Selling rubber ducks, working as a mechanic: Roman Abramovich you've never heard about

Selling rubber ducks, working as a mechanic: Roman Abramovich you've never heard about

Most of the Chelsea fans know him only as the most important man in their club - but here's some stuff you might've never known.

Soviet entrepreneur

  • Roman Abramovich grew up with his uncle's family after his parents died before he turned 4 years old.
  • The family eventually moved to Moscow where Abramovich went to school and later university. By all accounts, he was not an outstanding student but he already showed his business acumen.
  • He was working as a mechanic and as a street vendor - while at the same time selling plastic toys like rubber ducks from his Moscow apartment.
  • Thanks to 2,000 roubles he got as a present on his first wedding, Abramovich became a reasonably successful businessman before the Soviet Union collapsed.

Rise to prominence

  • In the early 90s, Abramovich started investing heavily in oil and was so successful in it that he eventually entered the inner circle of influential oligarch Boris Berezovsky.
  • The two businessmen bought a major oil company Sibneft for $100m which was seen as an understated price. It probably was true as the company was soon worth billions of dollars.
  • Abramovich was influential in the state politics as well: he was the first person to advise then-president Boris Yeltsin to support Vladimir Putin as his successor. As a result, he remains Putin's close confidant to this day.
  • The same can't be said about Berezovsky: the two men's legal fight made it to the pages of every national newspaper in the UK. In 2011, the Chelsea owner was accused of blackmail and sued over more than £3 billion in damages, but the case was eventually dismissed.

Generous benefactor

  • In 2000, Abramovich was elected governor of Chukotka, an impoverished region in the far east of his country, and invested heavily in social services there during his eight-year tenure.
  • Between 2004 and 2013, his National Football Academy spent up to $200 million to help develop the sport in Russia: 130 football pitches were built and facilities improved all over the country.
  • Abramovich sponsored professional sport as well, including CSKA Moscow during a season of their UEFA Cup triumph.
  • Still, around the world, he's better known as the owner of Chelsea, the club that has effectively become his pass to the world stage.
Source: These Football Times

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