August 15, 2022

Several active players are currently involved in the world of NFTs

Many people will undoubtedly have seen an ape-related image shared on Twitter – probably by John Terry – and wondered, ‘what on earth is that all about?’ Well, that is an NFT.

But what actually are NFTs and which footballers are involved with them? Let’s take a look.

What are NFTs?

In layman’s terms, ‘non-fungible tokens’ are a digital asset stored as part of the blockchain and traded in the form of cryptocurrency, and are bought and sold online.

They can vary in the specific form, but are often associated with digital files such as photos, videos and audio.

They are not tangible, which means that they cannot be exchanged for a fungible item. For example, a fungible item could be a £20 note, and with that, you are able to swap that for two £10 notes.

Essentially, despite the fact that anyone can right click and save the image from social media, the idea is that they are unique, and can only have one true ‘owner’. NFTs are a certificate of ownership for the specific digital asset, meaning that the buyer owns the original digital file.

So, it’s like buying the Mona Lisa, but you cannot actually possess it. Instead you have a JPEG and a receipt to say that it’s yours.

Why are they controversial?

As they have been used as a speculative assets – which can result in prices being much higher than the actual fundamentals – many people have expressed their concern at the growing popularity of NFTs.

The volatile nature of cryptocurrency, the dubious ways in which they are being advertised and the environmental impact of blockchain technology make this topic a lightning rod for controversy.

There is growing concern that those who endorse NFTs are misrepresenting the risks involved for people without a fortune of actual cash to fall back on, should the value of their asset plummet.

In the majority of cases, when a player has posted about their involvement with NFTs, they have been met with intense backlash.

Another thing: it is an unregulated financial product, which at the very least should be treated with a degree of suspicion.

Which players are involved?

John Terry

The former Chelsea captain appeared to start the trend with ape-related NFTs in football, first posting about his involvement at the end of last year.

However, some of his recent designs sparked controversy, with several of Terry’s posts including the Chelsea badge and Chelsea kits – trademarks which are protected by intellectual property law, as is the case with the trophies used in the graphic(s).

Following Premier League intervention, Terry removed the Premier League trophy from the NFTs he had been promoting on his Twitter account.


Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar also joined the club, posting a graphic alongside the caption: “I am an ape! #community #art #BoredApeYC”.

Bobby Zamora

Considering his role in the NFT world, Terry has promoted several other former and current players as they enter the industry.

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Ex-West Ham and England striker Bobby Zamora joined the ‘team’ in January – signing for the ‘Ape Kids Club’, where Terry is the ‘Head Coach’. Yep, you read that correctly.

Tammy Abraham

Ape Kids Club FC made another addition in January, with the signing of Roma and England striker Tammy Abraham.

While the former Chelsea forward hasn’t directly posted about his personal involvement with NFTs, Terry was keen to welcome him to the ‘club’.

Ben Foster

Watford goalkeeper and YouTube sensation Ben Foster was also announced by Terry in recent weeks – who was pleased to ‘sign’ a goalkeeper for his imaginary club.

Unlike some other players, Foster expressed his delight at ‘joining the club’ and spoke about how excited he was to be amongst some ‘serious players’ for the ‘journey ahead’.

Ezri Konsa

Having failed to recruit a defender, the Ape Kids Club added 24-year-old to, again, their imaginary club.

Unsurprisingly, given his involvement with the ‘project’ and relationship with Konsa – having worked with him during his time at Aston Villa – Terry welcomed the centre-back to the club, while telling him to ‘get that earring out’ – a nod to his cartoon ape wearing an earring.

Yep, you and me both.

Nigel de Jong

Former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong is another ex-pro involved with NFTs, and seems to be incredibly passionate about them.

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It appears that, while he is involved with Terry and the Ape Kids Club, he has also added other projects to his collection.

Daley Blind

Did you think that was the end of De Jong’s involvement? Ah, never mind.

The Dutchman was desperate to welcome his friend and current Ajax player Daley Blind to the club.

The 31-year-old Blind wished de Jong and the rest of the AKFC ‘team’ good luck for the future – before, bizarrely, adding that he hopes The Netherlands win the ‘AKFC World Cup’.

Jan Vertonghen

De Jong is really rivalling Terry for his love of NFTs. Prior to the ‘drop’ of the AKFC football collection, the Dutchman welcomed former Spurs man Jan Vertonghen to the community.

The Belgian, who now plays for Benfica in the real world, responded to the tweet by thanking de Jong for – what he called – fire artwork.

Reece James

The Chelsea defender, who still has an ape as his profile picture on Twitter, announced that he had ‘acquired’ an ape, before asking where his ‘fellow apes’ were at.

The 22-year-old is clearly passionate about NFTs and has posted about them on a number of occasions since his involvement with them began.

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba has previously endorsed NFT project CryptoDragons, and also announced plans to purchase NFT Eggs.

What does that mean? In all honesty, your guess is as good as mine. Or his.

Andy Robertson

The Scotland captain posted a graphic on Twitter which included information about his ‘exclusive’ and first NFT collection.

The Reds defender captioned the post: “My first #NFT collection ‘Hometown Heroes’ is now available on sporteNFT marketplace. Check out my collection”.

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Liverpool fans did not approve.

Luke Shaw

Manchester United and England defender Luke Shaw released his NFTs on the same platform as Robertson.

Much like his Liverpool rival, Shaw received plenty of backlash for his involvement with NFTs – with author Joel Golby user perfectly summing up what most people were thinking while looking at his post.

On May 1, Sportemon Go – endorsed by both Robertson and Shaw – removed its social media accounts on Sunday night, before they re-appeared to confirm the news that the company had stopped trading.

Wayne Rooney

Derby County manager and former Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is not only involved with NFTs, but received a super special video announcing his partnership.

Rooney was keen to thank the designer for his ‘Blockasset Legend’.

Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand opted against joining the Ape Kids Club and instead announced that he was part of the ‘hottest NFT family’ in Street Bears.

Street Bears, as per their own accord, are planning and creating community owned crypto farms and breeding.

Phil Jones

The Manchester United defender joined forces with Web3 firm Antourage to develop an exclusive metaverse members project dubbed Red Lion Sports Club (RLSC).

Jones took part in an NFT ‘chat’ on Twitter in April. Yes, really.

Son Heung-min

The Tottenham Hotspur man came under intense scrutiny after promoting ‘NFT Star’ less than 24 hours after joining Twitter.

He posted about ‘Meta Son Heung-Min’, before deleting his post after criticism from his fans and followers.


Are any other players involved?

Trent Alexander-Arnold previously changed his Twitter profile photo to an a Blockasset NFT of boxing champion Muhammad Ali, before later changing it back after receiving some critical comments.

As reported by Goal, La Liga stars Antoine Griezmann and Gerard Pique have also invested in entire platforms such as Sorare that market many NFTs to users.

It is also entirely possible that there are several other former and current footballers who are actively involved with NFTs, or that by the time you have reached the end of this article, another high-profile star will be posting an ape-related image.

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