In a fascinating convergence of passion and business acumen, the world of football has witnessed a growing trend: active and retired football players stepping into the shoes of club owners.
Beyond the thrill of scoring goals and making tackles, some of the sport’s most recognizable names have taken on the responsibility of owning and running football clubs.
From the glitzy pitches of Europe to the vibrant arenas of the Americas and beyond, these players have transitioned from being legends on the field to stewards of their own clubs.
This article delves into the intriguing stories of ten such football icons who have ventured into the world of ownership, exploring the motivations, challenges, and impacts of their dual roles.
As the lines between players and owners’ fades, a new dimension is added to the beautiful game, where those who once played are now writing a new chapter in football’s history as owners
David Beckham’s move to the MLS in 2007 was a landmark moment in the history of the league.
In 2014, Beckham exercised his option to buy an MLS expansion team for $25m. The initial plan was to start playing in 2016 or 2017 but it was pushed to 2020 due to delay in getting a stadium deal completed.
Beckham’s business partner Simon Fuller and five other businessmen also have stakes in the club.
The team’s official name is Internacional de Futbol Miami but is popularly known as Inter Miami. The club intends to build a new stadium the location of which is still to be finalized.
San Diego 1904
San Diego 1904 started June 2017 and is in the North American Soccer League.
Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow own the club.
In addition, the outfit club will play its home games temporarily in University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium, but the plan is to build a new stadium in Oceanside, approximately 40 miles north of downtown San Diego.
Eden Hazard and Demba Ba expressed great hopes for the club, adding that the goal is to sign quality players and become competitive.
Demba Ba has labelled San Diego as the ‘project of their life’.
Real Valladolid Football Club
Former Brazil international Ronaldo Nazario and legend became the majority shareholder after purchasing 51% controlling stake of Real Valladolid on September 3, 2018
The club earned promotion to the La Liga at the end of the 2017/18 season after four years.
Ronaldo played in the La Liga for Barcelona and Real Madrid and his club, Real Valladolid, is currently playing at the La Liga first tier.
Prior to owning Valladolid, Ronaldo had a minority stake in NASL club Fort Lauderdale Strikers which was dissolved in 2016.
Cesar Azpilicueta is the immediate former Chelsea Captain.
At Chelsea, Azpilicueta won the Champions League, Premier League, Europa League, FA Cup, Super Cup and Club World Cup.
Azpilicueta formed his own esports team in 2020, and two years prior became a board member and co-owner of non-league side Hashtag United
Hashtag United, which originated as a YouTube team, is currently playing in the Isthmian League North Divis.
FC Andorra & Gimnastic Manresa
Spanish and Barcelona legend Gerard Pique, owns FC Andorra and Gimnastic Manresa.
Gerard Pique became the owner of Spanish third tier side FC Andorra in 2018.
FC Andorra is the only club in the Spanish football pyramid based outside Spain and in neighboring Andorra.
Pique expanded his portfolio with the acquisition of a much smaller club Gimnastic Manresa.
The club will be an affiliate club for FC Andorra using them as a pipeline to bring in the best local talent whilst looking to establish them as a sports PLC.