors. Besides Neymar and Fabregas, others who travelled there during the break included Messi, Suarez, and their families plus Cristiano Ronaldo, Ander Herrera and Luca Marrone to name just a few. Neymar clocked-up 41,000 km – presumably by private jet which he can now easily afford.
The most popular country overall was Spain with 98 players heading for almost-guaranteed sunshine, followed by 90 heading to good ol’ USA.