Five football felons you didn’t know about

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has been hit with a one-year prison sentence for tax fraud, but the Argentine ace is not alone when it comes to footballer brushes with the law.

 Rene Higuita

Source: Getty Images



Catalan team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar are both under investigation for tax-fraud charges, with the Brazilian having assets up to $75million frozen.

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Who would have thought Luis Suarez would be Barca's best-behaved South American.

Mascherano is expected to wiggle out of his sentence with just a fine, but here are five football felons you may not have known about.

Ian Wright

Energetic, charismatic and lethal in-front of goal, Ian Wright was adored by the Highbury faithful.

However, the Arsenal striker was one of the first footballers to get his tax forms and insurance numbers muddled-up as was sentenced to a fortnight behind bars at Chelmsford Prison for not paying motoring fines.

Wrighty, always the trend-setter.



Jermaine Pennant

English winger Jermaine Pennant was forced to play with an electronic tag after numerous driving offensives.

While on-loan at Birmingham City he was slapped with a three-month prison sentence, where he served 30 days.

Unfortunately, Pennant didn't learn his lesson and a few years later he forgot where he left his expensive Porsche while playing for Spanish side Real Zaragoza.

The car was abandoned at the city’s train station for five months as Pennant moved back to England to sign for Stoke City. Needless to say, he racked-up a hefty parking fine. 



Rene Higuita

Rene Higuita reinvented the role of a shot-stopper during the 1990’s and will always be remembered for his scorpion-kick against England in a 1995 friendly.



But what people don’t know is that two years previous 'El Loco’ was sent to jail for illegally arranging and profiting from the release of a kidnapped 11 year-old girl.

Higuita missed the World Cup the following year having spent seven months in jail and there were murky reports linking the Colombian to druglord Pablo Escobar Gaviria.

Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona was known as a maverick with a flavor for socialising late, shaking cocktails and stirring trouble.

The Argentine forward started an inevitable collision path with the law when he was caught in possession of Class A drug cocaine in 1991. Seven years later and he was at the centre of attention for shooting at journalists while crouching behind a car at training.

It may have been an air pellet gun but Maradona was hit hard with a suspended sentence of over two years and found guilty of assault.



Tony Adams

Legendary Arsenal defender Tony Adams desperately struggled against alcohol throughout his career and in December 1990 he was sentenced to four months in for drink-driving.

It wasn’t a schooner or two but Adams was found four times over the limit.  But he soon served his time and returned to the Gunners for the remiander of his career. 




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3 min read
Published 22 January 2016 at 12:17pm
By Liam Curtis