LONDON (Bloomberg) – Soccer star Mesut Ozil is forging a new career in finance, joining San Francisco-based venture capital fund Class 5 Global as a strategic adviser.
The Arsenal midfielder joins a growing list of sports stars who have transferred their tactical skills on the field to the world of startup investments, from David Beckham to Serena Williams, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.
Ozil won Spain’s La Liga with Real Madrid and was a pillar of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning team. He retired from international competition in 2018 after accusing German media and soccer authorities of discriminating against him due to his Turkish roots. Ozil stirred controversy last year when he invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a fierce critic of the European Union — to be the best man at his wedding.
Class 5 tries to draw U.S. venture capital funding to online startups in emerging markets. Its top managers were previously founding members of Lumia Capital, the first U.S. investors in companies such as Careem and CargoX.
Ozil was already an investor in Class 5 Global, which has more than $100 million in assets under management. “I am excited to shape and work on my post-football career while I am still actively playing football,” he said in a statement.
Class 5 managing partner Youcef Oudjidane has been advising other English Premier League players and was introduced to Ozil via former Arsenal player Kieran Gibbs.