A growing trend seems to be emerging as more and more footballers have gone from football players to football club owners. Here we take a look at some high-profile names who have ventured into this form of entrepreneurship.
When one considers the relatively short careers players have and the vast sums of money some retire with, it stands to reason that many of them would opt to invest in a football club as a business.
Their wealth of footballing knowledge can be channeled effectively as well as the contacts they would have built up over the years.
1. Didier Drogba – Phoenix Rising (USA)
To supporters of the Ivory Coast and Chelsea football teams, Didier Drogba has achieved legendary status. The former African player of the year and English Premiership golden boot winner left Europe to join Phoenix Rising in the USA.
When he decided to buy a stake in the club as well, he became the first ever player/ owner in the world.
2. Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville – Salford City (England)
The conglomerate made up of Manchester United’s legendary class of ’92 purchased the club based in Salford, Manchester.
Later that year, they sold a 50% stake in the club to Peter Lim, owner of Valencia in Spain’s La Liga.
At the time, Salford City were languishing in the 7th tier of English football but have achieved 2 promotions since.
3. Paolo Maldini – Miami FC (USA)
The AC Milan legend owns a 50% stake in the club along with businessman Riccardo Silva.
During his time as a player, Maldini formed a formidable centre-back partnership with Alessandro Nesta and the 2 teamed up again at Miami as Nesta was employed as the manager.
4. Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba and Moussa Sow – San Diego 1904 (USA)
Yet another club based in the USA, it was founded in 2017. The club was announced as one in the National Independent Soccer Association league or Division 3.
As reported by www.sportskeeda.com, Eden Hazard relishes the opportunity to share the beautiful game with the San Diego locals. He said, “We see great things for this club and for soccer in San Diego. It’s a tremendous honour be a part of this club and to give San Diego what it deserves – professional football.”
5. Ronaldo – Real Valladolid
Not to be confused with the Portuguese talisman, Ronaldo Nazario retired a legend of the game after representing the Brazilian national team, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan.
His first taste of football club ownership was a minority share in Fort Lauderdale Strikers based in the USA. Earlier in 2018, it was announced that he acquired a majority share in Real Valladolid.
The club are currently performing extremely well as they find themselves in 7th spot in La Liga.
6. David Beckham – Inter Miami FC
Last but not least, is the global icon David Beckham. He moved to the MLS in the USA in 2007 as a player when he joined LA Galaxy.
As part of that agreement, he was allowed to purchase a MLS expansion team at a discounted rate. He seized the opportunity in 2014 when he purchased Inter Miami for $25m..
Of all the clubs listed here, this one has probably garnered the most publicity. Some have even touted Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo to join the club at some point
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