When it comes to intelligence off the field, footballers are not known for their astuteness. This is especially the case as far as financial matters are concerned. After all, everything is handled in today's footballing society by their agents who have a fiscal grip on their matters. This of course can relate to a number of different areas ranging from sponsorship and endorsement deals to properties and even financial investments.
With all the money that is currently in the game, footballers are having to work even harder when utilising their money. Whether they are interested in starting a property portfolio or looking for a long term nest egg, it is up to their advisers to use their wealth sensibly. Nevertheless, many tend not to have a firm grip on their finances and usually concentrate on matters they can control namely on the pitch.
Down the years, there have been a host of players who have lost significant amounts of cash to either get rich quick schemes or investment companies that have gone under. In addition to this, there are also very few individuals who even have degrees to their name. It is rare to find this in the game but one shining example is Clarke Carlisle. The former Burnley defender is considered to be one of the most intelligent people involved in the game today. Furthermore, the former Professional Football Association chairman is an ambassador for the Kick It Out organisation which tackled racism in football head on. Carlisle is the proud owner of a degree which he attained in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting. Yet, there are other former professionals who have bucked the trend. This includes the likes of ex-Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux who has a degree in Environmental Studies and Edwin Van der Sar. The latter has a degree in Marketing but who are among the shrewdest players of all time?
10 Frank Leboeuf
Former Chelsea central defender Frank Leboeuf won the lot during his playing career. From FA Cups with Stamford Bridge outfit Chelsea to the 1998 FIFA World Cup there is little that this Gallic player can turn his hand to. In fact he has now turned his hand to acting where he has done extremely well so far. Leboeuf has starred in a wide variety of movies and has done more than eight to date. One of the most important has been starring as a Swiss doctor in the Academy award winning film 'The Theory of Everything'. The Frenchman is part of an integral scene where he admits to Eddie Redmayne playing Stephen Hawking that he is no longer able to communicate.
9 Rio Ferdinand
As a footballer, former West Ham United and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has achieved great success. Under the helm of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferdinand went on to win title after title and numerous cups whilst at Old Trafford. This included the 2008 UEFA Champions League where Ferdinand's side beat Chelsea in Moscow on penalties. However, he earns lots of money mainly through his image rights, while he also own Rosso, an Italian restaurant in Manchester. With Ferdinand branching out to several areas such as television punditry as well as a rap label and fashion, he has been very clever in amassing his personal wealth.
8 Eric Cantona
There have been many superlatives to describe the French talisman Eric Cantona. An enigma wrapped in a puzzle, Cantona was part of one of Alex Ferguson's most successful teams at Old Trafford. This featured the likes of Paul Scholes not to mention Mark Hughes and the Great Dane Peter Schmeichel. Cantona galvanised United and was responsible for many one nil victories in his time. Yet, after suddenly calling it a day barely after his 30th birthday, he has embarked on a great film career. This has seen him appear in a wealth of films such as Elizabeth that grossed millions of dollars at the box office.
7 Steven Gerrard
With his controversial stamp against bitter rivals Manchester United which might possibly cost Liverpool a place in the top four, Steven Gerrard deserves his place on the list. The Liverpool midfielder has dabbled in the restaurant industry previously, whilst he also signed a lucrative deal back in 2008. This was for a residential block of apartments that were erected in Dubai. At a cost of in excess of $200 million, it was then given the name the ‘Steven Gerrard Tower’. In exchange for giving consent, Gerrard was then provided with a plush apartment which was understood to be worth around $2.5 million.
6 Michael Owen
Another Liverpool icon Michael Owen is without doubt one of the most recognised former Reds of all time. Having burst on to the footballing scene with that goal against Argentina at the World Cup during 1998, Owen appeared for five sides in the Premier League. This featured not only Liverpool but Stoke City not to mention Newcastle United and others. He sadly hung up his boots for the last time at the age of 33. But it was then when things began to get tasty for the lad from Chester. He was soon signed up by a cable company in order to provide match commentary at a price of $2.5 million per annum. Furthermore, Owen currently runs Michael Owen Management which is specifically aimed at young footballers. Meanwhile, Owen has converted his love of racehorses into a full time business interest. After his first purchase at only eighteen years of age, he has gone on to acquire several thoroughbreds which he keeps in his own personal stables in Cheshire. To date, Own possesses in excess of 85 horses and has even been responsible for breeding a winner at the grand daddy of race meetings at Royal Ascot.
5 Ryan Giggs
The most decorated player in the history of British football, there is no denying the impact that Welshman Ryan Giggs has had on the sport. After making his debut for Manchester United at the tender age of 17 against Everton in 1991, Giggs has never looked back. With two Champions League trophies to his name coupled with a whopping 13 Premier League titles and more, he has won everything there is in the game. But that has not stopped Giggs for achieving credibility off the field in more recent times. Together with his former teammates Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Phil Neville, they have recently opened up Hotel Football literally yards from Old Trafford. Boasting a rooftop football pitch it is literally the stuff of legends. On the other hand, Giggs has also opened up Cafe Football which is based in the large shopping complex in the East of London known as Westfield Stratford. Within close proximity of the Olympic Park, this restaurant serves up a feast of football based dishes to hungry diners with several apt titles including Nev’s Noodle Pots.
4 David Ginola
The sultan of smooth, David Ginola used to torment defenders with both is ultra silky looks as well as his moved. One of his most popular goals was the mazy run he went on from the halfway line for Tottenham Hotspur against Barnsley in the FA Cup. The former Aston Villa and Newcastle United midfielder has for some years has a vested interest in winery. This has led to buying his own vineyard in the South of France and making serious money from it. Ginola was recognised for the quality of the wines he was making in Provence in 2008 and was rewarded with a Silver award at the International Wine Challenge for his Coste Brulade rosé. Since then, he has been making a melange of wines which seem to have hit the spot with consumers across the globe.
3 Frank Lampard
Having spent the best part of a decade at Chelsea, Frank Lampard has left a mark on supporters of the Blues. For a midfielder, he has also impressed thanks to his record goals tally for the club before he departed for Manchester City. At present, the former Hammer is on loan but will soon be heading across the pond to New York City. Playing in the MLS will be an altogether different ball game for Lampard but off the field he has numerous business interest. This features being part owner in his previous local watering hole the Pig's Ear which is apparently often frequented by Prince William. Another successful side project is his flourishing book career where he has already penned several works with publisher Little, Brown. Entitled Frankie’s Magic Football series, the concept came about after he started reading to his children. His property portfolio is extremely impressive and is said to be worth in the region of $35 million.
2 Robbie Fowler
Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler was arguably one of the best attackers of his generation. With an eye for goal and an appetite for scoring, it was little wonder that he remains high up the Premier League all time scoring charts. Nowadays, Fowler has pumped all his capital into bricks and mortar which has paid dividends. His empire is believed to be valued at around $45 million after the former Manchester City player purchased rows of cheap accommodation in the north of England. He has since added to this by purchasing in both London and Manchester.
1 David Beckham
There can really be only one winner and that goes to David Beckham. Becks has built up an absolute fortune from several areas from his on field earnings to several endorsements. He has been a brand ambassador for several high profile companies including Armani and H&M, whilst he has brought out his own clothing line and fragrance. Brand Beckham shows no signs of dissipating and is now worth around $400 million. With a franchise for an MLS club in place, there really is no limit to Beckham's earning power.