Thomas Gravesen: Inside the mad world of the crazy former Real Madrid player


There aren’t too many stranger transfers than Real Madrid signing Thomas Gravesen back in January 2005.

Los Blancos were no strangers to splashing millions on Galacticos when they coughed up £2.5 million on the midfielder from Everton.

Still, nobody can really explain it.

The Dane lasted a season and a half at the club, racking up 49 appearances before returning to the UK with Celtic and then a loan spell back at Everton.

While his career on-the-pitch was pretty bizarre, his life off-the-pitch is probably more so.

Not only is there a 20-minute video of former teammates telling cracking stories about him but we’ve dug out some fantastic anecdotes about the great man.

He’s also now worth more than £100 million, apparently winning his fortune playing poker. There are also reports suggesting he lost £54 million in a single night.

He now resides in a luxurious gated community in Las Vegas, where he lives alongside Andre Agassi and Nicolas Cage.

In his biography, he’s described as 'a grenade with the pin pulled out’ and the below five stories - per the Daily Mail - pretty much some up that description.

Knocking out one of Ronaldo’s teeth

'Train as you play' is a saying that managers may use from time to time but Gravesen took it a bit far in Real Madrid training. 

He was a tough-tackling midfielder but he was also a loveable character and would often grab his star-studded teammates into great big bear hugs.

He once went a bit too far with the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo. After picking him up and throwing him around, Ronaldo lost a tooth.

He was also involved in a training ground fight with Robinho. No wonder he only lasted a season and a half.

Dating a porn star

Gravesen’s life changed massively after he moved to the Spanish capital.

Before that, the midfielder had played for Vejle Boldklub in his native country, Hamburg and Everton. He wasn't a household name.

But when he moved to the Bernabeu, he was a worldwide star around the world.

Gravesen wasn’t used to the attention but it did enable him to land porn star Kira Eggers. His status suddenly went from a high-profile footballer to a celebrity.

He's now married to Kamila Persse. 


Shooting fireworks at Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney was emerging at Everton and it seemed the young superstar unsettled Gravesen.

We’ll let then-Everton manager David Moyes tell this story:

“It was the old gym, it's about 60 yards long. Thomas and Wayne, they were shooting fireworks at each other. They had big rockets full of gunpowder, they were holding one end and shooting them at each other.”

Moyes added: “Tommy was mental in a good way. He was a great player and we loved him. He wouldn't listen but it wasn't in a bad way. I think it was a wee bit where he didn't want to hear you and just did his own thing. He was crazy in his training. He was a good lad but mental.”


Working as a car salesman

During his early days at Vejle Boldklub, Gravesen wasn’t happy with just being a footballer. Therefore, he decided to also work as a car salesman to keep him motivated.

“I need to know that the alarm clock rings in the morning, otherwise I will never go to bed,” Gravesen said.

“Previously, I had a period of three to four months where I did not work. I only slept in the morning and could not sleep at night I switched completely night and day and could clearly notice that my game was getting worse and my condition worse.”


Successful gambler in Las Vegas

When Gravesen retired in 2009, nobody heard too much about him for a while.

Four years later, he was reported to be living in Las Vegas in a very famous gated community.

Newspapers were suggesting he was now worth between £80-£100 million but there is something of a mystery regarding how this happened.

He may well have won it during a game of poker, considering there are suggestions that he once lost £54 million during one game.

On poker forum Two Plus Two, user TarantulaGargantu told the extraordinary story of the night Gravesen lost an absolute fortune.

The story goes: “I can confirm he has made £80m but it did not come easy. I was there in one of the sessions where he was playing some guy heads-up and lost £54m in one night. Can't say who it was against, though.”

That story has not been verified but it’s certainly believable.

He also drives around in his Mercedes SLR McLaren - worth around $500,000. 

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