In a world beset with socio-economic challenges, geopolitical instability and simmering tensions, there is a one global force that unites more countries on this planet than anything else. Our love of football runs deep, and it goes to the very heart of what brings masses of people together. Football is more than just a sport – it is a passion-fueled obsession that begins as soon as we start dribbling, sidestepping and running. The sheer loyalty displayed to the football clubs we cherish cuts to the very heart of what unites villages, towns, cities and even countries. In fact such is our love of this great game that entire nations rise up in support of their teams from the moment the first whistle blows. Football aficionados the world over are well familiar with the great clubs of Spain, Italy, England, Portugal and beyond.
In and among this mix of legendary European football teams are the club owners, who put the pieces in place for the magic to unfold. This, as we know, requires some cash.
The Power Brokers behind European Football Teams
It should be pointed out from the outset that European football is drowning in money. From the top down, and the bottom up, billions are pumped into European football. The players, the stadia and of course the merchandising are big money spinners. The English Premier League is particularly notable for the attention it draws on the international stage. The men and the women behind some of the greatest teams on the face of this planet deserve heaps of praise for the terrific work they do on a daily basis.By investing heavily in football teams, we invest in the youth programmes, social initiatives, tourism and many associated industries. Premier League star Manchester City is owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As part of the ruling family, he took over Manchester City in 2008. And his estimated net worth is a staggering $31.5 billion.
Another heavyweight contender is Arsenal’s owner, Alisher Usmanov, with an estimated net worth of $14.2 billion. Born in Uzbekistan, Usmanov now lays claim to the richest English Premier League club of them all. Of course, no list of top-ranking European football clubs would be complete without mentioning Chelsea and its owner – Roman Abramovich. Chelsea remains one of the wealthiest football clubs in the world, and Abramovich has a personal fortune of $8.9 billion. Manchester United is one of the world’s most loved football teams and is 70% owned by the Glazers family and 8% part-owned by George Soros. The American tycoon is worth a cool $24 billion. On the European continent, Spanish football team Deportivo La Coruña is owned Amancio Ortega who has a personal net worth of $62.3 billion. In Scandinavia, Norwegian businessman John Fredriksen owns the football team Valerenga, and weighs in at a cool $10.5 billion net worth.
Russian Business Mogul Suleyman Kerimov Scores a Winner
Suleyman Kerimov hails from the Republic of Dagestan, Russia. Starting out his career as an accountant at the electrical giant Eltav, he later became the company’s Deputy Director General, but it was not until he joined Soyuz-Finans that he achieved tremendous financial success. Big investments in Sberban and Gazprom catapulted him to the status of one of the richest men in the world – and like so many tycoons before him, he decided to purchase a football club, FC Anzhi Makhachkala.
But for Kerimov, it was about a whole lot more than merely purchasing a football club. He wanted to use his influence and power to drive economic and social prosperity in his native Dagestan. He did this by way of establishing and supporting youth projects, infrastructure development and new training grounds. Along the way, he got top footballers to join his club – Samuel Eto and Roberto Carlos. Kerimov is proof that football-fueled passions can have a real and lasting socio-economic impact.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]