Ex-Man Utd ace Louis Saha now runs lucrative business helping other retired pros

Former Manchester United star Louis Saha now runs a lucrative business helping other retired professional footballers.

Saha, 43, hung up his boots in 2013 after a successful career which saw him play for no fewer than six Premier League clubs.

He started his top-flight odyssey with Fulham, scoring 63 goals in 142 appearances for the Cottagers after joining from Metz.

That convinced Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him for United, a decision that paid off in spades as Saha found the net 42 times and helped the club win two Premier League titles and the Champions League.

Spells at Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland followed before the fleet of foot Frenchman retired with Lazio in 2013.

While most footballers use retirement as a chance to enjoy some well-earned downtime, Saha threw himself into creating a business aimed at helping out his former colleagues.

In 2014, the prolific forward launched Axis Stars, a network designed to give those involved in sport a place to talk about insurance, finance, lifestyle and other career-related topics.

It is a place for athletes to keep an eye on their club, sponsorship, endorsement and insurance as a contract management platform.

What is your favourite memory of Louis Saha playing for United? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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The business also gives sportsmen and women a better understanding of life after sport, providing networking opportunities and better equipping them for a second career, reducing their chance of bankruptcy.

Speaking at the time, Saha said: "I would have loved to be able to master my job better when I was playing but now I’ve retired, I still have a huge role to play sharing my experience with young players.

"I wish I had a platform like this as a player; it would have helped me manage my career and plan for the future a lot better.

"This is why Axis Stars is designed to not only help active professional players and athletes but also those in their post-career.

"The aim is to help drastically reduce the terrifying statistics which show that around 50 per cent of sports professionals go bankrupt after retirement. I am more proud of this incredible project than all of my achievements on the pitch."

Seven years on from its launch, Axis Stars is still going strong and now has its own podcast which has featured the likes of boxer Tony Bellew, England cricketer Chris Jordan and TV presenter Kelly Cates.

Reflecting on his decision to get involved with Axis Stars, Saha told The Guardian how it was the best thing he'd ever done – big words for a man with plenty of silverware in the cabinet at home.

He said: "In my bad luck, I was lucky, because now I’ve seen the big picture and I have the opportunity to really help. And I think I feel more excited as an entrepreneur than I did on the field.

"I really liked being a footballer, and it felt very natural to play the game, but this is a real challenge. It is a hard process but it’s so rewarding, because if I can help 100,000 people, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

"When you’re on the field, yes, you have excitement. But did I really create something that will last?

"I’m not sure. This project is something I think is going to last, because the youth – or maybe even my kids if one day they become professional – are going to use it.

"I really hope players understand they have the opportunity to help the people close to them. Because it’s a headache to be the family member of a star, as you get dragged in to a lot of situations you have never thought about.”

However, creating a network for top athletes is not without its problems.

In a separate interview, Saha added: "In one week we had 500 people claiming to be [Lionel] Messi.

"And there’s only one Messi. We spend a lot of time checking the identity of the people who register."

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