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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ex-Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue in financial ruin

Emmanuel Eboue during a Sunderland training session.
Emmanuel Eboue played for Arsenal between 2004 and 2011.

Former Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue has told the Mirror he is financially ruined and is battling with suicidal thoughts.

Eboue, 34, has not played football since seeing his Sunderland contract cancelled after being hit with a year-long FIFA ban in March 2016 over a contractual dispute with a former agent.

The former Ivory Coast international said he is still living in the home he shared with his ex-wife Aurelie in North London before a divorce battle that saw her awarded all of their assets.

He said he was due to surrender ownership three weeks ago but remains in the house, with his belongings in bags, awaiting the order to leave.

"I can't afford the money to continue to have any lawyer or barrister," he said. "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."

Eboue, who joined Galatasaray after leaving Arsenal in 2011, said he had sent the vast majority of his earnings to his wife and three children during his time in Turkey.

"I look back and say: 'Emmanuel, you have been naive... why didn't you think about that before?' It is hard," he said. "Very, very hard.

"The money I earned, I sent it to my wife for our children. In Turkey I earned €8 million. I sent €7m 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 he has no contact with his children and added: "It pains me to be alone without them."

Eboue, who said he had been forced to watch Arsenal in a local pub because he cannot afford the television subscription fees, said he was determined not to follow in the path of former Ivory Coast teammate Steve Gohouri, whose body was found in the Rhine river in 2015.

"We played together for the Ivory Coast national team many years ago," he said. "He was depressed a lot. He killed himself. He killed himself.

"I did everything with him. He was playing for Wigan in England. Then he went to Germany. Then he went down into the leagues below.

"One day he couldn't take it. He got into his car and drove into the sea. They looked for him for one week before they found him.

"Since I put his story in my head I have been determined not to do what he did.

"I pray every day. I want God to help me. To help me to take it out of my head. I don't want to think about suicidal thoughts. I want God to bring my morale up."

Eboue said he would welcome the chance to work with Arsenal or the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), but he could be offered a chance to return to work with Galatasaray.

Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim is reportedly willing to give Eboue a role coaching the under-14 side and told CNN Turk: "We will do whatever we can to help my friend."

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