Belgium international and former Tottenham star Jan Vertonghen has ruled out immediately starting a coaching career once he brings down the curtain on his illustrious playing career.
The 36-year-old, enjoying the challenge of rejuvenating Belgian giants Anderlecht after a disappointing campaign last year, now has his eyes firmly set on investment opportunities off the pitch.
Despite being coached by the likes of Roberto Martinez and Mauricio Pochettino, Vertonghen does not see the lure of being back on the grass when he calls time on his playing career in football.
"I have my A licence, I did it just to understand how coaches think and what kind of work they need to put in," he said to Stats Perform.
"So, when I'm sitting on this side of the room in a meeting, I understand where it comes from. It's important for me to understand people, how they think, what work they have to put in, how the data works, and the physical load.
"That's why I did it, to understand that side and for me, it's not an option – definitely not for the first couple of years – mainly because I am looking for the right balance in my life.
"I feel that the husband I want to be, the father that I want to be and the coach that I want to be, I can't see it will work because I see the work they put in.
"They arrive at seven, they go home after seven. I want to see my kids, as I said, my son has started playing football. I want to go to his training sessions. I want to go to his games. I want to take my daughter to dance class. I want to pick my other son up from school.
"And that life doesn't exist being a coach or being an assistant coach or a physical coach. And if you take a job like this, you can't disrespect the job. You have to put the hours in, and I can't do that at the moment."
Vertonghen joins other elite athletes to work with investment company APEX to invest in the sports, media and entertainment industry.
APEX boasts 15+ investments among an athlete community of over 100 from the world of F1, football, boxing and surfing.
Antonio Cacorino, APEX co-founder and chief executive, believes having Vertonghen on board, along with the other global sporting stars, reinforces that notion athletes are keen to make the most of their potential away from their respective fields.
CaCorino said: "Traditionally, the thought was, 'Let me only think about investing or being active in something different when I retire. Let me focus 1,000 per cent on sports'.
"Unless you are Cristiano Ronaldo or a few other athletes in the world, when you retire, you just become irrelevant. It's unfortunate but it's the reality.
"We work with guys like Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly. In football, Siem de Jong, Luuk de Jong, Christian Eriksen, Raphael Varane. Anthony Joshua is a big boxer, so just really building a very strong, diverse asset community.
"We created an amazing athlete community of athletes from all over the world who have this sort of entrepreneurial mindset and this like-minded approach to how they want to position themselves beyond pure athletes."
Vertonghen, an Athlete partner at APEX, reveals meeting the young and ambitious co-founders, along with a star-studded list of sports stars involved, gave him the confidence to get involved with the Lisbon-based company.
"When you invest in a company with other high-profile names, most of the time they're surrounded by the best possible people," added the defender, who is Belgium’s most-capped player with 153 appearances for the Red Devils.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) September 12, 2023
“They invest in the best possible companies with great opportunities.
"It makes a bit less sense if I invest in software from any kind of thing. For me, it's a sport-minded company where I can have my input, where I can talk to anyone who I want, where I can get the information that I want."
However, Vertonghen has no intention of hanging up his boots just yet, nor is he ready to give up keeping clean sheets either.
After a difficult 2022-23 season, which saw Champions League regulars Anderlecht finish in a lowly 11th place, he takes satisfaction in what has been a positive start to the campaign.
He continued: "Last year was a very, very bad and disappointing season, but we had a very good transfer window, great signings.
“[The manager] brought some great young guys in, experienced players like Kasper Schmeichel, for example, just leaders and guys who just want to win, and that's what we needed. The atmosphere in the team is great.
“In Belgium, it works with a play-off system. If you get into the top six, you go for the Champions Playoffs, and that's our ambition, to be in that top six.
“And then whoever's in the top six can be champion. It's just important for all the teams who have the ambition to achieve the highest things, to be in the top six.”