FLASH motors are the most fashionable toy among footballers.
We’re used to seeing sleek, shiny cars, worth the same price as a detached house in Peterborough, rolling into Premier League training grounds — but were they always so luxurious?
Sponsorship deals often help boost the ride of emerging stars. But certain models are better than others. Think Wayne Rooney’s blue Ford Sportka for starters.
Some of us, unlike Mr Rooney, don’t get the chance to then go on and cruise around in Bentleys and Range Rovers costing in excess of £200,000.
But hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere though right?
Wayne Rooney – Ford Sportka
Boyhood Evertonian Rooney made a clear statement with his first little runaround in 2003, going for the colours of his beloved club for the Ford Sportka he was gifted for free after passing his driving test.
Cue plenty of publicity shots around Goodison Park for the 17-year-old with his new blue motor.
It came complete with a nippy 1.6 litre engine, top speed of 108mph, alloy wheels – and of course the personalised ROO NI number plate.
Shame then that Rooney left Merseyside for the red of Manchester United 12 months later.
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Although rather than a fresh paint job on his Ford to switch colours, chances are he got himself a new set of wheels.
After all this is an individual who had collected more than 20 cars totally approximately £1.4million before the age of 24!
David Beckham – Ford Escort
Porsche Turbo, Cadillac Escalade, Bentley Continental, Rolls Royce…Ford Escort?!?
That’s right. Once upon a time, Golden Balls himself cruised the roads of Britain in a Ford Escort.
Bought for £6,000 off close pal Ryan Giggs, the Ford Escort will always be close to the heart of Beckham.
It was the car he passed his driving test in, opening the door to a world of motor racing and freedom.
Plenty of cars have come and gone since. But in the early days there was a Honda Prelude he bought when he first turned pro with United and a rather fetching 1994 Volkswagen Golf. In turquoise no less.
So Ford Escort for Becks, Fiat Uno for wife Victoria…and a cool £37,000 Mercedes C class for the famous couple’s first born Brooklyn. Imagine the insurance cost on that bad boy though.
Michael Owen – Rover Coupe
Apparently he needed to persuade his dad to let him get it, but petrol head Michael Owen strangely had his heart set on a 1.8 litre Rover Coupe as his first ride.
The insurance was a little pricey so the young Owen took an advanced driver’s course straight after his test (which he passed first time!) to get his premium down. Sensible.
He now puts it among the worst of the cars he has owned but at the time, claimed it was the car of his dreams.
There was also a Ferrari 599 in his younger days, an Aston Martin Vanquish and more recently a Mercedes C 63 AMG.
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Cristiano Ronaldo – Audi S3 Coupe
He has a fleet of cars costing millions and capable of reaching eye-watering speeds.
But even five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo had a relatively modest start with his cars.
Playing for Manchester United as an 18-year-old, Ronaldo rewarded himself with a blue Audi S3 Coupe, getting it imported from Italy in 2004.
He kept it in great nick too, as it was listed as being in good condition when spotted for sale for £13,500 on the website Standvirtual in 2017. According to the advert, there were 99,419 miles on the clock at that point.
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Other players to have had less glamorous wheels in their time
Thierry Henry – Renault Clio
Of course, having a car sponsorship undoubtedly helps with sorting yourself out some tidy wheels. Step forward Thierry Henry.
The French World Cup winner signed for Renault in 2002 and created the famous Va Va Voom adverts.
Not only did the popular phrase get added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Henry was also saddled with the expectation he would drive around in a Renault Clio.
It didn’t seem to be that much of a problem for Henry though, who this week reunited with Renault as a brand ambassador.
Mesut Ozil – Volkswagen Golf
He may be feeling the pressure after a difficult World Cup led to his retirement from international duty with Germany.
But those worries looked a world away for a fresh faced Mesut Ozil when he posed with his sleek black Volkswagen.
It’s a far cry from the Ferrari 458 Italia supercar he switched to after moving to the North London club. Or the Mercedes G-Class SUV, which costs over £130,000, weights 2.5 tonnes and produces 537bhp.