Elite footballers are easy targets for criminals and it is "only a matter of time" before a player or a member of their family is seriously injured or killed, security experts have warned.
This week's attack on Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli, who was robbed at knifepoint in his north London home, was the latest in a series of cases in which a high-profile player has been targeted by violent criminals.
Experts within the security industry fear that footballers are now seen as a "challenge" for robbers, and said players must learn to "fly under the radar", especially those who display their wealth on social media.
The robbery of Mr Alli follows the attack on the family of Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen in March, and the attempted carjacking of Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac in July last year.
It was revealed yesterday that the intruders who broke into Mr Alli's home had evaded the security guard who stays on the premises during the night.
It is not clear how this happened, but such precautionary measures are increasingly common among footballers, with trained dogs, panic rooms and manned patrols becoming sought-after methods of protection.
But experts believe more must be done to counter the criminal threat, with Alex Bomberg, the chief executive of security firm Intelligent Protection International, saying that players have to be particularly careful to control what they post online.
"The intelligence is there on social media," Mr Bomberg said.
"The criminals can look and say, 'Oh look, there's the £50,000 watch, there's the jewellery collection, there's the £1,000 pair of sunglasses'.
"They become a target because they become a challenge. People will look at a footballer posting all of this stuff and they then become a challenge to the criminal community.
"They need to learn how to fly under the radar a bit more, and what is and what is not a good idea to be posting on social media. My biggest fear is that someone's wife or child is going to get killed by doing something wrong during an incident.
"That is my biggest fear, and I really do think we are heading in that direction. This attack could have gone terribly wrong. It is only a matter of time before a player's wife or girlfriend gets killed."
Mr Alli is understood to have been relatively unfazed by the incident, despite a minor injury to his face.
The intruders are believed to have entered through the back of the player's house before demanding that the 24-year-old gave them a watch he was wearing. (© Daily Telegraph, London)