Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has become the second-largest shareholder of League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers.
The Spaniard, who has a passion for conservation and climate change, has bought into the philosophies embraced by a fourth tier outfit.
Forest Green Rovers became a fully vegan side in 2015 and the world’s first carbon-neutral sports club in 2017.
Bellerin, who pledged to plant 3,000 trees for every victory Arsenal secured after ‘Project Restart’ in mid-June, shares the vision of a Gloucestershire-based team that he has now invested in.
The Gunners full-back told The Green Army’s official website: “I was really excited when I first discovered the opportunity to get involved at Forest Green Rovers - and the brilliant work the club is already doing.
“It's important that I invest in things I am passionate about - and I'm excited to help push football into having a sustainable future.
“Forest Green Rovers prove to clubs who say 'they don't have resources to be sustainable' - that it is possible.
“With the new stadium, being carbon neutral and vegan, the club is doing some mind-blowing work.
“People have a universal love of football, so there's no better industry to promote sustainability - and what we can do as football supporters to be more environmentally conscious.
“I became a vegan around three years ago and at first, I just wanted to try it and detox my body. Initially, I thought I'd eat meat as a 'treat' - but, being vegan just worked for me. After a month of being vegan, I felt stronger - and I didn't struggle with ankle injuries anymore. I began to feel more energetic on the pitch - and I began to notice a real difference.”
Club chairman Dale Vince added: “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 our projects at FGR and this wider agenda we have a shared interest in.”
Bellerin has faced Forest Green Rovers before in his career, during a friendly outing at The New Lawn in 2014, and a 10-goal thriller that day still holds vivid memories for the 25-year-old.
He said: "I remember playing a pre-season friendly against Forest Green about six years ago – but at that time, I wasn’t too aware of the path the club was taking and I was just focussing on getting into the first-team at Arsenal!
“I have so much respect for everything that Dale Vince is doing with the club – and he’s paving the way for everyone else in the sport.”