It’s a hard life being a footballer. Sure, the fame, adulation, and millions upon millions of pounds are all well and good, but sometimes people are downright rude, or want you to justify their expenditure with consistent performances, the cheek!
That’s if you’re not iced out by a new manager looking to stamp his authority upon a new dressing room…
Following reports that Diego Costa remains at home in Brazil having not been named in Chelsea’s Champions League squad, here are at some of the stranger instances of players being exiled from their clubs.
6. Carlos Tevez – Man City
A striker as well known for his unerring instincts in front of goal as his combative personality, Carlos Tevez was iced out of Roberto Mancini’s Man City side in 2011.
The former Man Utd forward refused to come on as a sub against Bayern Munich during the Sky Blues’ Champions League campaign, and left for Argentina after Mancini demanded that he apologise to his teammates for his lack of professionalism.
Tevez eventually returned for the Citizens after Mancini reluctantly recalled the Argentinian months later, under pressure from the club’s hierarchy. A decidedly plumper Tevez than the one that left was allowed back into the first team squad and his goals powered City to their first Premier League title the following year.
5. Mario Balotelli – Liverpool
Balo never makes it easy for himself and after being offered a second chance in the Premier League at Liverpool, the Italian almost inevitably showed promise, fell out spectacularly with the staff, spent an extended period out of the first team and was then told to leave the club.
Brendan Rodgers took a punt on the Italy international in 2014, splashing £16m on the eccentric forward. Deemed by Jose Mourinho to be ‘unmanageable’, Balo proved to be just that at Anfield, scoring just once in 16 domestic games for the Reds.
4. Joe Hart – Man City
Following Pep Guardiola’s arrival at the Etihad, Joe Hart’s career took a dramatic turn. Having been Man City’s first choice keeper since 2010, winning two league titles, an FA Cup and four Golden Glove awards, Guardiola promptly announced that the England international was not part of his plans.
Hart joined Torino on a season long loan in an unexpected last-minute deal as Man City struggled with error prone replacement Claudio Bravo. Hart returned to Manchester at the end of last season only to be loaned out to Premier League rivals West Ham.
3. Bastian Schweinsteiger – Man Utd
Upon his arrival at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho’s first order of business was exiling World Cup winning midfielder Bastien Schweinsteiger to the Under-21s with little explanation.
Though the decision seemed difficult to understand given the German’s stature in the game, Mourinho deployed a similar tactic during his time at Real Madrid, inexplicably dropping veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas, apparently in order to stamp his authority in the dressing room.
The Portuguese may have wanted to eradicate traces of former United boss Louis van Gaal’s influence, who brought the German to Old Trafford in 2015. The Bayern legend made just 18 appearances for the Red Devils over two seasons at the club and was allowed to join MLS side Chicago Fire in March 2017.
2. Winston Bogarde – Chelsea
Bogarde arrived at Stamford Bridge with a reputation as one of the Netherlands’ classiest defenders. The former Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona defender arrived in West London in 2000 with a considerable reputation, but never quite managed to live up to the hype.
The Dutchman made just nine Premier League appearances during his four years at Stamford Bridge, on a reported £40,000-per-week wage. With the club in poor financial health at the time the Blues sought to cut their wage bill by dropping Bogarde to the reserves and forcing him to find another club.
However, as Bogarde explained in his autobiography; “Why should I throw €15m away when it is already mine?”
Despite the absence of game-time, the defender saw out his contract until 2004 and promptly retired from football.
1. Joey Barton – Rangers
Signing Joey Barton is always a risk, as Rangers discovered when they signed the combative midfielder in May 2016.
The former QPR midfielder started promisingly for the Gers, but was suspended by the club for three weeks following a training ground fracas with team-mate Andy Halliday.
By 10 November 2016, Barton had had his contract at Rangers terminated with immediate effect. Barton joined Premier League new-boys Burnley in January 2017 only to be banned from football for 18 months after Football Association charges relating to betting and was released once again.