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22 May, 2021 15:29

Rising Roman: Chelsea owner Abramovich adds more than $2BN to his vast wealth as midfielder Kante joins him on annual UK rich list

Rising Roman: Chelsea owner Abramovich adds more than $2BN to his vast wealth as midfielder Kante joins him on annual UK rich list

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has moved up the league table of the UK's richest people by adding more than $2 billion to his wealth in a year – and top Blues midfielder N'Golo Kante is one of the wealthiest young sports stars.

Russian supremo Abramovich added a cool $2.76 billion to his kitty in 2021, swelling his whopping overall fortune to $17.1 billion, according to high-profile annual money table the Sunday Times Rich List.

Abramovich's expanded wealth is a result of increased success in the steel and mining industries, although it is curious that the magnate has been included in a list of UK-based billionaires despite not having set foot in the country since 2018 due to visa issues.

The report added that Abramovich was "livid" at senior figures at Chelsea for their tone-deaf failure to anticipate supporters' fury over the failed European Super League project last month.

After fans protested outside Stamford Bridge, Chelsea and Manchester City became the first teams from the Premier League's 'Big Six' to drop out before all but nine of the 12 founding outfits ultimately withdrew. 

Still, Abramovich is cherished by the masses in west London after helping to bring about Chelsea's most successful era since taking over the club in 2003.

Five Premier League titles have been won on his watch as well as a Champions League crown, while Thomas Tuchel's men have reached the final of the European showpiece for a third time, facing City in Porto next Saturday.

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Whether or not his club adds more silverware to its trophy cabinet, Abramovich can still count upon a London housing portfolio worth at least $282 million.

That includes a three-storey penthouse he bought for $31 million and a 15-bedroom Kensington Palace Gardens mansion which cost $127 million.

Abramovich hasn't lived in the capital for three years, taking citizenship and a base in Israel.

A large proportion of his wealth can be found in the Evraz steel and mining giant, where his holdings are worth $3.6 billion, increasing by $2.1 billion over the past year, according to the estimates.

The Sunday Times claim that there should have been $256 million in dividends since their last edition, while his stakes in nickel mining businesses in Russia are said to have delivered profits exceeding $212 million.

That Abramovich should feature so prominently in the Rich List should come as a surprise to nobody.

But there were shocks elsewhere as one of his best players, French World Cup winner N'golo Kante, featured in the Young Sport Rich List for athletes under 30.

With a supposed fortune of $35 million, the midfielder is seventh on that list, pipping England captain Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson among the Top 10. 

Previously earning $212,000 a week, Kante's riches were vastly improved once Abramovich doubled this to $424,000 as part of a new contract in November 2018.

Making 35 appearances that season, Kante also received a hefty part of a $7 million bonus for winning the 2016/2017 league title that favored then-coach Antonio Conte's most-picked players.

A sponsorship deal with Adidas, renewed in 2020, also boosts his earnings.

But Kante is wise with his bank balance, choosing to drive a humble Mini rather than the luxury motors most footballers opt for. 

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, who currently plies his trade on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, tops the list with a whopping $161.2 million, closely followed by boxer Anthony Joshua, with $151 million.

Bale and Joshua were able to join the list because they were both 30 in 2020, although their current age of 31 will make them ineligible next time.

A quartet of footballers, including France teammate and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba ($70 million), City's Kevin De Bruyne and United's David De Gea (both $48 million) and City's Raheem Sterling ($39.6 million) are ahead of Kante.

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