How ex-Arsenal and AC Milan player “never set out to make money” but still became a Forbes billionaire like Messi and Ronaldo

Not only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are footballing billionaires. Mathieu Flamini also agrees, according to business magazine Forbes to that list. The former player of Marseille, Arsenal, AC Milan, Crystal Palace and Getafe would according to Forbes have a net worth of about $10 billion. Remarkable, all the more so because in his own words it was never his goal to make money.

Valerie Van Avermaet

In 2019, Mathieu Flamini hung up his football boots, but that does not prevent him from getting richer. Not through sponsorship agreements like most (former) athletes, but thanks to a smart investment. In 2010, the Frenchman founded the company GFBiochemicals in Paris.

As a losing Champions League finalist with Arsenal, multiple English Cup winner and player of almost 200 Premier League games in total and just under 100 Serie A games, plus a league title with Milan, Flamini also earned his living as a footballer. But it is his company that makes him a billionaire.

Mathieu Flamini during his spell at AC Milan. — © Getty Images

The goal of GFBiochemicals was to find an environmentally friendly alternative to petrochemicals found in plastics such as plastic, rubber and shower gel. The company also succeeded in this in 2015 by producing levulinic acid, which is made directly from biomass – or organic materials. According to GFB’s website, the product offers a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve consumers’ carbon footprint. “I grew up in Marseille, near the sea,” Flamini explained his choice for such a company in an interview some time ago. “And from an early age I was aware of environmental issues around plastic in the ocean and chemical pollution.”

Secret for AC Milan

“I didn’t get into business to make money,” said the Frenchman. Something that, thanks to the success of his company, is more than ever the case, because with an estimated capital of ten billion dollars, Flamini is one of the richest football players in the world.

“I didn’t get into business to make money”

Mathieu Flamini

But Flamini does not flaunt his wealth. He previously denied being a billionaire and when he set up his company, he hid it from his teammates at AC Milan. And vice versa, he preferred to hide from the business world that he was a professional football player.

“That only increases the pressure in meetings. People really want to test you and see if you are capable. I then had to prove myself more than anyone else in the room.”

His approach turned out to work.

Flamini in action for Arsenal. — © Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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