Football rivalry is fierce, brutal, and at times, controversial. The latter is more than true when it comes to players and their transfers. Whether it’s Madrid or Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool, the decision to join your clubs rivals is never a popular one among your fans. Here is my list of the Top 10 ‘traitors’ of our game…
A very timely inclusion given his imminent return to White Hart Lane this week. The man simply known as ‘judas’ among Spurs fans will certainly not be welcomed in his second stint at Arsenal. He of course made the switch to Arsenal in 2001 and would never been looked at the same by the Spurs faithful.
If you don’t want me then I’ll go somewhere else! Not quite a quote but more or less the feelings of Carlos Tevez. City wanted him, so he went there. He even managed a goal on his return to Old Trafford and will undoubtedly be looking forward to United’s visit in order to put the sword to their title challenge. Surely proving the red side of Manchester wrong with his goals this season.
Defoe turned down a professional contract at Charlton to join West Ham. After 93 appearances and 29 goals, Defoe hopped across London once again to join Tottenham, reportedly handing in a transfer request just 24hours after The Hammers were relegated in 2003. Didn’t take him long to ditch Pompey for a return to Spurs either. I guess loyalty is not part of his make up.
Leeds and Manchester United have never had a friendly relationship. Alan Smith made no secret of his ‘loyalty’ by joining Manchester United just weeks after the Yorkshire club’s relegation from the Premier League. His crocodile tears on the final day of the season may have fooled some fans at the time, but he will not be forgiven for his ‘crime’ any time soon.
Ashley Cole did himself no favours among Arsenal fans when referring to the club’s wage offer of £55k-a-week as ‘a piss-take’, ‘a slap in the face’ and ‘not a pat on the back’. As if it wasn’t bad enough already, he then continued to write ‘When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road’…you wonder why the nickname Cashley Cole came around.
116 appearances for Everton could not keep Barmby from joining arch-rivals Liverpool in 2000. He was the first Everton player to make the switch across Stanley Park since 1959. Not something he would be boasting about on the blue side of Liverpool I imagine. Everton fans will have been pleased to see him make just 32 appearances for The Reds before upping it to Leeds.
When you have a pigs head thrown at you, you know you’ve done something wrong. Figo committed the ultimate crime in Cataluna when he left Barcelona to be part of the original Galactico era at Real Madrid. Once a fans favourite, now the ultimate enemy.
The golden boy of Galatasaray and arguably the biggest Turkish talent of the last two decades, and seemingly a player with red and yellow blood. After announcing himself to Europe in the Galatasaray team which won the Uefa Cup in 2000, Emre was snapped up by Inter. His next stop was Newcastle before returning to Istanbul to join….arch rivals Fenerbahce. He’s probably lucky he missed this month’s derby at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium due to injury. His reception would not have been a pleasant one.
Kris Commons made the switch over the M1 from Forest to Derby. He joined The Rams on a free transfer despite Forest’s promotion and has watched his old team push for promotion to the Premier League this season. It is always a fiery encounter when the two-teams meet, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in the middle if I was Commons.
He may have been the best striker we’ve ever seen but it still doesn’t give him the right to switch allegiance and get away with it. Especially as he did it in two different countries. Ronaldo made a name for himself at Barcelona before Italian giants Inter Milan came calling. The blue and black of Milan stuck with him through his injuries before he upped a left for Madrid. As if that wasn’t enough he then returned to Milan to join the red and black of AC. Tut tut!