Footballers are idolized for what they do on the pitch. The goals they score, the dribbles they apply to their opponents and the titles they win make them treated like superheroes by many people.
But when they’re outside the four lines, they’re ordinary people. Some have exemplary behavior and deserve to be admired for that too. With others, the story is very different.
It’s not uncommon to see players who have problems with justice. Arrests for late payment of child support, charges of tax evasion and even some extreme cases, such as that of former goalkeeper Bruno, who lived at the peak of his career at Flamengo before being arrested for the murder of Eliza Samudio, are proof .
There are also those athletes who have been accused at some point in their career (or after retirement) of committing a sexual offence, such as pedophilia, rape or sexual harassment. Not all of these allegations are confirmed, it’s true, but even so they remain a blot on their history.
“Blog do Rafael Reis” below recalls seven players/ex-players who got into legal trouble due to sexual offenses they committed or have been accused of committing.
The right-back who marked the season with the Barcelona shirt and who defended the Brazilian national team in two World Cups (2014 and 2022) has been arrested since last Friday in Spain. The player has been provisionally arrested following an allegation by a Spanish woman of being sexually assaulted by the player in a nightclub in Catalonia late last year. In an interview in early January, when the scandal came to light, Daniel Alves declared that he did not know and “never saw in his life” his accuser. In the statement released after the arrest, according to what was reported by the newspaper “El Periodico”, the right-back changed his mind and claimed to have had a consensual sexual relationship with the alleged victim.
The former player of Santos, Real Madrid, Manchester City and the Brazilian national team cannot leave the country, risking arrest and extradition to Italy, where the attacker is sentenced to nine years in prison for having participated in the gang rape of a young woman of 22 years. The crime took place in 2013, when Robinho was defending Milan. According to the conviction of the Italian Justice, the attacker and five other men allegedly had sexual relations without consent with a drunk woman in a disco. Robinho’s defense has already exhausted all appeal attempts, and the penalty has not yet been taken as the player now lives in Brazil.
A protagonist of Real Madrid in winning the Champions League last season and current winner of the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, the French center forward had already had problems with justice even before the extortion case against midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, which he left on the sidelines for six years. In 2010, Benzema was accused of having sex with a then-call girl named Zahia Dehar (now an actress, model and underwear designer), who was just 16 at the time. The player denied having hired the services of the escort. And he ended up acquitted in 2014 by the Criminal Court of Paris.
Benzema’s former teammate in the French national team, the player who defended Bayern Munich for 12 years and who announced his retirement last October, was also involved in the “Zahia Dehar” case. Unlike the attacker, however, Ribéry admitted having relations with the call girl. However, he claimed that he did not know that he was a minor and was therefore not committing a crime. The French court accepted his defense arguments and decided to acquit him.
The former Real Madrid defender and veteran of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups with the German national team was sentenced to ten months’ imprisonment on parole in April 2021 for possessing and sending pedophile pornography. According to the German press, the former defender had 297 seized files on his cell phone with photos and videos of children and adolescents naked or engaged in sexual acts. During the trial, Metzelder apologized for his behavior, admitted to having material of this type and to having sent part of that file to three women with whom he chatted via WhatsApp.
The midfielder, who played 12 games for England and defended Manchester City for two seasons, has been sentenced to three years for child sexual abuse. The player was sentenced to six years in prison for engaging in virtual sex and having a physical relationship with a 15-year-old girl who had received a signed Sunderland shirt as a gift, the club he was defending at the time. At trial, Johnson admitted to grooming and kissing the teenager. In 2019, the midfielder was released to serve the remainder of his sentence on parole and has since been trying to find a club to resume his career.
The striker who stood out for Botafogo between 2000 and 2010 had drug problems, spent four years away from football for refusing to undergo a doping test and was arrested three times ( twice for probation violation) for an alleged case of rape of vulnerable people. Jobson, who today defends Rio Branco in the Paranaense Championship, was accused of taking 12- and 13-year-old teenagers to his farm in inland Pará, where the girls allegedly drank, used drugs and had sex. In December of last year he reached an agreement with the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the non-criminal prosecution of the case. [instrumento em que o réu consegue o encerramento do seu processo criminal em troca de outras formas de reparação dos danos causados pelo delito cometido].
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