Eleven years ago Emmanuel Eboue was lining up to take part in the biggest club match in world football.
At the peak of his career with Arsenal he became a fans’ favourite. He was part of the side that faced Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final.
During an illustrious seven-year career in the Premier League, he pocketed millions of pounds in wages, lived in a mansion and drove flashy cars, The Mirror has reported.
However, the ex-Arsenal defender now spends his days hiding from bailiffs, sometimes sleeps on the floor of a friend’s home, travels by bus and even cleans his clothes by hand because he has no washing machine.
According to the UK based newspaper, today, the 34-year-old tells how his staggering riches-to-rags plight has pushed him to the brink of suicide.
“I want God to help me,” he says. “Only he can help take these thoughts from my mind.”
Eboue during the interview
To listen to Eboue open his heart is as harrowing as it is shocking.
It is now three weeks since a deadline passed for Eboue to surrender ownership of the North London home he used to share with his wife Aurelie.
A judge will sign the transfer if Eboue does not do so.
The player and his wife lived there in happier times before Eboue bought a mansion – which Aurelie has now put on the market.
He understands she will rent out the Enfield property.
So Eboue, his belongings in bags, now awaits the knock that will see him ordered to leave at any time.
The worried star said: “I cannot afford the money to continue to have any lawyer or barrister.
“I am in the house, but I am scared. Because I do not know what time the Police will come.
“Sometimes I shut off the lights because I do not want people to know that I am inside. I put everything behind the door.
However, not all is doom and Eboue has finally received offers of legal advice in his bid to overturn a court ruling set to leave him homeless in the wake of the bitter divorce.
His former club Galatasaray will also employ him as an assistant coach of their U-14 team. He will also be provided with a decent salary that befits his standing from the club.
But he is still upset that the district judge in the case, Edward Cross, ruled against him in his absence at the Central Family Court in London and insists his ill-health prevented him from engaging in the process.
Court documents suggest he did not fill in a Form E which sets all of his assets and liabilities – and that he failed to comply with a number of orders.
Eboue contends that he was kicked out of the matrimonial home and unable to gain access to retrieve such documents requested by the court.
The subsequent information provided to the court by Eboue was said to have been “highly deficient”.
A senior barrister was briefly engaged to try and delay the final hearing, but was unsuccessful.
Broke Eboue, who has struggled with long-term depression, says he found himself further disadvantaged as he could not afford to retain his legal representation.
Eboue flying for Arsenal
He maintains hospital letters, from doctors treating him for illness, were submitted in mitigation.
They explained his absence from hearings and suggested Eboue was not fit enough to attend. Also that proceedings should have been adjourned as they would have been detrimental to his health and wellbeing.
Eboue was left stunned when the judge still chose to make an order in his absence -the former Gunner was in hospital at the time – without hearing his side of the story.
The Ivory Coast defender claims his limited education saw him hand over the responsibility for the couple’s financial affairs to his wife.
Their joint assets – a matrimonial home and a second property in north London – will go to her.
Previously-owned apartments in the Ivory Coast were sold two years ago.
It means his wife is entitled to their joint assets and that an order for Eboue to leave their north London home will be signed by the judge if he does not do so. The deadline expired three weeks ago on December 6.
Eboue has already had an avalanche of goodwill via social media. He has also had offers via The Mirrorboth of legal assistance, but is still seeking help to fund an appeal.
He said: “That divorce killed me a lot. I am not happy about the law in England because it is so biased. I want God to use me to change that. I want to be able to say that what this judge has done is not fair.”