Loyalty. Footballers. They aren’t always bedfellows.
In the news today is the story of Tottenham winger Georges-Kevin N’Koudou, spotted wearing a rival Chelsea shirt. In the partisan world of football, this lack of loyalty just ain’t cricket. Even if it was a “friend’s shirt” (who happens to play for Chelsea).
Who else has let their allegiances run amok on the field?
Dubbed “Cashley Cole” by Arsenal fans when he tubed it across London to join Chelsea in 2006. The real bomb came with Cole’s excuse for leaving Highbury. Arsenal’s £55,000 a week contract offer left Cole “trembling with anger”. So he did the only sensible thing possible and agreed to a £90,000 per week deal with Chelsea.
He Who Cannot Be Named at Tottenham. The defender burnt every bridge in North London ad infinitum when he left Spurs on a free transfer to join arch-rivals, Arsenal, in 2001. He then went on to commit the ultimate sin and win the Premier League with the Gooners at White Hart Lane.
The Liverpool–Manchester United rivalry is probably the most famous of all in English football. Man Utd fans were understandably ruffled in 1997, then, when Ince put on a Liverpool top. Although, he briefly went to Inter Milan in between, hoping Man Utd’s faithful had goldfish memories.
Cruyff is one of the greatest footballers ever. Fact. But he isn’t loved by all — especially if you’re an Ajax fan. After returning to the club that made him world famous (he spent three seasons with Ajax), they refused him a new contract. Cruyff responded angrily by signing for Feyenoord in 1983. He eventually went on to manage Ajax after leaving Feyenoord. Semi-forgiven, Johan.
Before Cristiano, there was the other Ronaldo. The potent Brazilian striker. Who is also a super-Judas. He was involved on both sides in two of the biggest rivalries in football. He played for Inter Milan and AC Milan as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that you’re safer swimming with sharks in chum than displaying this audacity.