LaLiga players have a problem, as organised gangs have set their sights set on top-flight footballers. The violent robbery at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s Barcelona home on Monday is just the latest example.
Not even a fortnight ago, Valencia forward Samu Castillejo suffered a robbery, but he was lucky not to be at home when the attackers entered. Two assaults in three matchdays. It is no coincidence.
This situation is not new. Real Madrid and Barcelona footballers have suffered similar incidents on more than one occasion. Casemiro had his house burgled with his wife and daughter inside during a derby in 2019. Lucas Vazquez had something similar happen to him while he was with his family on holiday, with Zinedine Zidane and Isco also facing the same issue while they were at Real Madrid.
The most recent case to see the light of day on social media was the complaint of Mina Bonino, partner of Fede Valverde, during her holiday in Ibiza.
“They drugged me”, said Mina about the robbery at her summer home where 10,000 euros were stolen.
“The real estate agents told us that the food could have been poisoned by the chef, so they took us to the hospital for substance tests.”
Several Barcelona footballers have also been assaulted by organised gangs at their homes. The most notorious case was that of Gerard Pique in 2018. Taking advantage of the fact that the player had joined up with his national team and that his partner Shakira was on tour, thieves broke into his home in Espluges to take numerous valuables.
At the same time, another robbery took place at Jordi Alba‘s home. In this case with the player’s family inside the house, the thieves finally broke into the first floor without his wife and children being aware of it. The Barcelona full-back was in training ahead of a Champions League match against AC Milan.
Clubs’ recommendations to players
Many clubs have given their players guidelines to try to avoid this type of assaults, asking them to reinforce security during matches or training camps and avoid attracting too much attention.
MARCA has consulted police sources to determine the extent to which players are controlled by these gangs who are looking for easy money.
“They are easy targets to control,” say the police.
“They attract a lot of attention. Luxury cars, jewellery, watches, social networks.
“They are young boys who sometimes bring people into the house and these people tell what they have seen.”
This is not a new phenomenon, but an increase in violence has been detected, which is a consequence of what is currently happening in some big cities where violent robberies have increased. It is not always a question of foreign gangs, but these highly organised gangs have Eastern European origins.
Alarms, discretion, control of the surroundings, private security and common sense in giving information about each of their movements usually help to reduce this type of assaults that are scaring many players who live in houses on the outskirts of big cities.
Real Madrid sent a clear message to their players when the wave of robberies began: “Do not expose your private life on social networks.”
The fact that the player himself or his wife showed images of their homes and their location meant that the thieves had information that they used to commit the robberies.
The ruthless robbery at Ashley Cole’s home
One of the most high-profile cases was the robbery at Ashley Cole‘s home in 2020. The former England full-back, who retired from football aged 38 in August 2019, was robbed by masked individuals at his property in Fetcham, Surrey, in January 2020.
In the violent robbery, which took place on January 21, up to six thieves “dressed in camouflage clothing and balaclavas” made off with a large amount of jewellery.
Cole was tied to a chair during the robbery and ended up extremely shaken by the experience. More than two years after the incident, The Mirror reports that the thieves threatened to cut off his fingers.
At the trial for the burglary, which took place at Nottingham Crown Court, it was said that Cole was tied up at knifepoint in front of his partner and their two children, also claiming that one of the burglars suggested to his companions “let’s cut off his fingers”.