Brainiest footballers revealed as students receive exam results

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard [Courtesy]
Thousands of students across the United Kingdom will receive their GCSE results on Thursday hoping their intelligence has shone through.

High IQs and intellect are not qualities usually attributed to professional footballers, with common stereotypes suggesting their talents lie in their feet rather than their brains.

But plenty of high-profile stars have dispelled that myth over the years, demonstrating their talents in other areas and showing their own intelligence away from the pitch.

Whether it involves stunning IQ test results, university degrees, multiple languages or other talents, here's a guide to some of football's brainiest players who have no doubt shown their skills in their own exams in the past.

Frank Lampard

Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer turned manager excelled in his GCSE exams.

Lampard earned 12 GCSEs at A or A*, including an A in Latin.

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His intelligence was put to the test during his playing days at Stamford Bridge - with his score reported to be "well above 150".

For reference, Albert Einstein's IQ was 160 and the result puts Lampard in the world's top 0.5%.


Juan Mata

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata [Courtesy]
Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata is already planning for his career after football.

The Spaniard studied journalism in Spain before joining the Red Devils and regularly writes on his own blog online.

He has also taken a degree in sports science and finance.

With many strings to his bow, who knows how he will put his intellect and skills to use after retiring from playing.

Andrey Arshavin

Former Arsenal star Andrey Arshavin originally enrolled at St Petersburg State University of Technology and Design for a trivial reason.

It's reported the 17-year-old opted for his destination due to the number of girls studying there.

But he went on to gain a degree in clothing technology.

Arshavin has even written a thesis, based on the design of a suit suitable for wearing for both business and sport.

Sounds practical - maybe he'll wear it on a football pitch one day?

Simon Mignolet

Ex-Liverpool stopper Simon Mignolet boasts an impressive CV away from the football pitch.

The Belgian, who joined Club Brugges this summer, speaks four languages.

He also has a degree in law and political science.


Brazil's 1982 World Cup winning captain famously qualified as a doctor after his playing days.

Ironically, he was famous for smoking 40 a day as a player.

However, he turned his attentions to looking after the health of other people after scoring 22 goals in 60 international games as a player.

Clarke Carlisle

Clarke Carlisle was officially named "Britain's Brainiest Footballer" back in 2002, and you'd be hard-pressed to argue with the fact.

He went on to appear on Countdown and Question Time, where his intelligence was clear.

Factor in a sports writing and broadcasting degree from Staffordshire University and Carlisle's CV is stacked.

He was also chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association for a spell.

Duncan Watmore

Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore made headlines for his studies after making his Sunderland breakthrough.

He graduated with a first in economics from Newcastle University in 2016.

Watmore rose through the non-league ranks, studying in Manchester when he played for Altrincham, before switching his degree to the north east when he joined Sunderland.

Maintaining his studies at such a high level whilst also making his first-team breakthrough can't have been an easy feat.

Jean-Alain Boumsong

Jean-Alain Boumsong sacrificed a career as a doctor to become a footballer, quitting his medicine degree part-way through.

Things didn't turn out as he had hoped, with his move to Newcastle ultimately proving a failure.

What did the former French international do?

Just go and get a mathematics degree further down the line.

Fair enough.

Shaka Hislop

Former Premier League goalkeeper Shaka Hislop has perhaps the most impressive background of the players featured on this list.

Degree in mechanical engineering from Washington's DC Howard University? Check.

Internship at NASA? Check.

Impressive. Apparently he wasn't allowed near the red buttons...

Matt Smith

Millwall striker Matt Smith did the rounds in non-league before his chance as a professional came.

But before being snapped up by Oldham, he was eyeing a different path.

Smith studied for a business degree in Manchester and was planning a career as a City management consultant before his chance came.

He opted for the football route and has enjoyed stints with Bristol City, Leeds, Fulham and QPR.

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