Money, as they say, makes the world go round.
And as it turns out, the football world is no different, with mega-rich owners and shareholders completely changing the football landscape over the past decade or so.
Clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City are some of the most notable examples of this with their owners in Roman Abramovich and Sheikh Mansour respectively boasting some incredible personal fortunes. However, they are not the only rich men in football today—and neither is the richest of them all.
Any guesses for which man takes out the top spot?
Read on and find out.
Before we get underway, there's an important clarification that we need to make, and it's regarding that of the mega-rich Manchester City owner.
And in order to make sure there's no confusion or argument around this, we'll use Forbes (arguably the most reputable financial website in the world) to explain.
Sheik Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Manchester City owner, and Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG president, are not included in the list of the richest soccer club owners because Forbes does not value families or royal fortunes unless we can clearly see who owns the fortunes.
Given that Forbes knows far more about money and billionaires than I do, I'm going to trust them on this and leave both Mansour and Al-Khelaifi out of this list.
So with that out of the way, let's take a look at who does make the top 10.
Club: Chelsea (England)
Worth: $10.2 billion
Coming in at No. 10 is none other than Abramovich himself—a man who has become a seemingly central figure to the current landscape of the Premier League.
Having spent a near fortune at the London club already, Abramovich is always a huge player in the transfer windows and player negotiations that take place—and often emerges on top as a result of that, although we haven't seen that as much over the current summer transfer window.
On the side, Abramovich dabbles into oil and private investment (okay, so he does more than "dabble") and owns the world's largest yacht (which can be seen here).
Club: Valerenga (Norway)
Worth: $11.5 billion
Coming in at No. 9 is oil tanker and shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, who is the owner of Oslo-based team Valerenga. However, unlike Abramovich, Fredriksen doesn't pump billions of dollars into his football team, with Valerenga not finishing higher than sixth in their past three domestic seasons.
Fredriksen is thought to be a huge fan of English soccer and could well be an owner in the Premier League at some point—potentially even in the near future if his estimated worth continues to rise.
Club: Seattle Sounders (United States)
Worth: $15.0 billion
Paul Allen has definitely got the whole owning-sports-teams thing worked out perfectly.
In addition to being a part owner of Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders, Allen also owns an NFL team in the Seattle Seahawks as well as the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA.
And given his other business plans with a certain Bill Gates in starting up Microsoft, it's clear that Allen also has the whole making-plenty-of-money thing worked out perfectly as well.
Seattle, for the record, are currently seventh in the Western Conference.
Club: Stade Rennes (France)
Worth: $15.0 billion
Worth around $15 billion as well is current Stade Rennes owner Francois Pinault, whose family (and, in particular, his son, Francois-Henri) are really starting to leave their mark on the financial world.
Pinault is also the proud owner of a number of small fashion stores that you might have heard of, with Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci all part of the tycoon's portfolio.
However, much like many other mega-rich owners on this list, Rennes don't seem to have attracted too much of his wealth—finishing a mere 13th in Ligue 1 last season as they won just one of their last 15 matches in the domestic French competition.
Club: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Worth: $15.4 billion
Having won the 2009 UEFA Cup and chalked up impressive performances in both European and national competitions since then, Shakhtar Donetsk owner Rinat Akhmetov will certainly be pleased with the direction that his beloved football club are traveling in. Even if they have sold several of their big-name players (Willian, Fernandinho, Henrikh Mkhitaryan) over the past few transfer windows.
Akhmetov's personal financial wealth also saw a nice little boost from having the 2012 European Championships played at his $400 million Donbass Arena.
Club: Queens Park Rangers (England)
Worth: $16.5 billion
Into the top five now and we get to Lakshmi Mittal who is currently a 33-percent owner of the London-based Queens Park Rangers, who were recently relegated from the English Premier League.
Mittal is well-known in London and even got the honor of carrying the Olympic torch as it made its way through the city for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Guess those are just the perks of being a filthy-rich steel baron who has more money than he'll ever be able to spend.
Club: Arsenal (England)
Worth: $17.6 billion
Remaining in London, Alisher Usmanov makes his way on to this list as the wealthiest man in Russia—a land of many, many rich people—as well as one of the wealthiest Premier League owners given that he owns stakes in Arsenal along with billionaire partner Farhad Moshiri.
Usmanov has one of the most wide-ranging portfolios amongst world football owners, with the iron and steel tycoon also chalking up investments in various start-up businesses and top-selling Russian newspaper Kommersant. Throw in a little dabble into Facebook (a stake which he sold last year for over $1.5 billion profit) and Usmanov has certainly become a very rich (and successful) man indeed.
Club: Manchester United (England)
Worth: $19.2 billion
George Soros isn't the majority owner of Manchester United, and he isn't even the business name that many will associate with the club—that is often thought of as official club owner Malcolm Glazer.
However, Soros has a 7.85-percent stake in the club (thus making him an owner). And with a personal fortune that's rapidly approaching $20 billion according to latest reports, there's little doubting that Soros certainly qualifies as one of world football's richest owners.
Club: Deportivo La Coruna (Spain)
Worth: $57.0 billion
We're into the top two now, and the personal fortunes take a significant step up in terms of personal wealth with Deportivo La Coruna owner Amancio Ortega. Ortega is a fashion legend in Spain who founded the well-known company Inditex and has made an incredible fortune in the process—making close to $20 million in the last 12 months alone according to latest reports from Forbes.
In terms of being a football owner, there's little doubting the passion that Ortega has, with the legend reportedly postponing his daughter's million-dollar wedding by 90 minutes so that he could watch Deportivo. It didn't seem to help, however, with Deportivo relegated from La Liga last season.
Clubs: Club Pachuca (Mexico), Club Leon (Mexico), Real Oviedo (Spain)
Worth: $73.0 billion
However, the richest owner in football is none other than Carlos Slim, who also holds the title of currently being the richest man in the world ahead of Bill Gates ($67 billion).
Slim made his fortune in telecoms, and given his extraordinary wealth, has also picked up a couple of football clubs on the side. Club Pachuca and Club Leon (Mexican Premier League) are his primary clubs, with Spanish club Real Oviedo (who were having some serious money troubles last season) also purchased by Helu to add to his incredibly impressive portfolio.
Not that it wasn't already pretty impressive to begin with.
All statistics and details provided via Forbes (March, 2013).
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