When billionaires throw banquets, like Massimo Cellino did for Leeds

Despite what legal authorities across several European jurisdictions may want to tell you, temporarily banned Leeds owner Massimo Cellino is a pretty nice guy. Before a recent game against Bournemouth, Cellino cooked the team a pasta meal, ensuring their necessary carbohydrate intake. Leeds would go on to win for the first time in eight matches.

Cellino isn’t the first owner to make this gesture. After his club won the 2010 Premier League trophy, Roman Abramovich invited his players and technical staff aboard his largest yacht. Naturally, they’d expected a lavish spread of fine caviar and expertly distilled vodka. Instead, they were greeted by a banner reading “LIFE IS PAIN” and a single head of cabbage on a marble conference room table.

It would be three days before Abramovich came aboard the ship. Convinced his players had grown fat and complacent in their recent success, Roman took it upon himself to to teach them a strong lesson about the dangers of success. Chelsea hasn’t won the league since.

Roman’s brother in Russian oligarchy, AS Monaco majority owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, is also the culinarily generous type. After Monaco qualified for the Champions League last season, Rybolovlev wanted to bathe his players in opulence. After spending over $200 million to strengthen his team the previous summer, he was prepared to shame that paltry sum in a single afternoon.

With the help of noted theme park enthusiast, Prince Albert II, Rybololev rented out Monaco’s largest waterpark and filled the pipes with the finest champagne from the royal reserves. Throughout the morning, players dined on meat from falcon-quails, specially bred for their regal splendor and succulence when paired with rare Amazon fruit preserves. It was all specially prepared by chef Action Bronson.

Unexpectedly, just as the third course appeared, Ryobolovlev wife Elena materialized, waving forward a fleet of moving trucks. A crew of hundreds swarmed in to take away exactly half of the feast. James Rodríguez and Falco were picked up by strongmen, tossed out of the park and into the street. At the time, no one with the club was aware that this was a harbinger of things to come.

Red Bull’s reclusive billionaire owner, Deitrich Mateschitz, wanted to bring the jewels of his growing soccer empire together for a special Thanksgiving feast. Austrian Thanksgiving is aligned with the FIFA international calendar, so everyone was available.

He personally prepared a meal of local dishes representing the homes of each of his clubs. There were innumerable delicious options from Austria, Germany, Ghana and Brazil. Then, when the time came for the New York-themed course, Mateschitz walked up to Dax McCarty, looked him in the eye and presented half a hot dog on a rusty trashcan lid, saying “Take this back to your noisy fans.”


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