Sports stars invest in football as McGregor eyes Chelsea


Conor McGregor has expressed a desire to ‘explore’ a potential purchase of Chelsea following Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell – and he wouldn’t be the first sports star to invest in football.

Despite being a Manchester United fan, the former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion could use some of his massive fortune to get into football.

The Irishman would not be the first wealthy sports star to enter the world of football ownership, with some of the best tennis and basketball players holding stakes in clubs.

Star Daily Sport took a look at six of those who have invested in the past – including two former Real Madrid teammates.

Conor McGregor wants to diversify into football ownership

Ronaldo Nazario – Real Valladolid

Ronaldo Nazario, owner of Real Valladolid looks on before the La Liga match between Real Valladolid CF and Real Madrid CF at Jose Zorrilla on March 10, 2019 in Valladolid, Spain
Ronaldo Nazario became majority owner of Real Valladolid in 2018

Most sports investors in football clubs have a history in the game – and Brazilian legend Ronaldo is no exception.

The 45-year-old, who has lined up for Barcelona, ​​Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan among others, became the majority owner of Real Valladolid in 2018.

Ronaldo bought a 51 per cent majority stake in the club for around £25m, saying at the time: “I went through a lot of stages in my football training to prepare for this.

“Football is all about passion. We want to build the best possible team to compete in while providing transparency about our management.”

Rafael Nadal – Real Mallorca

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning RCD Mallorca after the second leg match between Deportivo de La Coruna and Mallorca at Iberostar Stadium on June 23, 2019 in Mallorca, Spain.
Rafael Nadal has close ties to Mallorca despite being a huge Real Madrid fan

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In 2010, legendary tennis player Rafael Nadal and his uncle Miguel Nadal bought a 10% stake in Real Mallorca – a club close to his heart.

A year later, Nadal and his uncle sold their stake to German businessman Utz Claassen, but it was not his last association with the club.

Nadal was spotted cheering on Mallorca during their clash against Deportivo La Coruña in 2019, and last year showed off his sleek new Nike kit.

Lebron James – Liverpool

American basketball player LeBron James, minority shareholder of Liverpool FC, tours Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool Football Club, on October 14, 2011 in Liverpool, England.
Lebron James became part owner of Liverpool in 2011

Lebron James became part-owner of Liverpool in 2011 – taking a 2% stake for £4.7million.

The four-time NBA champion and four-time NBA MVP is often spotted wearing Liverpool red, having attended Anfield and posed with supporters in the past.

More recently, Lebron became a partner in Fenway Sports Group and reportedly took a “more active role” in their global sports ownership business.

Patrick Mahomes – Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City co-owner Patrick Mahomes watches with his wife Brittany Matthews and daughter Sterling during the Major League Soccer Playoff game against Real Salt Lake at Children's Mercy Park on November 28, 2021 in Kansas City, Kansas
Patrick Mahomes is co-owner of MLS team Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City announced last year that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had joined their ownership group.

The MLS team was welcomed aboard Super Bowl LIV MVP in July, and he has since been spotted at their Children’s Mercy Park stadium.

He said at the time: “I am grateful to have the opportunity to join the team that owns Sporting Kansas City and to strengthen my connection with the fans and the city that I love.

“Sporting is a community-driven club and I’m delighted to continue to support the growth of football in Kansas City.”

David Beckham – Inter Miami

Owner David Beckham of Inter Miami CF looks on prior to the game against Atlanta United at DRV PNK Stadium on May 09, 2021 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
David Beckham is an avid owner of the MLS Inter Miami outfit

In 2014, it was announced that England and Manchester United hero David Beckham had exercised an option to buy an MLS expansion team as part of a deal struck with LA Galaxy in 2007.

Full name Internacional de Futbol Miami, the club made their MLS debut in March 2020, with co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas alongside Beckham.

More recently, Beckham signed former teammate Phil Neville as manager but could only manage seven wins from 23 games in their first season and 12 from 34 in their second.

Serena Williams – Angel City

Tennis player Serena Williams arrives at a party for Chelsea Football Club at a private estate July 18, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.
Serena Williams is one of several prominent investors in Angel City FC

In 2020, tennis icon Serena Williams and actresses Natalie Portman and Eva Longoria were announced as investors in NWSL Angel City by founder Julie Urhman.

Also included were Williams’ husband, Alexis Ohanian, and their two-year-old daughter.

Urhman told Sky Sports News: “When we went out and tried to fundraise, the message really resonated with women.

“It was the idea that we approached it differently, the idea that the mission was as important as the sport. And also the idea of ​​building a team that wasn’t a legacy sport and that we might think a bit differently the product we put on and off the field.”


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