Former Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has bought third-tier Belgian team Royal Excelsior Virton.
A statement released on Thursday confirmed Flavio Becca’s decision to sell up to the 32-year-old Frenchman, who has just completed a big-money move to Saudi Arabian champions Al-Ittihad.
“Flavio is obviously extremely happy to hand over the keys of the club to N’Golo Kante, a high-class player, not only for his footballing qualities but also and above all for his widely recognised human qualities,” Virton said under the slogan ‘Small Town, Big Dreams’.
“Driven by his passion for football, N’Golo Kante wants to continue to structure the club in order to consolidate its foundations, stabilise its staff and eventually reconnect with the tradition of training RE Virton’s Youth Academy. The club aims to establish its local roots in order to become a driving force of football in Gaume and in the province of Luxembourg.”
Virton were relegated from Belgium’s second-tier, the Challenger Pro League, in 2022-23 and are free of all debt, according to the club.
English former journalist and agent Alex Hayes serves as the Belgian side’s chief executive but a new board of directors is expected to be installed in the coming days.
Kante becomes the latest celebrity owner of a football club, in the same week that Wilfried Zaha teamed up with rapper Stormzy to buy AFC Croydon Athletic.