Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed he was driven to suicidal thoughts because of the way in which his family attempted to manipulate money out of him.
The former Premier League striker has made a vast fortune for himself during his career, boasting wages in excess of £170,000 per week while at Manchester City and Tottenham.
Having come from an impoverished background in the West African country of Togo, Adebayor’s wealth has seen him become the breadwinner for his extended family and that appears to have lead to a complete breakdown in their relationship.
The 33-year-old claimed to have always wanted to lift his family from poverty, but was forced into a deep depression after they continued to ‘oppose’ him despite his efforts.
He told So Foot: ‘I felt like killing myself so many times. I kept this to myself for years and years. I am disgusted that things reached this stage, but I feel relieved to have talked about it.
‘My football career will be finished in three or four years. By contrast my family name will remain with me – together with these people.
‘Things are hard to bear when you are working hard to lift your family our of poverty, but they are still opposed to you. I have always told my younger brothers that we have been manipulated by our families.
‘I often change my phone number so that my family can’t contact me. They call me, not to ask how I am, but to demand money. That was the case after I injured my hamstring while with Tottenham.
‘They rang me while I was having a scan to ask me if I could pay a kid’s school fees. At least ask me first how I am before you do this!’
While Adebayor does not name any specific members of his family in the interview, he is known to have a difficult relationship with his mother, accusing her as recently as 2014 of cursing him with black magic.
With his form for Tottenham dipping at the time, Adebayor called on his mother to ‘stop doing juju on me’ and to leave him alone after she publicly claimed he had thrown her out of the family home.