Once just a game for the masses, football has now become one of the most profitable businesses in the world that generates piles of cash to anyone involved, the players included. The time when footballers were only focused on the game is long gone and some of them are now more famous for their off the pitch shenanigans than their footballing qualities. The following list goes to show that football is much more than a beautiful game.
10.) Ribery, Benzema and Govou sex scandal
The sex scandal involving French footballers happened this year when Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema and Sidney Govou were questioned by the police following allegations they had been using the services of an under-aged prostitute. The Bayern winger even admitted of having sex with a 17-year-old prostitute called Zahia, although he said he had thought the girl was over 18.
Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema were also linked to the scandal, although the pair denied any wrongdoing. The scandal was only a tip of the iceberg as far as the France national team are concerned, with all their dirty laundry revealed at the World Cup 2010.
While numerous footballers have admitted to using cocaine, Christoph Daum was one of just few coaches to do so. His cocaine scandal couldn’t be revealed at a worse time as his career was on the uptrend and Daum had already agreed to take over as Germany coach when the press reported that the German had engaged in cocaine-fuelled orgies with prostitutes.
He first denied the allegations and threatened to sue the press but later admitted everything after being faced with jail time. He did, however, manage to get his career back on track, although he is now a free agent after being sacked at Fenerbahce.
8.) Olympique de Marseille match-fixing scandal
Olympique de Marseille ruled France and Europe in the early ‘90s under Bernard Tapie, with the Champions League title in 1993 the highlight of his reign. Little did the fans know at the time that the team would soon be playing second division football following match-fixing scandal involving the club president.
Marseille were stripped of the 1992/93 league title, expelled to the second division, as well as denied the chance to play in European competitions the following year after they were found guilty of fixing the last-round match with Valenciennes, with the club needing more than 15 years to fully recover from the scandal.
Wayne Rooney’s latest sex scandal is definitely not his first as he was caught in 2004 visiting ‘massage parlours’ in his home town. Nobody would be too impressed by this story if it hadn’t been revealed that one of the prostitutes he was with was a 52-year-old grandma.
Rooney was then a good boy for a couple of years before it was found out that he had slept with prostitute Jennifer Thompson at the time when his wife was pregnant. The latest scandal saw him lose a couple of sponsorship deals and almost cost him his marriage, but we are yet to see if he has learned his lesson.
John Terry and Wayne Bridge were teammates and best friends at Chelsea with Terry’s wife Toni and Bridge’s girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel also becoming very close. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop Terry from sleeping with Vanessa Perroncel and getting her pregnant before arranging for an abortion.
The Chelsea captain deservedly received a lot of stick in the media afterwards and he was also on the receiving end of the famous handshake snub that happened before the Chelsea-City game at Stamford Bridge.
5.) Match-fixing scandal in Germany
Seeing that Germany takes pride at respecting fair play to the fullest, it was no surprise the whole country was shocked after referee Robert Hoyzer was found guilty of fixing ten matches in 2004. Despite denying the charges at first, Hoyzer later admitted he was paid by Croat organized crime syndicates to fix various matches in the German league system. He was then sentenced to 2 years and 5 months in prison and earned a lifetime ban from refereeing.
4.) Ronaldo and transvestites
Some guys are stupid, others are just unlucky but Ronaldo was both. Not only did he pick up three prostitutes after leaving his girlfriend home first, but it later turned out that all three were transvestites, who started asking him for money in order to keep quiet after he had made an unfortunate discovery.
The player later stated he had only wanted to amuse himself, while saying the incident would stain his life forever. The Brazilian soon made a switch to Corinthians, making football fans forget all about him, including the famous scandal.
Arguably the most eccentric goalkeeper ever to have played the game, Rene Higuita was always expected to do something out of the ordinary. Occasionally using drugs by himself and coming from Columbia, it was no surprise he was linked with drug barons Pablo Escobar and Carlos Molina, and it was these ties that saw him serve seven months in prison for being involved in a kidnapping.
Higuita acted as a mediator between the two drug bosses, having delivered the ransom money to Escobar for the release of Molina’s daughter, for which he was later compensated with $64,000. After being incarcerated for seven months, Higuita was released without a charge.
Probably the biggest match-fixing scandal in the history of football took place in Italy in 2006 and it involved most of the major Serie A clubs. Calcopoli was uncovered by Italian police, with a number of telephone transcripts showing the clubs picked certain referees for their matches with a help from the referee organization chiefs. As a result, Juventus were stripped of two league titles and expelled to Serie B, while Milan, Fiorentina, Lazio and Reggina escaped only with point deductions.
1.) Sir Alex Ferguson kicking a boot at Beckham
This may not be the biggest scandal in the world of football but it is certainly the most entertaining one. Manchester United players will tell you that Fergie’s hairdryer treatment is something they all absolutely dread with David Beckham experiencing it at first hand when the boot Sir Alex Ferguson had kicked, intentionally or not, hit him in the forehead.
At the time, the relationship between the pair was at an all time low and it was no wonder Beckham subsequently left United for Real.