Monaco has long been a safe-haven for the world’s richest and most famous. It has the world’s lowest poverty rate and the highest percentage of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. The winding roads of Monte Carlo have long been the centrepiece of the Formula 1 season; the sport of true magnates.
However it has also seen a steep rise in the amount of football tycoons calling it home in the past. Roman Abramovich for instance has a yacht stationed in the principalities waters.
In football terms however it is a man discarded by the Russian Claudio Ranieri who is causing a stir in the furthest reaches of the French Riviera. The Italian is currently manager of AS Monaco; one time Champions League finalists and current Ligue 2 side and while he should be making the headlines for angrily threatening to murder his entire team after they were trumped 3-0 by SM Caen in a league fixture earlier this month he is making the headlines for different reasons.
He is reported to be ecstatic at the chance to bring Frank Lampard and David Beckham to the Stade Louis II; home of the annual UEFA Super Cup.
The team is now funded by yet another rich and football-mad Russian in the form of Dmitry Rybolovlev who has invested heavily in the clubs hunt for promotion back to the highest tier of English football.
While not of the vast wealth of his Chelsea compatriot he certainly has cash to flash and the idea of two of England’s biggest names playing in the same team spells money signs in terms of endorsements and merchandise sales worldwide.
Beckham is currently free to talk to any club worldwide while Lampard will be able to speak to clubs outside England in January. The tax-free haven of Monaco may suit he and Lampard; as well as having neighbours such as Lewis Hamilton to acquaint themselves with.
In the past the norm for players whose careers appear to dwindling toward expiry has been to play in the middle east, USA, China or some far flung corner of the world but playing for Monaco would be a much better option. With all the perks of higher class living along with much more competitive football to trouble yourself with in working hours. Not to mention it being a fair bit closer to home then Riyadh, Sydney or Los Angeles.
Ranieri signed Lampard for Chelsea and he also signed Joe Cole during his tenure. The Liverpool midfielder has previous in the French league so he may soon become a popular ‘target’. Jamie Carragher, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole; the possibilities are endless to turn the glamour location into Europe’s brand new footballing retirement home for England’s golden generation.
Then they just have to worry about winning some games in the meanwhile; before Ranieri gets his devilish wish.
Do you think these English stars could call Monaco home?
image: © chris-yunker