International Men's Day: The sports stars who give back

French international Kylian Mbappe donated his earnings from playing at the World Cup to charity
French international Kylian Mbappe donated his earnings from playing at the World Cup to charity

Tuesday 19 November is International Men's Day, an important fixture in the calendar for plenty of reasons.

It's a day to "make a difference for men and boys" and tackles issues including the high male suicide rate, and mental health and social problems.

We're taking a look at the sportsmen who have been, and still are, making a difference inside and outside sport through speaking up about mental health and other struggles, as well as those who are doing good work for charity.

Ex-footballers David Beckham and Didier Drogba have been involved in widely publicised ventures in Africa, while boxer Tyson Fury pledged to donate his purse from the Deontay Wilder fight to the homeless.

Before last year's World Cup, Kylian Mbappe revealed he was giving his £17,000-per-match appearance fees to a charity providing sporting activities for disabled children.

And while there are countless sportsmen who do good, here are are four who we think deserve special recognition:

England footballer Danny Rose

Danny Rose has spoken about his mental health
Spurs' England defender Danny Rose spoke about his mental health issues before the 2018 World Cup

Just before last year's World Cup, England and Tottenham defender Danny Rose revealed he had been living with depression, which he says was triggered by a combination of injury and family tragedy.

He disclosed his illness in a frank interview and was later praised by Prince William for his honesty and bravery in speaking out.

But Rose claims his revelation was brought up during talks about a possible transfer later that summer.

"I was speaking to another club in the summer and they said, 'the club would like to meet you, just to check that you're not crazy,' because of what I'd said and what I'd been through," he said.

"I was embarrassed, as whatever I've been through I like to think it doesn't affect me doing my job."

Following Rose's interview, and various other players and fans talking out about mental health, the FA launched a campaign to "generate the biggest ever conversation around mental health" to "show the world mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness".

Fans praised Danny Rose for talking about mental health battlesFans praised Danny Rose for talking about mental health battles

Spain footballer Juan Mata

Juan Mata was involved in setting up the Common Goal initiative
Juan Mata was involved in setting up the Common Goal initiative

When Juan Mata launched his Common Goal initiative, he said he hoped to "change the world, even if only in some small way".

The Manchester United midfielder pledged to donate 1% of his salary to charity, and called for fellow footballers to join him in doing the same.

"I am leading this effort, but I don't want to be alone," he said.

And two years on, more than 130 people have joined him.

"We can use the platform that we have to really be honest with ourselves, to really share our values or to really say what we think, or what football should be aiming for," he said.

"I think the power of sport and of football in particular is huge and we should all realise that."

Former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas is speaking out about living with HIV
Gareth Thomas completed an Ironman triathon in 12 hours 18 minutes

Former Wales rugby union captain Gareth Thomas revealed he is HIV positive, and wants to "break the stigma" around the condition.

Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, is thought to be the first UK sportsman to go public about living with the virus.

Since making the announcement, support for the 45-year-old ex-British and Irish Lions skipper has flooded in.

It included a message from the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, who said: "Gareth, you are an absolute legend! In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV."

He filmed the documentary HIV and Me which aired in October, and was met with further praise from fans calling him a "hero".

Gareth Thomas filmed a documentary HIV and MeGareth Thomas filmed a documentary HIV and Me

Ex-England footballer Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has spoken openly about grief and being a parent to his children after their mum died
Rio Ferdinand has released a book called Thinking Out Loud: Love, Grief and Being Mum and Dad

Rio Ferdinand's wife, Rebecca, died of breast cancer in May 2015, aged 34, and since then he has spoken openly about how life has changed for him and their children.

This has included filming a Bafta-winning documentary called 'Being Mum and Dad', in which he took viewers and fans on his personal journey on coping with grief, and how he was helping his three children.

In sharing his personal journey with the nation, he was praised for showing people should "talk more" and "not shy away" from grief.

Rio Ferdinand's Being Mum and Dad won a BaftaRio Ferdinand's Being Mum and Dad won a BaftaRio Ferdinand's Being Mum and Dad won a BaftaRio Ferdinand's Being Mum and Dad won a Bafta

Important subjects, and incredible bravery. Happy International Men's Day.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a mental health issue, help and support is available at

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