Not only is Bukayo Saka one of the most talented and promising young footballers on the planet currently, the Arsenal superstar is also one of the nicest.
In an industry dominated by inflated egos and even more inflated finances, the good eggs are sometimes a little hard to find. But not Saka; he’s one of the greatest eggs.
It makes watching him turn defenders inside out all the more enjoyable knowing we’re getting behind a human being who genuinely has a kind soul – unless it’s against your team of course. Then he’s public enemy number one.
Enough being fickle, though. Today we’re celebrating just how great Saka is off the pitch as well as on it, recalling moments where he was the nicest guy in the world.
A devout Christian
Saka makes no secret of his faith, with his Instagram name set as ‘God’s child’ and him regularly discussing it where he can.
He said in an interview with British GQ that he tries to read some of the Bible every night, while showing off the Bible gifted to him by his father.
Football fan at heart
When you’re playing at the very top level of football, it’s easy to lose your way and focus solely on winning. Above all, though, footballers play because they love the game.
Saka makes no secret of that. He’s an Arsenal fan and lets it bleed through. So when he started honouring Thierry Henry with his corner flag celebrations in 2022-23, we couldn’t help but smile.
Every kid’s dream, this. Wholesome stuff.
Honouring the King 👑 pic.twitter.com/3cbH6qpDww
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) February 19, 2023
Incredible charity work in Nigeria
Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Saka teamed up with BigShoe in order to provide the funds for 120 Nigerian children to have life-changing operations.
BigShoe has helped over 1700 children around the world gain access to vital operations since it was founded in 2006. Via the BBC, Saka said: “I feel blessed to be in a position where I can contribute to making the children’s lives easier and better through these surgeries.
“For me, it is very important to use my abilities to have a positive impact where I can. I want to do more and more and help as many children as I can.”
Making time for fans
It blew just about every football fan’s mind when Kim Kardashian embarked on a rather strange and wholly unexpected football tour in early 2023, being snapped at a number of games in England and France.
One of the games she took her son Saint to was an Arsenal game in March, as the Gunners were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting CP at the Emirates.
Saint was unable to meet Saka, but despite the defeat, the 21-year-old went out of his way to Facetime Kardashian’s son afterwards. What a nice bloke.
England Player of the Year
Saka wasn’t aware he was winning England’s 2021-22 Player of the Year award, instead thinking he was being briefed for a routine press conference.
His eyes lit up when he headed into a room filled with a local grassroots football team, and he was genuinely over the moon to receive the reward from two children in the front row.
We were then treated to a mini press conference where Saka was quizzed on football, films and his favourite food. Brilliant.
Wrote to pupils from his old school
Back in 2020, when Saka was just breaking through, he wrote to pupils from his old school about the role faith had played in his life so far.
Via Premier Christianity, part of that letter read: “I grew up in a Christian family who believe strongly in God. This always made me curious to get to know God more and I have done so by reading my Bible a lot and going to church a lot over the years.
“My faith is constantly being exercised when I’m put in different situations or I play in big football matches such as my England debut.”
Not only is it inspirational to see a young man so proud of his faith, but it’s also brilliant that he recognises the role his school played in his upbringing. The little things make a world of difference.
When he’s not kicking a ball around a pitch, Saka is taking over TikTok. And he’s bringing us along for the ride.
He went viral for ‘Saka’s Spelling School’ at camp during the 2022 World Cup, where he’d quiz England teammates by making them spell tricky words.
In the time since, he’s been at Oleksandr Zinchenko for eating toast without a plate, and tasked Phil Foden with hitting bullseye on a darts board – which he incredibly managed.
Back to his roots
Saka again paid a visit to his old primary school in early 2022, meeting pupils in collaboration with his sponsor New Balance.
Providing a drop of fresh kit and apparel to the school, Saka also got to see a mural painted in honour of him and spent time with children on the day.
It’s time out of a footballer’s incredibly privileged life that they can spare with ease, but a moment that those kids will never, ever forget. You really do love to see it.