Manchester United and England forward Wayne Rooney has plunged down the latest Football Rich List rankings, released on FourFourTwo.com in association with Leaders in Football.
After a turbulent 2010 on and off the pitch, the 24-year-old Old Trafford hero has fallen from 65th place last season to 89th in the annual list of British football's wealthiest participants, from owners to shareholders to managers to players.
With his estimated wealth slashed from £37m to £25m amid fears that his sponsorship deals might be threatened by tabloid exposes and subsequent marital doubts, Rooney has also fallen down the players' Rich List – from third last year to sixth this, being overtaken by club-mates Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs plus Sol Campbell.
Rooney's year had started brilliantly – he had scored 34 goals in 44 games during a scintillating season for Sir Alex Ferguson's team – before an ankle injury picked up in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in March began the decline.
After rushing back for the the second leg at Old Trafford a week later, he struggled for fitness and was largely anonymous as the Red Devils bowed out to the Germans on away goals.
And the spark hadn't returned by the World Cup, at which Rooney was expected to provide the firepower to inspire England to glory in South Africa as he had done with Manchester United in recent seasons.
Clearly frustrated with his fitness and form on the biggest stage, Manchester United No.10 Rooney was slammed by fans after reacting unwisely to boos following England's dismal 0-0 draw with Algeria.
With England players generally in disgrace after a poor World Cup, the last thing Rooney needed was lurid tabloid allegations about his private life.
The claims threatened the Old Trafford star's marriage to childhood sweetheart Coleen, but industry advisers also worry that it affects his public image - vital to his lucrative sponsorship deals.
Just this week, Coca-Cola decided that they "did not feel it was appropriate" to use the Red Devils forward at this time on their Coke Zero campaign in the wake of the allegations about his private life.
By James Martini
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