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Building up a fortune is relatively simple business for a Premier League footballer, but history has proven that keeping it is an entirely different story. Amid falls from grace, dodgy deals and unsuccessful investments, Express Sport takes you through 11 top-flight stars who lost it all…
The ex-Cameroon international flopped after signing for Manchester United in his early twenties, moving onto Aston Villa two years later before spells in Qatar, Israel, Denmark, Serbia and Scotland, among others. Djemba-Djemba was declared bankrupt in 2007, despite reportedly earning just shy of £20,000 per week at Old Trafford.
John Arne Riise
Known for his sledgehammer of a left foot, Riise made almost 300 appearances for Liverpool and notched 110 caps for Norway, but like Djemba-Djemba, he was declared bankrupt in 2007 over an unpaid debt of around £100,000.
The former England player had left Anfield two years before Riise’s arrival, while he would go on to play for the likes of Aston Villa, Manchester City and Portsmouth. A costly divorce in 2005 supposedly saw debts start to rack up, and despite earning £20million from his career, he declared himself bankrupt in 2014.
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Prolific spells with Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers and Celtic saw Sutton involved in some of British football’s biggest-ever transfers at the time. Seven years after retirement, however, he was declared bankrupt after being mislead in a multi-million-pound fraud.
The former Liverpool, Blackburn and Villa stopper saw good intentions blow up in his face while still playing in the Premier League. Friedel launched a non-profit football academy in Ohio which struggled to retain sponsorship during the financial crisis, and with huge debts piling up, he filed for bankruptcy in 2011.
Having risen through the ranks at Man Utd, the Northern Irishman went on to be a long-serving player at Newcastle, Blackburn and Sheffield United. However, his £7.2m fortune was wiped out as Gillespie came clean on huge losses due to gambling, property investments and a film scheme.
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The once-capped England international spent 13 years in Aston Villa’s senior ranks before embarking on a journeyman career which ended in non-league. Despite earning £30,000 per week at one point, HMRC petitioned for his bankruptcy in 2012 following poor property investments.
Formerly of Real Madrid and Everton, the ex-Netherlands international saw his football career gradually decline as he eventually wound up in the UAE before a spell playing Dutch amateur football. He was declared bankrupt in 2020 after losing a reported £3.2m fortune.
Arriving at Chelsea as a teenager and making almost 200 appearances for the Blues, Babayaro was never the same after leaving Stamford Bridge and played his last game before the age of 30. Three years later, the former left-back was declared bankrupt on the public record of the London Gazette.
Once a Premier League winner with Blackburn, Hendry amassed more than 50 caps for Scotland before retiring from professional football in 2003. It was another seven years before he was declared bankrupt by a creditor, with debts thought to be in excess of £2m.
A 6ft 3in battering ram up top, Cort scored goals for Wimbledon, Newcastle and Wolves before a late-career slump. Once earning a reported £20,000 per week, the former Guyana international was declared bankrupt while at Brentford in 2010, eventually recouping funds via a two-year spell at the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
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