Apparently, football is the most lucrative sport in the world. However, it’s a shame that some legendary players were broke after making millions from football.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are the highest paid footballers in the world at the moment.

However, some football players have earned more than them in the sport, and they still choose to be cash strapped after their careers.

There’s no way Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo can be broke after returning from football, because they have enough.

In the 21st century, football is the most lucrative job for anyone, who wants to make it big in the world.

Playing at an international level doesn’t usually come with many benefits. However, playing at club level is a honey pot.

That’s why most players always fight over contract extensions or sports guarantees at their respective clubs.

It’s so disgusting to know there are legendary players who are broke after making millions from football.

Neymar recently lost £900,000 in just one hour at an online casino, which is a massive amount of money.

However, it’s not entirely about gambling when it comes down to how these players lost money after their retirement.

Some footballers lost their properties to their partners because of divorce, and they will be back to square one.

Of course, football isn’t this lucrative during their playing times. Nevertheless, it’s so sad to know that there are legendary players who were broke after making millions from football.

It’s so unbelievable to see Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho on the list, because they actually made enough money during their days.

Who are the legendary players who were broke after making millions from football?

10. John Arne Riise – Former Norwegian footballer 

The former Liverpool left-back has retired from football since 2017, having made 546 appearances in his entire career at club level.

In 2007, John Arne Riise was declared bankrupt as a result of unpaid debts from failed business enterprises.

Of course, it’s a wise decision to invest in some businesses during a time when money is plentiful, but it didn’t work out for the Norwegian.

Meanwhile, after his bankruptcy in 2007, he decided to join Chennaiyin FC in India, making 10 appearances with just one goal.

Fortunately, John Arne Riise is currently in management, he’s now the manager of Avaldsnes IL in Norway.

He will definitely get his life back together, it’s just so awful to see him going cash trapped after his playing career.

Babayaro; star players were broke after making millions in football

9. Celestine Babayaro – Former Nigerian footballer

He’s literally one of the Nigerian legends, having won Olympic Gold in 1996, such a versatile player.

Celestine Babayaro went tapped out in 2011, after his failed move to Major League Soccer (MLS).

As a result, he was charged to court by people, who loaned him money, chasing him up and down.

Babayaro was earning close to £25,000 per week, as he made many appearances in the Premier League, Chelsea and Newcastle.

He may not be one of the West London club’s legends, like Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and others.

However, he was one of José Mourinho’s dangerous weapons at Chelsea, talking about his first spell at Stamford Bridge.

8. Eric Djemba-Djemba – Former Cameroonian footballer

Another big player went broke after his retirement from the world of football, despite his investments.

Eric Djemba-Djemba is one of the best midfielders in Cameroon history, played 34 international games for his country.

However, the Cameroonian was also declared cash trapped in 2007, even though he reportedly once had 30 different bank accounts.

He literally used all his pennies for loan repayments, living his life on bonuses and extras, which is kind of awful.

Eric Djemba-Djemba played 20 matches for Manchester United in 2003-2005, spent some minutes in the Premier League.

Nevertheless, he later went broke, which means he didn’t really know the value of money during their careers.

7. Taribo West – Former Nigerian footballer

Spent few years in Europe’s top-5 leagues during his career, he played at AC Milan and Inter Milan.

Taribo West lost millions of dollars after playing for some big clubs in Europe, but at least he was one of the best defenders in Serie A during his time.

It’s believed that the Nigerian legend went broke as a result of poor investment in marriage, leading to divorce and all.

Taribo West was also part of the Olympic Gold victory in 1996, and he won the African Cup of Nations for Nigeria in 2000.

Nevertheless, it didn’t end well for him as regards his financial situation after his retirement from football.

However, he’s now a pastor, which means he has a means of survival. He’s always been a legend for the Nigerians.

6. David James – Former English footballer

Having been an English goalkeeper, he spent most of his career in the Premier League, Manchester United and others.

James is one of the best goalies in the league’s history, as he kept 169 clean sheets during his career in the league.

On the contrary, David James went from rich to broke in 2014, after his wife painfully divorced him.

Therefore, he later chose to sell off his properties to make a livelihood, such as his DJ equipment and other things.

David James was recently in a managerial position at Kerala Blasters in India, but he hasn’t really recovered.

Of course, the former English goalkeeper has gone through a lot, after making millions from football.

5. Emmanuel Eboué – Former Ivorian footballer

Made 132 appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League from 2004 to 2011, making him one of the best right-backs in the club’s history.

The former Ivorian superstar played in the English league, meaning he earned some good money during his career in football.

Emmanuel Eboué also had bad marriage investments; he reportedly lost all his properties to his wife after divorce.

It’s said that he signed some documents, willed his belongings to his wife without knowing, so he later lost everything.

Eboué retired from football in 2016, having played 304 games at club level, scoring 14 goals as a right-back.

He really played most of his games at the North London club, before his move to Galatasaray in 2011.

4. Asamoah Gyan – Former Ghanaian footballer

One of the complete strikes for the Black Stars, having made 109 appearances and scored 51 goals for the Ghana national team.

Gyan also played in the Premier League with Sunderland, and he later moved out of Europe’s top-5 leagues.

In 2018, Asamoah Gyan declared that he had only £600 in his bank account, when his wife filed for divorce.

Surprisingly, he later came out that year, saying he’s not broke, wanting to sue some media organizations.

Nevertheless, he went broke after making millions from football, as he played in United Arab Emirates and China during his career.

Gyan spent many years in those leagues, which means he made millions of dollars during his career in football.

Royston Drenthe

3. Royston Drenthe – Former Dutch footballer

One of the best left-backs for Real Madrid, as he played alongside Cristiano Ronaldo during his time in Europe’s top-5 leagues.

Drenthe once earned around €3 million per season when playing for the Los Blancos, but he literally went down in 2021.

When he joined Kozakken Boys, he earned something like $2,500 per month, so the former Dutch left-back literally drowned financially.

In 2022, Royston Drenthe filed for bankruptcy after saying he lost some money, which means he’s somewhat cash trapped.

Of course, it’s unknown what his net worth was during his time in football. However, he made enough money at Real Madrid.

Royston spent like five years in La Liga, played 46 matches for the Los Blancos as a left-back.

2. Ronaldinho – Former Brazilian player

Unfortunately, the Brazilian is one of the most complete playmakers in the world of football.

He spent many years in Europe’s top-5 leagues, making headlines at Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, and others.

Because of his potential, it’s believed that Ronaldinho earned billions of dollars from football, made around £480,000 per month with AC Milan.

However, when the Brazilian legend declared that he had just £5 in his bank account in 2018, it was because of his expensive lifestyle.

In 2020, Ronaldinho was jailed in Paraguay, as a result of trying to fake a document to enter the country.

Interestingly, his former teammate, Samuel Eto’o, came to his rescue to pay his bail. Of course, it’s painful to see the Ballon D’or winner on the list.

1. Diego Maradona – Former Argentine player 

The 1986 FIFA World Cup winner is considered the greatest footballer of all time, because of his playmaking prowess.

Maradona made some appearances for Napoli in Serie A, he played for Barcelona and Sevilla in La Liga.

The Argentine legend revealed that he was bankrupt in 2009, after being unable to pay £42 million unpaid taxes filed by the Italian Authority.

After his managerial career with the Argentina national team, he later recovered financially when he joined Al Wasl in United Arab Emirates in 2011.

Maradona reportedly earned something close to $2.7 million from managing the United Arab Emirates team.

Unfortunately, Diego painfully passed away in November 2020 as a result of a cardiac arrest.

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