In the modern game, there are those players who have it all and then there are those individuals who did have the lot. With the likes of Wayne Rooney earning in excess of $500,000 a week alongside a host of prestigious sponsorship deals, money can be no object for some.
A player may have had to graft for a while playing in the small leagues. On the other hand, an individual could wait for a lifetime opportunity while sitting on the bench for a Premier League team. They could even be a prodigy with boundless energy waiting in the wings for their youth side. Whichever way circumstances dictate, there is only one chance to make an impact.
Yet for some, this can lead to disaster. As the melange of adoration, money and off field activities can reveal, a footballer’s existence is certainly a charmed one at best. Some take to gambling on the back of team coaches, whilst others inject cash into get rich quick property schemes. Whatever the situation some footballers may face their lifestyle as well as their money can be gone as quick as their careers.
According to charity Xpro, as many as 60% of Premier League starlets have been declared penniless within the space of five years of hanging up their boots. Meanwhile, across the pond, nearly 80% of American football players have got themselves into all sorts of financial stress after just a couple of years out of the game. At the end of the day, a professional athlete’s career may only span a decade at best. But some choose to squander their money for a number of different reasons.
Unfortunately, thanks to off the pitch vices, mismanagement of finances and bad advice, here are just a few footballers who went from riches to rags.
15 Lee Hendrie
14 Chris Sutton
13 Keith Gillespie
A true riches to rags story, Keith Gillespie’s tale is one of the most controversial of the lot. The former Newcastle United and Manchester United winger was heavily involved in not only drinking habits, but excessive gambling habits. In fact he allegedly placed bets on his manager at the time, Sir Alex Ferguson. In addition to this, Gillespie’s addiction became so bad that he lost more than $100,000 on the horses in just one afternoon. This was the demon that would cost him the majority of his career earnings which totaled an incredible $10 million.
12 David James
11 John Arne Riise
10 Celestine Babayaro
9 Eric Djemba-Djemba
8 Jason Euell
7 Carl Cort
6 Alan Hudson
A footballer's path can be a rocky one, none more so than former Chelsea and Stoke City player Alan Hudson. A crowd favourite in the 1970’s, Hudson helped the Blues to victory in the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup. Now long retired from the beautiful game he once loved, Hudson cuts a forlorn figure. Most people would be enjoying retirement but Hudson has been homeless in the last few years. Together with gambling and drink problems, he is facing having to survive on a measly $250 incapacity payments and a pension of $500.
5 Paul Merson
4 Brad Friedel
Iconic American goalkeeper Brad Friedel was one of the best no.1's around, especially in his home nation. With successful spells at both Aston Villa, as well as Tottenham the former US no.1 was earning a fair wedge between the sticks. Yet, in 2011, Friedel had actually been declared completely bankrupt back in the United States. His football academy based in Lorain, Ohio was spiralling debts of around $7 million. In fact, most were not willing to subscribe thanks to its hefty $50,000 annual subscription which led to the banks repossessing his home.
3 Richard Rufus
2 Kenny Sansom
1 Paul Gascoigne
Arguably one of the finest talents to have ever come out of the British Isles, Paul Gascoigne was a unique footballer. With bundles of natural skill and oozing silky moves, the Geordie boy played for his hometown of Newcastle United before moving on to several highly prestigious clubs. This featured the Glasgow Rangers and Tottenham Hotspur, whilst he also played in Serie A for Roman giants Lazio. A joker at heart, Gazza was the jewel in many a football fan’s eye. But it was off the field where he encountered more than a few problems. Struggles with booze, drug addiction and depression have seen him owe the tax man more than $400,000.
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