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How one text message changed a 'billion dollar' footballer for the worse ... and the better

Vincent Pericard smiles on the pitch at Fratton Park, Portsmouth, where he ended up on loan from Juventus after a text message began a series of life-changing events.
Once tipped as football's first potential billion-dollar player, Vincent Pericard's life took an unexpected turn.

One well-intentioned text message changed Vincent Pericard's life, inadvertently triggering a sequence of events that led to a series of self-destructive actions and thoughts.

In the space of four years, the footballer went from training with Zinedine Zidane and playing against Thierry Henry to sitting in his apartment looking at a bottle of pills, wondering if anyone would care if he ever woke up.

Football had eaten him up and spit him out. A dismal run of injuries married with self-doubt turned...

Craig Foster's #PlayForLives initiative helping community sport tackle the coronavirus

This time last year, former Australia captain Craig Foster had just recovered from the emotional and physical toll of spearheading the campaign to free Bahraini refugee Hakeem al-Araibi from a Bangkok prison.

Foster made headlines around the world in early 2019 as he successfully fought for the freedom of Al-Araibi, a footballer who fled Bahrain and was held in a Thai prison for more than two months during a tense extradition stand-off between Australia and the Gulf state.

- FFA confirms indefinite...

English football faces grim future: Coronavirus impact on lower leagues

"We run the real risk of losing many famous football clubs. It could destroy the integrity of the competitions we love as football supporters. Ultimately the crisis may threaten the very existence of our football clubs if sufficient action is not taken. My concern is that we might have double figures of clubs that go to the wall."

It's a dire warning from Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley as he discusses the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on football.

Pilley's reasoning is simple. With...

Ex-Colombia star Viafara extradited to U.S. on drug warrant

Former Colombia star Jhon Viafara was awaiting extradition since September.

Former Southampton and Colombia international footballer Jhon Viafara was extradited to the United States on a drug warrant on Thursday.

The 41-year-old was arrested last March after prosecutors in Texas said they believed he was part of a criminal network that shipped cocaine to the U.S.

The retired midfielder, who played for several Colombian teams and had spells with English rivals Portsmouth and Southampton, as well as Spain's Real Sociedad, was flown out of the country in the early hours of...