Celebrity robberies aren’t a new phenomenon and footballers have been a target for this sector of crime for a long time. And not even those associated with football are safe, as one unlucky Argentinian reporter had items stolen from her handbag while she was live on air, reporting during the build up to the World Cup.
The safety of valuables, and families, come into question as footballers battle their rivals on and off the pitch. As the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets into full swing, Associated Security, specialists in safes and secure storage, look at some of the footballers who have been targeted with robberies in this past year.
Paul Pogba, who isn’t part of the World Cup 2022 due to a meniscus injury, was instrumental for France in winning the 2018 World Cup held in Russia. The 29-year-old midfielder made the decision to leave Manchester United during the summer and return to Juventus at the end of his contract. The choice may have been spurred on by a desire to keep his family safe after being targeted in a home raid.
He suffered a shocking robbery in March 2022, while his children and nanny were still home. It is believed he may have been targeted by the same criminals who had previously attacked his Man United teammates and actually occurred as he was playing at Old Trafford against Atletico Madrid in a Champions League game.
Three people entered his home and took a safe, which contained his mother’s jewellery and his World Cup medal. Thankfully his children and nanny were unharmed as the nanny locked herself and the children in a room during the raid.
Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid striker, is also missing from the France squad due to injury, after a sustaining a muscle tear in this left thigh. As with Pogba, Benzema also was subjected to robbery while playing for his club team, this time in January during a draw against Elche in La Liga.
The 34-year-old’s luxury mansion in Madrid was broken into as the invaders found a way in through the garden. This is not the first time that Benzema has been targeted, as he was raided in 2019 while playing against Barcelona. Luckily, his house was empty at the time of the incident.
An Albanian government official was arrested in May after being linked with the crime and an unnamed man was arrested in October, as he was trying to cross into France. Details of the items taken weren’t released, but they were of high value.
Victor Lindelöf, a defender for Manchester United, is another who has suffered from this type of crime. The 28-year-old isn’t at the World Cup as country, Sweden, didn’t manage to make it through the qualifying stage.
But days before Benzema’s home raid, Lindelöf suffered the same fate. This led to his wife, Maja Lindelof, having to lock herself and their children in a safe room during the burglary. The attack took place as Lindelof played against Brentford at the start of the season and has led Manchester United to improve their security measures as a number of their footballers have been targeted.
Daniele Rugani, a centre-back with Juventus, is another to be targeted in the last year. The 28-year-old Italian has missed out on the World Cup after Italy, the current European Champions, failed to qualify.
The Italian suffered two different break-ins within the space of a month during 2022. Luckily, in both instances no-one was harmed, and nothing was taken. In the first attempt, Rugani’s partner, Perisco, was able to scare off the intruder by turning on the light. And three weeks later, when they returned, they failed to pick the lock. However, this has meant Rugani and his family have moved due to the repeated attempts.
As football becomes more high profile, with players becoming celebrities in their own right and more money and wealth in the game these days, more footballer’s houses are being broken into. Footballer targeted crimes have risen in the last 15 years and the phenomenon has continued throughout 2022.