Football is a sport that pays exceptionally well – especially for those players lucky enough to rise to the Premier League. However, careers of this sort are relatively short. And while players may make huge amounts of cash during their playing days, many look to sustain their high income beyond their retirement from the sport.

Many opt to remain within the sport, becoming coaches or pundits among other roles. However, some have branched out and launched a successful subsequent career in business. Here are our top picks of the retired footballers who've made it big as businessmen:

Mathieu Flamini

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Former Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini has made so much money since retiring from the game that he could afford to purchase the high-flying Gunners. As it currently stands, the club is shining and its value has massively increased due to recent improvements. This is certainly reflected in the outright markets for sports betting, where they have an outside shout of even winning the Premier League this season.

Of course, Arsenal's huge upturn in value would be no problem for Flamini if he attempted to launch a buy-out of Stan Kroenke from the club. Post-retirement,

Flamini's business acumen has seen him succeed with untold riches, primarily as a result of a venture he launched in 2008: GF Biochemicals. It's the only company that produces levulinic acid on a commercial scale, which is an environmentally friendly alternative to the use of oil in products.

The former French midfielder was estimated to be worth over £10 billion by Forbes in 2020 - which will certainly have inflated further since. After exiting a cash-heavy sport, Flamini is now by far richer than any of the highest-paid footballers in history.

Marlon Harewood

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Former West Ham United forward Marlon Harewood is another star who has forged a successful career in business since retiring. He netted 47 times in 142 appearances for the Hammers and went on to play for a wide variety of English clubs before retiring in 2016.

Since hanging up his boots, he's managed to further his fortunes by running a luxury car business known as AC13 Premier Lifestyle. The business was initially founded in 2009 but truly took off once his playing days came to an end.

The business offers unique customisations to luxury cars, with its main target audience being Premier League footballers who can afford some of the most expensive vehicles on the market. The company's clients have included England captain Harry Kane, who recently joined Bayern Munich, as well as Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker amongst a host of huge figures from within the game.

Harewood also maintains his links with his former club West Ham. He now holds a role as an ambassador for the club, which is another venture that has helped him to sustain a high income beyond his playing career.

Robbie Fowler

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Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler has experienced a huge level of success in property investing ever since his playing career began. Fowler began to invest part of his wages into buy-to-let properties early in his football career, which allowed him to build a huge portfolio beyond his retirement.

The former prolific forward has built a net worth of over £30 million, much of which is owed to his property portfolio. However, despite his knack for real estate, Fowler still actively takes on coaching roles to this day.

Ryan Bertrand

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The pinnacle of Ryan Bertrand's career was winning the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea in 2012. However, he's achieved much success outside of the game too.

In 2015, he founded a Fintech firm known as Silicon Markets. It was a forex currency trading app that aimed to provide institutional tools for at-home traders. Bertrand eventually sold the company to a Malaysian firm, earning him a significant sum to supplement his earnings from football.

David Beckham

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David Beckham has had success in all walks of business, so it's difficult to summarise his accolades concisely. Like most other athletes, Beckham's post-football career ventures have involved endorsement with huge brands such as Adidas, and even an investment into E-Sports Organisation Guild E-Sports.

Yet he's also invested in multiple tech start-ups, as well as co-founded a production company known as Studio 99 and launched a line of grooming products, House 99.

As it stands, Beckham owns an investment company known as DB Investments, which he primarily uses to invest in a variety of fields. In addition, he's known for his stake in the Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, who have recently seen their stocks rise massively, following the arrival of Lionel Messi.

Clearly, Beckham has constantly delved into fresh markets ever since he hung up his boots. He'll likely continue to make new and innovative investments for many years into the future, too.

Moving On Up

All of these stars have shown their talents extend far beyond their abilities on the pitch. Football provides a lucrative income, which can be an ideal catalyst for smart investments following a career in the game.