Jimmy Fallon shows off his Bored Ape NFT
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Footballers, in many ways, are the ideal customer base when it comes to NFTs.

They’re wealthy and competitive enough to want to get ahead of the game. They must get bored away from the pitch, too, and we imagine seeking out unusual investment opportunities is a pretty good way to spend the downtime between games.

It’s no surprise that there are plenty who have branched out into the world of NFTs over recent times, but before we go any further, let’s start right at the beginning – what exactly are they?

NFT stands for non-fungible tokens, with “non-fungible” meaning that the digital items can’t be copied. Whereas some digital items, like Bitcoin, are fungible and identical in form, no two NFTs are the same.

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They’re stored in the “blockchain”, which is a kind of digital ledger which sees information contained in vast arrays of code. Over recent times NFTs have become a platform for selling just about anything digital – including, in the most high-profile cases, pictures of apes.

The likes of Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon, Eminem and Justin Bieber have invested in Bored Ape Yacht Club, which is a collection of 10,000 ape avatars.

Footballers have been quick to get in on the act too – these are the players who have invested in NFTs so far.

John Terry

Former Chelsea and England defender John Terry has been leading the charge when it comes to NFTs, and he’s managed to convince a few others to join him along the way.

The 41-year-old put a “John Terry Ape” up for auction recently as part of his “Ape Kids Club” series, which featured a blue ape surrounded by the trophies Terry won during his Chelsea career, eventually getting bids upwards of £5,000.

It wasn’t without controversy though, with the footballer removing the Premier League trophy on NFTs after legal intervention by the league.

Terry, who has taken up a consultancy role in Chelsea’s academy, also looks to have convinced plenty of his former teammates to follow suit.

Ashley Cole

The former left back has entered the world of NFTsMichael Regan/Getty Images

He might be focusing on his new post as part of the backroom staff at Everton, but Cole has been teaming up with Terry as part of Ape Kids Club recently too.

The former England left-back has been vocal about the Ape Kids Club, an offshoot of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, on social media.

According to the Telegraph, while he has reportedly not entered into a contract with the makers of Ape Kids Club, he has retweeted an image of an NFT.

Reece James

James is one of the current crop of players who are looking to get involved in the NFT market, after sharing news of his acquisition last month. It’s not clear whether James bought his avatar, or was gifted it.

The right back, 22, posted an image of his mutant Bored Ape NFT avatar in January, writing: “I just acquired MAYC #10442 from my guy @ishmilly @BoredApeYC Where are my apes at?”

Terry wrote underneath: “Welcome to the club.”

Tammy Abraham

The striker, who played for Chelsea before switching to Roma in 2021, has also got involved after taking Terry’s advice.

Back in January, Terry posted a picture of an ape avatar in a red kit, writing: “Welcoming @tammyabraham into the #AKFC team and another great player… Delighted to have you in mate.”

Bobby Zamora

Another member of the Ape Kids Club, former West Ham, QPR and Fulham forward Bobby Zamora who revealed his NFT recently – which features an ape wearing an England kit with a St George’s flag in the background.

“Love the artwork you’ve done and what your project is about giving back to football in this web3 format,” Zamora said at the time.

Jack Wilshere

Former Arsenal midfielder Wilshere was “buzzing” to become a member of the Ape Kids Club in January.

He said he was happy to be part of an “incredible journey your going on with the #AKFC bringing football to the blockchain” on Twitter – although the original post from Terry showing the NFT has since been deleted.

They’re not the only ones involved in AKC…

Ben Foster

Steve Sidwell

Nigel De Jong

Ezri Konsa

Paul Pogba

It’s not just Terry’s Ape Kids Club which people are investing in, either.

French footballer Pogba entered the cryptocurrency market by partnering with breedable NFT dragon collectables projet CryptoDragons – and he announced plans last year to start buying NFT eggs.

“I am happy to announce to you I’m partnering with a phenomenal project called CryptoDragons,” he announced on social media.

“This is my first time getting NFTs, so this is huge. You see I’m going to get some dragon Eggs so as you know what’s gonna happen - I’m gonna be the ‘Father of Dragons,’” he added.

Wayne Rooney

Not only is England’s top scorer Wayne Rooney investing in the NFT market, but he’s also announced his very own range.

The current Derby manager has been promoting his own range of NFTs, which features caricatures of himself and are released in partnership with the NFT platform Blockasset.

Could pictures of Rooney be the next thing in the world of NFTs?

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand Foundation’s programmes teamed up with LDN UTD to release a series of NFT art sets to raise money for the charity in 2021, and the former England defender has also purchased his own NFT avatar.

“I’m iiiiiin guys!! Get involved!! The @streetbearsnft family has welcomed me,’ he wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of a green bear wearing a red hoody and black beanie hat.

Memphis Depay

The Barcelona forward is the proud owner of a Bored Ape Club avatar.

A number of players have also partnered with sporteNFT marketplace to launch collections of player card NFT artworks, including…

Andy Robertson

Luke Shaw

Neymar

PSG forward Neymar proudly showed off his ape avatar back in January after joining the Bored Ape Yacht Club, showing off his pink ape, complete with bubblegum and party hat.

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