Hector Bellerin joined forces with Forest Green Rovers yesterday as the world’s greenest player bought into the world’s greenest club.
Arsenal star Bellerin, who is vegan and has long campaigned on climate change, has become the second-largest shareholder in the League Two side.
He is understood to have invested £250,000 for a two per cent stake in the club, majority owned by chairman Dale Vince’s green energy firm Ecotricity.
And the colourful 25-year-old Spain defender, who has modelled at Paris Fashion Week and once said he would consider a career in politics, wants to support their work.
Bellerin said: “I'm so excited to be part of the FGR family. I'll be helping where I can, supporting people who want to change the world for the better."
Forest Green became the world’s first carbon neutral sports club in 2017 and have been recognised by FIFA and the United Nations for their environmental work.
But Bellerin became aware of them before that, when he played against them in a friendly six years ago, and recently got in touch to see whether he could help out.
Bellerin, who credits his own vegan diet for massively improving his health, recently raised funds to plant almost 60,000 trees in the Amazon rainforest
And Forest Green hope he can work with them on “raising the environmental agenda in football”.
Under chairman Vince, a British green energy industrialist, the Gloucestershire club installed solar panels on its New Lawn ground.
They also created the world’s first "organic" football pitch, spread using Scottish seaweed, and even use a solar-powered robot to mow it.
Meat, dairy and fish have been completely axed at matches, and the club has since won a climate action award for it’s planet-saving initiatives.
Bellerin, whose Arsenal future is in doubt amid interest from Paris St-Germain, said: "When I first played Forest Green all I knew about them was it was a long way from London!
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“As I heard more about the club and its work, I knew I wanted to meet them and be part of it.
"So many people feel there's no solution to the world's problems, but Forest Green are already doing plenty – and showing others the way.
Vince, chairman of Forest Green since 2010, said: "I like Hector's approach, his personal journey and the things he's trying to do – they make sense.
"I'm looking forward to working with him on FGR and this wider agenda we have a shared interest in."
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