We’ve covered a list of the craziest and most expensive celebrity insurance policies before, but while some of those can be seen as little more than publicity stunts, for the athletes below these insurance policies can be key to their ability to keep working. Well, for most of them anyway…
Needless to say, the top spots on this list are all occupied by footballers, but have a look below and see who else makes the list of the 10 most expensive professional sports star insurance policies of all time.
Takeru Kobayashi – $100,000 Stomach
Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi mightn’t quite meet the typical idea of a professional sports star, but believe it or not competitive eaters are in fact considered athletes and eating competitions are often covered by big sports broadcasters like ESPN.
The man who holds eight separate Guinness World Records for the eating of hotdogs, Twinkies, meatballs, tacos, hamburgers, ice cream, pasta and pizza is rumoured to have had his stomach insured for a cool $100,000.
Merv Hughes – $370,000 Mustache
Although Aussie cricketer Merv Hughes isn’t quite as instantly famous as some of the other names on this list, even if you don’t know who he is you can surely appreciate that prodigious ‘stache.
During his days as a member of the Australian national team, Hughes’ bristly handlebar moustache was insured for roughly $370,000.
Troy Polamalu – $1 Million Hair
NFL star Troy Polamalu hit headlines all over the world back in 2010, when it was unveiled that he’d got insurance for his famous curly locks to the tune of $1 million.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers safetyman teamed up with Head & Shoulders three years later and had his hair cut in aid of charity Veteran of Foreign Wars Foundation. Technically only four strands were actually cut off, but that’s big news when your hair’s worth a million bucks!
Manuel Neuer – €3 Million Hands
German goalie Manuel Neuer, who plays for Bayern Munich and the German national team, is widely considered one of the finest goalkeepers in world football history.
It probably makes sense, then, for a man of such talents to protect the tools of his trade: in 2014, Neuer had his hands insured for €3 million according to the General Association of German Insurers.
Fernando Alonso – £9 Million Thumbs
Currently in the news for having clinched Toyota’s first Le Mans victory on his debut WEC race, two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso is widely regarded as one of the best in the racing business – even if his cars aren’t always as brilliant as he is.
Back when he was driving for Ferrari, Alonso received insurance for his thumbs to the tune of a jaw-dropping £9 million as part of a comprehensive life and accident package supplied by primary sponsor Santander.
Iker Casillas – $10 Million Hands
Much like Manuel Neuer, Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casilla is widely considered one of the best in the history of the sport. Back in 2007, he took out an insurance policy for his hands equivalent to $10 million.
The policy covered his mitts for damage suffered on or off the field, and after signing the deal he declared: “If I damage my knee, I’ll pretend my hand hurts”. Ha!
Mark McGwire – $12 Million Ankle
One of the most famous names in Major League Baseball, during his 1998 record-breaking run, Mark ‘Big Mac’ McGwire had his ankle insured for $12 million by Lloyd’s after it had proven to be a nagging injury throughout his career.
Bizarrely, the insurance policy’s terms required that McGwire take the steroid Androstenedione to prevent further injury. A few years later, Andro would be officially banned by Major League Baseball, embroiling McGwire in a doping controversy that persists in the league to this day.
Cristiano Ronaldo – £90 Million Legs
Now we’re really onto the big bucks; given that he’s widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, Real Madrid were taking no chances when they first signed Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2009.
At the time, the £80 million transfer fee set a new world record, but Real also went one better by insuring Ronaldo’s legs for a whopping £90 million.
David Beckham – £100 Million Legs
He might be known as Golden Balls, but it’s another pair of body parts that David Beckham had insured – his legs.
Back in 2006, Beckham insured his legs for £100 million, which at the time set a new record for the largest personal insurance policy in sporting history. So large was it, that it was rumoured that it had to have been split among a number of different insurance companies.
Lionel Messi – €750 Million Legs
However, the most expensive sporting insurance policy of all time dwarfs Beckham’s record by quite a margin; in fact it’s worth more than three times all of the previous numbers combined!
That record belongs to Argentinean forward Lionel Messi, who is reported to have his legs insured for a phenomenal €750 million. Messi mightn’t have had the best start to this year’s World Cup so far with a disappointing missed penalty against Iceland, but he’s still widely regarded as potentially the best football player of all time and the numbers agree.