I'm an Arsenal cult hero with £38m in career earnings… now I'm part owner of an EFL club at 28 | The Sun

I'm an Arsenal cult hero with £38m in career earnings… now I'm part owner of an EFL club at 28 | The Sun

August 26, 2023

HECTOR BELLERIN has earned a whopping £38million in a stellar football career.

But still only aged 28, the Spanish full-back is already preparing for life after his playing days.

The three-time FA Cup winner, LaLiga champion and Copa del Rey victor linked up with eco-club Forest Green Rovers in September 2020.

Bellerin invested cash to become the EFL side's second-largest shareholder in his continued support for the environment and sustainability.

Forest Green are the world's first vegan and carbon-neutral club with chairman Dale Vince introducing a series of measures to go green – including renewable energy, bamboo kits, plant-based food for players and fans and a new wood-based stadium.

And Bellerin, who went vegan in 2017, was determined to use his public profile and platform to do his part and raise awareness.


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The minority owner said: "I was really excited when I first discovered the opportunity to get involved at Forest Green Rovers – and the brilliant work the club is already doing.

"It’s important that I invest in things I am passionate about – and I’m excited to help push football into having a sustainable future.

“Forest Green Rovers prove to clubs who say ‘they don’t have resources to be sustainable’ – that it is possible. With the new stadium, being carbon-neutral and vegan the club is doing some mind-blowing work.

"People have a universal love of football, so there’s no better industry to promote sustainability – and what we can do as football supporters to be more environmentally conscious.

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“I became a vegan around three years ago and at first, I just wanted to try it and detox my body. Initially, I thought I’d eat meat as a ‘treat’ – but, being vegan just worked for me.

"After a month of being vegan, I felt stronger – and I didn’t struggle with ankle injuries anymore. I began to feel more energetic on the pitch – and I began to notice a real difference."

Bellerin also proved his commitment to doing his bit for the planet by inspiring the planting of 50,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest.

He pledged 3,000 trees for each Arsenal win during the back end of the 2019-20 season and encouraged fans to also get involved.

The tattooed defender has also dipped into fashion and politics as the well-rounded footballer shows there is more to his life than football.

Football, though, is still very important.

The four-cap Spain international spent 11 years on the books at Arsenal, making 239 appearances.

But a cruel ACL injury in January 2019 ruled the then-£110,000-a-week man out for nine months and the flying full-back has struggled to regain his top form since.

Bellerin left the Emirates for Barcelona in 2022 but after just six months and 141 minutes of LaLiga action, he left the Nou Camp for Sporting and was on the move again this summer as he signed a five-year deal at Real Betis.

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