Football has a rich history of producing stars who, for crimes ranging from the predictable to the staggeringly shocking, have been punished by the law with jail terms. Here are the most prominent crimes and misdemeanours – and their perpetrators:
Barton’s resume of indiscipline makes Mario Balotelli seem a member of a monastic order. The Queens Park Rangers midfielder has been convicted twice on charges of violence. On 20 May, 2008, he was sentenced to six months imprisonment for common assault and affray during an incident in Liverpool City Centre. Barton served 77 days of the prison term. He was released on 28 July 2008.
On 1 July 2008, he was also given a four month suspended sentence after admitting assault resulting in actual bodily harm on former teammate, Ousmane Dabo, during a training ground dispute on 1 May, 2007. This incident effectively ended his Manchester City career. Barton has been charged with violent conduct three times by the English FA: for the assault on Dabo, for punching Morten Gamst Pedersen in the stomach and for attacking three players on the final day of the 2012-13 season
Bruno Fernandes de Souza
Early last year, Bruno Fernandes de Souza was sentenced to 22 years and three months in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, Eliza Samudio. After killing Samudio, the goalkeeper, who played for one of Brazil’s top clubs, Flamengo, also fed parts of her to his dogs and the others buried in concrete in an attempt to cover his grotesque act. He was thought to have murdered Samudio, who had a child for him, to avoid paying child support.
Marixa Fabiane Rodrigues, the judge that sentenced the goalkeeper, said he “meticulously calculated” Samudio’s execution.
The former Arsenal defensive stalwart and captain was a poster boy for a variety of excesses, including the use of cocaine and alcohol. He famously spent four months, not surprisingly, on account of drunk driving. In ADDICTED, his bestselling book, Adams wrote: “We were in a residential street in Rayleigh street in Rayleigh near to a main A-road in Southend, but I barely saw that as I drove straight across it without stopping, even though it was a dual carriageway. I remember thinking, ‘what’s that road I have just crossed over?’ as I entered another residential street and I turned to look back. It was then that I lost control of the car. I didn’t know where I was going but I was doing about 75 or 80mph….the lovely old couple whose front wall and garden I had just demolished had come out of their front door. They were probably shocked but were more concerned for me. ‘Are you all right?’ they asked. ‘Would you like a drink for your nerves?’ I’m sure they meant a cup of tea or something, but the first thought that went through my head was a brandy’
The 80s Liverpool star, signed from Ajax Amsterdam, was famous for his pot belly as for his midfield skills. He was jailed for a driving offence, but his club stuck by him and he repaid the support by contributing to Liverpool’s title win in 1990, the last time they were champions.
This Colombian goalkeeper was a celebrated nutcase in his playing days. He remains famous as the inventor of the extravagant footballing trick known as the “Scorpion Kick”. He was also equally infamous for his links to drug baron, Pablo Escobar. He was jailed for seven months for serving as a conduit through which ransom money moved between victims and some criminals.
Daniel Amokachi’s teammate at Everton in the 90s is the sort of chap who, alone in the room, could start a riot. Defenders had a hard time dealing with the towering striker’s all-action style. Two men who broke into his house landed in the hospital on account of savage battering. While at Glasgow Rangers, he launched an on-field assault on Celtic’s John McStay, the result of which was a three-month spell in prison.
The Manchester United legend was as colourful as anyone who ever graced the game. A sorcerer on the pitch, Best was possessed by a number of demons, most notably alcohol, which entitled him to a liver transplant. He also dates four Miss Worlds. In 1984 he was sentenced to three months in prison for drunk driving.
On account of the variety of his criminal deeds, the former Arsenal and England player was a top man. He ran a brothel, was involved in car theft, importation of pornographic videos and counterfeiting gold coins. The last got him a three-year jail sentence.
Mr. Wright, the man who went on to become an Arsenal legend, learnt early in life that he could not always be right. In 1982, Wright owned two cars but decided against paying his insurance or his taxes on the two automobiles. He was eventually found out and sentenced to 14 days in prison for his actions or lack of such.