Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has targeted success after joining former team-mate Demba Ba and Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye in becoming part owner of a new football club in America.
Hazard, Ba and Cabaye, as well as former Lille striker Moussa Sow, who now plays for Al-Ahli of Dubai, have joined forces to launch a team in San Diego, which will compete in the second tier North American Soccer League (NASL).
The team is as yet unnamed but is set to make its league debut in the spring of 2018 and play their home matches at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium until their own 10,000-seater complex is built.
“San Diego is a beautiful place and the love and passion the people have for soccer made this an easy choice for us,” said Hazard. “My friends and I are honoured to turn this dream into a reality and we can’t wait to get started and win some games.”
Ba, who is currently on loan at Turkish side Besiktas from Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenhua, said: “If you look at San Diego there are not many pro teams, and there are no pro teams in football.
“We think it is a very good market, and if we go in, do good and work hard, we can be successful.
“It’s a market that’s growing very quick and very good, and we wanted to be a part of it because every time America puts its hand into something they succeed. So we wanted to be a success with them.”
The quartet are set to follow in the footsteps of former AC Milan and Italy defender Paolo Maldini, who is the co-owner of NASL side Miami FC.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are closing in on the £35m signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, while Nemanja Matic is set to depart Stamford Bridge and join Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United for a deal in the region of £40m.