The name Emmanuel Eboue will not be quickly forgotten especially with Arsenal faithful as he was in the team that represented the club at the biggest stage of club football.
However, the sophisticated, flashy lifestyle usually associated with football players seem to have eluded him after he lost a divorce battle to his wife, Aurelie and got stripped of all his assets.
The Ivorian earned millions during his seven years in England’s top-flight and then more than £1.5million a year at Turkish side Galatasaray but now runs around hiding from cops and bailiffs after being ordered by a judge to transfer his remaining Enfield home to his wife.
“I can’t afford the money to continue to have any lawyer or barrister, Eboue told Mirror
“I am in the house but I am scared. Because I don’t know what time the police will come.
“Sometimes I shut off the lights because I don’t want people to know that I am inside. I put everything behind the door.
“My own house. I suffered to buy my house but I am now scared.
“I am not going to sell my clothes or sell what I have. I will fight until the end because it is not fair.”
Of the things bothering Eboue, his inability to see his three kids hurts him most
“I can’t see them and it is hurting me a lot,” he said.
“I was close to my children and ready to do everything for them.
“My two girls have a phone and used to call me. But now it has been two months with no contact.
“I miss my children a lot and I want to see them because it is not fair. It pains me a lot.”
Eboue was supposed to return to the Premier League with Sunderland but the deal fell through and his woes were compounded when he was banned for twelve months by FIFA. He blamed his misfortune on his wife and those who helped manage his finances saying they gave him bad advises.
“I look back and say ‘Emmanuel, you have been naive… why didn’t you think about that before?’ It is hard.
“Very, very hard. The money I earned, I sent it to my wife for our children.
“In Turkey I earned eight million euros. I sent seven million back home. Whatever she tells me to sign, I sign.
“She is my wife. The problems with FIFA were because of people advising me. People who are supposed to care. But it was because of them FIFA banned me.” he said.
Having surrendered the cars among assets transferred to his wife, Eboue now has an Oyster card and relies on London transport – while doing his best to avoid being recognised.
He splits his time between the Enfield house and the home of a confidante he calls his “sister” – Yasmin Razak.
He often sleeps on a mattress on her living room floor.
But even watching TV – and seeing the likes of former team-mate Thierry Henry as a football pundit – triggers negative thoughts.
He adds: “When I see Thierry I feel happy for him but ashamed of my own situation.
“When I see friends on TV that I played with or against I say to myself ‘I should still be there’. It’s hard to watch them.”
Both Yasmin and another close pal, ex-Portsmouth and Newcastle striker Lomana Lua Lua, have been crucial in helping Eboue stay afloat.
Of Yasmin, he said: “I call her house The Bunker. I can hide there. She has children. I don’t want to disturb them, so I sleep on the floor.”
Eboue is devastated at spending Christmas apart from his own kids, daughters Clara, 14, and Maeva, 12, and son Mathis, nine.
He goes on: “It hurts me a lot. They used to call me. But now, no contact. It pains me to be alone without them.”
Eboue has been left without so much as a washing machine.
But he won’t be beaten, saying: “Every day I wash my jeans, my clothes, everything. My hands are hard. As though I have been working on a farm.
“I thank my grandmother because she taught me to wash, cook, clean, everything as a young man.
“I continue to thank God. I have my life. I didn’t want what has happened. I don’t wish it on anybody.”
While Eboue wants to return to playing one day, he would jump at the chance of working with former club Arsenal or players’ union the PFA.
He says: “I would accept help from anywhere but if my previous club wants to help me then I would be very, very happy. Maybe I could help the young players?
“The PFA helped me when I had my problems with my agent. If they gave me a job, even if it wasn’t a big, big job.
“Maybe I’d see some of the people I played with or against and I’d feel embarrassed. But I would cope.”