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Top 10 football clubs owned by famous players

Published at :July 8, 2023 at 12:10 AM
Modified at :July 8, 2023 at 12:10 AM
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Rajat Chhajta

With the huge wages and endorsements, some players buy cars, some invest in restaurants, and some buy whole football clubs.

Footballers enjoy fame and commercial success during their playtime. Once they get retired, they either turn out into a coach of an academy or get into a sports channel where they are a sports pundit or just retire completely from the limelight and enjoy their time off.

With the passing decade, Footballers have been seen doing financial deals, few invest in real estate while others set up businesses or foundations. However, some footballers choose to give back to the football community by creating an avenue of their own and investing their money and time into becoming professional football club owners. Here are the top 10 football clubs owned by famous players:

10. Jamie Vardy - Rochester New York FC

Let’s start the list with one of the owners who is a notorious striker. Everything about this one is weird. Vardy investing in lower-tier North American football, okay that is a little bit unexpected. The Leicester City icon was unveiled as the new co-owner of Rochester New York FC (formerly Rochester Raging Rhinos, which sounds way cooler) back in 2021.

The club returned to playing in 2022 after a five-year hiatus. Weird and painfully North American. 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. RNYFC is set to compete in the inaugural MLS Next Pro league.

9. Wilfried Zaha - AFC Croydon Athletic

The most recent addition to this list is Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha. Palace forward and rapper part of three-man consortium AFC Croydon Athletic plays in the ninth tier of English football. The Combined Counties League Premier South Division may be a long way from the glitz and glamour of the Premier League – nine tiers to be exact – but that hasn’t stopped these two celebrities.

Both grew up around the corner from the club’s 3,000 capacity (300 seats) Mayfield Stadium in Thornton Heath and have now decided to invest in a team that finished a lowly 15th last season in an attempt to “do what’s right for the local community,” according to a source close to Zaha.

8. Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow - San Diego 1904 FC

What a consortium that is. Add a goalkeeper and they could set up a five-a-side team, too. Demba Ba fronted the group to buy an NASL expansion side in San Diego, with Hazard, Cabaye and Sow all investing to get it off the ground.

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).

7. Didier Drogba - Phoenix Rising FC

After a stint in MLS, Drogba dropped down a division to USL Championship outfit Phoenix Rising FC in 2017, where he also became a minority owner by acquiring a stake in the club. With the deal, he became the first-ever player-owner in football history.

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.

6. 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 play will in the second tier for the first time ever. Who knows, Pique could be around for long enough to represent is own team in La Liga soon enough.

5.  Zlatan Ibrahimovic - Hammarby IF

Founded in 1915, Stockholm-based outfit Hammarby have won the Swedish top flight once. Swedish superstar Ibrahimovic owns Swedish top-flight side Hammarby IF. In November 2019, Zlatan bought a 23.5% stake in the club. Zlatan pulls the classic Zlatan moment here as this share purchase caused displeasure among fans of Malmo FF, the childhood club of Ibrahimovic.

The fans would later vandalize Zlatan’s statue in protest. Despite not having a controlling share in Hammarby, Zlatan is actively involved in the running of 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.

4. Class of 1992 (Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, David Beckham and Nicky Butt) - Salford City

The club is based in Salford, Great Manchester, and competes in the English 7th tier league. In 2014, 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. Major upgrades to the Peninsula Stadium and big investment on the playing side, including from Liam, has helped put Salford on the verge of achieving that aim. In January 2019, it was announced David Beckham had also bought a 10% stake in the club. Since taking charge of the club in 2014, the Class of 92 have managed to take Salford to a full-time, professional club and to the Football League, with the club now in League Two.

3. Paolo Maldini - Miami FC

Former Italy and AC Milan legend has remained with the club as director after his retirement and continued the lineage of a Maldini at the club. Paolo Maldini’s tenure as sporting strategy & development director for Milan came to end this year. But elsewhere he teamed up with businessman, Riccardo Silva to establish Miami FC in the North American Soccer League, America’s second tier.

Not connected to Beckham's MLS franchise, Miami FC were founded in 2015 and play in the USL Championship. With how much the American top flight has grown, investing in sides in lower divisions appears to be the most sensible option right now. The deal was signed in 2016. Maldini appointed Alessandro Nesta as the club’s first coach. Miami FC competes in the USL Championship, a second tier of the American soccer division.

2. Ronaldo Nazario - Real Valladolid

After the Real Valladolid Secure promotion in La Liga in 2017, Club announced its new owner. Two Time World cup winner is the proud owner of the club, the Brazilian ace, and legend Ronaldo. 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.

The 44-year-old bought the 51% controlling stake of the club for about 30 million euros. In recent times, Ronaldo’s shares in the club have increased to 82%. Real Valladolid were relegated from LaLiga on the final day of the season as they finished 18th of the 20th teams. Since 2018 the city has experienced two durabilities, the descent of 2021, the rise of 2022 and this new fall. They are falling into the category of the yo-yo club as they are unable to maintain their balance in LaLiga.

1. David Beckham - Inter Miami CF

The idea of Beckham owning a club was first proposed when he joined LA Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007 and was offered the chance to buy an MLS expansion team for $ 25 million. He turned down the opportunity then but began talks with the league following his retirement in 2013, and in March 2014 it was announced he had his option to buy an expansion team in Miami.

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.

Though they have remained a bottom-half team since their inception, for now almost three seasons and have recently been under massive renovations internally. With the signing of Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets, they have fired the long-term coach, Phil Neville. They dint mess around to hunt for a coach and appointed Former MLS title-winning coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino as coach of Inter Miami on Wednesday. Martino is the former coach of international star Lionel Messi, who is slated to join Inter Miami late next month. With all these changes, Beckham and co. are surely aiming to get the engines running of their infant franchise.