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Football at the highest level is a lucrative business.
Rising stars at big Premier League clubs are casually handed contracts that will see them earn more a month than most people earn in a year.
It’s a similar scenario in the Championship and at major clubs in Europe.
But not all footballers are happy to count their cash once they’ve retired.
An increasing number are investing wisely and plenty have jumped feet first into exciting entrepreneurial endeavours.
The days of opening a pub or branded bar are long gone. These ex-pros are now rubbing shoulders with the business elite.
The ex-Arsenal ace has had a glittering career and was a fans favourite in north London.
However, he’s also now a serious player on the burgeoning biotech scene.
A co-founder of GF Biochemicals, it is the first company in the world capable of mass-producing sustainable oil substitute levulinic acid.
Estimates suggest his business could be worth well over £10bn.
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The retired striker was a prolific Premier League player back in the day.
It wasn’t just goals he was collecting, though. As his career progressed, Fowler started hoovering up properties.
The 44-year-old now has a massive portfolio after years over savvy investing.
He’s worth an estimated £32m and even runs his own seminars through the Robbie Fowler Property Academy.
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A middling 1990s centre-back turned Wolf of Wall Street.
Vega had a solid, if unspectacular, Premier League career and enjoyed stints with Tottenham and Watford.
He earned well from the beautiful game but didn’t make mega bucks at White Hart Lane and Vicarage Road.
It was his foray into finance that’s set him up for life. He now runs a swish Mayfair-based hedge fund with around £625m invested.
Once a hard-working midfield enforcer, Jihai is now dabbling in social media.
A co-founder of HaiQiu Sports – a company that merges media, technology and data – he wants to connect fans with stars and become a bridge for sport between the West and Far East.
“I was thinking about creating the company in November 2015 and the company was formed in February 2016 – the decision was taken quite quickly,” he told Starsport.
“It would be rather difficult for your average footballer to enter the technology sector. I was fortunate to have friends and partners who know about technology and other similar areas.”
Dublin was an old-fashioned utility player, decent in front of goal but also an accomplished centre-back.
His post-playing career has been similarly varied.
The 50-year-old is a respected BBC football pundit – although he also hosts daytime TV show Homes Under the Hammer.
That’s not his only source of income. Dublin invented The Dube – a specialist percussion instrument with four playable sides.
“I picked up six pieces of wood, a hammer and nails, and built a box,” he said.
“It probably sounded useless at the time but it’s taken me to where I am today.”
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