14 May 2020

Long line of top footballers targeted by criminals

14 May 2020

Dele Alli is the latest star footballer to be targeted by criminals amid warnings that gangs see the multi-millionaires as easy pickings.

A string of top-flight players have had valuables worth hundreds of thousands of pounds stolen in recent years, as criminals scour their social media and fixtures lists to find opportune moments to pounce.

– Jan Vertonghen

The family of Alli’s team-mate Jan Vertonghen were robbed at knifepoint while he was away in Germany on Champions League duty in March 2019.

Jan Vertonghen (PA Wire)

Four men armed with knives and wearing balaclavas raided the home of the Belgian defender, but his wife and two children were unharmed.

– Sadio Mane

The month before, Liverpool’s star winger Sadio Mane had expensive watches, phones and car keys stolen from his home while he was playing at Anfield against Bayern Munich.

The Senegal international, who lives in Allerton, in the south of the city, was also burgled in November 2017 as he played at Anfield in the Champions League.

Sadio Mane (PA Wire)

A gang broke into his home before smashing a patio door at his team-mate Dejan Lovren’s nearby house, but they were deterred when a woman shouted she was calling police.

– Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho, the Crystal Palace defender, had items worth a reported £500,000 stolen from his south-west London mansion in December.

The Frenchman, who also played for Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain, was away with his family ahead of his team’s clash with Southampton when the break-in happened.

Mamadou Sakho (PA Wire)

– Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac

In November, Ashley Smith was jailed for 10 years after attempting to rob Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac of luxury watches worth £200,000.

In widely circulated video footage, Smith and an accomplice pull up beside the close friends and threaten them with what appeared to be a knife before Bosnian defender Kolasinac chased them off.

The club’s £350,000-a-week German midfielder Ozil, 31, remained in his gold-trimmed black Mercedes G class 4×4 with his wife Amine, and later said he feared for her safety.

Mesut Ozil, left, and Sead Kolasinac (PA Archive)

– Roberto Firmino

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino’s home was burgled, with a £70,000 haul of jewellery, watches and clothes stolen in late 2016.

The Brazilian’s house, in the Mossley Hill area of the city, was targeted on December 22, causing Firmino to move into a hotel with his family and the club reportedly placing a security team at his home.

Roberto Firmino (PA Wire)

– Wayne Rooney

Just months earlier, England’s all-time top goal-scorer Wayne Rooney’s Cheshire mansion was targeted by a former serviceman as he played in a testimonial game.

Robert McNamara triggered the alarm system at the former Manchester United captain’s house in an incident which Rooney’s wife Coleen said had caused sleepless nights and made her fear for the safety of their children while playing in the garden.

Wayne Rooney (PA Wire)

– David Ospina

Former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina’s north London home was raided by criminals who stole the keys to his Mercedes as his wife and young children slept upstairs in October 2015.

The Colombian international was out of the country playing a World Cup qualifier in his home nation against Peru.

– Ian Wright

In 2014, former England international Ian Wright’s wife and children were burgled at knifepoint.

Ian Wright (PA Wire)

Four men armed with knives made their way into his north-west London home and held his wife and children before making off with personal possessions.

Wright had been in Brazil working for ITV at the World Cup as a pundit.

– Steven Gerrard

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was one of several Liverpool players to have had their homes raided during an 18-month spell shortly after they won the Champions League in 2005.

Steven Gerrard (PA Wire)

– Phil Jagielka

Ex-Everton and England defender Phil Jagielka was robbed at knifepoint at his Cheshire home in 2009 while watching his team play on television.

– Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole, the former England and Chelsea defender, had his bachelor pad in Surrey broken into in 2010 while away with the England squad.

Ashley Cole (PA Archive)

– Frank Lampard

Ex-England midfielder Frank Lampard also had to contact police in 2008 after his home was targeted while he and his pregnant then-girlfriend were asleep.

– Paul Scholes

Highly decorated former England midfielder Paul Scholes had his 4×4 stolen while he left the engine running to defrost the windscreen outside his house in Oldham in January 2013.

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