10 Footballers Who Struggled with Alcohol

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalSeptember 7, 2011

10 Footballers Who Struggled with Alcohol

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    "He needs to improve, to drink less." Those were the words of advice given to Liverpool striker Andy Carroll by his international manager Fabio Capello according to BBC Sport this week.

    At just 22, Carroll may well just be getting it out of his system, but the following list serves as a warning to what can happen if things get out of control.

1. Paul Merson

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    Former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson battled alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling addiction during a roller-coaster playing career.

    The FA put him through therapy for all three, and having come to terms with his problems he is now a media pundit.

2. Tony Adams

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    Having struggled with addiction for a decade, Arsenal legend Tony Adams finally admitted to being an alcoholic in 1996.

    He sought treatment and managed to continue his playing career until 2002. Adams now manages Gabala FC in Azerbaijan.

3. Paul Gasgoigne

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    Arguably the most gifted English footballer of his generation, Paul Gascoigne's troubles with alcohol have been well documented.

    In his book Gazza: My Story he admitted battling with alcoholism for much of his playing career.

4. George Best

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    The late, great George Best fought a long battle with alcoholism that began in his playing days.

    Best achieved much with Manchester United, but there's no question alcohol cut short his peak.

5. Malcolm Macdonald

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    Former Newcastle and England striker Malcolm McDonald spiraled into alcoholism as a result of personal problems in the late 1980s.

    He was managing at the time, but has since become a radio pundit and has successfully beaten his addiction.

6. Jimmy Greaves

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    Tottenham's all-time record goalscorer Jimmy Greaves fought a very public battle with alcoholism in the 1970s. He was still playing at the time.

    He is now sober and working the after-dinner circuit.

7. Paul McGrath

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    Paul McGrath's battle with alcoholism made for a difficult relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson at the start of his Manchester United reign.

    McGrath moved on to Aston Villa, where he fought his demons to put in the best years of his career.

    His book, Back from the Brink, tells the story of a career that was almost ended by alcohol.

8. Gary Charles

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    Former Aston Villa, Derby County and Nottingham Forest player Gary Charles has twice been jailed for alcohol-related offenses after his career was ended by injury.

    Charles, who won two caps for England, told a court in 2006 he was struggling with alcoholism.

9. Garrincha

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    Brazilian legend Garrincha struggled with alcohol throughout his life and eventually died of liver disease.

    He was part of the Brazil's World Cup winning teams in 1958 and 1962.

10. Kenny Sansom

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    Former Arsenal and England full-back Kenny Sansom struggled with alcoholism after ending his playing days in 1995.

    He is now backing playing on the "Legends" circuit.