Eden Hazard has invested in a new football club as he plans for life after retirement.
Eden Hazard plays for Chelsea and is set to follow in the footsteps of Roman Abramovich by investing in a football club.
The Belgian has invested in a new football club in the United States.
Hazard, former Chelsea team-mate Demba Ba, Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Senegal international Moussa Sow have all bought a stake in a new team in San Diego.
The club kick off their existence next March in the North American Soccer League – their equivalent of the Championship.
But Hazard and Co are far from silent investors. The Chelsea star has shaped major decisions on the club’s future.
The club’s Director of Football Ricardo Campos said: “It’s very easy for them to be involved with email, Skype and WhatsApp, but they’re very active professionals, playing at the world’s highest level. We share everything that’s happening. They’re fully involved with all the key decisions.
“Most importantly, they’re involved with the basics of the team – what they want the club to be like. They want to build a bridge for young players to become professionals.”
The four high-profile friends were on the lookout for an investment opportunity when Ba’s adviser, Alex Gontran, was alerted to southern California as an untapped market.
San Diego has a bigger population than Birmingham, but is currently without a football club, although ex-Everton midfielder Landon Donovan has been looking to start a MLS franchise there.
The quartet jumped at the chance earlier this summer and followed a recent trend, which has seen Didier Drogba and Paolo Maldini take on ownership roles with US lower league sides.
Campos, a former technical director at New York Red Bulls, added: “Demba, Eden, Moussa and Yohan were already friends.
“They shared the idea with each other and decided to do it.
“They were looking for the right place and the US is a very easy target nowadays. San Diego was just standing out, as far as they concerned.”