Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The World's Richest Football Club Owners

#5 – Silvio Berlusconi – AC Milan

In 5th Position, is Silvio Berlusconi who was born in Milan in 1936. He has been an Italian politician and a businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the controlling shareholder of Mediaset, the largest broadcasting company in Italy, and owns a controlling stake in Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, the largest Italian publishing house. He has been the owner of Italian football giants AC Milan since 2006. According to Forbes, Berlusconi is Italy's third richest man, with his net worth believed to be in the region of $7.8 Billion.

Under his ownership AC Milan won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2007 he signed the gifted Brazilian Alexander Pato for €24 million and in 2009 he brought the legendary David Beckham to play for Milan on loan from MLS side LA Galaxy. Despite being one of several Italian clubs at the centre of charges of match fixing and corruption in 2007, Milan managed to maintain a strong squad of players with a wealth of experience and the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Massimo Ambrosini and Gennaro Gattuso are all still playing under Berlusconi. Last season they finally came out of the shadows of their fierce city rivals Internazionale, and were crowned Italian Serie A league winners for the eighteenth time in their illustrious history.

Silvio Berlusconi has an extensive record of criminal allegations, including mafia collusion, false accounting, tax fraud, corruption and bribery of police officers and judges. His leadership was also undermined by sex scandals. After losing his majority in parliament amid growing fiscal problems related to the European debt crisis, Berlusconi officially resigned as Prime Minister on the 16th November 2011.

#4 – Roman Abramovich – Chelsea

In 4th position is Roman Abramovich. In June 2003, Roman Abramovich bought the companies that control Chelsea Football Club in London at a cost of £140 million, completing what was then the biggest-ever sale of an English football club. The club immediately embarked on an ambitious programme of commercial development, with the aim of making it a worldwide brand on a par with footballing dynasties like Manchester United and Real Madrid. Over £100 million was also spent on new players.

In 2004-05 Abramovich has been alleged to be involved in various wrongdoings by many people. It is also alleged that, at one time, then Russian president Boris Yeltsin himself provided Abramovich with protection from prosecution for various criminal activities ranging from stealing diesel fuel to illegally acquiring Sibneft at a staged contest. Nonetheless, many of the allegations against Abramovich are unproven and he has never been convicted of any crime in any world court.

Under his ownership, the 45 year-old Russian has done marvelous things for Chelsea. In Abramovich's second season at Stamford Bridge José Mourinho was recruited as the new manager and Chelsea ended the following season as Premier League champions, for the first time in 50 years. Since the takeover the club have won eight major trophies – the Premier League on three occasions, the FA Cup three times and the League Cup twice. They also reached UEFA Champions League Final for the first time in the history of the club in 2007-08. Despite José Mourinho's success on the field a feud developed between Abramovich and Mourinho off of it. It is alleged that Roman actually forced him to buy Andriy Shevchenko for a then British record transfer fee of around £30 million (€35.3 million), when Mourniho did not want to buy him. This along with murmurings of discontent about Abramovich's meddling and interfering in his work as manager, ultimately led to Mourinio leaving the London club in September 2007. However in the 2009-2010 season Chelsea won for the first time in their history the Premier League and FA Cup 'double' under Carlo Ancelotti's stewardship and Abromovich’s rule.

It is argued that Abramovich's involvement with Chelsea has distorted the football transfer market throughout Europe, as his wealth often allows the club to purchase players virtually at will. In January 2011, Spanish footballer Fernando Torres completed his move from Liverpool to Chelsea on a five-and-a-half year contract for an undisclosed fee reported to be £50 million, which set a new record for a British transfer and made him the fourth most expensive footballer in history.

Abramovich has become the world's greatest spender on luxury yachts, and had been linked to five yachts in what the media have called 'Abramovich's Navy.' He also owns a private Boeing 767, an Airbus A340 and three Eurocopter helicopters. It is said that the aircraft and his yachts are fitted with radar to detect missile threats, and different defensive counter-measures. Abramovich has recently boosted his security staff to a 40 person 'private army,' making him one of the best protected businessmen in the world.
Prior to the financial crisis, he was considered to be the second richest person living within the United Kingdom. His net worth is $13.4 Billion.

#3 – Amancio Ortega Gaona – Deportivo La Coruna

In 3rd position is Amancio Ortega who owns the Spanish side Deprtivo La Coruna. He is also known as the 'Fashion Kingpin' who founded a retail company named Inditex Group, parent company of the Zara chain. He owns 59.29% of the Inditex Group (Industrias de Diseño Textil Sociedad Anónima) which includes the brands Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Zara Home, Kiddy's Class, Tempe, Stradivarius, Pull and Bear/Often and Bershka and has more than 92,000 employees. His net worth is $31 Billion. In 2011 Forbes ranked Ortega as Spain's richest man, Europe's second richest man and the seventh richest man in the world.

His Deportivo side were relegated to the Spanish second división at the end of the 2010-11 season, after twenty consecutive seasons in the top flight of Spanish football - La Liga, finishing in the top half of the table in 16 out of 19 seasons. As a result, the club has been a regular participant in European competitions, playing in the UEFA Champions League five seasons in a row. Even though they are not up there with the Spanish and world giants in Barcelona or Real Madrid, Deportivo La Coruna boast a proud footballing history since they were founded back in 1906.

Ortega however keeps a very low profile and there are practically no photographs of him.

#2 – Laxmi Mittal – Queens Park Rangers (QPR)

In 2nd Position is the Indian born Laxmi Mittal owner of Queens Park Rangers (QPR), who recently got promoted to the English Premier League by winning the Coca-Cola Championship last May.

The 61 year-old lives in the UK and is the richest man in India, Asia and the United Kingdom. He is presently the sixth richest individual in the world with a net worth of $31.1 Billion. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company. Mittal is an independent director of Goldman Sachs, member of Board of Directors to Goldman Sachs Media/Film IP Group and a member of the Board of Directors of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company.

He currently has a 54% share holding in QPR and looks likely to purchase further shares in the West London club, now that they are competing in the English Premier League.

#1 – Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed – Manchester City

.....and in first position is Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan owner of English Premier League club Manchester City. The 41 year-old is a United Arab Emirati politician and a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family. He is known as a 'trillion dollar man.' In 2007 he was appointed as the Chairman of the Emirates Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of UAE. His net worth is approximately around $555 Billion. None of the above four mentioned compare to Sheikh Mansour in the wealth stakes!

Since the day he arrived as the owner of Manchester City, he changed the entire future of the club by splashing the cash on many high profile players. He first bought in Carloz Tevez, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry and Emmanuel Adebayor. Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season, City completed the transfers of Jérôme Boateng, Yaya Touré, David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli. James Milner signed during the first week of the season and Edin Džeko joined the club during the January 2011 transfer window. The spending didn't stop there and this season he went out and spent more than a $100 million on Sergio Aguero, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri.

Under his ownership, Manchester City prospered last season by winning the FA Cup and bringing silverware to Eastlands for the first time since City's League Cup triumph back in 1976. They also finished third in the Premier League and in doing so gained automatic promotion into this seasons financially lucrative UEFA Champions League. At the moment no other rich tycoon football owner is even near to him when it comes to finances. He is known as the 'Jackpot of Manchester City' and he truly is.

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