Emmanuel Eboue always played with a smile across his face but last year, the 34-year-old shockingly revealed that he was pushed to the brink of suicide following troubles in his life.
Eboue picked up millions during spells at Arsenal, Galatasaray and Sunderland, but the 34-year-old is struggling.
He revealed that he sometimes sleeps on the floor of a friend’s home and hides from bailiffs on a daily basis, even cleaning his clothes by hand because he has no washing machine.
His current situation is a far cry from his former self but Eboue will always be recognised as one of the biggest characters in the game.
One of Eboue’s most infamous moments came at the 2010 World Cup, during the Ivory Coast’s final group game against North Korea.
The African nation were 3-0 up going into stoppage time and North Korean coach Kim Jong-Hun proceeded to call his captain over for a team talk. There’s not much you can say at this stage, right?
Eboue decided to follow the Korean number 10 to the sidelines and listen to what was going on, despite not knowing a single word of the language. He nodded and agreed. It was one of the most memorable moments of the World Cup.
Six years after the hilarious incident, Eboue revealed exactly what happened in an interview with The Telegraph:
“That time, I honestly don’t know what was going on in my head at the time. But people aren’t going to forget about it.” Eboue said.
“When their coach called his captain over, I went close to him, nodded and said, ‘OK, no problem, I understand, yeah?’ He said to me, ‘You speak Korean?’ I said, ‘No, but I understand a little bit’ and he was laughing.”
“It was funny, it was our last game so we were at the airport the next day with the Korean players and one of them came over to me and said, ‘Eboue, you speak my language?’ I said, ‘Yeah’.
“So he says, ‘OK, how do you say ‘good morning’ in Korean? So I shout, ‘Yang!!!’ and he literally fell on the floor laughing.”
Another story involving the Ivorian that went viral involved a tiger outfit and Gilberto Silva’s Christmas party.
Gilberto, celebrating his new found captaincy at the club, decided to dress up like the animal and hide behind a door before his teammates arrived.
The likes of Emmanuel Adebayor congregated in a room when Eboue jumped out in full tiger costume, roaring at the guests on arrival.
Adebayor commented on Eboue’s antics, saying: “He’s funnier than some comedians on TV. Sometimes when he eats, he puts food up his nose.”
Perhaps the most iconic moment during his time at Arsenal came on Member’s Day 2010, when fans are given the opportunity to get autographs and meet their favourite players.
The annual event is relatively professional and in order, until the biggest character in football arrives and causes mayhem.
Eboue proceeded to sprint towards the ball and smash it for six. He celebrated by jumping up and down. Classic.
Thank you, Emmanuel. For always making us smile in the most unexpected ways.