After all the billions you have earned, after you have purchased the most expensive homes, the flashiest super cars, the biggest yachts, the fastest planes and helicopters, and the priciest clothes and accessories, what else is left to buy? Boys will always be boys and just like the rest of us, they will always go back to the game they have loved since they were little kids.
While the rest of us have to content ourselves with rooting passionately for the team we love, billionaires can take several steps further and buy the team. Now, they can not only root for the team, but also mold it with players they think would help them bring glory faster.
Here is a list of the top 10 richest owners of soccer teams.
10. Roman Abramovich, Russia – Chelsea FC, English Premier League
Roman Abramovich is a Russian billionaire tycoon and owner of the private investment company called Millhouse LLC. He is probably better known for his huge yacht and for his football club, Chelsea FC, which he bought in 2003. The team plays in England’s top flight and has attained a lot of success in the recent past. It figures to challenge prominently this year, bringing back enigmatic manager Jose Mourinho and buying several players that could help them back to the top.
9. John Fredriksen, Cyprus – Valerenga Fotball, Tippeligaen
John Fredriksen is a businessman who earned his wealth from oil tankers and shipping. He is considered the richest man in Norway, though he has since abandoned his Norwegian citizenship to become a citizen of Cyprus. He is the owner of Valerenga Fotball, a soccer team that plays in the Norwegian top flight. The team only finished eighth last year, though it has been league champions five times and cup winners four times.
8. Paul Allen, United States – Seattle Sounders FC, Major League Soccer
Paul Allen is an American businessman best known as the co-founder along with Bill Gates of the Microsoft Corporation. He has a multi-billion dollar investment portfolio that he manages through Vulcan Inc. He owns the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League and the Portland Trailblazers in the National Basketball Association. He is also part owner of the Seattle Sounders, which plays in Major League Soccer. The Sounders placed seventh overall last season.
7. Francois Henri Pinault, France – Stade Rennais, Ligue 1
Francois Henri Pinault is the Chief Executive Officer of Kering, the company that owns fashion brands such as Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Girard-Perregaux, Gucci, Puma, Saint Laurent Paris, Sergio Rossi and Stella McCartney. His wife is actress Salma Hayek. He owns Stade Rennais, a team that plays in the French top flight. Last year, it placed 13th.
6. Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine – Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukrainian Premier League
Rinat Akhmetov is a businessman from the Ukraine. He is the founder and President of System Capital Management, one of the leading financial and industrial firms in the country. It has stakes in mining, power, banking, insurance, telecommunications, media and real estate. He also owns and is the President of Shakhtar Donetsk, a club that plays in the Ukrainian Premier League. Last year, it won the league that cemented its status as the second most popular club in the country. It also became the first club from Ukraine to win the UEFA Cup when it lifted the trophy in 2009.
5. Lakshmi Mittal, India – Queens Park Rangers FC, The Championship
Lakshmi Mittal is a steel magnate from India. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor Mittal, the largest makers of steel in the world. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company. Mittal owns a 34 percent share of Queens Park Rangers, with the rest belonging to Tony Fernandes. Last year, the team placed 20th in the Premier League, thus relegating them to the second-tier Championship.
4. Alisher Usmanov, Russia – Arsenal FC, English Premier League
Alisher Usmanov is a Russian businessman born in Uzbekistan. He is the majority shareholder of Metalloinvest, an industrial conglomerate he established to manage the metals interest of Gazprom. He also has a media holding company that owns two federal channels and 33 regional television broadcast stations. He is a part owner of Arsenal, the English giant that plays one of the most attractive football in the world. It hopes to challenge for the title this year especially after the acquisition of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid.
3. George Soros, United States – Manchester United, English Premier League
George Soros is an American business magnate born in Hungary. He is the head of Soros Fund Management. He is a popular supporter of progressive and liberal causes, giving away almost $8 billion to human rights, health and education causes. He is known as the man who broke the Bank of England after earning a billion dollar in profits during the 1992 currency crisis in the United Kingdom. He owns 7.9 percent of Manchester United, one of the most successful clubs in England. Though it is the defending champion, the team faces a new challenge this year with the departure of their long-time manager Sir Alex Ferguson. David Moyes, the new manager, failed to make a big-time purchase for the season.
2. Amancio Ortega, Spain – Deportivo de la Coruna, Segunda Division
Amancio Ortega is a fashion executive and founding Chairman of the Inditex Group. Inditex is the company that owns Zara, Pull and Bear, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius, Oysho and Tempe. Ortega also owns Deportivo de la Coruna. The club was the La Liga champion as recently as the 2000 season. Last year, however, it placed 19th, relegating them to the Segunda Division.
1. Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico – CF Pachuca and Club Leon, Liga MX
Carlos Slim is a businessman from Mexico. He has stakes in technology, retailing, finance and telecommunications. He owns Grupo Carso, a conglomerate that manages his holdings. He also owns Club Leon and Pachuca in the Mexican league after buying a 30 percent stake in Grupo Pachuca that has shares in both clubs. Club Leon placed 15th in the last Clausura while Pachuca finished four places higher.
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