The life of a footballer is one that isn’t necessarily as easy as one might think. You know the old saying, with great power comes great responsibility? Well the same can be said for footballers who start to earn huge amounts of money.
To you and me, it may seem like a dream come true. But the more money you earn, the more money you have to p*ss away, and as a result, there have been numerous stories of sportsmen and women having too much too soon, not learning about sound financial management, and as a result losing everything.
Don’t forget, the career of a footballer is a relatively short one, and once those huge salaries have stopped coming in, what then? If you’re a footballer and you’ve saved your money and invested wisely, then you have a very comfortable life in front of you. But if you spent it as quickly as you earned it, then get ready for some hard times.
But some players, who ended up doing the latter, ended up back to square one to say the least. Some footballers, who lived the high life and spent millions, ended up living with their parents again. Here are the stories of two footballers that did just that.
Phil Masinga is a name many of you may not remember, but in the late 90s, he was a superstar of African football. He started his youth career at the South African team Kaizer Chiefs and from there he played for Jomo Cosmos and Mamelodi Sundowns. As a striker, it was his incredible goal return of 98 goals in 108 games that led to a move to Leeds United in 1994.
Though his time in Leeds wasn’t as fruitful as his previous goalscoring record might have suggested, managing just five goals in 35 games, he remained successful on the international stage. His goal against Congo in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers etched his place in the history books of African football, as it was his goal that sent South Africa through to their first World Cup finals.
As a result, Masinga’s earnings went through the roof, but with that came more temptations to live outside of even his burgeoning means:
“Before I moved to England I was earning R4,500 (R stands for the South African currency Rand) a month at Sundowns, then all of a sudden everything changed and I was earning £12,000. It was a big thing, and it was quite difficult to manage.”
Taking inflation from an average point of his time at Leeds, in, let’s say, 1995, into account, when he was earning £12,000, that means that when converted to South African Rand, he was earning almost R70,000 a month. And given that according to Statistics South Africa, the average monthly income in 1995 was about R3,500, Masinga was a very wealthy young man.
But after splurging his money on cars, houses and fancy clothes, not to mention unsuccessful business ventures, he found himself out of pocket, as his career was winding down. After spells in Greece and Italy, Masinga retired at 32 due to injuries, and because he’d not saved his money, he soon found himself broke.
Eventually, he was forced to move back into his late mother’s house in the Khuma township in Klerksdorp, South Africa.
In 2011, Masinga spoke to the Sunday World, and insisted that there was nothing wrong with moving back into the township:
“So what if I have problems in my life? Who doesn’t have them?” he asks.’’ “Tell me, what’s wrong with living in a township? Irvin Khoza is a millionaire and he stays in the township.”
His neighbours suspected that he was hard up for cash because of the fact that he was selling not only his memorabilia in a huge garage sale, but also household appliances like toasters and kettles.
However, in recent times, the former 2010 World Cup ambassador seems to have turned his life around, and now he seems to be a lot busier with his work as the ambassador for the Castle Lager SuperStars campaign.
Another case of the footballing riches to rags story is that of Jorge Cadete. At his peak, he was a hero at Celtic, and in only just over one full season, he became a cult hero as he helped the Hoops with his 40 goals. He also enjoyed a glittering career on the international stage, as he won 33 caps for Portugal.
However, despite earning an estimated £3.3 million over the course of a career that saw Cadete play in Scotland as well as in his native Portugal, a string of bad investments and two costly divorces ate into his savings and left him living with his parents and on unemployment benefit.
According to the Express, Jorge Cadete said of his issues: “Most players think that they have plenty of friends during their career, when things are going well, but in reality they’re not there when things become difficult.”
But in recent times, he has turned his life around by pursuing coaching. In 2016, he gained his UEFA B Licence and is open to any job offers from his former side Celtic.
Last year he spoke to the Scottish Sun and said: “I had to start again. Three years ago, I had to completely start from zero.
“But I am alive. My health is good and that is all that matters. That’s the most important thing.
“Life is better. When you are strong and believe in your principles and values, you can follow the right road.
“Sometimes you go through hard times, but you don’t always stay down. You come back one day.
“I am living in a small village near Santarem with my parents. My club is 25km away and my school is even closer. I believe in my values and qualities as a person. I know I can offer something in the coaching side of football.”
“I am at university doing a degree in sports training. I am back at school after 29 years away from it!
“It’s been hard to start my education again, but I will work hard and I have 15 weeks to finish this year.
“I am also working with a small club, Uniao de Almeirim, as the sports manager and have been taking the Under-11 team.
“We have been doing very well, winning games, and I enjoy helping the younger boys become better.”
Portuguese Jorge Cadete was a striker that made a name for himself as a mainstay in the Portuguese Premier Liga with a successful spell at Benfica before moving to Celtic in 1997. It goes without saying that Celtic are not the team they once were, even in the 90s and early 2000s, but Jorge Cadete’s signing, after impressing at Benfica, gave the Mozambique-born striker the opportunity the capture the imagination and the heart of the UK. He certainly did so when he registered a phenomenal 30 goals in 37 league games in his lone season at Celtic. His relationship with the fans couldn’t have had a better start, as when he came off the bench to score Celtic’s fifth in a 5-0 hammering of Aberdeen, the roar from the crowd was so loud, it broke the BBC Radio 5 microphones.
His time at Celtic turned sour however, as he moved on under controversial circumstances, and moved to Celta Vigo in Spain. After that he moved back to Benfica and following a brief spell back in Scotland, he retired from pro football and played for a few amateur teams.
Though he narrowly missed out on football’s age of huge wages, where even a relatively average player can still earn more than enough to never have to work again, he still earned an estimated £3.2 million. So he did pretty good, nonetheless. But over the years he managed to lose all of that due to two costly divorces and a series of poor investment choices. Now, he lives with his parents on a state income of £155 a week which is diverted to the banks to pay off his debts