10 High-Profile Footballers Who Served Time in Prison

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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 18:  Fabio Cannavaro of Italy and Real Madrid speaks to the media during a press conference prior to the FIFA World Player of the Year Awards ceremony at the Zurich Opera House on December 18, 2006 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The news that former Italy captain and Ballon d'Or winner Fabio Cannavaro is due to serve 10 months in prison may have come as a surprise, but it's not totally uncommon to see high-profile footballers doing porridge. 


The fact that the World Cup winner's sentence comes as a result of him trespassing his own property is somewhat unusual, granted, but perhaps not quite as bizarre as some of those handed out to his colleagues before him.


Here's 10 of the best:

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10. Peter Storey

​Crime: Car theft/conspiracy to counterfeit gold coins and smuggling hardcore pornography


Time behind bars: Three years plus 28 days


A veteran of over 500 games for Arsenal, 'Hatchet Man' Storey was fined £700 a year after his retirement in 1978, for running a brothel on Leyton High Street.


Then, in 1980, the former England international was sentenced to three years in prison for car theft and conspiracy to counterfeit gold half sovereigns. But Storey saved arguably his best crime 'til last, when he was convicted of smuggling 20 hardcore porn films into the country in the spare tyre of his Jeep, 10 years later. He subsequently served a further 28 days for the offence.

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9. Mickey Thomas

​Crime: Counterfeiting and money laundering


Time behind bars: 18 months


The former Manchester United and Chelsea star is perhaps most famous for scoring the equalising goal in Wexham's FA Cup defeat of league champions Arsenal in 1992, but hit the headlines again a year later when sentenced to 18 months for counterfeiting 10- and £20 notes, which he laundered through trainees at the then third division side.


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8. Jermaine Pennant

​Crime: Drink driving while banned


Time behind bars: 30 days


While on loan at Birmingham City from Arsenal in 2005, Pennant was questioned by police after crashing his top of the range Mercedes into a lamppost while more than twice the drink-drive limit. The winger initially identified himself as team-mate Ashley Cole, but was later convicted of the offence and served 30 days of a three-month sentence, before being released on tag.


Now playing for Wigan Athletic, Pennant has spent more days in prison than he's scored senior goals (18).

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7. Duncan Ferguson

​Crime: Assault


Time behind bars: 44 days


Ferguson - who once apprehended a burglar in his home, leaving the man in hospital for three days - has four assault convictions, including one for an on-pitch headbutt on Raith Rovers defender John McStay while at Rangers in 1994. "Duncan Disorderly", as he is affectionately known by many, was not sent off for the attack but was later sentenced to three months in prison.

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6. Joey Barton

Crime: Assault and affray


Time behind bars: 74 days


Barton's career has been blighted by on- and off-field controversies from day one, but the most notable incident saw him locked up for two and a half months after punching one man 20 times and leaving a teenage boy with broken teeth.


Following his release, Barton has gone to great lengths to dilute his bad-boy rep, such as, appearing on Question Time, listening to The Smiths and pretending he can read.

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5. Jan Molby

​Crime: Drink driving


Time behind bars: Six weeks


In late 1998, the portly midfielder was sentenced to three months in prison for a drink driving offence. Molby initially feared for his Liverpool career, but was welcomed back to the first-team fold the following January and lifted the FA Cup later that year, as well as the First Division title in 1989-90.

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4. Ian Wright

Crime: Failing to pay fines for driving without tax or insurance


​Time behind bars: 14 days


The legendary Arsenal striker spent two weeks in Chelmsford prison for owning two vehicles, neither of which had tax or insurance. While there, a young Wright vowed to do everything in his power to make it in football.


He would later achieve this goal, being named fourth in a poll of all-time Greatest Gunners on Arsenal's website.

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3. Rene Higuita

Crime: Profiting from a kidnapping


Time behind bars: Seven months


Notorious for his criminal contacts, Higuita was recruited as a go-between after an 11-year-old girl was kidnapped in the Colombian city, Medellin. The madcap goalkeeper subsequently visited a local hamburger restaurant, where he handed over the $300,000 required to secure her release.


The girl's family later presented him with $50,000 for his troubles, which he accepted, landing him in hot water with the authorities. Higuita spent seven months in prison and missed the 1994 World Cup as a result.

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2. George Best

​Crime: Drink driving, assaulting a police officer and failing to answer bail


Time behind bars: Three months


Best, who was famous for his liaisons with the opposite sex, was sentenced to three months 'doing bird' in November 1984. Sadly, it was not the kind the recently retired winger had grown accustomed to, having been convicted of the aforementioned crimes.

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1. Tony Adams

​Crime: Drink Driving


Time behind bars: 57 days


The former Arsenal and England skipper was sentenced to four months in prison back in 1990, after crashing his car into a wall while allegedly 27 (that's TWENTY-SEVEN) times over the legal drink-drive limit.


Thankfully, Adams received help for his alcoholism, and twice led the Gunners to league and cup doubles while also founding the Sporting Chance Clinic.

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