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    Footballers who were rich before becoming famous like Vialli, Bamford and the Sultan of Brunei’s nephew

    THERE is a lot of money to be made in football.Indeed, even middle-of-the-road stars in England’s top flight are making £50,000 each week on average.
    Gianluca Vialli sadly passed away earlier this yearCredit: Instagram @lucavialli
    However, this lot were already from wealthy backgrounds before they made it to the big league.
    Let SunSport guide you through the football stars that were already swimming in riches and didn’t need the beautiful game.GIANLUCA VIALLI
    Chelsea and Italy legend Vialli was always recognised as a gentleman of the game.
    And it’s probably got to do with his upbringing.
    He was raised by his father, a self-made millionaire, in a 60-room castle called the Castello di Belgioioso in Cremona, along with four siblings.
    The Champions League and Serie A winner also loves a posh round of golf.
    He took part in the Alfred Dunhill links championship pro-am event, which is one of the richest golf tournaments played in Europe.
    He then worked alongside manager Roberto Mancini with the Italian national team.
    But Vialli tragically passed away earlier this year after a brave battle against cancer.
    Vialli grew up in a 60-room castle called the Castello di Belgioioso in CremonaCredit: Alamy
    Dignified Vialli had a far from modest upbringingCredit: Instagram @lucavialli
    Gianluca Vialli scores for Chelsea against Nottingham Forest in 1996Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    The interim Chelsea manager didn’t have to go into football, although it was an easy step for him to make.
    Lampard came from a football family, with uncle Harry Redknapp and dad Frank Lampard Snr showing him the way at West Ham United.
    He intended the posh Brentwood School in Essex that would’ve cost a fortune in school fees.
    There, he scored 11 GCSE’s and could’ve been an accountant, according to a former teacher.
    Frank Lampard went to posh Brentwood High SchoolCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    Being formerly half of a celebrity couple (his ex-missus is Colombian singer Shakira), Barcelona defender Pique has made his own fortune.
    However, growing up life was easy for the defender who had a spell in England at Manchester United as a youth.
    He lived a comfortable existence in Catalonia. Dad Joan is a successful attorney and businessman, while mum Montserrat is the director of a hospital in Barcelona.
    Even Pique’s grandfather Amador Bernabeu was minted – as a former director of the La Liga champions.
    Gerard Pique’s dad Joan is a successful attorney and businessman, while mum Montserrat is the director of a hospital in BarcelonaCredit: Alamy
    Formerly of Leicester City, currently playing in Thailand for Chonburi, Bolkiah is the nephew of the Sultan of Brunei, who has a fortune estimated to be worth £15bn.
    His dad is Jefri Bolkiah, a brother of the oil tycoon, so that makes Faiq a member of their royal family and in line to receive a nice inheritance.
    At his 50th birthday, to impress his son, he hired Michael Jackson to play a private gig just for them.
    Faiq Bolkiah is a former Leicester City trainee and nephew of the Sultan of BruneiCredit: Instagram @fjbolkiah
    The third son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Al-Saadi played for Perugia, Udinese and was on the books at Sampdoria.
    In 2011, he retired and became the commander of Libya’s Special Forces and led the army in the Libyan Civil War. In 2018, he was cleared of murder charges after he was extradited from Niger back to Libya.
    During his playing days he once employed Diego Maradona as a technical consultant, and Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as his personal trainer.
    Al-Saadi Gaddafi was the son of Colonel GaddafiCredit: AFP – Getty
    Gaddafi played in Italy before becoming an army generalCredit: Getty – Contributor
    The Spurs goalie comes from an affluent background.
    Growing up in Nice in the South of France, his mother was an attorney, while his dad was a banker.
    He took tennis lessons as a kid, and was ranked high in his age range as a youngster.
    It meant football played second fiddle in his life until the age of 13.
    Lloris famously played through the pain of losing his mum, refusing bereavement leave to play for Nice.
    Hugo Lloris could have been a tennis star instead of a footballerCredit: AFP – Getty
    Wealthy and artisanal, Van Persie’s parents afforded the former Arsenal striker a comfortable life growing up in Rotterdam.
    His father Bob is a renowned artist and sculptor, while his mother Jose Ras is a painter, teacher and jewellery designer.
    Van Persie’s parents split up when he was younger, and he was a troublesome teen.
    His dad expected him to become an artist too.
    Robin Van Persie’s parents were artisticCredit: Instagram @robinvanpersie
    Mother Jose Ras is a painter, teacher and jewellery designerCredit: Instagram @robinvanpersie
    The fiery Italian wasn’t born wealthy.
    Balotelli originally comes from Palermo and his parents were Ghanaian immigrants.
    But he was adopted by Francesco and Silvia Balotelli when his mum and dad couldn’t afford him.
    They were a wealthy pair, who lived in an affluent part of Brescia called Concesio.
    His birth and adoptive parents fought for custody, but it was decided it was in Balotelli’s best interests to stay put.
    Mario Balotelli was adopted when he was a kidCredit: Instagram @mb459
    Francesco and Silvia Balotelli lived wealthily in BresciaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    An elegant footballer and man, Pirlo learned about the finer things in life when he was a kid.
    His dad Luigi set up a steel company in Brescia in 1982, which Andrea still has a stake in.
    The former Juventus star enjoyed an upper class life, which he later put to use in his own way.
    Pirlo, who ended his career in the MLS, also owns his own vineyard, as rich people do.
    Andrea Pirlo learned about the finer things in life as a youngsterCredit: Instagram @andreapirlo21
    Today, refined Pirlo owns his own vineyardCredit: Instagram @andreapirlo21
    He doesn’t have to play centre forward for Leeds, you know.
    Bamford isn’t your typical footballer, being a skilled violin and piano player and attended fee-paying Nottingham High School, got five A*s at GCSE and went on to study French, history and biology at A Level.
    Bamford was even offered a scholarship at Harvard in the US, who recognised his academic prowess.
    However, he’s not related to JCB founder Joseph Bamford, as was once claimed.
    Patrick Bamford went to private school and was offered a scholarship to HarvardCredit: Instagram @patrick_bamford
    Bamford is a not relative of JCB founder Joseph Bamford as was once claimedCredit: Hulton Archive – Getty
    Most of Brazil’s best footballers lead a life that tells a rags-to-riches tale. But former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka is different.
    He was raised by father Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite, who was an engineer, while his mother Simone dos Santos was a school teacher.
    It has been reported that Kaka lived comfortably, and wasn’t raised in poverty like many of his teammates for his country.
    Brazilian legend Kaka lived a comfortable existence growing upCredit: Instagram @kaka
    Kaka’s father Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite was an engineerCredit: Instagram @kaka More

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    Fabio Paim was dubbed ‘better than Cristiano Ronaldo’ but love of cars and disastrous loan to Chelsea ended his career

    CRISTIANO RONALDO marked people’s cards when he first arrived at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon.He cheekily said to those around at the time: “If you think I’m good, wait until you see Fabio Paim.”
    Fabio Paim was supposed to be a bigger star than Cristiano Ronaldo
    The attacking midfielder was at Sporting Lisbon the same time as RonaldoCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Incredibly, Paim was more highly regarded at Lisbon than either Ronaldo or now-Wolves star Joao Moutinho.
    Ronaldo has established himself as one of the greatest players in history with 198 international caps as Moutinho closes in on 150 matches for his country.
    Unfortunately for Paim, despite winning 42 international caps at youth level for Portugal’s Under-16’s all the way through to the Under-21’s, he faded completely into obscurity.
    He didn’t earn a single senior international cap, and as he admitted, he didn’t deserve to either.
    Because Paim’s story is an educational one for youth players who get bumper contracts when they’re kids and think they’ve already made it.
    He joined Sporting at the age of six, and by 14 Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United were regularly checking on his progress.
    Even the French Football Federation offered him the chance to move to France so he could represent their country.
    To warn everybody off, Sporting tied Paim down on an £18,000 per week contract.
    He was tied down to a £18,000 per week contract at the age of 16Credit: Getty – Contributor
    But he squandered it all on fast carsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    However, little did they know they would be sowing the seeds for his eventual downfall.
    He told Globoesporte in 2017: “I spent a lot of money on cars. I love cars. I spent lavishly on the ones I wanted. All of them.
    “Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Maserati and even a Punto. Every car you could imagine.
    “When you have a lot of money, you need a support system around you. I would have done it differently, if I could.
    “I knew what I was doing. I believed I had more talent than everyone else.
    “Like everyone, I wanted to feel good, wear nice clothing, drive a nice car and behave with no humility.
    “But, it’s normal, that’s what people work for, to be satisfied. On the field, I did what I had to, in order to retreat to my place. I spent time with people I wanted to and did what I wanted.
    “At the time, no one criticised me when things were going well. But when I stopped playing, they started pointing the finger. I just wanted to be with my cars.”
    Paim was born in the luxurious surroundings of Estoril, a famed luxury entertainment destination on the Portuguese Riviera.
    Paim had a loan spell at Chelsea in 2008Credit: Chelsea FC – Getty
    Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes acted on Paim’s behalfCredit: Reuters
    However, he didn’t come from money. Paim added: “I was not used to having money. When I started playing, I didn’t even have proper boots. I wasn’t ready for it.
    “I didn’t have what young players have now which is an example to follow. You need role models. I feel proud and a little ashamed to pass along this message to them.”
    After failing to break into the Sporting Lisbon team, super agent Jorge Mendes brokered a loan deal for Paim to try his luck at Chelsea in 2008.
    Playing for the Blues’ reserve side under Brendan Rodgers, it was hoped the move would kickstart his career again.
    But, if anything, it was the final nail in the coffin, as he revealed: “It was there where I stopped training and doing my work.
    “I started drinking. I had money and I started doing a lot of things I didn’t do before. The doors were open for me to do what I felt like.”
    After a season in West London he returned to Portugal and was eventually released by Sporting in 2010.
    Paim then became a footballing journeyman, joining 12 different clubs in seven different countries, playing in countries including Angola, Qatar, Malta and even Lithuania.
    More recently, he was looking for game time with Portuguese second division side, Leixoes S.C in 2018, before moving to fourth tier side AD Sao Pedro da Cova on a free.
    In 2019, Paim was arrested for possession of narcotics, but was later acquitted as wire-tapping is not admissible in a court of law.
    While there was hope Brendan Rodgers could get the best out of Paim at the BluesCredit: Getty – Contributor
    His career is now a case of what could’ve beenCredit: Instagram / @projetofabiopaim
    But Paim knows where he went wrong and where Ronaldo went right.
    He said: “At one point, I could do more than him but I did not have what he had, which is the strength and desire to be what I wanted to be.
    “He had a great work ethic and I didn’t have that. I had the quality, at least as much as him, but I did not have the rest.
    “I would have preferred to have less quality if I had more of the other part. I would have been one of the best in the world.
    “But, no one is born perfect. I thought having talent was enough but it’s not.” More

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    Marseille star Alexis Sanchez has incredible £750,000 fleet of supercars including two Bentleys and a Range Rover

    FORMER Manchester United star Alexis Sanchez earned an eye-watering £350,000-a-week at Old Trafford.Although a lot of that cash appeared to have been spent on his pride and joy – golden retrievers Atom and Humber – the Chilean also splashed a lot of his hard-earned money on supercars.
    Ex-Man Utd star Alexis Sanchez has an impressive fleet of cars that includes this Bentley BentaygaCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    The Chilean also has another Bentley – the Continental GTCredit: Mercury Press
    The 34-year-old has amassed an impressive collection of motors, with one such runaround en vogue for all top footballers, the Bentley Bentayga.
    Sanchez added the supercharged 4×4 to his collection ahead of the 2019-20 season.
    The ex-Manchester United forward, who has a love of all things on four wheels, also loves to drive fast – and has fallen foul of the law a couple of times over the years.
    In 2013, Sanchez escaped a massive crash on a motorway just outside Barcelona unhurt, with local media reporting that it was a “miracle” he was left without injury.
    The forward earned a staggering £350,000-a-week at Old TraffordCredit: Reuters
    Sanchez is also no stranger to chartering a private jet for him and his dogsCredit: Instagram / @alexis_officia1
    Sanchez poses with his pair of golden retrievers, Atom and HumberCredit: Instagram / @alexis_officia1
    Sanchez, who no wplays for Marseille, abandoned his Audi R8 in the middle of the road and was later questioned by police.
    Then, in 2017, Sanchez was banned from driving in Chile after he was caught speeding just outside of capital city Santiago.
    He was caught doing 155kmh (96mph) in a 120kmh (75mph) zone.
    Here’s the fleet of vehicles Sanchez has owned over the years…
    Sanchez cuddles Atom on a private planeCredit: Instagram / @alexis_officia1
    The two dogs love to travel in the skiesCredit: Instagram / @alexis_officia1
    Atom on a yacht off the coast of IbizaCredit: Instagram / @alexis_officia1
    Bentley Bentayga Black Edition – £160,000+
    If you were a top footballer and car lover in 2019, you had to have one of two cars, or both, in your collection – the Bentley Bentayga or the Rolls-Royce Wraith.
    Sanchez’s former Manchester United team-mates Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku plumped for the Roller, but Sanchez and Jesse Lingard went for the Bentayga.
    While Lingard gave all of his cars the custom touch, Sanchez opted to get the Black Edition of the SUV.
    The monster-sized Bentayga, capable of 0-60mph in four seconds and 187mph, starts at a whopping £160,000.
    The black edition is closer to £180,000, while we expect Sanchez to have picked top of the range extras that would push the price up even higher.
    Sanchez’s Bentley Bentayga is capable of 0-60 in just four seconds and has become a must-have for Premier League starsCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    Bentley Continental GT – £150,000
    The Continental has long been a favourite for Prem players.
    It combines decadent luxury inside with the same engine under the hood of the Bentayga.
    While both cars are heavy, the slightly lighter Continental can get up over 200mph.
    Thhe Bentley Continental GT matches decadent luxury with sports car performanceCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    Range Rover Sport – £60,000+
    Sanchez certainly loves his British cars, with a big white Range frequently seen close to his Cheshire home during his time at United.
    But the Range Rover was in the wars a little bit in 2018.
    In March, Sanchez returned to his car after a meal at a restaurant to find someone had scraped his front wing.
    The damage wasn’t major but on an expensive car would have been pricey.
    Then, two weeks later, the Range Rover was spotted outside another restaurant in Wilmslow on double yellow lines.
    That meant that a local traffic warden had no choice but to slap Sanchez with a fine.
    Sanchez has a white Range Rover Sport – but the motor was left needing repairs after it was hit while parked outside a restaurantCredit: Eamonn and James Clarke
    Audi R8 – £130,000
    The Audi was the car that Sanchez nearly killed himself in after a massive crash in Barcelona in 2013.
    The forward had played in the Copa Catalunya final in May 2013 for Barca, with the club beating local rivals Espanyol 4-2 on penalties.
    But in the early hours of the morning, Sanchez mashed his Audi into the central barrier on a motorway close to the city centre.
    The incident happened at 2.30am, with Sanchez calling an unnamed team-mate to come and collect him and take him home.

    Sanchez found himself in hot water with the law, after he abandoned the car in the middle of the road without telling police.
    Avoiding injury was described as a “miracle” in the local press, with images of his smashed up supercar on the front pages the next day.
    Police later questioned Sanchez and it is reported that he was fined.

    Lamborghini Huracan – £200,000
    Sanchez was pictured driving one of the hypercars while on holiday in Miami in 2016.
    The Italian-made car is one of the fastest ever made, capable of 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds and 200mph.
    However, the car was likely a rental while the then-Arsenal star enjoyed his holiday in the US.
    Alexis Sanchez hired a £200,000 Lamborghini Huracan while on holiday in Miami in 2016Credit: Instagram/Alexis Sanchez
    Planes, trains and automobiles
    Sanchez is also not averse to other forms of transport.
    He regularly takes private jets to ferry himself, and Atom and Humber, around the world.
    The Chilean star has also been seen hiring yachts and took ex-girlfriend Mayte Rodriguez on a romantic helicopter ride that landed on a private stretch of beach in South America. More

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    I was forced to pay Chelsea millions, almost hit Jose Mourinho and was caught sucking the blood of a porn star

    WHEN Adrian Mutu arrived at Chelsea in the summer of 2003 for £15.2million, it was a new dawn.The club had just been taken over by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, and were threatening to outspend and topple Arsenal and Manchester United at the top.
    Adrian Mutu arrived at Chelsea the summer they were taken over by Roman AbramovichCredit: John Cassidy
    After testing positive for cocaine Mutu was sacked by Chelsea and banned for seven monthsCredit: AP:Associated Press
    The prolific Romanian striker, who had prospered in Serie A with Parma, was part of a £111million spending spree that included the arrivals of Claude Makelele (£16m), Hernan Crespo (£17m) and Damien Duff (£17m).
    Pin-up Mutu was meant to be the superstar at the heart of the team, manager Claudio Ranieri’s main man.
    But while Chelsea went from strength to strength, Mutu’s career nose-dived.
    In September of 2004, after a fallout with new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho over his fitness, Mutu tested positive for cocaine.
    A seven-month suspension from the game followed, and although he rediscovered his form at Fiorentina in 2006, his career was blighted by another ban (nine months) after testing positive for appetite suppressant sibutramine  in 2010.
    But today, Mutu cuts a different figure.
    He is leading by example as a figurehead for young Romanian footballers, after coaching the country’s U21 side.
    Today, he is manager of Rapid București and an inspiration for the stars of tomorrow.
    “I think I’m the right person because I know what happens when a player has problems with indiscipline,” he recently told BBC Sport.
    “I’ve passed through hard moments and I came back stronger. If one of my players happens to make a mistake I will tell them to learn from it and not to repeat it.
    Today, Mutu is using his experience to coach Romania’s next generation of footballersCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Mutu was a pin-up and playboy in his heydayCredit: Rex Features
    “I came back and I played better than before, proving to everyone that the young players who have made a mistake must be helped, not judged and destroyed.”
    Mutu, now 44, is full of ambition as a coach – following his stint with his country’s youth stars, followed by a stint as FC U Craiova boss.
    “My ambitions as a coach cannot be lower than the ones I had as a footballer,” Mutu added.
    “I always wanted to be better and better. I want to get to coach at least at the same level I played at, and my dream is to be the head coach of the Romanian national team.”
    In his heyday, Mutu could arguably lay claim to being Romania’s greatest ever player.
    He shares his country’s goalscoring record with Gheorghe Hagi – both scored 35 goals.
    And in a glittering club career he found the net 203 times in countries including England, Italy, and India.
    Mutu and his first wife AlexandraCredit: Rex Features
    TV presenter Alexandra and Mutu had a long drawn out divorce after it was alleged he beat her, although the charges were droppedCredit: Action Images
    Mutu was linked to Hollywood actress Moran AtiasCredit: 2019 Star Max
    Porn star Laura Andresan and Mutu romped together and he sucked her bloodCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    Mutu with second wife Consuelo Matos GomezCredit: Getty Images
    However, it was the twice divorced star’s off-the-field antics that hogged the headlines.
    When he first arrived at Chelsea, he faced charges for allegedly beating up his ex-wife TV presenter Alexandra Dinu. The charges were dropped, but a very public split ensued.
    Then he was linked to Hollywood star Moran Atias, after she bombarded him with a flurry of text messages.
    The fling with the Israeli-stunner, who modelled for Versace, only lasted a matter of months, but she later revealed he was her first serious boyfriend.
    In 2004, he was caught in a newspaper sting having sex and sucking the blood of porn star Laura Andreson.
    Mourinho wasn’t impressed and had had enough of the party boy.SACKED BY THE BLUES
    ‘The Special One’ and Mutu clashed when he reported for international duty after missing three weeks of action for Chelsea because of an injury.
    They argued publicly over his fitness, and the forward was fined the maximum two weeks’ wages – believed to be around £120,000.
    Later that month, a routine drugs test was carried out at Chelsea’s training ground in Cobham.
    Jose Mourinho and Mutu didn’t see eye-to-eyeCredit: Action Images
    Mutu failed a drugs test at Chelsea’s Cobham training groundCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
    Mutu claimed his failed drugs test was the result of taking a sexual performance enhancing substanceCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
    Traces of cocaine were found in his system, and Mutu was banned from playing football for seven months.
    He denied any wrongdoing, blaming his doping test failure on a drug to improve his sexual prowess.
    “I am not hooked on drugs,” he said.
    “I categorically deny this. The only reason I took what I took was because I wanted to improve my sexual performance.
    “It may be funny but it’s true. I did not take cocaine. I took something to make me feel good.”COMPENSATION
    After sacking Mutu, Chelsea have sought damages for his actions for more than a decade.
    Initially, the Romanian was ordered to pay the West London giants £15.2million, and there have been several court hearings through the years.
    In October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights threw out Mutu’s final appeal and insisted he owed Abramovich the princely sum.
    “We are exercising our legal remedies to recover the amounts owed to us and we will continue to do so,” a club representative revealed at the time.
    Mutu owes Chelsea £15.2m in compensation after his sackingCredit: Colorsport
    Mutu has remained silent after the European Court of Human Rights threw out his final appeal in 2018Credit: Getty – Contributor
    However, news on the dispute has gone quiet with both Mutu and Chelsea keeping mum on the situation.
    For all his misdemeanours, Mutu might just be simply misunderstood.
    After all, this is a man who finished a law degree while playing at the top level, loves poetry and reads Dostoyevsky.
    “I guess I am the ultimate split personality,” he once said.
    And in 2013, he showed that he may have turned over a new leaf- showing compassion for a baby rescued from a Chinese sewage pipe.
    “I couldn’t figure out how to carry on living, how to eat my breakfast, when I saw this story on TV,” he said.
    “He’s a special child. When I saw the baby I said: ‘I must adopt him, he has been sent to me by God.'”
    During his playing days Mutu finished a law degree and spoke of reading poetry and loving DostoevskyCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    Mutu married former Miss Romania Sandra Bachici in 2016Credit: Instagram
    Is Mutu still the playboy he once was?Credit: Instagram
    latest football features
    Mutu didn’t end up adopting that baby, but he did welcome a boy Thiago in 2018 with third wife Sandra Bachici, 30, a former Miss Romania.
    He also has one child from his first marriage to Dinu and two from his second marriage to Dominican model Consuelo Matos Lopez.
    Now a family man, Mutu appears to have finally grown up. More

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    Ex-Liverpool star Daniel Agger is a tattoo artist and even invested in sewers when his career came to an end

    DANIEL AGGER’S retirement is much like his playing career – mixing dirty work and artistry.Following his premature hanging up of the boots in 2016, at the age of 31, the former Liverpool hard-man decided to put money into his passion and necessity: tattoos and poop.
    Former Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is now a qualified tattoo artist
    The Danish defender, now head coach at HB Koge, trained to be a tattoo artist and is now part of one of the biggest parlours across the world, called Tattoodo.
    But for Agger that was not it, as he had more money to invest in s***.
    Now 38, Agger launched a company in 2013 called KloAgger, putting £450,000 into a company that manages sewage systems in his native Denmark.
    So how did they come up with the name? KloAgger translates to ‘Agger toilet’.
    Agger is regularly involved with the firm but his younger brother Marco and their friend Rune Rasmussen oversee the day-to-day ongoings.
    Inked-up Agger is more interested in the tats.
    He started and finished his career at Danish club Brondby, and it was as a 15-year-old youth player that he got his first work done.
    “I was about 15 and on a school trip to Paris,” Agger said in an interview on Tattoodo’s website.
    “It wasn’t something I’d thought about before. Me and a friend went into the shop and said that’s what we’re going to have and we got it. I still have it today.”
    But it’s been added to dramatically, with almost every inch of his body containing a tattoo.
    There’s the Viking graveyard across his back, the love hearts on his calves, Latin proverbs all over his body and the names of his family members etched in.
    “I see it as one piece,”, the qualified tattooist said. “When I speak to people I talk about my tattoo as one piece but obviously every tattoo has a story, some better than others.”
    One of the more recent is the ‘YNWA’ stamped onto his knuckles – the well-known Liverpool acronym for Anfield’s anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.
    “Timing was quite good,” Agger said. “[There were] a lot of rumours sending me to another club for a lot of money but I knew I was staying.
    “Somehow I wanted to show that to the footballing world and this was a way I wanted to show it.”
    Agger did eventually leave Liverpool in 2014 and spent two years at Brondby before ending his career earlier than expected.
    Back problems throughout his career saw Agger rely on painkillers to see him through, but he believes they were his downfall.
    Danish defender Agger has also invested in a sewage companyCredit: Kloagger
    He runs it alongside his brother Marco and a friendCredit: Kloagger
    The name KloAgger translates directly to ‘Toilet Agger’Credit: Kloagger
    Agger’s sewage company is only based in his homeland of DenmarkCredit: Kloagger
    Agger leaves the daily running of the company to his brotherCredit: Kloagger
    “I have taken too many anti-inflammatories in my career,” he told Jyllands-Posten.
    “I know that full well, and it sucks, but I did stop it [in the end]. I am not gaining anything personally from saying this but I can only hope that other athletes do.
    “It could be that others take a pill or two less.”
    Agger’s passion for tattooing has somewhat been put on the back burner following his venture into management.
    The Dane took charge of First Division side HB Koge in March 2021 along with former international team-mate Lars Jacobsen.
    Agger guided his troops to a seventh-placed finish last season.
    However, he will no doubt be fuming with his squad today after they suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of FC Fredericia at the weekend.
    The 38-year-old is more into his tattoosCredit: Twitter @danielagger
    Agger got his first tattoo while a 15-year-old boy on a school tripCredit: Action Images
    The former Liverpool centre-back has a Viking graveyard across his backCredit: Getty – Contributor
    He won the Community Shield and League Cup during his 12 years at the clubCredit: PA:Press Association
    Agger sees his tattoos as just one big artworkCredit: Instagram @danielagger22
    The Dane is a qualified tattoo artist and invested in a big parlour called TattoodoCredit: Instagram @danielagger22
    Agger got YNWA printed onto his knuckles during speculation over his future at LiverpoolCredit: Instagram @danielagger22
    He was part of a strong Liverpool side alongside Steven GerrardCredit: Instagram @danielagger22
    Agger retired in 2016 at the age of 31 which he believes was due to painkillersCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd More

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    Chelsea manager target Luis Enrique is an extreme sports junkie who ran the Marathon des Sables and an Ironman Triathlon

    MOVE over Robert Downey Jr, here’s the real Iron Man.Should Luis Enrique land the Chelsea job, expect the Spanish coach, 52, to demand his team give their all and don’t stop running for 90 minutes.
    Luis Enrique competed in the gruelling Marathon des Sables in 2008
    Enrique loves to cycle the most testing sections of the Tour de FranceCredit: Twitter @LUISENRIQUE21
    The ex-Spain boss has reportedly flown to London for more talks with Chelsea, according to talkSPORT’s Alex Crook.
    That follows the preliminary talks Enrique had, along with another target Julian Nagelsmann.
    Chelsea are hopeful the former Spain boss will take over immediately with caretaker boss Bruno Saltor potentially unwilling to stay until the end of the season due to his connection to Graham Potter.
    If Enrique is unwilling to take charge now Todd Boehly could appoint Frnak Lampard on an interim basis until the end of the season, SunSport understands.
    If he takes the hotseat, the Blues will have an adrenaline junkie who has shown tremendous stamina in the past and has completed the most gruelling race EVER.
    In 2008, the LaLiga winner (as both a manager and player) ran the Marathon des Sables, an endurance race that’s the equivalent of six marathons.
    And it’s not the mileage that’ll kill, but the extreme conditions.
    Des Sables takes place in the uncompromising surroundings of the Sahara desert, where temperatures can exceed 50 degrees centigrade.
    Over six days, competitors have to complete 156 miles to finish the ultramarathon.
    The longest stage lasts an incredible 57 miles.
    And it’s such a hard task, competitors MUST carry all their provisions in a backpack.
    The Marathon des Sables was created by French concert promoter Patrick Bauer in 1986.
    Ever since then it’s been an annual event attracting thousands of runners every year.
    Chelsea manager target Enrique was in amazing shape as he trained for the Bilbao marathon in 2012Credit: Twitter @LUISENRIQUE21
    Former Barcelona coach Enrique, right, finished the Florence marathon in 2007 in under three hours
    Keen cyclist Enrique loves endurance races both on foot and by bikeCredit: Twitter @LUISENRIQUE21
    Luis Enrique, third left, takes a break on a team cycle raceCredit: Twitter @LUISENRIQUE21
    Enrique was renowned for being a hard-working and energetic player during his days at Barcelona and Real Madrid.
    So, when he hung up his boots in 2004 it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see him keep up his fitness.
    However, his love of pushing himself to the limits seems now more impressive than his football career.
    In 2005, he ran the New York Marathon in a time of 3:14:09.
    Cycling and swimming are totally different from running. The training is far more pleasant.Luis Enrique
    A year later he tried his hand at the Amsterdam Marathon and clocked in at 3:00:19.
    Then at the Florence Marathon in 2007, Luis finished the race in an astonishing 2:58:08.
    And if you think that’s great, wait till you hear this.
    In the same year, Enrique took part in the 2007 Ironman competition in Germany.
    That’s a 140-mile triathlon race that’s been dubbed the hardest endurance race in the world.
    The adrenalin junkie isn’t just partial to a spot of running either.
    The keen surfer, who loved crashing waves when he lived in Australia, loves cycling too.
    He finished the Quebrantahuesos – a 127-mile race through the Pyrenees – which loosely translated means “bone crusher.”
    Still, that didn’t deter Enrique, and in an interview with FourFourTwo he spoke about his fitness regime.
    The most gruelling race on earth
    THE Marathon des Sables is justifiably known as the most gruelling race on earth.
    The monstrous course is 156 miles, equivalent to six marathons, run through the Sahara desert in six days in Morroco.
    The conditions are horrendous.
    Temperatures can hit 120F (50C) and all the 1,5000 competitors must carry all their provisions for the whole race in a backpack.
    This must include all their food, of at least 2,000 calories a day,  and mandatory kits such as a venom pump.
    Racers sleep in an open sided tent with seven other competitors.

    “When I left football I wanted to take up running, but after 45 minutes my feet would swell up because I was used to football,” he revealed.
    “In football it’s 50 metres, then stop, 10 metres, then stop.
    “I was used to that. I could run for a long time, but in a football way.
    “Marathons were at the same pace all the time. That was hard to adapt to, but I did after a lot of training and then I started doing triathlons.
    Enrique won La Liga twice and the Champions League once as Barcelona bossCredit: AFP or licensors
    Enrique celebrates a goal with Fernando Couto in 1997Credit: AP:Associated Press
    Hard-working Enrique will be pushing his team to run the extra mileCredit: Getty
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    “Cycling and swimming are totally different from running. The training is far more pleasant.”When I’m training, for three days I run in the morning and swim in the afternoon.
    “Then I go on the bicycle every three or four days.”
    Judging by the high-standards Luis has set himself, his training sessions must be hell on earth. More

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    Inside Lionel Messi’s luxury £12million private jet with family names on steps, No 10 on tail, kitchen & two bathrooms

    STEP inside Lionel Messi’s private jet.The £12million luxury plane is the perfect means of transport for the Argentine to travel, especially if he wants to haul his many trophies along for the ride.
    Lionel Messi has got a luxury planeCredit: Goal
    There are names on the steps and a No10 on the tailCredit: Goal
    The plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Brussels several years after a technical fault was reported
    It was made by a company in Argentina and designed for Paris Saint-Germain star Messi as well as his family.
    It boasts a number of incredible features, including its very own kitchen.
    There are two bathrooms and enough seats for 16 people.
    Incredibly, the chairs can also be folded up and turned into eight beds.
    Unfortunately it had to make an emergency landing in Brussels three years ago due to a technical fault.
    To top things off, the steps feature the names of Messi and his family – wife Antonela, plus children Thiago, Ciro and Mateo.
    However, the plane – which also boasts his No10 on the tail – is not owned by the superstar, instead he leases it.
    But that is sure to not bother Messi in the slightest as he continues his jet-set lifestyle.
    There are 16 chairs which can be folded into eight bedsCredit: Goal
    The private jet boasts a kitchen and two bathroomsCredit: Goal

    most read football stories

    The ace has rediscovered his form at PSG this season, scoring 13 goals and assisting 13 in just 23 Ligue 1 games.
    He has returned to club football after achieving his dream of winning his first-ever World Cup.
    Argentina beat France in a final for the ages last December with the game decided on penalties after a bonkers 3-3 draw after 120 minutes. More

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    Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s the GOAT of the hotel world as PSG ace told to demolish Barcelona site?

    BOTH Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo know a shrewd business move when they see one.Off the pitch, the pair have various business interests, including fashion lines, museums and in the case of the PSG star, a purported Chinese theme park.
    Cristiano Ronaldo has various business interests outside of football, including owning hotels
    Rival Lionel Messi is also a hotelier and owns three resortsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    But it’s hotels the two, who have now won the Ballon d’Or 12 times between them, just can’t stop collecting, just like they’re playing a game of Monopoly.
    Messi, 35,  bought the Seasun Fona in S’Illot, Majorca to add to his hotel portfolio that includes spots in Ibiza and Barcelona.
    And this year he added to that with a 141-room ski resort in the Pyrenees.
    While Ronaldo, 38, went down the budget route, establishing the Pestana CR7 hotel chain in his hometown of Madeira and Lisbon, both in Portugal.
    He’s also added venues in Madrid and New York, and has plans for new sites including a 150-room high-end destination in Manchester’s Picadilly Gardens district in 2023.
    There’s never been much between them on the pitch, and it’s just as close when it comes to being a better hotelier.
    Here we take a peek inside some of the jewels in their crowns.
    The jewel of Messi’s business empire, the Argentinian legend bought the 52-room luxury adults-only hotel in early 2018.
    In fact, the stunning Art Deco style building, based just of off the beautiful Figueretas beach on the south eastern coast of the Balearic island, was said to have been eyed up by Ronaldo before Messi swooped.
    The £525-per-night resort was originally opened as a hostel in 2001, before it was renovated by British designer Sean Cochrane in 2014.
    Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vive boasts a stunning rooftop bar, and a majestic pool surrounded by comfortable sun loungers.
    Back in 2018, the hotel hit the headlines after SunSport EXCLUSIVELY revealed the resort was going to be the base for a four-day lesbian sex party.
    TripAdvisor rating: 4.4 out of 5
    Lionel Messi’s Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vive is a place of luxuryCredit: Instagram @hotelesvive
    Rooms at Lionel Messi’s Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vive can cost up to 525-per nightCredit: Instagram @hotelesvive
    The Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vive hosted a lesbian sex partyCredit: Instagram @hotelesvive
    Messi bought the Art Deco Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vive in 2018Credit: Instagram @hotelesvive
    Ronaldo’s first hotel was opened to massive fanfare in July 2016.
    At the time he said: “I wanted to be in the hotel industry for quite a while and the opportunity happened quite naturally as a result of the relationship with the owner and chairman of the Pestana Hotel Group, Dionísio Pestana, who built the largest international hotel brand of Portuguese origin starting with one first hotel on my home island, Madeira.”
    And although it’s a budget hotel, with rooms costing as little as £79 per night off season, it does have a luxurious 4-star rating.
    The property can be found on the waterfront opposite Funchal’s cruise ship terminal, is a short ten-minute walk to the city centre and is surrounded by cafes and bars.
    With a nod to its footballing owner, there’s some novel designs with its decor, including astro-turf lined bathrooms.
    And the rooms themselves (all 49 of them) are comfortable, if not a tad small.
    The rooftop deck features a sauna, which offers views of Madeira’s mountainous landscape.
    Food-wise, the more adventurous eater can try the CR7 Kobe beef burger with foie gras, but it’ll cost you around £21.
    TripAdvisor rating: 4.3 out of 5
    Ronaldo opened his first hotel in Funchal, Madeira in 2016Credit: Pestana CR7 Funchal
    Rooms at the Pestana CR7 Funchal can cost as little as £79-per nightCredit: Pestana CR7 Funchal
    The Pestana CR7 Funchal is located on the waterfront and boasts views of Madeira’s mountainous landscapeCredit: Pestana CR7 Funchal
    The bathrooms are football-themed at Pestana CR7 Funchal, with astro-turf lining the wallsCredit: Pestana CR7 Funchal
    Knowing his surroundings well, Messi reportedly splashed £26m on his first hotel in Sitges, a coastal town in Catalonia, southwest of Barcelona in 2017.
    The four-star property on the Avenida Sofia boasts 77 rooms, five of those being junior suites, while one is a superior suite.
    The 3,300 square foot space has a swimming pool on the top floor, which has an scenic view of the sea and Sitges beach.
    Other amenities include a spa that covers a variety of of treatments and massages, as well as a VIP DUO cabin for couples treatments and an oxygen cabin.
    Food and drink can be found at the Sky Bar, which serves refreshing cocktails and tapas dishes.
    And an evening meal can be enjoyed at the Hotel MiM Sitges restaurant, which serves Mediterranean and local fayre.
    To stay in a double room, it’ll cost you around £104-per night, which is reasonable for Barcelona.
    However, Messi is faced the bombshell news that he may have to demolish the place.
    The £650,000-a-week PSG ace was hit with a court order as the building doesn’t meet council requirements – although it remains unclear if any further action was taken.
    TripAdvisor rating: 4.3 out of 5
    Messi splashed £26 million on a hotel in the coastal resort of StigesCredit: Hotel MiM Stiges
    A double room at the Hotel MiM Sitges will set you back a reasonable £104Credit: Hotel MiM Stiges
    Messi memorabilia can be found inside the Hotel MiM SitgesCredit: Hotel MiM Stiges
    The swimming pool can be found on the top floor of the Hotel MiM SitgesCredit: Hotel MiM Stiges
    After the success of his Madeira hotel, Ronaldo soon set his sights on the coastal Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
    It’s situated in a lovely part of the city, close to the downtown waterfront and therefore perfect for sightseeing, shopping and bar-hopping.
    And his second digs pays more of a homage to his footballing career than his first.
    Like Messi’s Ibiza hotel, the design follows an Art Deco theme, and features plenty of Ronaldo memorabilia that adorns the rooms and the reception.
    For those who can’t bear to be cut off from the internet, the hotel provides complimentary mobile phones if you need to get online, and you can even take them outside with you.
    Football fanatics won’t miss a match, with the Corner Bar and Bistro offering big screen TVs playing all the major sporting events.
    They offer a menu of mini-hamburgers, filled potato skins, as well as steaks, fish, and some traditional Portuguese dishes, including seafood stews.
    TripAdvisor rating: 4.4 out of 5
    Ronaldo opened his second hotel in Portugal in the capital LisbonCredit: PestanaCR7
    The small bedrooms at the Pestana CR7 Lisboa have an Art Deco themeCredit: PestanaCR7
    Guests can amuse themselves with a game of table footballCredit: PestanaCR7
    Sports fans won’t miss a kick at the sports bar inside the Pestana CR7 Lisboa
    Both successful hoteliers, Ronaldo and Messi are expanding their hotel businesses.
    Messi bought the 95-room, 198 bed Hotel Seasun Fona in Majorca in 2019.
    Style-wise, it’s got a typically Mediterranean feel and sits beside the sandy beaches of S’Illot.
    It reopened under a different name and is now called the Hotel Mallorca Fona after a big refurb.
    But he made his biggest acquition only in April this year, when he splashed out on the ski hotel next to the lifts at Spain’s largest winter resort in the heart of the Pyrenees in the Aran Valley.
    The four-star destination includes a spa, an indoor swimming pool, a fitness centreand mountain guide services.
    Ronaldo, on the other hand, is planning on going international with his expansion.
    Messi’s new 141-room ski resort in the Pyrenees
    The Portuguese wants to take the Pestana CR7 brand to Paris and Marrakech- as well as Manchester.
    Marrakech has been a popular destination for Ronaldo, who toasted New Year’s Eve there in 2017 with kickboxer pal Badr Hari, and former Real Madrid team-mate, Karim Benzema.
    And now, he’ll have somewhere to crash.
    Designs for Ronaldo’s Marrakech hotel show it’ll be a place for the jet set
    The luxurious bar area will cater for its exclusive clientele
    A luxury spa and sauna will be on hand to relax guests
    The site of Ronaldo’s Manchester hotel, due to open in 2023
    While Messi added the Seasun Fona hotel in Majorca to his hotel portfolio tooCredit: Solarpix More