MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 23: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF poses for a photograph after being presented with a new Audi car as part of an ongoing sponsorship deal with Real Madrid at their Ciudad Deportivo training grounds on November 23, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images For AUDI)

7 Players Who Are Successful Businessmen Outside of Football

Football, by its very nature, is fleeting and short-lived. That means that those employed to play football must often find another avenue of income, whether to enhance their riches or to provide security beyond their retirement.

It's not uncommon for many to turn to the world of business. For some, it comes naturally, almost an add-on of their brilliance on the pitch and their inherent marketability.

For others, it takes toil and graft, true entrepreneurship, and a shrewd money-making mind. Here are seven of the best football-playing businessmen.

7. Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta's business pursuit is fitting of his suave, classy nature on the pitch. Almost the physical embodiment of grace and elegance, it would be a surprise if he was not a connoisseur of the most sophisticated of alcoholic drinks.

The Barcelona midfielder has his own wine label: Bodega Iniesta. In fact, he has inherited the business from his father, Jose Antonio, who started making wine in vineyards in his hometown of Fuentealbilla.

That was in 1999, and at first it was a small local company, modestly providing an extra income for Jose Antonio. Now, helped by the reputation of the football star of the family, it is distributed throughout Spain.

6. Ryan Bertrand

The Southampton full-back maintains a relatively low profile away from the pitch, although it's there where he makes a fair percentage of his income.

Ryan Bertrand - who won the Champions League while with Chelsea - launched fintech brokerage firm Silicon Market in 2015, a company that offers AI technology products to traders and retail investors. 

“I kind of wanted to go against the grain,” Bertrand said. “The traditional footballer who reaches perhaps mid-30s, stops and then thinks ‘what am I going to do now?’ I think we have a good business team and we’re going to actively progress things, predominately staying within the tech markets.” 

He also co-owns FootiEmoji - an app that allows users to send emojis of high-profile footballers - with former Blues teammate John Terry.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, at this point, is almost a brand himself. The Real Madrid forward's status has transcended that of most footballers, and it has allowed him to pursue his passions away from the pitch.

It has also allowed him to make considerably more money. Football is not Ronaldo's only source of income, and why should it be - he has proven his entrepreneurial skills in numerous fashion-based ventures. 

In 2006, Ronaldo opened his first fashion boutique under the name "CR7" in Madeira, Portugal. Two years later, he opened another in Lisbon, and since then has gone on to release his own range of underwear and socks, as well as a line of premium shirts and shoes. He's even in the hotel business nowadays.

Perhaps Real Madrid's record goalscorer might not do too badly if he were to appear on the Apprentice.

4. Neymar

According to Forbes, Neymar "is the only soccer player to earn more off than on the pitch", and he earns a considerable amount on the pitch.

It is largely down to his plethora of lucrative sponsorship deals, which are inclusive of Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre, amongst others. He has his own logo, features regularly in advertisements and even made a cameo appearance in the Hollywood movie 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage'.

There are few, if any, footballers with the worldwide marketability and influence of Neymar. It's likely that that will continue beyond the completion of his footballing career, too.

3. Mathieu Flamini

The former Arsenal midfielder's entrepreneurship is vastly different from that of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, in that it is entirely unrelated to his footballing career.

Mathieu Flamini has no personal brand - he was an unspectacular defensive midfielder with the Gunners and most recently Crystal Palace. But what he clearly does have is business acumen. The Frenchman is a partner of GF Biochemicals, an environmental company that produces levulinic acid and derivatives. 

It's scientific stuff, and it brings in a lot of money. The Sun reported two years ago that the business was worth a huge £20bn. “I was always close to nature and concerned about environmental issues, climate change and global warming," Flamini said. 

Levulnic acid, in Flamini's words, is "a molecule identified by the US Department of Energy as one of the 12 molecules with the potential to replace petrol in all its forms". Sounds a bit more  complex than kicking a football around.

2. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It's a surprise to no-one that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's business ventures away from the pitch are very much centred around Zlatan. 

Last year, he launched his own sportswear brand, A-Z. Have a guess what the Z stands for... That's right, Zlatan. He has modelled the clothing himself, despite the scar on his right-knee from the recent surgery.

This year, with time on his hands due to the injury he suffered towards the end of last season, Ibrahimovic created a new mobile game. The name? Zlatan Legends. 

"You're a super hero and you're saving a planet," Ibrahimovic told Business Insider. "But not one. You go from planet to planet to planet. [You save it from] other superheroes that want to save it. And who will be the saviour is up to you. He who has the best skills, the best everything, he will save it. Everybody would like to be a superhero... so let's see who it will be. I believe it will be me." 

"We wanted to create something new," said Isbit Games CEO Markus Koos. "We wanted it to feel and look Zlatan." Of course.

1. Gerard Pique

If you were under under the illusion that Gerard Pique could not get any more successful, think again.

It turns out that, alongside winning countless trophies for Barcelona, the World Cup and European Championship with the Spanish national team, and marrying Shakira, the 30-year-old is also a talented poker player. Pique is among the top 150 in Spain, and won a cool £94,000 in a tournament last year.

As well as that, the Catalan defender owns gaming company Kerad Games and has a 27% share in Bas Alimentaria, an additive-free meat company. He's done alright.