The footballing world was shocked and heartbroken when Emmanuel Eboue revealed where life had taken him this year.
The 34-year-old is one of the most loved players at Arsenal in particular where, for all his questionable performances and dance moves, he became a cherished cult hero. He spent a happy seven years and 214 appearances at the Emirates Stadium before moving on in 2011.
Eboue spent three years in Istanbul, eventually moving to Sunderland and Türk Ocağı Limasol but didn't make a single appearance for either.
Since the collapse of his career in football, it's been a downward spiral for Eboue who lost almost all of his money this year after a bitter divorce agreement.
It led a report from the Mirror to claim that the Ivorian was ‘pushed to the brink of suicide’ and ’spends his days hiding from bailiffs, sometimes sleeps on the floor of a friend’s home, travels by bus and even cleans his clothes by hand because he has no washing machine.’
The story moved supporters of all nations and clubs with the loveable Eboue finding himself in awful circumstances.
All the more emotional, too, is how the 34-year-old maintained his unwavering support for Arsenal - the club he holds so dearly.
When financial troubles hit, Eboue was unable to afford a Sky subscription so went to remarkable lengths to catch the latest Arsenal matches.
The defender trekked to a pub in Enfield, in disguise, to see Arsenal play Everton in March.
He told the Mirror: “I covered my face and I went there. I was surrounded by Arsenal fans but they didn’t know it was me.
“I sat, I took a beer and I watched the game. But I kept my hood over my head and I hardly raised it because I knew that the Arsenal fans would recognise me.
“I would have felt embarrassed. I had never been in a pub to watch a game. It used to be in my house. Or maybe in a friend’s house.
“It was the life I had before compared to now. Normally the fans see me on the pitch. If I’d already said that I’d retired then yes, okay. I wouldn’t mind if they saw me in the pub.
“But some fans still think Eboue is still playing. Somewhere. So if they see me they maybe would be shocked.”
On Boxing Day, it was announced that Galatasaray would take on Eboue as a coach with reasonable pay and accommodation and if that's not great news at Christmas, nothing is.
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