Where are they now? Ramon Vega: From Celtic Park to Mayfair
It’s become a bit of a predictable journey for a player to hang up his boots and then head straight into either management or punditry.
But for former Tottenham defender Ramon Vega, his second career started even before his career on the pitch had come to a conclusion.
A £3.75m arrival in north London from Italian side Cagliari he was used sparingly by the Lilywhites, making 70 appearances in a four year spell at the club.
He left White Hart Lane in a move north of the border with Celtic in 2000, joining the Scottish giants on loan for a season, making 18 league appearances.
A short spell at Watford under manager Gianluca Vialli may have been his last employment in British football, but Vega had already put in plans for a further career in England.
A business and finance degree at Zurich Business School before embarking on his spell in the beautiful game gave the 23-time Swiss international the foundation for his first foray into business.
The same year he left Vicarage Road he became a partner in Duet Asset Management, before creating Vega Swiss Asset Management six years later.
In that time his companies have looked after around a staggering $2bn of companies financial assets.
The Daily Mail nicknamed him the ‘Wolf of White Hart Lane’, with the ex-centre-back reported to have earned in the region of £15m in the 11 years since his retirement from his office in Mayfair.
But while he is first-and-foremost a businessman these days, it doesn’t mean football is far from his thoughts.
“Money and football, football and money. They are what I know more than anything else,” he is quoted as saying.
He put that notion to the test in 2007 when joining forces with events manager Kevin Hilton to form a ‘Soccer School’ in Marbella, Spain.
Now regarded as one of Europe’s finest centres for youth football, Vega and Hilton let the BBC cameras in on their endeavour…
He hasn’t been afraid to don his shin pads for a good cause since his retirement either, recently taking part in a Soccer AM XI against National League South outfit Basingstoke Town.
The game was put on in order to raise funds for Street League, an organisation bidding to tackle (if you’ll excuse the pun) the problem of youth unemployment through football.
— Street League (@Street_League) April 26, 2015
Vega’s business-football links don’t end there. In 2009 he very nearly became owner of his very own club when coming close to purchasing Portsmouth.
Talks with then-owner Alexandre Gaydamak fell through, and the deal was never completed but it did hint at Vega’s desire to stay within football.
More recently he became a joint CEO at From Pitch to Boardroom. The company aim to help organisations to improve performance primarily by using principles and examples of “team excellence and football management philosophies”.
It’s clear that Vega has been busy since ending his footballing career at a relatively young age, and looks to be making a huge success of things.
He did however, seem to have a clear plan of where he would turn to after the thrills of the Premier League.
Speaking to Soccerex in a March interview, he gave this advice to the players of today:
“When you are young don’t believe that your retirement is far away; your retirement age is around the corner. Secondly, prepare your post-career in terms of what you are going to do. If you are going to stay in football do your football badges, do your coaching stuff. Or whilst you’re doing your career educate yourself, do some courses etc. because you’ve got time to do it,” he said.
Vega’s business interests show no sign of stopping, and with his reputation within the world of sports finances on the up, maybe we could see him taking up the mantle at the head of a Premier League club in the future.
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