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Hakimi? 5 famous footballers who lost huge sums of money in divorce settlements

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These footballers felt the sting of love when forced to split their fortunes with their ex-wives.

Football is undoubtedly one of the most lucrative sports businesses on the planet.

It is a sport that sees hundreds of footballers across the globe take home hefty sums of money weekly and monthly, with some figures tuning up to over £1 million in a single week.

Playing football also comes with lots of fame and fortune, which is why an average footballer can easily afford just more than the basic necessities of life.

They often tend to wear fancy clothing and drive the flashiest cars.

However, if one is not careful, the chances of having a good life after retirement are not always guaranteed

Some football stars end up losing everything they made during their careers due to addiction, reckless spending or divorce.

Recently, an unconfirmed report which has since gone viral on social media suggested that Paris Saint Germain star Achraf Hakimi who is on the verge of a divorce played a fast one on his estranged wife and mother of his two children, Hiba Abouk.

The report which surfaced on Friday, April 14, claims that during the court proceedings of the divorce, the estranged wife of the footballer found out through her lawyers that Hakimi’s bank accounts were empty as he had transferred all his money and assets to his mother’s name, leaving the Spanish-Tunisian actress nothing to part with.

Pulse Sports cannot verify the authenticity of this claim as neither Hakimi nor his wife, Hiba confirmed the report.

Reactions about the reports suggested that the footballer might have taken proactive steps to protect his wealth in the event of a divorce.

Based on the buzz generated by the online community on the issue, Pulse Sports takes a look at 5 footballers who spent huge sums of money in divorce settlements.

5 footballers who got hit with expensive divorce settlements

5. Paul Merson

Paul Merson enjoyed a successful career at Arsenal. 

The 55-year-old English former professional footballer and manager won an FA Cup and a league win with the North London club.

However, earning a decent salary in those days, he was almost left homeless after suffering from alcohol and drug addiction and being involved in a messy divorce case.

He has been married three times and has eight children, including twin daughters.

Merson was forced to sell his West Midlands home to finance many of the problems he faced.

Merson divorced his first wife Lorraine Costin in 2000, just three years after renewing their wedding vows, with Merson’s drug, drink and gambling addictions proving too much after ten years of marriage and three children.

The former England international has said that at the height of his football career in the 1990s, his drinking, drug and gambling addictions spiralled out of control as he would "go all in" - saying he even spent most of the day his then-wife Lorraine was in labour with their first child in the bookies.

"I didn't stop until, eventually, I'd lost everything I’d ever had – close to £7 million, including houses, cars, marriages, my entire pension and my self-respect,"I'd he wrote as per Daily Mail.

The former midfielder has since recovered and currently works as a regular pundit for Sky Sports, although he considered quitting in 2020.

4. David James

David Benjamin James MBE is a 52-year-old English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper.

James is fifth on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, having played in 572 top-level matches, and held the Premier League record for most clean sheets with 169 until Petr Čech surpassed this record.

He holds the record for the most penalties saved in Premier League history (13).

However, despite earning an impressive £20m from his football career, a messy divorce from his wife Tanya in 2005 meant that one of English football’s famous goalkeepers struggled to pay off debts. 

Aside from football, David was also making good money through modelling contracts with Italian designer Armani, but as the debts mounted, he declared bankruptcy in 2014.

It is not clear how David went bankrupt.

However, a report via The Sun suggests this came on the back of debts built up following his divorce from his wife, Tanya.

He paid his ex-wife Tanya £3 million when they split in 2005.

His most recent position was a manager at Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League in 2018. 

Currently, he is also a pundit on Sky Sports football coverage.

3. Emmanuel Eboué

Emmanuel Eboué is a 39-year-old Ivorian former professional footballer who played as a right-back. 

From ASEC Mimosas, he moved to Europe to play for Belgium's Beveren in 2002. 

He spent most of his career, from 2005 to 2011, with Arsenal of the Premier League, playing 214 games, including the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final. 

Later he moved to Galatasaray, where he played regularly and won five domestic honours in Turkey. 

Eboué made his international debut for the Ivory Coast in 2004, eventually earning 79 caps by 2013.

 He was part of the Ivory Coast squads at five Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and two FIFA World Cups. 

Eboue had three children with his former Belgian wife, Aurélie, whom he married before joining Arsenal.

 In December 2017, Eboué told the Sunday Mirror that he was poor and homeless due to his divorce and bad investments under his former wife's control.

 The 39-year-old said the divorce drove him to the brink of suicide after his wife, Aurelie, allegedly took everything he had, including their three children, mansion, cars and their first house in North London, where he was ordered by a court to surrender ownership.

2. Thierry Henry

Thierry Daniel Henry is a 45-year-old French professional football coach, pundit, and former player.

 Henry is considered one of the best strikers of all time, one of the best players to play in the Premier League and Arsenal F.C's greatest player of all time.

 Henry was runner-up for the Ballon d'Or in 2003 and the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2003 and 2004. 

He was named the FWA Footballer of the Year a record three times, the PFA Players' Player of the Year a joint record two times, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year six consecutive times.

He was also included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI once and the UEFA Team of the Year 5 times.

Henry had success with France, winning the 1998 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2000, and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. 

He was named French Player of the Year a record five times, named to the UEFA Euro 2000 Team of the Tournament, awarded both the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, and named to the 2006 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team.

 In October 2007, he became France’s record goalscorer, a record he held until December 2022 when Olivier Giroud broke his record.

After amassing 123 appearances and 51 goals, Henry retired from international football after the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

However, despite Henry’s greatness on the pitch, he has also been forced to pay dearly owing to a divorce.

Henry married English model Nicole Merry, real name Claire, on 5 July 2003.

The couple were married for four years after meeting on the set of the Renault Clio adverts in 2001.

However, the pair were forced to divorce four years after their marriage.

Claire was granted a speedy divorce in September 2007 on the grounds of Henry's 'unreasonable behaviour'' after he was linked to make-up artist Sadie Hewlett.

It was claimed that Claire found text messages to another woman on the French star’s mobile phone when he was a player in Barcelona.

Henry was ultimately forced to pay his ex-wife £8 million in a divorce settlement, as per The Evening Standard.

1. Ryan Giggs

Ryan Joseph Giggs OBE is a 49-year-old Welsh football coach and former player. 

Regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, Giggs played his entire professional career for Manchester United and briefly served as the club's interim manager.

He is one of only 28 players to have made over 1,000 career appearances.

Giggs married his long-time partner, Stacey Cooke, in a private ceremony on 7 September 2007.

They have two children, both born in Salford, and lived in Worsley, Greater Manchester, close to where the player grew up.

Stacey had stood by the former Manchester United player, even after he had an affair with his brother’s wife.

However, in 2016, his then-wife Stacey filed for a divorce, as he was set to lose half his £40 million fortune.

After Mrs Giggs heard her husband had flirted with waitresses at a restaurant he owns close to his £6 million mansion in Worsley, near Manchester, she began proceedings to push ahead with the divorce.

In 2017, The Mirror reported that Ryan and Stacey Giggs' marriage was eventually dissolved in just 43 seconds in a divorce settlement worth £40m.