Most top flight footballers drive expensive cars that match their wage packets. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have the same control behind a wheel that they have with a ball at their feet. We take a look at the top 10 footballer’s car crashes, the majority of which are write offs.
10. Diego Maradona’s Cuban smash
Arguably best player football has ever seen, Diego Maradona and controversy have often been used in the same sentence, so it was no surprise to hear he had been involved in a car crash. Heading the wrong way down a dual carriageway on a dark night in Cuba, El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Boy) drove at oncoming traffic until his jeep hit a tourist bus. No one was hurt, and Maradona was allowed to return to the hotel where he was receiving treatment for drug abuse.
9. Ian Wright-s off his Ferrari
Arsenal goalscoring legend Ian Wright caused more than £30,000 of damage to his Ferrari 360 Spyder in 2004, when he turned his traction control off. Wrighty was not injured in the smash, but his car certainly was (picture above). After the crash, the striker said: “Any Ferrari driver knows that when you turn the ASR off you’re dancing with the Devil. And if you dance with the Devil you’ve got to be prepared to get your toes stood on.”
8. Balotelli bangs his R8
Mario Balotelli signed for Man City from Inter Milan this summer, and just a few weeks after arriving in the UK, he crashed his customised £120k Audi R8 into another vehicle in Manchester. Fortunately, both drivers were unharmed in the crash, but again the car was a bit of a mess:
7. Jermaine Pennant’s extra-time
When Jermaine Pennant played for Arsenal, he crashed his Mercedes into a lamppost whilst drink driving, as well as having no insurance and being banned from driving. He was given a three-month jail term, although he was released after a month on the condition he wore an electronic tag even when playing football.
To make matters worse, when he was pulled over by police, he told officers he was Ashley Cole! His alcohol reading was 85 micrograms per 100ml of breath, nearly three times the legal limit of 35 micrograms per 100ml.
6. Dietmar Hamann flees the scene
At Halloween in 2006, Liverpool legend Hamann ran for more than a mile-and-a-half from the scene of his crash when he drove a £70k Porsche Carrera into a fence near Manchester airport. Police found him jogging at 3am dressed in a full dinner suit and smelling of alcohol, so decided to question him. He said he had been drinking at a local pub, despite the pub closing three hours earlier. He was banned from driving for six months.
Didi was again in the news in February of this year, when he appeared in court for apparently being “too drunk to control his car”. Police pulled Hamann over, after he had been driving at excess speeds, clipped the kerb three times, and swerved between lanes. Police said in court that his eyes were glazed over and they could smell alcohol on him. To make matters worse, when asked if he had any sharp objects, Hamann joked: “Yes, a knife, which is now in my car.”
In court, he was given a 12-month driving ban and fined £1,990, after claiming he was driving fast to use the toilet when he got home: “Everyone knows how hard it is to stop when you need a wee.”
5. Karim Benzema’s Reunion Island Race
While celebrating his birthday on Reunion Island, Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema raced a Porsche through the streets, and managed to crash his yellow Lamborghini Gallardo as a result, damaging the front right wing of the car.
A video of a roadside of the supercar can be seen below:
Benzema also drove his Audi Q7 into a wall in Madrid, again without injury.
4. Nicklas Bendtner wraps his Aston Martin round a tree
When heading to training one Sunday morning, Nicklas Bendtner smashed his £150k Aston Martin into a tree, but miraculously escaped unscathed. Police confirmed his car ‘left the road’, but judging from the picture below it did a lot more than that! Bendtner’s father confirmed his son was ok after the crash. He said: “Nicklas has been training by himself on a bike in order to be careful and watch out, he is badly shaken and has some bruises, but knows he was very lucky.”
3. Wayne Rooney ruins his supercars
Manchester United star Rooney has had a few crashes in his time, having totalled a £170k Aston Martin, a £65k Range Rover, as well as driving his £40k Escalade into a lorry! After all of these crashes, I’m surprised anyone would even give him a quote for insurance, he’d probably have to use moneysupermarket to find an insurer who will cover him.
Rooney also had a near miss in his Lamborghini Gallardo when he lost control on a road in Macclesfield while driving to a restaurant. He ended up on the wrong side of the road facing oncoming traffic.
2. Anderson annihilates his Audi
Another Manchester United player. This time midfielder Anderson was pulled unconscious from his Audi R8 before it went up in flames after a night out at the Sardinha Biba nightclub in Portugal. Almeno Antunes, an eye-witness, said: “I saw a cloud of smoke ahead of me. The car was unable to straighten up after a slight bend and went into the field and caught fire. I thought he was dead. My brother dragged him out.”
1. Ronaldo’s £200k Ferrari tunnel crash
Believe it or not, there isn’t a direct correlation between Man Utd players and car crashes! Cristiano Ronaldo destroyed his Ferrari 599 GTB on his way to training for the Red Devils. Former team mate Edwin Van Der Sar was driving behind Ronaldo when the crash happened, and kindly gave him a lift to training once the police had finished with the Portuguese international.
Making an honorary appearance for football’s most famous nearly crash is Ashley Cole, who recited the moment in his autobiography.
His agent Jonathan Barnett memorably called him in his car with some truly heartbreaking news: “I’m here in the office and David Dein is saying they aren’t going to give you £60k a week. They’ve agreed £55k and this is their best and final offer. Are you happy with that?”
Cole’s take on this was: “When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. ‘He is taking the piss, Jonathan!’ I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on. I’d trusted Mr Dein to push the deal through.”