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5 footballers who went broke after retiring and why

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Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona. Photo/talkSPORT
  • For every five retired football players in the Premier League, three of them end up broke
  • Poor financial planning, drugs, gambling, women and debts speed up their bankruptcy
  • Most of these retired but broke players live in regret

Do you ever imagine that there are money lessons to learn from footballers who went broke after retirement? It’s a painful reality that serves practical lessons about wealth management.

Still, it never takes away the pain of losing millions of dollars earned for years. A common denominator in most of these cases is an opulent lifestyle, tanking investments, debts or illnesses.

HOW MANY SOCCER PLAYERS GO BROKE AFTER RETIREMENT?

For every five retired football players in the Premier League, three of them end up broke, according to research by Xpro. They eventually file for bankruptcy after they retire. The Independent claims that American professional sports also reflect these figures.

retired but broke footballers

Retired but broke footballers. Photo by SportsZion

Xpro is a charitable group that assists professional footballers in adjusting to life after retiring. It is known that many soccer players struggle financially after they retire, and some do end up going bankrupt. This can be due to various factors, including poor financial planning, overspending, and unexpected expenses.

In addition, many soccer players retire at a relatively young age and may not have the skills or education necessary to transition to a new career. It becomes challenging for them to earn a sufficient income after retiring.

Many footballers who went broke after retirement have so much splendour in their lives that when the money flow closes, it becomes a disaster.

HOW MANY FOOTBALLERS END UP BROKE?

Studies by Xpro further indicate that 40% of football players file for bankruptcy within five years of retiring. And many more struggle financially in later years. It becomes challenging to adjust to a less glamorous lifestyle after the fat checks stop coming in.

In extreme cases of footballers who went broke after retirement, there are reported cases of depression and suicide.

WHY DO FOOTBALLERS GO BROKE AFTER RETIREMENT?

There are a number of reasons why footballers may go broke after retirement. Some of the main reasons include:

  1. Poor financial planning: Many footballers may not have a solid plan in place for how to manage their finances after they retire. This can lead to overspending and a lack of savings, putting them at risk of financial difficulties later.
  2. Overspending: Some footballers may have a high level of disposable income while they are playing, and may be accustomed to living a luxurious lifestyle. This can lead to overspending and a lack of financial discipline, which can be problematic when their income decreases after retirement.
  3. Unexpected expenses: Footballers may face unexpected expenses after retirement, such as medical bills or legal fees, which can strain their finances.
  4. Lack of alternative income: Many footballers retire relatively young and may not have the skills or education necessary to transition to a new career. This can make it difficult for them to earn a sufficient income after retiring from the sport.
  5. Poor investment decisions: Some footballers may make poor investment decisions, such as investing in risky ventures or businesses that do not succeed, which can lead to financial losses.

FOOTBALLERS WHO WENT BROKE AFTER RETIREMENT

Despite their fame and success back in their heydays, these footballers became hard-up after hanging their boots.

RONALDINHO

Ronaldinho Career is a tall tale of success on the pitch.

Ronaldinho Career is a tall tale of success on the pitch. Photo/Eurosport

Ronaldinho, the legendary World Cup winner for Brazil, may look back and regret not investing sooner rather than later.

In 2020, when he attempted to enter Paraguay using forged passports, his dismal lifestyle resulted in his detention. He received a six-month prison term.

Ronaldinho continues to host parties whenever he can despite being broke. It is disappointing to see a former football star with such talent suddenly bankrupt after such a successful career.

CELESTINE BABAYARO

Celestine Babayaro, a former Newcastle and Chelsea FC footballer, went public with bankruptcy, as indicated by London Gazette in January 2011. No one is aware of what caused his bankruptcy. He never had a glamorous life as many could have anticipated when his career was at its peak.

DIEGO MARADONA

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona. Photo/Sky Sports

On November 25, 2022, Argentina’s late Diego Maradona passed away penniless after stealing money earned from his football career.

It is stated that the Italian Tax Authority was seeking a total of £42 million when he passed away (Sh6.1 billion). The amount resulted from unpaid taxes from his time as a player for Napoli of Italy.

ERIC DJEMBA-DJEMBA

Eric Djemba-Djemba, a former midfielder for Manchester United and a Cameroonian, was declared bankrupt after amassing significant riches from sport but failing to put them to good use.

Djemba-Djemba retired from football in 2016 after struggling with Chennaiyin Football Club in the Indian Super League.

PAUL MERSON

Former Arsenal player Paul Merson went bankrupt a few years after declaring his retirement from the game in 2006. Alcohol and women significantly contributed to the acceleration of his post-retirement bankruptcy process. In addition, he had a gambling addiction when he was declared bankrupt.

This is a classic reason footballers who went broke after retirement due to overindulgence and excessive love for women.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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