Kalou spreading his wealth

Last Updated: Aug 30, 2009, 17:55 PM IST

London: The pampered millionaire football stars should learn how to spend from and remain grounded from Chelsea player Salomon Kalou, who regularly sends money home to help poor in his country, Ivory Coast.

The Young African Player of the Year’s wages may have increased by 900,000 per cent since he signed for Chelsea from Feyenoord. But the generous 24-year-old is still giving large chunks of his money away.

He splashed out 45,000 pounds to buy his mum a brand new BMW X5 and another 45,000 pounds on an X6 for his dad.

He regularly sends money home to his family, who now live in a bigger five-bedroom house.

He is setting up the Salomon Kalou Foundation to raise money for the poor in Africa and is planning to distribute 1,000 sandals to the needy in his homeland.

Other projects include opening a public football pitch in his name in Rotterdam next month and a similar one in the Ivory Coast in time for the World Cup finals, News of the World reported.

He has donated money to the families of the victims of the Abidjan Stadium tragedy, in which 19 people died and more than 130 were injured when a wall collapsed during the Ivory Coast’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Malawi five months ago.

And he has promised he and his Ivory Coast teammates will also donate their bonuses if they qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Not your typical overpaid, overhyped, Premier League footballer, then.

“It is the way I have been raised,” he insisted. “I shared my money when I was earning 5 pounds a month and I am still doing it although I earn a lot more now!”

“I am blessed. My goal is to give back to people who don’t have anything, who need help. If I have two things I can give one away.”

He doesn’t drink or smoke. So he even gave away the bottle of champagne Prince Harry bought him at his 24th birthday party earlier this month.

Kalou now has his own five-bedroom house near Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham, Surrey, the car, the adulation of the fans and has just launched his very own Stay Fly clothing label.

But he didn’t buy his first mobile phone until he signed for Feyenoord and he still sleeps on the floor when he goes back home.