Footballers are not just talented athletes. Some of them have also proved to be savvy investors. While investing is a risky business, for footballers who usually earn high salaries during their careers, get to retire early and mostly in their late 30s, this also allows them to pursue and explore other fields of interests.
Therefore, many football players have been investing for years now and it has become more common to find current or former players that are not only investing but also becoming CEOs of startups and companies themselves.
In this article we take a look at top football players and former football stars from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that are active in the investment world and have invested in solutions from biotech and workout apps to gaming and blockchain.
Robert Lewandowski – Poland
The Barcelona and Poland forward is not only one of the best strikers in the world, but a successful entrepreneur as well, as he has invested in several startups. His latest investment has been in the biotech industry, as a co-founder of a company called BioLider, which produces biopreparations for plant protection, stimulate plant growth and activate the process of soil humification.
As a big fan of tech and business solutions, according to Lewandowski himself, investing in biotech is something which he deeply believes in, especially since the project combines “knowledge and experience with technology, know-how and modern Bio-Gen laboratory”.
Luka Modric – Croatia
Croatian magician Luka Modric is another player that has been active in the investment world, as he played a significant part in the €6M round for Croatia-based sports social network Sportening last spring.
For the Real Madrid star and 2018 winner of the most prestigious football award Ballon D’or, Sportening is the first startup investment. The app is looking to build “the ultimate fan community”, which is of great importance for Modric, who said that now “he wants to give something back and help Sportening be the best”.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Bosnia and Herzegovina/Sweden
A Swedish football superstar with Balkan roots, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been an almighty presence in the football world for more than two decades now. During the past years though, Ibrahimovic has proven to be an avid investor as well – first as a part of the backers of Swedish e-sports startup Challengermode, which aims to help content creators and brands how to reach, monetize, and engage their target audiences.
This is Ibrahimovic’s second investment in gaming technology, as he also has a 12.5 percent stake in game development studio Ice Cube. Currently still playing as an attacker for Italian champion AC Milan, 41-year-old Ibrahimovic doesn’t plan on calling quits on his football career anytime soon.
Grzegorz Krychowiak – Poland
Polish football player Grzegorz Krychowiak is another investor in the football world, having backed a workout management app called Pontoon with €175K. Currently playing for Saudi Arabian club Al-Shabab, the Polish player had previously played for football giants such as Paris Saint Germain and Sevilla.
The Pontoon investment is Krychowiak’s second one, as he also owns a stake in Lajuu, a company that creates natural and vegan cosmetics.
Arda Turan – Turkey
The charismatic and hotheaded Turkish football star Arda Turan has only retired from football in September this year, having an illustrious career and playing for football giants such as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
The former Turkish international is also a successful investor in his native country, by investing in Lidyana, a Turkish fashion e-commerce website selling a wide collection of branded clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, and cosmetics.
Kamil Grosicki – Poland
Kamil Grosicki is another Polish player who has been also active as an investor, endorsing Bitacademy.io, a start-up using blockchain technology to build a football academy.
The platform uses AI algorithms that help estimate how a particular player will develop, on the basis of individual statistics about goals scored, assists or physical performance.
Currently a player for local club Pogon Szczecin, Grosicki says that he now supports a project which “aims to decentrale the market and bring fans closer to the sport”.
Hasan Salihamidzic – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Former Bayern Munchen and Bosnia and Herzegovina international Hasan Salihamidzic is another footballer-turned-investor, as he backed Stockholm-based online pharmacy startup Apotekamo with a €2.5M investment.
Apotekamo first launched in Serbia, and expanded to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the first quarter of 2022. Salihamidzic, who is also Bayern Munchen’s current sporting director, is Apotekamo’s third-largest shareholder, emphasizing that he sees “a great opportunity in strengthening the healthcare market in his home region and very much look forward to supporting the company in various marketing activities.”