With the World Cup fast-approaching, take a look at a line-up of eleven famous footballers who have been declared bankrupt in the past, suggesting that, even on their salaries, it can happen to everyone.

David James

World Cup 2010 goalkeeper and model, David James, filed for bankruptcy in May, 2014. The goalie reportedly earned £20million in his 25-year career, in which he played for several Premier League clubs, as well as working as a model for Armani. James’s debts ran up following a divorce in 2005.

Richard Rufus

Former Charlton Athletic defender-turned-financial consultant retired in 2004 and began a career in finance following a bout of injuries.High risk investments and overwhelming debts led to the former footballer’s bankruptcy in 2013.

Celestine Babayaro

The former Newcastle defender was reportedly chased by creditors in 2011, following hardship that was due to the upkeep of his £475,000 property.

"I'm not the first footballer this has happened to, and I won't be the last." Keith Gillespie
“I’m not the first footballer this has happened to and I won’t be the last.” Keith Gillespie.

John Arne Riise

The Liverpool defender was declared bankrupt in 2007, racking up debt of approximately £100,000. The bankruptcy order was made following debts incurred from failed business enterprises, including a hotel.

Keith Gillespie

The former Manchester United player declared himself bankrupt following hundreds of thousand in bad investments and gambling debts, recounting the ordeal in his biography. “In the old days, when you were physically going to a bookmaker’s shop, you could only lose what was in your pocket. Now, with internet accounts and telephone accounts, it is a lot easier to lose a lot more money a lot faster,” Gillespie warned in an interview with The Mirror. Of his bankruptcy, Gillespie said, “I am not the first footballer this has happened to and I won’t be the last.”

Paul Merson

The former midfielder and millionaire was declared bankrupt due as result of a gambling addiction and alcoholism, forced to give up his £300,000 home when he failed to pay his mortgage.

Eric Djemba-Djemba

Following a £3.5million move from Nantes to Manchester United, the midfielder’s former agent claimed “There was a time when he owned 10 4x4s –TEN. I kept telling him to watch out. When he arrived at Man United, I decided to take over the running of his accounts. It took me four hours a day. At United he was earning about £75,000 basic a month but every penny was going straight to loan repayments. He was having to live on bonuses and extras.” Djemba-Djemba, who starred for Cameroon at the 2002 World Cup, was declared bankrupt in 2007.

John Barnes

Barnes was declared bankrupt in 2010. The former England and Liverpool winger, winning 79 caps and footballer of the year award twice, became insolvent following an unhappy career in management and alleged unpaid taxes – sacked as manager of Tranmere Rovers FC in 2009. Barnes had the bankruptcy order rescinded, with the unpaid taxes stated as an oversight. He told the Telegraph, “I don’t like dealing with bills and never have done. I let my wife Andrea deal with them. I don’t even like opening them. A few times my credit card has been declined when I’ve been travelling abroad. Then I have to get creative about paying the bill and have to really root around. That’s much more satisfying than just having it come easily.”

George Best

Icon, George Best, was declared bankrupt twice, famously claiming that he “spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.”

Chris Sutton

The first £5million transfer player in the UK, was declared bankrupt in May, 2014. The former Englander stated “bad financial advice” was his downfall. The Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea striker became victim to a multi-million pound scam when he and his wife invested £100,000, led to believe that he was making profit when he was not.

Lee Hendrie

England-capped Aston Villa star, Lee Hendrie, earned more than £30,000 a week with a lifestyle of luxury cars and a property portfolio worth over £10million. Hendrie was declared bankrupt following bad investments, repossession and spiralling debts that resulted in severe depression. The footballer has since rebuilt his life, starting up children’s soccer schools in the Midlands.