They earned colossal amounts of pounds and dollars in careers that spanned many years from Europe to Asia but they most probably did not put enough aside to tide them over a football career that could end almost as soon it started. They flew and rode the best cars at the heights of their careers and bought things without batting an eye. This list is not exhaustive though some of the players are trying to regain their footing after some of their investments went kaput!
The former Super Eagles star and most probably the best cultured left-back that has played for Nigeria played for some of the biggest clubs in both England and Belgium declared himself bankrupt at a court in Croydon in 2011. At a time in his career, Cele, as he was famously known, was amongst the highest paid African players in the world as he earned a tidy pile of ‘cash’ stated to be between £25,000 and $30,000 per week at Chelsea.
He was reported to have lived an expensive lifestyle both here in Nigeria and England. Stories went round of how he blew thousands of Pounds in buying exotic items and also partied hard with friends.
According to a BBC report, Celestine Babayaro “financial troubles became apparent to his neighbours, with one saying that his usually beautifully kept house, began to look a bit unkempt, with the garden overgrowing and the conservatory falling down”.
Most Super Eagles supporters in the early years of the new century will be familiar with Ifeanyi Udeze; the explosive left-back was a key member of the national team between 2000 and 2004.
Sadly, things have took a turn for the worse for Udeze as sources close to the player revealed that the former World Cup star is neck deep in debt after squandering the substantial fortune he gained during his playing days on high stake gambling and other luxuries.
Udeze who featured for AEK Athens, PAOK FC, and West Brom while active, is also said to have a particular preference for locally manufactured gin (Kparaga) and he can also been seen indulging in street gambling with some undesirable elements around his neighbourhood.
Former Super Eagles defender, Taribo West is perhaps the most successful Nigerian centre-back in history. At the height of his career, he was regarded as one of the best defenders in Europe and was a key member of the Inter Milan squad between 1997 and 1999 and was also part of the victorious Olympic gold winning dream team side in 1996.
However, despite featuring for top sides in Europe such as AC Milan, Derby County, Kaiserslautern, Partizan and a brief spell in the Middle East with Qatari side, Al-Arabi Doha, Taribo is said to be in financial deep waters as the millions he made during his playing days seems to have been washed away by in a Tsunami. He also made a bad investment in his marriage but now can be seen on Lagos streets preaching and trying his hands in winning souls for God a vocation he undertook towards the end of his career.
4. Victor Agali
Victor Agali formed a formidable striker partnership with Nwankwo Kanu which was fondly dubbed the ‘Twin Towers’. The tall and lanky stubborn forward was particular loved by Super Eagles fans due to his proficiency in aerial duels.
His tall physique and his imposing stature saw him lace his boots for top European sides such as Olympique Marseille, Hansa Rostock, Schalke 04, and Nice.
However, sources close to the player revealed that the former Super Eagles star is not doing too well financially. Apparently, despite earning an average pay of £25, 000 per week while in Germany, some failed investments and a clearly lavish lifestyle has seen him scrapping financially. Agali was last seen hosting a Reality TV show in Lagos.
Chikelue Iloenyosi may not be up to the pedigree of players mentioned earlier in terms of achievement, but he did made a career playing football and quite a profitable one at that.
He was part of the national U-20 side that featured in the World Youth Championship in Nigeria in 1999. He also won four caps with the Super Eagles.
He is famous for his marriage to Nollywood star, Stephenie Okereke that was annulled by a Lagos court after it was discovered that he was legally married to another woman in the United States at the time he took Stephenie to the altar.
However, despite featuring for clubs in Turkey, Libya, Australia and Saudi Arabia, Iloenyosi is not doing too well financially at present. Sources claim that the defender has delved into fashion designing with a keen interest in men’s clothing.