At his peak and illustrious career in the Premier League, Emmanuel Eboue's wages were piled up in millions as the football star lived in a mansion and owned flashy cars.
A few years later, the ex-Arsenal defender now lives his life hiding from bailiffs and most times crashes on the floor of a friend's house, takes trips by bus and even washes his clothes himself by hand because he reportedly has no washing machine.
Today, the Ivorian narrates how his riches-to-rags ordeal has pushed him to suicidal thoughts. “I want God to help me,” he says. “Only he can help take these thoughts from my mind.”
At the peak of his career with Arsenal, he became a fans’ favourite
. He was part of the side that faced Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final. Eboue, currently unable to play football because of ill-health, says he has been pushed to the brink.
He has: Lost a bitter divorce battle, with his wife Aurelie awarded all of their assets. Had to hide from cops and bailiffs after being ordered by a judge to transfer his remaining Enfield home to his wife.
Faced a heartbreaking estrangement from his three kids. His dream of a Premier League return with Sunderland evaporated last year, however, after he was hit with a 12-month ban by FIFA after a dispute with a former agent. Eboue says he was never given guidance to manage his finances.
Insisting his wife looked after most of their affairs, he admits being “naive” with money. He also claims he was beset by a string of people who gave bad advice and lost him huge sums.
With a limited education, Eboue is paying the price for being unaware of his financial situation.
And he now wants other young African footballers to learn from his mistakes. He says: “I look back and say ‘Emmanuel, you have been naive... why didn’t you think about that before?’ It is hard.
The money I earned, I sent it to my wife for our children. In Turkey I earned €8m. I sent €7m back home. Whatever she tells me to sign, I sign.
The problems with FIFA were because of people advising me. People who are supposed to care. But it was because of them FIFA banned me.”