Friday, 16 Apr 2021

From property to poker – how Premier League stars coined it in after retirement

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It's not a secret that today's top flight footballers are rich beyond their wildest dreams.

The average annual salary for Premier League players is believed to be around £3 million, meaning if they are smart during their careers most will not have to work another day in their life after hanging up their boots.

But some footballers have decided to put a few more zeroes on their bank balances after retiring from the beautiful games.

Many have tried their hand at business ventures, with various degrees of success, while others have dabbled in property investment, racehorse owning and the professional poker circuit.

Here are some players who decided not to settle for their football riches.

Robbie Fowler


Liverpool legend Fowler certainly knew how to fit the target during a distinguished football career, and the same can be said of his investments.

Fowler is thought to be worth around £31 million and has an impressive property portfolio of more than 100 individual properties.

He credits the "smartest thing" he ever did was to take up his manager Graeme Souness' advice to get a financial advisor when he broke into Liverpool's first team as a teenager.

Fowler said he is always "actively looking" for his next investment.

His portfolio was so big even during his playing days that during his stint at Manchester City their fans sung "we all live in a Robbie Fowler house" to the tune of Yellow Submarine.

He is currently trying his hand at football management with a stint at Sporting Club East Bengal in the Indian Super League but he has also tried his hand at owning racehorses with pal and former teammate Steve McManaman.

Ramon Vega

Swiss defender Vega did not pull up any trees during a four-year spell with Tottenham Hotspur between 1997 and 2001, but his post-football career has been altogether more successful.

The former footballer founded a hedge fund which at one time managed more than $1 billion (£725 million) for clients.

Vega, who also played for Watford and Celtic in the UK, wound up Vega Swiss Asset Management as he cited Brexit as one of the main reasons.

He told Financial News: "When Brexit came in place and everything was uncertain regarding tax and regulation, there was also a question mark whether you should have this type of business in London.

"With smaller firms, you just don’t know what will happen and I decided to get out."

Vega, who has a business degree, has not ruled out a return to football having previously unsuccessfully attempted to buy Portsmouth and considered standing as a candidate for the FIFA presidential election.

David Beckham

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Ex-England captain Beckham enjoyed an extraordinarily successful football career, but it was always clear his brand would extend much further than the beautiful game.

The former Manchester United star's net worth is believed to be an astonishing £325 million and Beckham has done almost everything to wrack up that huge bank balance.

That includes starring in movies, advertisements, endorsements, fashion and fragrance deals and football club ownership.

Beckham's Inter Miami are the latest side given a place in the United States' top division Major League Soccer, and the former Manchester United legend's pulling power is in evidence by a squad list which includes star former Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain just three years after forming.

He is also the co-owner of Salford City with some of his ex Manchester United team mates.

Dexter Blackstock

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Former Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers striker Blackstock has enjoyed far more success off the pitch than he did on it.

He owns a property portfolio of around 50 properties but it is for his business interests in the pharmaceutical industry that he has been in the headlines for recently.

Blackstock was only 30 when he retired from football and he has since founded MediConnect, a firm trying to address the problem of patients being overprescribed medication.

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He said: "As it stands, there is nothing to stop anyone ordering drugs from one online pharmacy, then exactly the same with another company and then going down to their local GP and topping up with the same.

"The GP has no idea you have already ordered the same prescription elsewhere."

Last year his firm helped to distribute £1 million worth of PPE equipment to frontline NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Blackstock was a regular goalscorer in the Championship but netted just once in the Premier League during his career, scoring for Southampton against bitter rivals Portsmouth at the age of just 18.

Thomas Gravesen

The Danish star was renowned for being a tough-tackling midfielder during his time with Everton, but his life took an unexpected turn after he retired at the age of 32.

Gravesen went on to become a regular in high rolling Las Vegas poker games after moving to Sin City, with sound financial investments and his gambling winnings combining to net him a £100 million fortune.

He said he went to Vegas so he could frequent poker tables under a cloak of anonymity.

"It's less stressful and less intrusive," he said. "Obviously I don't get recognised as much in the US as I do in Denmark or the UK."

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Gravesen lived in the exclusive Summerlin neighbourhood where he counted tennis ace Andre Agassi and movie star Nicolas Cage as neighbours.

But it has not all been plain sailing for the former footballer – reports claimed that he was lost an eye-watering $54 million (£39 million) in a single night at the poker table.

Gravesen, who is married to stunning Czech model Kamilla Persse, moved back to his native Denmark last year to become a football pundit.

Mathieu Flamini

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Former Arsenal star Flamini would not be the obvious choice for title of 'world's wealthiest footballer' but many believe he is.

It has been claimed the 37-year-old is worth a staggering £25 billion through his business investments.

Alongside business partner Pasquale Granata, he has made his company GF Biochemicals worth an estimated $28 billion (£20 billion).

The firm has become the industry leader in producing levulinic acid, a fuel made from plant waste that can be used in the creation of plastics.

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Flamini has moved to deny claims that he is worth the huge sum of money.

He told L'Equipe: "Well, it's important to rectify things. Contrary to what I read, I do not have €30 billion (£25 billion) in my bank account.

"And this sum does not correspond to the valuation of my company, GF Biochemicals."

Whatever the true figure it is, Flamini has clearly done well for himself since hanging up his boots.

Michael Owen

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Former Liverpool star Owen was once the bright young hope of English football, but he has been indulging his other passion since retirement.

The ex-striker is a keen racehorse owner and breeder, and has built a top class facility at his Manor House Stables in Malpas, Cheshire.

Owen set up the stables with his wife Louise in 2007 and it now has hundreds of horses in its care, winning a number of prestigious victories and prizes.

Talking about the ethos of his stables, he said: "Racehorse trainers dedicate their lives to the horses and understand that each one is different and needs a certain level of special care.

"They know, more than anyone, that the animals are athletes – and they are treated as so."

According to its latest accounts Manor House Stables has net assets worth an impressive £11.6 million.

  • David Beckham
  • Premier League
  • Liverpool FC
  • Manchester City FC
  • Tottenham Hotspur FC
  • Manchester United FC
  • Nottingham Forest FC
  • Queens Park Rangers FC
  • Everton FC
  • Arsenal FC
  • Watford FC
  • Celtic FC
  • Southampton FC
  • Portsmouth FC

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