Riches to Rags: Three footballers that went bankrupt

Running out of cash should be the least of a footballer’s concern in a sport where money is in abundance, but some players still find a way to beat the odds. Here are three footballers who mismanaged their finances:

David James

In May 2014, former England international goalkeeper David James was officially declared bankrupt. Despite earning an estimated £20m from his football career, owning several properties and having a lucrative contract modelling for Armani, the former Premier League footballer had built up large debts following a costly divorce from his ex-wife Tanya Franye in 2005. His debts amounted to so much that he was forced to sell hundreds of items of football memorabilia collected throughout his career, including signed shorts, footballs and gloves. Since then, the now 46-year-old appears to have got his life back on track and is now a TV pundit for BT Sport as well as carrying out a notable amount of charity work.

John Arne Riise

Ex-Liverpool defender John Arne Riise was declared bankrupt in 2007. Surprisingly, the Norwegian international was cash-strapped at the height of his career, reportedly owing approximately £100,000 after a number of business ventures failed, which included a hotel. In fact, the former Liverpool, Roma and Fulham player seemed to have such little concern for his finances he allowed his payslip to be leaked online later the same year, showing a basic salary of £120,000 for the month. The Liverpool cult hero returned to the Merseyside club earlier this year, working with the Academy sides while completing his coaching badges.

Brad Friedel

In 2011, former United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel filed for bankruptcy. Despite earning £40,000-a-week, he had managed to accumulate debts of close to £5m after the non-profit football academy he opened in 2007 failed.  The academy had struggled following the 2008 financial crisis, after a number of corporate sponsors supporting the business withdrew. Since then, the former Tottenham, Liverpool and Aston Villa player has recovered financially and is currently head coach of the United States U19 men’s national team.

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