Arsenal’s forward Alexis Sanchez with his pair of golden retrievers, named Atom and Humber.
They say there is no loyalty left in the modern game, but that hasn’t taken into account the relationships shared between some of the world’s greatest players and their pet dogs.
A dog lover myself, I just couldn’t resist!
Superstars from Lionel Messi to Harry Kane have found comfort in their four-legged companions and are not afraid to flaunt them with heartwarming pictures plastered all over the internet.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ (ARSENAL)
Arsenal’s forward Alexis Sanchez makes no bones about the affection he holds for his pair of golden retrievers, named Atom and Humber.
The Chile international regularly shares all manner of heartwarming pictures of his beloved pets on his Instagram account – even posting a bizarre video tribute of them enjoying a country walk together to the music of Phil Collins.
Messi and his adorable Mastiff puppy
LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was gifted his adorable Mastiff puppy earlier this year by long-term partner Antonella Roccuzzo.
The only Instagram picture of arguably the greatest player in the history of the game cradling the wrinkle-faced pup has collected almost two million likes and counting.
Harry Kane’s black and white Labradors named Brady and Wilson
HARRY KANE (TOTTENHAM)
Harry owns black and white Labradors named Brady and Wilson – after a pair of star players from his favourite NFL team the New England Patriots, Tom Brady and Tavon Wilson (who now plays for Detroit Lions).
‘If I need to relax, I take them both out for a walk, or I play a round of golf. I can’t remember the last time I went to a club,’ the Spurs striker told Esquire last year.
JAMES RODRIGUEZ (REAL MADRID)
Colombia forward James Rodriguez is an unadulterated animal lover who has been pictured on Instagram with an assortment of unnamed dogs.
The Real Madrid star appears to be the proud owner of a golden retriever, cocker spaniel and French bulldog who he simply refers to as ‘my amigos’.
Real Madrid defender bears a striking resemblance to his Newfoundland Lola.
MARCELO (REAL MADRID)
Real Madrid defender bears a striking resemblance to his Newfoundland Lola. The pair shares the same approachable demeanor and, of course, swathes of unruly black hair.
Although Lola is most commonly pictured alongside Marcelo, she is just one of several dogs that share the Brazilian’s Madrid home, including the two latest additions Kiara the French bulldog and Thiag, a British bulldog.
Neymar’s 11.5million Instagram followers will have watched his pet golden retriever grow from Andrex-sized puppy to adulthood since coming into the Brazil sensation’s life in 2014.
‘Poker’ has since been seen playing with his master at home near his kennel in one of many images in which the Barca star shows his affection for his pet.
Neymar and his pet golden retriever, Poker, 2014.
DEMPAY (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Simba is the greatest footballer dog of all time. Simba is a Chow Chow, which is known as the “Fluffy Lion Dog” in its native China.
It’s a cuddly real-life teddy bear that happens to also be a dog.
The 22-year-old Dutch winger brought Simba over with him when he transferred from PSV, and he now guest stars on Dempay’s Instagram account periodically.
Simba is the greatest footballer dog of all time
MESUT OZIL (ARSENAL)
World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has revealed he was once afraid of dogs before conquering his fears by getting himself a puppie, a pug named Balbao after the Rocky films – despite it not being a boxer.
‘I was frightened of dogs as a kid! I wanted to overcome my fear, so I decided the best way to do this would be to own a dog. I got it as a puppy, raised it and have overcome my fear. Now, I love dogs,’ he told Sport.
The Arsenal playmaker often shares pictures of the pair of them taking part in inane activities, accompanied by captions such as: ‘My boy Balboa is assisting me in today’s car trip!’
Balbao is also, obviously, a Gooner and has been pictured wearing his own customised Arsenal shirt bearing his master’s No 11 on his back.
CHRIS SMALLING (MANCHESTER UNITED)
Having their owner leave is probably the saddest moment in the day of any dog and one that was perfectly captured when Chris Smalling headed into training leaving ‘Miley’ watching in his wake.
The sound of the Manchester United defender’s heart breaking can almost be heard as he takes one last look back towards the Cocker Spaniel-Jack Russell cross he shares with partner Sam Cooke.
Miley has been branded football’s most pampered dog due to the luxury lifestyle provided by the England international and his glamour model girlfriend.
Cooke often shares pictures of their pet enjoying the good life, even sharing one of her travelling first class on a train from London to Manchester.
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