The life of Thomas Gravesen is fascinating.
As a footballer, the Dane was a tough-tackling midfielder and his £2.5 million move from Everton in Real Madrid shocked the football world.
It’s still one of the strangest transfers in football history.
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 fairly enigmatic, it’s perhaps after his retirement that Gravesen has become a cult figure.
Some of the stories that have emerged from players who have played with him are just fantastic.
In fact, there’s a 20-minute video of former teammates telling hilarious anecdotes about Gravesen on Simon Ferry’s ‘Open Goal.’
Reports vary but, nowadays, many suggest that Gravesen is worth £100 million. He won that fortune playing poker – although there are also reports suggesting he lost £54 million in a single night.
He lives in a glamorous gated community in Las Vegas, where he calls the likes of Andre Agassi and Nicolas Cage neighbours.
In his biography, he’s described as ‘a grenade with the pin pulled out’. And after the Daily Mail revealed five of the craziest Gravesen stories, it’s hard to disagree.
Knocking out one of Ronaldo’s teeth and fighting Robinho
It’s probably not a great idea to fight with a club legend after arriving at Real Madrid but that’s what Gravesen did.
The clash with Ronaldo was believed to be innocent as he attempted to give him a great big bear hugs before throwing him around a little. However, it resulted in the legendary Brazilian losing his tooth.
But the fight with Robinho was far more serious.
Cameras caught Gravesen and Robinho going at it each other with the midfielder later saying: “I made a couple of strong tackles on him but didn’t leave him with any bruises”, Gravesen said. “He retaliated by hitting me and giving me a couple of kicks, so I went for him.
“It would have been better if I had not reacted like that but Spanish TV, who had film of the sequence of events, decided not to show them. I wonder why?”
Dating a porn star
Gravesen went from a relatively unknown footballer to a household name when he signed for Real Madrid. That elevated status saw him befriend porn star Kira Eggers.
He’s now married to model Kamila Persse.
Shooting fireworks at Wayne Rooney
You’d think that Everton players would be doing everything possible to protect a new emerging talent in the form of Wayne Rooney.
Gravesen isn’t normal, though.
Manager at the time, David Moyes, told the 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
A sign of how Gravesen’s mind works is that, during his early days at Vejle Boldklub, he wanted another job 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 and worth between £80-£100 million
There are now numerous paths in which retired footballers can go down these days.
Not many choose professional poker. But that’s what Gravesen has opted for, apparently.
Many outlets have claimed Gravesen is worth up to £100 million with the suggestion that he won it while playing poker. But it’s called ‘gambling’ for a reason and one online Poker forum suggests he’s also lost a lot of money in one night.
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.”
The story hasn’t been verified.
It’s also believed he drives around in his Mercedes SLR McLaren – worth around $500,000.
What a life.