Chris Smalling has confirmed that he and his family are unharmed after being robbed at gunpoint from their Italian home this week.
The former Manchester United defender, who now plays for Roma, said he was ‘shaken’ after hooded and masked burglars broke into their villa and stole watches, jewelry and money.
The former England international thanked the fans for their good wishes, with former teammate Marcus Rashford with those sending messages of support to the footballer and his family.
But his wife had a stronger message to thieves, which she called ‘rats’ and warned other thieves to target them again.
Smalling and his wife Sam Cooke endured a terrible ordeal in the wee hours of Friday morning when they were awakened by armed burglars.
The 31-year-old former United and Fulham center-back was forced to open the family’s personal safe as three men targeted his property in the south of the Italian capital, where he has lived for a year .
Smalling and Cooke’s two-year-old son Leo was also on the property at the time, along with the footballer’s mother and sister.
Cooke reportedly called the police at 5 a.m. on Friday morning, with police arriving at the scene shortly after.
Smalling took to social media on Saturday morning to respond to the news and assured fans that he and his family were not injured in the ordeal.
The ex-United posted on Twitter: “I want to thank everyone for your good wishes and support! My family, although very shaken, is fortunately unscathed!
“Hoping that these people can find a more meaningful way to live their lives without causing so much harm and distress to others.”
Cooke also spoke out on the ordeal, saying her husband handled the situation ‘very well’ by calling the burglars ‘rats’.
“Thank you very much for all the good wishes,” posted the model on Instagram.
“Although still a little shaken, my family is doing well. My husband handled the situation very well.
“I would just like to suggest that those who live their lives like those thieves who walked into our room at 4 am pointing guns at our heads, rethink their life choices and live in a more respectable and conscious way like real men, not rats (disrespectful to the rats I know).
“I suspect your life has not been easy, but there is always another way. A way that will lead to blessings and not to karma that will bite your ass, which I have no doubt!
“And for the record, whoever thinks of getting closer to me and my family, we don’t have any more jewelry or watches and we don’t intend to buy any more!”
“If you see us wearing something, it’s probably wrong. So don’t worry.
Smalling joined Roma initially on loan in 2019 and signed for Serie A permanently a year later, ending a ten-year career at Man United where he won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the Europa League.
The defender first moved to Rome on his own, living in a hotel during his loan period, before he and his wife bought a 700-year-old villa in the city’s historic Appia Antica district, where they live for a year.
He has been injured for much of the season and did not play in Thursday night’s Europa League clash against Ajax.
The 1-1 draw in Rome reserved the Italian side a place in the semi-finals of the competition, as they missed out on 3-2 winners on aggregate, and they will face former Smalling club Man United in the last four.
News of the theft comes after fellow Serie A star USA international Weston McKennie was robbed while playing for Juventus in January.
In November last year, thieves also broke into the home of Roma manager Paulo Fonseca on the eve of the team’s clash against Fiorentina.
Thieves allegedly stole around € 100,000 of valuables from the coach’s home.
Fortunately, he and his family were not present for the burglary.