Unlike before when footballers focus majorly on acquiring luxurious things to suit their lifestyle, forgetting what will sustain them after retirement. Today, many football personalities now see reasons to invest in the future even while making it big as active players.
While some invest heavily in some other sectors, Blueprint looks at some football personalities both ex-players and those still active in the game who have done greatly for themselves, turning the game into a business venture, purchasing and acquiring shares in football outfits especially in recognised football nations.
Here are 10 football clubs owned by active and former football players:
1. David Beckham – Inter Miami CF
England and United former captain Beckham bought the exclusive franchise of MLS for a whopping amount of $25 million. Currently, David Beckham is the president and co-owner of American Major League Side Inter Miami CF. The deal was signed on the 5th of February, 2014. However, the club operations were started in 2020 and the reason was issues surrounding stadium approvals. Beckham’s business partner Simon Fuller and five other businessmen also have stakes in the club.
2. Ronaldo Nazario – Real Valladolid
Following the Club’s promotion to La Liga in 2017, Club announced the World cup winner, Ronaldo as the proud owner of the club.
In September 2018, Ronaldo became the first-ever former player to buy a club in one of the major European leagues after agreeing to invest €30 million to become the major shareholder of LaLiga club Real Valladolid.
3. Mane – Bourges Foot 18
Senegal superstar, Sadio Mane bought French fourth division club Bourges Foot 18 in 2023.
The club is located 250 kilometres from Paris in central France, but they’ve never played higher than the French second tier (as Bourges 18).
The club was formed around 2021 following a merger between two clubs in the region.
4. Paolo Maldini – Miami FC
The former AC Milan technical director partnered with businessman, Riccardo Silva to establish Miami FC in the North American Soccer League, America’s second tier.
Miami FC was founded in 2015 and play in the USL Championship.
5. Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham and Nicky Butt – Salford City
Manchester United Class of 1992 players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Nicky Butt bought the ownership. However, in September 2014, the team sold 50% of the club’s share stake to Singapore-based billionaire Peter Liam.
The remaining 50% was split between Giggs, Scholes, Butt, and the Neville brothers.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Hammarby IF
Swedish legend, Zlatan Ibrahimovic owns Swedish top-flight side Hammarby IF. In November 2019, Zlatan bought a 23.5% stake in the club.
Hammarby won the 2020/21 Svenska Cupen and have played in European competition in the time since Ibrahimovic has been involved, but are still struggling to make their newfound success stick more consistently.
7. Gerrard Pique – Andorra FC
The former Barcelona center-back, Gerrard Pique bought the club in December 2018. He purchased the club through his company Kosmos Holding Group. The football club is based in Encamp, Andorra. Andorra FC currently plays in Segunda División B, the third tier of Spanish football. The club was established in 1942 and was the first football club to be founded in Andorra. Since the legendary defender took over ownership of the club, Andorra have climbed the ranks of Spanish football and this season they will play in the second tier for the first time ever.
8. Didier Drogba – Phoenix Rising FC
In 2017, Chelsea legend, Didier Drogba joined the United Soccer League side Phoenix Rising as a player and co-owner.
Didier continues to oversee the club in an administrative capacity after his retirement from football. The club is playing in second-tier US Football. Apart from Drogba, Other shareholders are Brandon McCarthy, Pete Wentz, and Diplo.
9. Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow – San Diego 1904 FC
The San Diego-based soccer club was founded by Chelsea legend, Demba Ba and Eden Hazard back in 2018. San Diego 1904 FC kicked off its first professional season in September 2018 in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), the third tier in U.S. soccer’s club pyramid behind Major League Soccer (MLS) and the revamped United Soccer League (USL).
10. Jamie Vardy – Rochester New York FC
The Leicester City star was unveiled as the new co-owner of Rochester New York FC in 2021.
The club returned to playing in 2022 after a five-year hiatus.
Following a rebranding from Rochester Rhinos in 2021 after the club’s failed attempt to join the USL League One, funding was secured as Vardy came on board by purchasing stakes in the club, which has been revived.