Medi Abalimba sentenced to four years in prison

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Former Liverpool player Medi Abalimba has been sentenced to four years in prison, pleading guilty to multiple fraud charges after posing as Chelsea star Gael Kakuta.

The BBC reports how Manchester Crown Court heard that the 25-year-old's list of offences included a £20,000 shopping spree at Selfridges, top hotel stays and the hiring of a helicopter, all of which was paid with the use of stolen credit cards.

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In June this year, Abalimba spent more than £2,500 on champagne at a Manchester nightclub and left the venue in a chauffeur-driven Bentley GT.

The following month he splashed the cash at the designer Trafford Centre store and proceeded to enjoy a 'Premier League lifestyle' following a series of expensive dinners at fine restaurants and plush overnight stays in five-star accommodation.

He was eventually tracked down by Greater Manchester Police staying in a £800-a-night rented mansion in Berkshire.

The former footballer - whose playing career was plagued by injury - enjoyed brief stints with Derby County, Oldham Athletic, Southend United, Fulham and Crystal Palace, but most recently turned out for Conference South side Farnborough Town.

At the height of his career, Abalimba is estimated to have earned £4,000-a-week at Derby after failing to make the grade at Anfield, but more recently pocketed a significantly more modest £300-a-week at Cherrywood Road with the semi-professional Hampshire based club.

By comparison, France youth international Kakuta - the player he regularly claimed to be - is still on the books at Stamford Bridge following his move from Ligue 1 club Lille in 2007.

The 23-year-old is yet to make a significant impact at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, having been loaned out to La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano for the duration of the 2014/15 campaign.

Kakuta has enjoyed a promising start to life at Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas, scoring two goals in eight league appearances for Paco's side this term.

Whether or not the youngster has a long0-term future in west London remains to be seen, but at least his career as a professional footballer is showing more promise than his locked up impersonator, Abalimba.

Gael Kakuta
Premier League

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