Remembering when David de Gea glazed over the law and stole a doughnut by accident

David de Gea has carved out a mammoth career in English football with Manchester United, but his 12 years in England got off to a sketchy start involving a run-in with the law.

That’s right. Long before he blossomed into the best goalkeeper in the world at his peak, De Gea was too busy on the streets, hustling and living a life led by crime.

Armed robberies? No. Major financial fraud? Worse. He was a Krispy Kreme doughnut thief. By accident.

Let’s set the scene. It’s September 2011. A scrawny, 20-year-old De Gea who speaks very little English and has the weight of the world on his shoulders is out doing a bit of shopping in his new home of Greater Manchester.

Like anyone, he’s in need of a few groceries and pops into Tesco. He might be a footballer, but after all, he’s human. And what human doesn’t like an overpriced, insanely unhealthy doughnut every once in a while? Sweet treats make the world go by. Thems the rules. Deal with it.

Getting acclimatised to his new surroundings, De Gea steps foot into Tesco and immediately makes eye contact with the Krispy Kreme machine.

You know the ones. They’re infectious. Trying to do a bit of healthy shopping and suddenly you’re deciding to fill a bag with Original Glazed or Chocolate Dreamcake. Diet out the window, money down the drain.

Seriously, that Krispy Kreme machine is like crack. It sucks you in. And when you’re a young footballer now earning the wage reflecting your status as the first-choice goalkeeper of Manchester United, money is no issue, meaning Krispy Kreme prices are no issue. Must be nice.

De Gea, enamoured by the beauty of the Krispy Kreme machine, was reported to have picked up an Original Glazed, tucked into it and enjoyed the delicacy – without ever paying – and then left Tesco empty-handed.

Poor lad. Clearly in a trance by the power of the doughnut. Been there, done it. Unfortunately, getting caught out happens to the best of us, too. Not that we’d know or anything. We pay full price for our doughnuts here.

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Manchester United's David De Gea celebrates during a Premier League game against Everton. Old Trafford, April 2012.

READ: Where are they now? The Man Utd Xl from David de Gea’s debut in 2011

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The 20-year-old De Gea, who tried to leave the shop with his Spanish friends, was picked up by security after getting caught on CCTV and was swiftly whisked away into the tight and incredibly humbling setting that is the store security room. Dear oh dear.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s shiny new toy, the heir to the throne vacated by Edwin van der Sar, the man who caused Ferguson to miss a United game for only the second time in his career for a scouting mission, now found himself banged up in a foreign country.

Never mind how embarrassing this is for De Gea and United, imagine what Fergie was like when he caught wind. ‘Hiya boss, bad news. David has been locked up in Altrincham Tesco for theft’. Commiserations to whoever had to break that news to him.

At the time, there was no comment from United nor De Gea, with sources suggesting the lads ripped into him for the glazed gaffe. Of course they did, after he made his way down from Fergie’s office, we’d imagine.

Astoundingly, there is an ending to the story. Sort of. De Gea himself came out and addressed Krispy Kreme gate on Manchester United’s official podcast in 2022.

“I went with one friend to buy something, to the market, and we saw some doughnuts,” He recalled: “We took the doughnuts and ate the doughnuts, and as we go to pay, I forget my wallet is in my car.”

Uh oh, David. Go on, explain yourself.

“So, I say let’s go to take the wallet from the car and we come back to pay for the things.

“I tried to get out of the market and there was a security guy there, my English was zero so I was trying to explain to the security guard to let me go to my car and take the money but he didn’t understand and I didn’t understand what he was saying, to be honest. The next day, it was everywhere in the world!”

Nightmare stuff. You can only imagine the colour of white De Gea went the following morning when he realised he was national news and the subject of some serious, culinary crime.

Admitting he was ‘a bit scared’ heading into work the following morning, De Gea added: “So, the next morning, I came to the training ground, and he [Ferguson] came with a box of doughnuts to give to me, so the manager was fine and happy as well. It was a funny thing.”

The cost of the perfect replacement for Van der Sar? £18.9million. The cost of an irresistibly sweet treat in a foreign country? Priceless.

By Mitchell Wilks

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