21 Julio 2017 09:17
He woke up to find a knife at his throat: ‘Kill me and take the money,’ he told his brothers
Emmanuel Adebayor has at last freed himself from his burden. Being a rich footballer and part of a humble Togolese family has proved too much for the international footballer, who now says he wants nothing more to do with his six siblings or his parents after so many years of abuse and extortion.
A few years ago he wrote a series of Facebook posts telling of his family's efforts to get money out of him, although the worst of them he told the BBC in this interview.
Perhaps the ugliest event occurred when he was playing in Monaco. He’d just finished a training session and went to his home on the Cote d'Azur for an afternoon snooze. When he opened his eyes, two of his brothers, Kola and Peter, were standing over him holding a knife to his throat. They wanted money and would do anything to get it.
'Is this the only way to solve this issue? If yes, then kill me and take the money,' Adebayor told them.
His attackers backed down, fully aware that if they killed him they’d lose their very own golden-egg-laying goose. Adebayor called his mother, Alice, before contacting the police, but found no support, his mother, instead, reproaching him for his attitude and calling him a bad person.
This is just one example of the many ways in which the 33-year-old forward has suffered at the hands of his family: houses, cars, money and endless memories tarnished by violence. Two of his most precious belongings have also been lost to his brother Rotimi: football shirts given to Adebayor by Marc-Vivien Foé and Zinedine Zidane, both pilfered by Rotimi, one of his six siblings.
He also claims his family had a hand in his early departure from the Bernabeu, where, in the 6 months he played there, Real Madrid won the King’s Cup. ‘I had done everything to stay in Real Madrid but because of my late brother I couldn't stay there. He sent a letter, an official letter from Adebayor's family to the club saying that they should not keep me. I'm not saying that's why they did not keep me, but it can be part of it. Even if it's 10%, it is a lot,' Adebayor said.
He still doesn’t know what has happened to his brother Kola, who asked him for money to open a business in Germany. ‘Only God knows how much I gave him. Where is that business today?’, he ponders.
One trauma, which has been hard for him to overcome, he suffered when his mother forbid him to see his brother Peter before he died.
‘I was in Ghana when I received the news about my brother Peter being seriously ill. I drove the fastest I could to Togo in order to meet him and help. When I arrived, my mother said I could not see him and I should just give the money and she would solve everything,’ he explains.
That incident and numerous attempts by his family to extort money from him led the footballer to consider suicide on more than one occasion.
Ten years ago he organised a family reunion to try to bring them closer together, but nothing came of it. ‘I organised a meeting in 2005 to solve our family issues. When I asked them about their opinion, they said I should build each family member a house and give each of them a monthly wage.’
He was so bent on helping his family that he even tried getting his brother Rotimi into the world of football. He enrolled him in a school, but while he was there Rotimi stole 21 mobile phones from a team of 27 players. Just as he did with Adebayor’s football shirts.
He doesn’t know anything about his sister Yabo either. ‘A couple of years ago, I bought a house in Ghana for $1.2 million. I found it normal to let my older sister, Yabo Adebayor, stay in that house, and I also allowed my half brother, Daniel, to stay in the same house. A few months later, I was on vacation and decided to go to that house. At my surprise, I saw many cars in the driveway. In fact, my sister decided to rent out the house without me knowing. She also kicked Daniel out of that house,’ recounts the player, now at the Turkish Süper Lig team Istanbul Başakşehir.
‘When I called her and asked for explanation, she took about 30 minutes to abuse and insult me over the phone. I called my mother to explain the situation and she did the same as my sister. This same sister says I am ungrateful. Ask her about the car she is driving or anything she is selling today.'
This is the drama of a footballer for whom blood always came before money, until he could take no more. After so much effort wasted trying to help his loved ones and dishing out money, he’s now saying, ‘enough’s enough.’
‘Today I am a different person. I do not talk to my family now, but I am happy.’ It's taken a while, but Adebayor has finally broken free.