Selling Porto by the pound: net a piece of a European champion

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The Independent Online

Want to buy a piece of a champion? Well you can. Investors are being offered stakes in some of the heroes of Porto's 3:0 victory in the Uefa Champions League final last week.

A fund, launched by the Portuguese football champions and backed by two local banks, is letting you buy a 25 per cent stake in 11 players on Porto's books.

These include Deco Souza, who scored the second goal in the game, four other players who appeared in the match, one of the substitutes and five promising youngsters. The fund, which is raising €6.2 m (£4.1m) for Porto, will benefit if the club sells any players in the fund.

Investors will feel they are on to a winner because Porto manager Jose Mourinho is expected to take over at high-spending Chelsea this week. He is likely to use some of the fortune built up by the Premier League club's billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, to bring players from Porto over to London.

Speculation is rife that his shopping list includes Deco, right-back Paulo Ferreira and centre-back Ricardo Carvalho, all part-owned by the fund.

The Porto fund follows the success of the similar cash raising by Portuguese rivals Sporting Lisbon. That fund soared 85 per cent in value thanks to the sale of Christiano Ronaldo to Manchester United and Hugo Viana to Newcastle United.

A spokesman for the Premier League said a similar deal in England was possible, but unlikely. Though it is technically illegal to split a player's registration, there is nothing to prevent a fund benefiting from transfer deals.

Alex Duff is a reporter for Bloomberg

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