Sixteen years ago Julio Colombo was winning the Under-17 World Cup with France, alongside Anthony Le Tallec and Florent Sinama Pongolle.
But now, at the age of 32, the former Montpellier defender has been sentenced to six years in prison, as reported by L’Equipe.
Colombo was found guilty of playing a part in a drug trafficking operation, along with 14 other defendants.
The Marseille court heard that 180 kilograms of cannabis resin had been exchanged for 89 kilos of cocaine.
Colombo was arrested in June 2015 as part of an anti-drug operation in France and Italy which took down a group called Ndrangheta, linked to the Italian mafia.
His lawyer, Pierre Lumbroso, said: “He has earned a lot of money but he has lost a lot too.
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“He was in an extremely depressed state because his career did not reach the level that he was expecting.”
Colombo was targeted by Juventus when still a teenager, such were his talents, and was called up to play for the French Under-21 side at the prestigious Toulon Tournament in 2004.
But his career, spent entirely with Montpellier, was mostly consigned to the second tier of French football.
He played just 17 times in Ligue 1, with injuries plaguing him throughout his career, and was released in 2010.
By 26 he was forced to retire, running a restaurant in Montpellier for several years before being forced to close it down due to financial reasons.
So while Sinama Pongolle prepares to turn out for a Thai second division side and Le Tallec prepares to trot out for Greek side Atromitos, Colombo will be starting a prison spell.
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