Footballers are often accused of not planning for their retirement while still very active earning millions of dollars from their respective clubs, countries and from companies who have them on their payroll for endorsements deals. As such sad stories abound for those that have gone from riches to rags due to their reckless spending while still making the dollars and failed to invest wisely.
However, despite their flamboyant lifestyles and an enviable collection of diverse cars and mansions, some players have become cannier, with lots of them now investing wisely in various business ventures to see them through their retirement years and put to rest that wasteful act of spending recklessly even after retirement so that they don’t go bankrupt.
In this torrid time, where it’s very hard to even get premium football matches for our viewing pleasure, it’s won’t be out of place if we take a look at footballers and their business as they seek to set themselves up for a better life after retirement.
Matthieu Flamini (Co.Owner GF Biochemicals) & Mikel Obi (MMM Record Label, Mikel Obi Transport)
The former Chelsea midfield anchor is a football superstar who had a successful career with Chelsea, even on the verge of winning his first title with his former club Trabzonspor, if not for the deadly virus currently fighting the whole world perhaps he may win the league with them.
Where Mikel hailed from is synonymous with producing brilliant music superstars, so as such, the former Super Eagles use that as an opportunity to invest in the music industry and to also make him stay afloat financially after retirement as a professional footballer.
The Music label is called MMM Records, which stands for Mature Money Minds which definitely is an avenue for up and coming artists to carve out a brilliant music career for themselves in the music Industry via the record label.
According to report, the record label has grown in recognition since it was established and is slowly becoming a household name and one of the biggest music record labels in Nigeria, meanwhile, this immense investment is reportedly worth around $50 million which will help finance his life beyond the football days. Also, the former Middlesbrough midfielder also has an investment in the transportation sector which is Mikel Obi Transport been managed by his father.
Mathieu Flamini isn’t just known for football, the former Arsenal midfielder who is a co-founder of GF Biochemical Company, a company capable of producing mass levulinic acid, has to look beyond the flamboyant lifestyles and fancy cars to invest wisely his hard earn dollars as a professional footballer into bioscience to have as much as possible to avoid spending recklessly which may lead to bankruptcy.
As it stands, GF Biochemical is the first company that produces mass levulinic acid, a market that Forbes estimated to worth $33 billions, and in 2018 the former AC Milan midfielder was recognized to be one of the 100 most promising business leaders on the planet in the World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders.
Although the French man is still an active footballer playing with Getafe in the Spanish topflight league, however, that doesn’t stop him from investing on bioscience, Flamini took that bold step in 2008 when he partnered with Pasquale Granata to established a bioscience firm, and since the establishment in 2014 the firm was named as one of the twelve biochemical firms likely to produce value in the future by the US Department of Energy.
The firm is also rated to have enormous potential, with the value of the firm estimated to worth €20 billion, also the firm it’s a sustainable oil substitute that can be used in plastics, solvents, fuels, and the pharmaceutical industry, meanwhile, Flamini also launched a firm called Unity, in 2018 a natural origin face, hair body and wellness brand alongside former teammates Ozil.
Samuel Etoo’s (Set Mobile, BETOO) & Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Zlatan Unplugged, A-Z Fashion Brand)
The former Cameroon captain has since his playing days showed a huge interest in business, Eto’o is notably known for his exploits on the continent and Europe as an African footballer winning the Champions League with Barcelona and Inter Milan.
The iconic Cameroonian is also known for his philanthropic acts which gave birth to the creation of his foundation in 2016, the foundation which is known as Samuel Etoo’s Foundation aims to protect children and young people, and to provide emergency aid and a whole lot of other services.
More importantly, in 2012 Eto’o established a telecommunications firm in Douala, Cameron which he named Set Mobile, which enables Cameroonians to communicate affordably, unfortunately for the former Barcelona forward the telecommunications firm ran into a lot of crisis, including strike action that occurred in 2013, and after just two years in business the firm closed its doors in 2014 as Etoo’s and the firm dreams came to an end.
Meanwhile, in 2019, Eto’o resuscitated his dreams in the business sector, when he established a betting platform called ‘BETOO’ which he announced the launch via his Facebook handle.
Ibrahimovic, on the other hand, is one self-confidence footballer that loves marketing, however, his love for marketing didn’t reflect on his business, as his investments with A-Z Fashion Brand and Zlatan Unplugged went down the drain.
The AC Milan forward published a biography called ‘I am Zlatan‘ and also launched an application called ‘Zlatan Unplugged‘, he also created a mobile game called ‘Zlatan Legends.
In 2016, he also tried investing in a sports fashion brand called A-Z, but unfortunately, the brand went bankrupt and was liquidated after just two years after its launch, Ibrahimovic failure to be successful in all of the brands or firm he invested in doesn’t mean he’s a failure.
Didier Drogba (Co-Owner Phoenix Rising, JAD Footwear) & Sulley Muntari (4FK Motors)
Drogba is been referred to as businessman due to his keen interest in business even before he retired, the former Chelsea forward has numerous investments across Africa and Europe but we will only mention few among other investments.
The Ivorian former captain also has a foundation named Didier Drogba Foundation which is a means to provide financial assistance to all Africans in need of education and health assistance, Drogba is also a co-owner of Phoenix Rising Club in the US and a footwear brand named JAD Luxury which he owned in partnership with his brother Jordan.
Drogba was so good with his investments that he was referred to as the most successful African Post Football Businessman, he’s also a brand ambassador for companies like Standard Chartered Bank, and Japanese Yokohama, he also promotes digital banking in his home country.
The Ghanaian midfielder didn’t only have a soft spot for expensive cars, but he has converted that love of cars into a business firm, which brings in more money for the former Milan midfielder and most of his former teammates are his clients.
Muntari’s 4FK Motors garage is popularly referred to as a celebrity car shop which deals in cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Bentley, the firm also pimp cars and customize already purchased vehicles to look like what the client desire.
According to report, 4FK Motors is considered to be one of the finest in Italy where it operates, as the firm is known for pimping for top celebrities and footballers across the world.
Nwankwo Kanu (Real Estate) & David Beckham (Beckham Brand Holdings)
Kanu is one of the most decorated Nigerian footballer, Kanu Heart Foundation which is mainly put in place to assist children with heart conditions, Kanu isn’t just known for his charity alone, he also has a firm that deals in real estate to support him financially.
According to report, the firm was reported to experienced challenges in recent time, however, the investment still found a way to pass the test which definitely has been a wise investment choice for Kanu.
The real estate business definitely won’t be the only investment for the former super eagle’s star, however, the business for Kanu as always been on the front burner.
Meanwhile, on Beckham part, the former Three Lions star is associated with fashion, style, tattoos, and football shoes among others, Beckham Brands Holdings is control by Victoria the wife and Beckham himself.
The former Real Madrid winger also has a stake in Inter Miami FC in the US which is also part of the Beckham Brand Holdings.
Gerard Pique (FC Andorra, Kosmos Global Holding) & Frederic Kanoute (Coaching Future Stars)
The Barcelona defender is one of the finest footballers in the world, and he had won almost every title a football star would ever want to lay hands-on, the world cup winner has successfully participated in poker tournaments and also invest with his company Kosmos Global Holding in various industries which includes media and tennis.
The lanky defender also owns the Spanish third division club FC Andorra a dream and vision of helping them financially to get a promotion into the topflight.
Kanoute took to the path that has given him a lot of fame and fortune, by going on a path to contribute back to the sport that has given him so much, former Mali forward has an academy program that runs in Dubai which he uses in training next future stars.
According to report, the registration fee to get into the academy is said to be around $1000 per child for 11 weeks in Dubai, and this will definitely be an avenue to recoup the money Kanoute has invested in the academy to sustain him financially.
Marcel Jansen (MJ Beteiligung), Lucas Radebe (Event Planner) & Andrea Pirlo (Pratum Coller)
Former Hamburger defender is well known for his love for entrepreneurship, Jansen is involved in five different businesses which include a restaurant called Kinneloa in the street of California, a medical supply store, a beach sports facility, and a sports fashion label.
Despite being involved in close to five businesses under his company name called MJ Beteiligung, the defender is also a pundit with Sky Sport which also helps him to stay stable financially.
For the oldies who watched Lucas Radebe played at the AFCON will know that he is one of the finest football stars ever to play the round leather game, Radebe is known as Mr. Moderator and Event Planner.
After a long footballing career with South Africa, after retirement, Radebe took to a moderating and planning event, which gave birth to Radebe’s book which talks about how footballers could become a brand ambassador.
Last on our plate is Andrea Pirlo, after retirement, the Italian took to the production of wines which he took over from his parents and now sells its product across Europe.
The report has it that the Pirlo vineyard produces around 15,000 to 20,000 bottles a year which makes him one of the top wine producers among other football stars in Europe involved in the same business.
7 Of The Most Loyal Football Players
When it comes to loyalty and commitment in the beautiful game, there are few football players who are able to pledge their allegiance and refused to be swayed by big offers. For every Ashley Cole, there’s also a Totti.
There are players who when they reach their potentials, will get easily swayed by money and the probable fame that will follow their transition to other clubs. While other players would simply remain at their current club because of the love they have for the club.
The first set of players who leave the club when bigger clubs come calling are always remembered for their exploits while at the club. But, the second type of football player who ignores the temptations of leaving their ‘most loved’ football club sides is regarded as heroes.
Meanwhile, there are some known players who have showcased utmost loyalty for their respective clubs. For instance, Francesco Totti waved off Real Madrid’s offer in 2006, stating AS Roma as his family and he’s never seen a situation where a child would leave his poor parents to go live with rich strangers.
But what about other unpopular loyal players like Francesco Totti, Stephen Gerrard or even Mark Noble?.
Here’s a list of 7 most loyal football players
- David Zibung (Goalkeeper) – FC Luzern (18 Years +)
The life of this Swiss goalkeeper has been all about his boyhood club, FC Luzern. The +37-year old was born in Hergiswil which is in the Nidwalden region in Switzerland.
He joined the youth team of FC Luzern in 1999 and was there till 2003. Zibung grew in leaps and bounds with the Luzern main team, ever since he broke into the first team, he’s never for once considered leaving the club.
Technically, Zibung would’ve spent eighteen years at Luzern by July 2021. But he’s definitely spent more than eighteen years given that he’s been at the club’s feeder team before 2003.
Zibung remains one of the oldest and longest-serving loyal goalkeepers of the Swiss League.
- Hidekazu Otani (Midfielder) – Kashiwa Reysol (18 Years)
Otani is a midfielder of note, who joined his one and only club in 2000 as a teenager. Now 36 years-old, Okami has been deployed in many parts of the midfield but his natural position is the defensive midfield where he plays comfortably well.
The Japanese veteran midfielder has on numerous occasions been offered to leave his club but his love for the Sun King club has held him back so much so that he’s willing to retire at the club when the time comes.
While some quarters may believe that Hidekazu Okani had been at Kashiwa for eighteen years, the fans of the club see him as an integral part of the club’s history given that he’s won laurels with the club severally.
- Igor Akinfeev (Goalkeeper) – CSKA Moscow (18 Years)
Akinfeev is probably the most popular player we’re x-raying in this Exposé. Akinfeev, Russian, is the Russian National Team goalkeeper and captain, as well as his club side, CSKA Moscow.
History has it that the 34-year old shot-stopper has been at CSKA Moscow since the age of four. His father sent him to the Sports School of CSKA where he began his goalkeeping career and won the Russian Junior Championship in 2002 with the CSKA Moscow team.
Akinfeev would make his debut for CSKA Moscow at sixteen, precisely 2001 where he saved a penalty and also had a clean sheet. He has played over five hundred matches for CSKA Moscow, winning six Russian Cup titles, six Russian Premier League titles as well as the 2005 UEFA Cup with the club.
His incredible rise to stardom is down to his personality and ingenuity as a goalkeeper. He’s arguably the best goalkeeper the Russian nation has ever produced and has been on several international tournaments for the country since he joined the national team.
It may sound bizarre but Akinfeev has spent thirty years at the Red-blues. That is a huge commitment mixed with loyalty.
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- Ismed Sofyan (Defender) – Persita Jakarta (18 Years)
Talking about the most loyal player, Sofyan’s loyalty isn’t about his club alone, it’s for his country and his country’s elite league, The Indonesian Super League – Not that he’s an amateur.
Yes, he may have played for a couple of club sides in the Indonesian league, but his love and unwavering support for his country is immeasurable.
Sofyan currently plays for Persita Jakarta, a club he joined in 2002 that has made him become the longest-serving player in the club until now. The 41year-old right full-back is a free-kick specialist. He was only privileged to play for the Indonesian National Team for just 53 times.
- Dean Lewington (Defender) – Milton Keynes Dons FC (18 Years)
As of July 2020, Lewinton is the longest-serving player for a single club in English League having spent sixteen years with The Dons.
The English left-back joined MK Dons after a successful spell with Wimbledon in 2004. Lewington, 32, has made over seven hundred appearances with more than 250 different team-mates.
He’s witnessed two promotions and relegations as the club’s captain for the years he’s been at MK Dons and he’s grateful for the sort of longevity he’s had.
He told daily mail in 2016 ‘It’s not like the Premier League where you get five-year deals. It is one or two years. When we won promotion to the Championship in 2015, I was out of contract on the final day as we were celebrating.’
- Koji Homa (Goalkeeper) – Mito HollyHock (21 Years)
Undoubtedly a popular figure in the Japanese league, the 43-year-old goalkeeper currently plays for the above-named club in the second tier of the Japanese League, J2.
After graduating from high school, he joined the J1 League side Urawa Reds in 1996 but couldn’t play more often before crossing to Mito HollyHock in 1999 and never looked back.
He’s helped Mito HollyHock achieve some amazing feats since he joined in 1999 with the biggest of them being the promotion of the club to J2 in 2000.
In his twenty-one-year sojourn with the club, Koji Homma holds the record for the player with the highest number of matches played in J2.
- Lee Casciaro (Forward) – Lincoln Red Imps (22 Years)
The 38-year-old Gibraltar striker scored the only goal of the game when his Gibraltarian minnows club (Lincoln Red Imps) shocked Celtic and to a larger extent, the rest of Europe in their Champions League qualifier at the Victoria Stadium in 2016,
Cascario, 39, has been at the club since he was eight years old and has spent twenty-three years as a first-team member.
It should be agreed that Lincoln Red Imps was made for Cascario, given that two of his younger brothers have played for the club as well.
With three international goals, Lee Henry Cascario is currently Gibraltar’s all-time goalscorer since the 33,684 populated nation joined UEFA.
- Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao): 11 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Tarantini (Rio Ave): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Stefan Radu (Lazio): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Vincent Manceau (Angers SCO): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Anthony Lopes (Lyon): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Koke (Atletico Madrid): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Roberto Torres (Osasuna): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Gerard Pique (Barcelona): 12 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Mario Gaspar Perez (Villarreal): 12 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Guilherme (Lokomotiv Moscow): 13 years, 1 month, 3 days
- Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur): 13 years, 1 month, 10 days
- Volodymyr Chesnakov (Vorskla Poltava): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Mahmut Tekdemir (Istanbul Basaksehir): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Sergio Busquets (Barcelona): 13 years, 2 months, 3 days
- Andriy Pyatov (Shakhtar Donetsk): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Anton Shunin (Dynamo Moscow): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Marcelo (Real Madrid): 13 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Sammy Bossut (Zulte Waregem): 14 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid): 15 years, 4 days
- Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Francesco Magnanelli (Sassuolo): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Jessy Moulin (Saint-Etienne): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Oier (Osasuna): 15 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Sergio Alvarez (Celta de Vigo): 16 years, 2 months, 4 days
- Mark Noble (West Ham United): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Lionel Messi: (Barcelona): 16 years, 8 months, 3 days
- Denis Sinyayev(FC Avangard Kursk)18 years
- Ismaeil Matar (Al-Wahda): 19 years
- Petr Literak(Frýdek-Místek): 22 years
Erling Haaland: The Story Behind His Striking Rise
Erling Haaland was always going to become the ultimate striker and probably the best number 9 on the planet. Also, there’s every possibility that one day, he may become a Ballon D’or winner. But, there’s still one mystery, how did he become the cyborg that he is today?
Haaland continues to be a goal machine, becoming the quickest player in history to reach 20 Champions League goals. His goal from the spot in the UCL round-16 second leg tie against Sevilla was his 20th goal in just 14 appearances in the competition, which broke Harry Kane’s previous record of 24 games.
“Of course he’s fast, powerful, good around the goal and he’s got real soccer sense. But it’s more of his energy, it’s his infectious personality that I think is like a magnet; it draws people to him, it makes people want to be around him.” Those are the words of Red Bull Salzburg manager, Jesse Marsch.
Grab a handful of popcorn and sit back as we unfold the story behind the rise of this Norwegian beast, goal machine, and keeper’s nightmare, Erling Braut Haaland.
Haaland’s Salzburg Breakthrough
As at when Jesse Marsch was appointed as Salzburg manager, Haaland had been at the club for about six months and had only played one game. And then he went to the U-20 World Cup where he scored nine goals in one game.
From his Salzburg debut, Haaland, who had already impressed at the Norwegian league with Bryne and Molde left observers with no doubt about the quality he possesses.
He would become one of the best strikers on the planet because the talent in him was very obvious. In a chat with oh-my-goal, Jesse Marsch revealed that Haaland’s personality was the first thing he fell in love with about Haaland.
“The first couple of days I worked with him, what impressed me more than anything else was his personality on the pitch. He was just relentless! He worked harder than anyone.”
But beyond his raw talent in Salzburg, Erling Haaland left his mark on the locker room with his personality. He had a smile on his face and got along incredibly well with his teammates. Therefore, it wasn’t just his talent, it was his overall energy.
Erling in person had a really positive influence on his teammates. Erling the player, was a selfish assassin who scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for the Austrian club.
Meanwhile, he also always talked about making his teammates happy. “The best memory I Had of him was when we were getting penalties in just about every game, and he was giving them to all the other attacking players.“
“And then, after a player missed a penalty, I said Ok, Erling has to take the penalties and I told him he would be taking the penalties”
“It’s incredible to have such a talented player who loves to score goals, be the one that is giving the penalty responsibilities to the others because he wants them to feel the power of success, the power of scoring goals, and the power of confidence. That says a lot to me about the character of Erling.” Marsch revealed.
At 19, when most people think about personal glory, Haaland was already a perfect teammate and a future leader which was unprecedented for a player as good as he was and in his age range.
Without a doubt, Haaland’s personality was great enthusiastic and it did really have a big effect on a lot of people at Salzburg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Influence
Erling Haaland may owe his incredible rise to his immense talent and his positive leadership qualities. But that’s not all, Cristiano Ronaldo also played a huge role in Haaland’s evolution.
People often say that Erling Haaland is the next Cristiano Ronaldo but is the CR7 comparison justified?
Certainly, Erling is more of a pure striker than Cristiano but from a power football perspective, his ability in the transition to affect games like the Portuguese ace makes the comparison justifiable.
Haaland himself admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo was his role model but if like Cristiano, Erling broke all the goalscoring records, it’s not really the part of football that CR7 has influenced.
Haaland is following in Cristiano Ronaldo’s footsteps in terms of leadership and he even is now a role model to many players just like Ronaldo was to him.
Cristiano Ronaldo has had positive effects on his teammates and in every team, he’s played in which really helped him overtime right from his days at Manchester United and Real Madrid. But for Erling, one could really see that right from his young age that it’s a natural quality he has.
It will be up to Haaland to continue to modify that aspect of himself and mold that in a way that he can become a really strong leader within his teams as he continues to grow older.
Above all, Haaland took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo in one essential area, work ethic. Like CR7, he’s always hungry to improve. “He really worked hard a lot. After training, he would stick around to finish, to hit some crosses, to work on his heading.” – Jesse Marsch, RB Salzburg Coach.
Like CR7, Erling Haaland thinks every little detail counts. He would wear special glasses because he felt like when you look at your computer all day long or your cell phone, that your eyes would start to fade and so he had that special glasses he always wears.
And while he has his own personality, Erling is directly inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo especially when it comes to nutrition and work ethic by picking the most hardworking professional football player in history as his role model.
Perfect With BVB
Borussia Dortmund activated his €20 million (£17m/$22m) release clause, beating United and Leipzig to his signature after all three clubs held meetings with the player, his father, and agent Mino Raiola.
Borussia Dortmund already had forward Paco Alcacer on the books, but saw Haaland as such a generational talent, that they were willing to offload the Spain international to give the Norwegian teen an even better chance of success.
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that they had been looking for someone with Haaland’s particular skill set for a long time and could not pass up the opportunity to sign him.
“We always wanted to have a center-forward who has a different way of playing football,” Watzke told Goal and DAZN. “But this guy also had to come onto the market first.
There are not many who are 1.94 meters (6 ft 4 in) tall and that fast. Actually, nobody else comes to mind. It was just an opportunity that you don’t get very often. – Goal.com
Dortmund offered the striker the best chance of regular game time as they promised to make him their first-choice striker, something Alf-Inge Haaland admits is crucial to his development.
Haaland’s Dortmund story got off to the perfect start with the most incredible debut against Augsburg. Trailing 3-1, Lucien Favre sent on the teenager from the bench and was rewarded with a 22-minute hat-trick to help secure a 5-3 win.
Having revealed all the secrets that make Haaland an outstanding striker, in all honesty, the Norwegian striker has no limit because he keeps getting better at Dortmund.
He was incredible at Salzburg. “We were obviously so sad to lose him so quickly because we had a lot of fun and success with him, but we’re also very proud of him and we’re really excited to see him continue to push himself and move forward and show everybody in the world how good he is.”
And today, he’s showing just how good he is in Germany. He used to only be seen as a superpowered and superfast goalscorer. But at Dortmund? He’s also shown his technical advances and his in-game intelligence and influence.
He’s more and more capable of keeping the ball, playing in different positions, taking part in the game, in short, he’s become the ultimate striker.
Giving his unique skill-set and amazing personality, he will definitely sign for a bigger club in years to come. Yes, he may experience some difficulties, but his quality will help him manage whatever challenge that comes his way and in-turn become the best number 9 of not only his generation but in football history.