Billionaire businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe made headlines around the world earlier this week when he announced his interest in purchasing Manchester United from current owners, the Glazer family.
With a reported net worth of £12.58 billion, Britain’s richest man could meet the Glazers’ £6bn valuation of the club with ease.
Surprisingly, though, so could former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini.
While there’s absolutely no suggestion that the Frenchman would want to take over at Old Trafford, a highly successful post-football career has placed Flamini in a position to do pretty much whatever he pleases.
Top-flight footballers earn sums during their playing careers that most of us can only dream about. However, a select few – including Flamini – have gone on to achieve even greater riches in non-footballing ventures after fading out of the limelight.
We’ve taken a look at nine of the most noteworthy examples below.
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9. Asamoah Gyan
Former Sunderland striker Gyan has been without a club since October 2021, yet optimistically claims that he still wants to represent Ghana at the World Cup later this year.
We can’t see it, not least because Gyan oversees a business empire worth a total of £16.6 million according to Sports Brief.
The man is involved in a dizzying number of ventures including his own airline and brands of bottled water and noodles. He also owns a boxing promotion and has investments in both property and the music business.
8. Louis Saha
Following his 2013 retirement, Saha came up with the idea of creating a social network for professional sports stars. Shortly after, AxisStars – a service connecting athletes with business brands was born.
Per Rocket Reach, the business now turns over revenues of $5m annually and reportedly counts with the likes of Didier Drogba, Robert Pires and Florent Malouda among its hundreds of clients.
7. Michael Owen
Most famous in recent months for being the dad of Love Island 2022 runner-up, Gemma, Owen was once one of the best strikers on the planet, lifting the coveted Ballon d’Or prize in 2001.
Injuries hit him hard, though, and he was a shadow of his former self in the latter years of his career.
Since hanging up his boots in 2013, Owen has found major success in the world of horse racing.
As the co-owner of Manor House Stables, the former Liverpool and Manchester United frontman has landed significant victories at Royal Ascot as well as in the Dubai World Cup.
The venture is far from a hobby for Owen, who runs an owners club which allows members of the public to buy into a horse for an annual fee.
Last October, the Daily Star estimated Owen to be worth a staggering £36m.
6. Thomas Gravesen
It’s a ‘career path’ that comes with significant risks, but former Everton and Real Madrid midfielder boosted his bank balance post-retirement by becoming a professional poker player.
The Dane, who quit football at the age of just 32, headed out to live in Las Vegas after calling time on his career.
Always a colourful character, Gravesen and ‘Sin City’ seemed a perfect match and a number of shrewd investments quickly saw his net worth soar to a reported £100m.
By 2019, though, he was back working in his native Denmark as a TV pundit, suggesting that he “missed football”.
It’s unknown how much of his £100m fortune made it back with him to Europe.
5. Sun Jihai
Jihai holds a unique piece of Premier League history as the first Chinese player ever to play – and score – in the English top-flight.
The former Man City defender really cashed in after he stepped away from football, though.
Entering the sports data sector, Jihai founded HaiQui [HQ] Sports in partnership with China Media Capital. The service now has an estimated 400 million users, swelling Jihai’s net worth to around £20m as of last year.
He may have missed out on the era of Sheikh Mansour’s millions at City, but Jihai is doing very well for himself regardless.
4. Dexter Blackstock
Former QPR and Nottingham Forest striker enjoyed a solid career, mainly finding success at Championship level.
Away from the pitch, however, he built up a strong property portfolio, valued at approximately £5m.
The strong financial foundation allowed him to diversify into creating his own medical blockchain platform to try and prevent abuse of prescription medications.
Retiring at the young age of just 30 worked out well for Blackstock, who continues to thrive as an entrepreneur.
3. Mia Hamm
The first true superstar of the women game, Hamm cashed in on her celebrity status by signing endorsement deals with the likes of Pepsi and Nike.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist is also one of the most prolific goalscorers in international football history, notching 158 goals for the USA.
Post-retirement, Hamm has served as an ambassador for Barcelona as well as taking a seat on the board at Roma.
2. Robbie Fowler
The former Liverpool frontman is another player who has done very well in the property sector.
Fowler saw his net worth spike to a reported £31m after retirement, largely as a result of his vast portfolio of 80 units spread across England, Scotland and Wales.
1. Mathieu Flamini
During a career that saw him represent Arsenal, AC Milan, Crystal Palace and Getafe, Flamini earned some very good money.
Compared to his net worth these days, though, his prior salary was absolute peanuts.
Per the Daily Star, the Frenchman has made an absolute killing in the biochemical industry.
Together with his business partner Pasquale Granata, Flamini has built up GF Biochemicals to become a leader in its sector.
A high-volume producer of Levulinic acid – a sustainable fuel created from plant waste used in the creation of plastics – the company is now worth an estimated £21bn.
With Flamini alone believed to have wealth of £11.6bn, he and his family are set for generations to come.
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