The influx of money in modern football is for all to see. And it is having a domino effect; transfer fees are rising, and so are release clauses, players’ salaries, and ticket and merchandise prices. However, as with everything in the world, money brings a lot of attention and negative consequences. For example, the average salary of a Premier League player is above € 3.5 million, while the average wage in England is € 45,000.
And this is the reason football players are now subject to attack by thieves. The episodes are primarily robberies that aim to steal cash, jewellery, watches, and other expensive items. Despite footballers spending massive money on security, thefts have risen. The job is conducted chiefly by professional gangs, the reason so few of them have been caught. However, sometimes it’s just an average street thug trying to mug people.
The list of players who are attacked includes some top players, showing how unsafe they could be in their daily lives. And the attack on Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in Barcelona is the latest example.
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was the victim of a violent robbery last night, when four men broke into his home, beating him & threatening him & his wife with a firearm. [@el_pais]
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) August 29, 2022
The former Everton defender Phil Jagielka was the victim of a robbery at knifepoint in 2009. Jagielka was recovering from a knee injury when thieves entered his house and held him at knifepoint. The defender had to hand over jewellery and the keys to his Land Rover car.
Jagielka’s mugging was one of several such incidents during the period. A month before the incident, Blackburn Rovers player Vince Grella was also held at knifepoint. In fact, 11 Merseyside footballers were victims of robbery in those years.
The former Chelsea player and manager Frank Lampard is no stranger to robberies. The English international has been mugged four times, the last happening in December 2019. Frank and his wife Christine, pregnant then, were present at the house.
The couple were physically unharmed. The thieves also targeted the house of late Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and socialite Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone. The thieves were caught in Italy and deported back to the United Kingdom, where they were sentenced to jail.
Lampard was also targeted by robbers back in 2008 when he was in his house with his then partner Elen Rivas who was also pregnant.
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The former Liverpool striker’s house was the target of thugs back in 2008. Emile Heskey was not in the house during the robbery, but his fiancee was. The robbers stole jewellery and then proceeded to trash Heskey’s bedroom. Finally, the thieves took the footballers’ BMW 4×4 to flee away from the scene.
What made this incident different and more horrific from others was that it took place in broad daylight. Despite this, the thieves executed the robbery without any problems. Heskey’s partner Chantelle Tagoe was threatened but left physically unhurt by the robbers.
Former Tottenham player Dele Alli was robbed and beaten in a robbery attempt back in 2020. According to reports, two men broke into Alli’s house in the early hours of the morning when the footballer was present.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Delli Alli was robbed at knife point in his home last night. He has since said on social media that his family is safe and physically unharmed. #Football #Soccer #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/uNgOoNqy8O
— Front Page Soccer (@FrontPageSoccer) May 14, 2020
The men held Alli at knifepoint as they robbed him of jewellery and watches. Before leaving, they also punched Alli, which caused him to have minor injuries. Alli did not require hospitalisation but was left visibly shaken after the incident.
Angel de Maria
Argentine playmaker Angel di Maria spent seven successful years at Paris Saint Germain, winning 18 trophies. However, one incident that left him scarred was when his family was the victim of a robbery in Paris.
De Maria was at the time playing for PSG against Nantes. He was substituted an hour after the club’s hierarchy were notified of the incident. His family members were unhurt. At the same time, his teammate Marquinhos’ parents were also mugged in Paris. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident.
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Raheem Sterling is the latest casualty when it comes to footballers who have their houses broken into. The Chelsea winger who signed for the Blues in the 2022 summer window was part of the England 26-man squad who travelled to Qatar.
While Sterling was in the Middle East, his family and apartment was attacked by armed burglars and were robbed. According to multiple reports, Sterling’s fiancee Paige Milian was at home with their two children when robbers stole watches worth £300,000. Sterling has since returned back to England, but could join the squad later in the tournament.
Gabriel Magalhaes has been a revelation for Arsenal since he joined the club. However, in his first season, he was not only battling rivals on the pitch but fighting thugs off it. Magalhaes was returning to his home with a friend when a man with a bat approached him and started threatening him.
— Joshua (@AFC_Joshua11941) November 30, 2021
The robber would then lunge at the player who punched and tackled him to the ground. While the attacker managed to flee, he was later arrested and convicted on one count of robbery.
Barcelona attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubmeyang is the latest star to be the victim of a mugger. According to reports, the Barcelona forward was attacked by armed robbers at his house. Spanish daily El País said that the thugs hit and then forced Aubameyang at gunpoint to open his safe They were also armed with iron bars.
His wife was also in the house during the incident. The robbers took jewellery and cash and then fled in a car. The police are yet to arrest four men reported to be part of the group.
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Since moving to the Etihad, Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo has made the left-back spot his own. However, in February, the Portuguese was the victim of a robbery that also injured him. Cancelo and his family were at home just after Christmas when robbers entered his house and threatened him to hand over jewellery, cash and other expensive items.
Cancelo shared a picture of his bruised face online, stating that his family was traumatised after the incident. However, Cancelo said that he had faced many obstacles in his life, and though it was a horrifying ordeal, it has made him a mentally strong player.
Former Arsenal player Sead Kolasinac had one of the most distressing moments when he fought off robbers. The two men were wielding knives and were trying to attack Kolasinac and his teammate Mesut Ozil. In a moment of unprecedented courage, the Bosnian jumped in front of Ozil and fought the robbers.
— DailyAFC (@DailyAFC) November 6, 2019
The defender was unarmed but still managed to foil the attack. Ozil would quickly alert the staff of a Turkish restaurant nearby, who immediately came to Kolasinac’s defence.