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Split from sweetheart and losing love for the game… Marcus Rashford was a football superstar – so what happened?

MARCUS RASHFORD grew up watching his single mum Melanie work three jobs to support him, his brothers and sisters.

Sometimes she would skip meals to ensure they had enough to eat, and the family needed free school dinners to make sure Marcus and his four siblings had at least one plate of hot food a day.

Marcus Rashford has been beset by personal troubles on and off the pitch leading to him being axed last weekend

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Marcus Rashford has been beset by personal troubles on and off the pitch leading to him being axed last weekendCredit: Getty
Rashford split from long-term lover Lucia Loi and fears women he meets are simply after his money

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Rashford split from long-term lover Lucia Loi and fears women he meets are simply after his moneyCredit: Getty
Rashford was awarded a MBE for his work campaigning for free school meals for children

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Rashford was awarded a MBE for his work campaigning for free school meals for childrenCredit: Rex

Fast forward 20 years and, now earning £325,000 a week at Manchester United, he could be forgiven for thinking money would solve all the family’s problems.

But instead the 26-year-old England striker has hit rock bottom.

Earlier this week, Rashford faced a £650,000 club fine after finishing a 12-hour tequila-fuelled benderat 3am, despite being due in training just a few hours later.

He rang in sick, claiming to be ill, which the club took at face value until social media footage showed he had been in a Belfast nightclubtill the early hours.

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At a meeting with manager Erik ten Hag and United director of football John Murtoughon Monday, Rashford is understood to have admitted to having lost some of his love for the game.

In his personal life it seems he’s also struggling, and those problems are transferring onto the pitch.

‘Family rifts’

A source told The Sun: “Marcus has always had a close inner circle.

“His brothers are his agents and his advisers, but the truth is that there are cracks starting to appear.

“He has massive sponsorship deals and a buy-to-let empire of houses, plus his earnings on the pitch, and that means he’s an extremely wealthy young man.

“He’s in a unique position to make himself and his family financially secure for generations, but that’s not what’s happening.

“There have been arguments and tensions over money in his camp for months, and it’s not getting any better.

“Marcus is in the middle of it all feeling lost.

“He doesn’t know who to trust and his confidence on and off the pitch has taken a dive.

“His life’s become a mess and he’s at a loss as to how to make it better.”

Rashford’s older brothers, Dwaineand Dane, act as his agents, business advisers and gatekeepers.

They all live in the same leafy street in Wilmslow, Cheshire, along with mum Melanie.

The opulent lifestyle is a far cry from the modest terraced home in Withington, Manchester, where Marcus spent his early childhood years.

Marcus has been close to brothers Dwaine Maynard (left) Dane Rashford (right), but relations have strained recently

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Marcus has been close to brothers Dwaine Maynard (left) Dane Rashford (right), but relations have strained recentlyCredit: Instagram

The footie idol’s family relationships have been strained since Dane, 31, was arrested for domestic battery in Miami in October.

Charges were dropped but the incident has left a lasting impact.

Dwaine has put his house up for sale, believing his security was compromised after Dane’s address was published online by police in Miami as part of the charge, and Dane has been increasingly sidelined.

Several sources have told The Sun that Dwaine, 40, and Marcus are barely on speaking terms, despite the siblings attending showdown talks with ten Hag together on Monday.

Rashford still socialises with childhood friends, and once said of his inner circle: “It has always been small and always will be, because I feel like I work best in that environment. I trust them.”

But some pals have abused that trust, with one using Marcus’ bank card to buy expensive items without his permission.

Others have let him down simply by failing to question his decisions to go out partying, drinking and gambling.

Another of Rashford’s anchors was school sweetheart Lucia Loi, who he split with last summer.

Their on-off relationship is believed to be over for good after Rashford was snapped walking into a Miami hotel with a leggy model at 5am.

Rashford was seen walking into a hotel last year in Miami with a model - signalling the end of his relationship

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Rashford was seen walking into a hotel last year in Miami with a model – signalling the end of his relationshipCredit: SPLASH NEWS AND PICTURES

And last September, he pranged his £700,000 Rolls-Royce outside United’s Carrington training ground.

It came after his school meals campaign to help feed Britain’s poorest kids during the holidays earned him an MBE.

A source said of private turmoil: “Marcus has wardrobes full of designer clothes, watches and jewellery, but he met Lucia when he had nothing.

“He knew she loved him for him, not his money.

“Now he feels girls he meets are just interested in his bank balance.

“He’s been earning a lot of money for a good few years now, but only really started flaunting it in recent times.

“Part of that was because of his involvement in the free school meals campaign.

“He was conscious people would criticise him for campaigning one day and being seen at the wheel of a Lamborghini the next.

“But his campaign was never about Marcus using his money to end child food poverty. That’s impossible.

“As he’s grown up, he has been encouraged by some advisers to enjoy his wealth, because he has worked hard for it.”

Trying to provide for his extended family has also caused rifts.

Rashford has a property empire encompassing at least a dozen homes he rents out, controlled by Melanie.

Our source said: “Some of them are regular houses with regular tenants, but other, larger properties in the posh Cheshire suburbs have been designated for family.

“Many of his family members grew up in modest homes in working class areas of Manchester, without much money.

“Even if Marcus lets them live rent-free, they still don’t have the means to pay heating and electricity in a huge mansion.

“Some kids in the extended Rashford family are still on free school meals, so it’s a massively complicated situation.

“Marcus is doing his best to help people.”

It is understood matters came to a head when Rashford did not attend the recent funeral of a relative, fearing that his presence would be too awkward as he would be approached and asked for money.

Recognising the need for expert help, Rashford and his team have approached numerous PR agencies and financial advisers, but have yet to find the right match.

These difficulties in his personal life have led to a crisis of confidence on the pitch.

Rashford was spotted at a nightclub in Belfast last week, hours before he was due in training

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Rashford was spotted at a nightclub in Belfast last week, hours before he was due in trainingCredit:
Earlier this season he was involved in a car crash close to United's training ground

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Earlier this season he was involved in a car crash close to United’s training groundCredit:

Just six months ago — after bagging an incredible 30 goals in one season — United fought off interest from Paris Saint Germain to persuade Rashford to sign a five-year contract worth £84.5million.

The Premier League star proudly said: “I joined Manchester United as a seven-year-old boy with a dream.

“That same passion, pride, and determination to succeed still drives me every time I have the honour of wearing the shirt.”

On his “relentless” determination to win more trophies, he added: “As a United fan all my life, I know the responsibility that comes with representing this badge.

“I will give everything to help the team.”

‘Not pulling his weight’

But a series of disinterested displays, netting just four goals this season, have seen the Old Trafford crowd start to get on his back for the first time since he burst onto the scene aged 18, scoring two goals in his February 2016 debut.

A multi-million pound boot deal with Nike had to be delayed due to his poor form and his brother’s arrest, and Rashford has also seen a string of pals — Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Brandon Williams and Anthony Elanga — leave the club.

He now finds himself regarded as a senior leader in the dressing room, but some reckon he is not pulling his weight and relationships with teammates are strained.

A source said: “Marcus doesn’t seem happy in training or in games.

“The team has been struggling and needs everyone pulling together.

“Some of the players are frustrated because they know just how talented Marcus is.

“They know they need him if they are going to win things.

“And some feel like he doesn’t care as much anymore.”

Can Rashford turn it around?

Yes, believes one source.

“Marcus is a really good guy.

“He’s actually quite shy, not the outgoing extrovert that people believe from all the designer clothes and Rolls-Royces.

“He’s achieved so much in his career so far and he’s only 26.

“But he’s the kind of person who has to hit rock bottom before he can start to climb back up.

“Like many players, he craves routine, people he can trust around him, stability and a cause he can support that connects him back to his roots.

“He had all that once, and now it’s a case of building it back up.

“He knows he needs to make changes in his life, but it’s up to him to do that.”

Insiders last night revealed Marcus had been more focused in training this week and seemed intent on answering his critics on the pitch.

On Thursday, four days after being dropped, it took him less than five minutes to score United’s opening goal against Wolves, helping his side to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory.

Hopefully, for Rashford, the comeback starts here.

Manchester United hope Rashford will rediscover his love for the game

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Manchester United hope Rashford will rediscover his love for the game

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