7. John Fredriksen (Valerenga): £7.2 Billion
Born in Oslo, Norway ,the world’s biggest tanker and offshore shipping owner John Fredriksen decided to purchase his local football club Valerenga back in 2003. He paid off all the debt the club owed, and invested heavily to sign high-profile players. However, after Fredriksen abandoned his Norwegian citizenship due to tax issues in 2006 and left the country permanently, Valerenga started suffering financially again. The club currently sits at the eighth spot in the Norway top division, while Fredriksen became a Cypriot citizen and is residing in London.
6. Roman Abramovich (Chelsea): £7.3 Billion
Roman Abramovich shocked the football world when he purchased the Premier League side Chelsea back in 2003. Although he was serving as a governor of Far East Russian state Chukotka at the time, Abramovich injected a lot of money to Chelsea and attended almost all of the club’s home games at Stamford Bridge during the 2003/04 season. Since his takeover, the Blues have won 13 major trophies – the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League, the Premier League five times, the FA Cup four times, and the League Cup three times. Apart from being the owner of Chelsea, the 51-year-old also owns the private investment company Millhouse LLC, steel making and mining company Evraz, and a major shareholder of nickel and palladium mining company Nornickel.
5. Alisher Usmanov (Arsenal): £11.6 Billion
The Uzbekistan-born Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov built his wealth through metal and mining operations and investments. He is currently the majority shareholder of Metalloinvest, a Russian industrial conglomerate, and holds stakes in Telecom, JD.com, and Xiaomi. The 64-year-old started investing in Arsenal back in 2007, acquiring a 14.58 percent stake. Usmanov currently owns 30 percent of shares at Arsenal, and often voices his frustration at the club’s financial model set up by the majority shareholder Stanley Kroenke. He wrote an open letter to the board back in July, 2012 after Robin van Persie’s refusal to sign a new contract, and blamed Arsenal’s club policies on why they have been struggling to win titles.
4. Lakshmi Mittal (Queens Park Rangers):
Lakshmi Mittal is an Indian steel magnate who is the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company. He is also a massive football fan and was very close to purchasing Wigan and Everton in 2007, before purchasing a 20 percent share in Queens Park Rangers. He bought further shares in 2010 to become the sole owner of the London outfit, and decided to invest heavily to get promoted to the Premier League. However, after QPR secured promotion to the Premier League for the 2011/12 season, it was unveiled that Mittal sold majority of the shares to the Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes for ₤35 million. He still retained 33 percent of the stake at the club, and attends games occasionally.
3. Francois-Henri Pinault (Stade Rennais): £17.8 Billion
Apart from being married to the famous Mexican actress Salma Hayek, Francois-Henri Pinault is also the owner of his local football club Stade Rennais. He is the son of the French billionaire Francois Pinault, who is the founder of Kering — an international luxury group which owns brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Boucheron, Brioni, Puma, and Volcom. Pinault inherited Kering from his father back in 2005, as well as the French holding company Groupe Artémis which owns Stade Rannais. The 55-year-old is currently worth £17.8 billion and his wealth is increasing by £1.2 billion every year.
2. Carlos Slim (Real Oviedo): £50 Billion
Carlos Slim, once the richest man in the world, made the headlines across the media in 2012 when he decided to save then-third division Spanish side Real Oviedo from extinction. The Asturias-based club, despite having a rich history in La Liga and playing home games in a 30,500 seater stadium, was on the brink of bankruptcy due to mismanagement from the directors. Slim became of majority shareholder of Oviedo after injecting $2.5 million to the club. Besides Oviedo, the Mexican tycoon also owns a 30 percent stake in Club Leon and Pachuca in his home country. He makes most of his money from being the CEO of Mexican telecommunications companies Telmex and América Móvil, and Mexican global conglomerate company Grupo Carso.
1. Amancio Ortega (Deportivo La Coruña):
Amancio Ortega is a fashion kingpin who founded Spanish retail giant Inditex, best known for its clothing chain Zara. After dropping out of high school at 14, the Spaniard began to make clothes by hand at a shop in A Coruña. He then founded Confecciones Goa to sell quilted bathrobes, before opening up the first Zara store three years later. He is currently the richest man in Europe, although he likes to keep a low profile and still eats lunch with his employees in the company cafeteria. The 81-year-old reportedly delayed his daughter’s wedding by 90 minutes back in 2012 because he wanted to watch Deportivo, then in the Segunda Division of Spain, take on Barcelona B.