Mathieu Flamini has been keeping a secret from his team-mates for seven years. The Arsenal midfielder is the co-founder of GF Biochemicals – the first company worldwide that can mass produce oil-substitute Levulinic Acid. Frenchman Flamini and his business partner Pasquale Granata hooked up after he left the Gunners to join AC Milan in 2008. The 31-year-old has splashed out millions to launch the company, which is named after its two pioneers.
The duo now employ 400 workers, with 80 based at their plant in Caserta, Italy, operating in a market worth around £20billion. Flamini admits his mum and dad, pals and even his Arsenal manager have been kept in the dark over his venture.
Flamin Said : “My Milan team-mates probably found out in our launch this week and my Arsenal team-mates will probably find out reading this. I don’t think Arsene Wenger knows, I never spoke to him about it.”
Flamini, who has been restricted to five appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side this season, has revealed GF boasts workers from around globe, including France, Italy, Russia, Holland, Germany and Egypt. The company has close links with the University of Pisa’s chemistry department. However, the ex-Marseille man admits it’s been a rocky road.
He added: “When you start something like that and you spend so much money, and where there is risk there is stress. “To me, it was an escape. A football career is made of ups and downs. It cleared my mind and helped me to think about something different. And it was something intellectually challenging too.”