Raheem Sterling really knows how to endear himself to football fans doesn’t he.
Not only is he now claiming that money is not the problem behind his failure to sign a new deal with Liverpool, but he is flat out refusing to go on their pre-season tour.
Sterling has also decided to lay the blame for his seemingly imminent departure at the door of manager Brendan Rodgers, who he apparently does not want to play under, and not the fact that while it will never be Liverpool’s year, there is quite a good chance that it will be Manchester City’s.
While Sterling might be courting negative press more frequently than Mario Balotelli missed chances last season, he is not the only contract rebel out there, and from the good, the bad, to the outright shocking, here are five of our favourites.
The defender was one of Jose Mourinho’s untouchables at the start of his reign at Stamford Bridge, but a few trophies down the line, things went sour between Gallas and the Chelsea board, to the extent that the club released a statement claiming that not only did Gallas threaten to make himself unavailable for their FA Cup semi final against Liverpool to try and extort some more money from the board in his new contract talks, but that he refused to play in the opening game of the following season.
Oh, and that if he was selected, he could well make a mistake that ended in a sending off or an own goal.
Gallas eventually got his move to the Emirates Stadium after Chelsea decided to put their tapping up of Ashley Cole to good use and offload Gallas at the same time.
Chelsea might feel they came out the deal slightly better given the fact that Gallas totally went to pieces and cried in the middle of the pitch after Arsenal drew to Birmingham and lost their shot at the title in 2007/08. Oh, and won approximately zero titles while in north London.
And then moved to Spurs, which says a lot about him really.
Speaking of Ashley Cole…
Poor old Cashley. Things are hard for him in Italy, with the Roma players leaving him out of their selfies, and this isn’t the first time the left back has felt let down by one of his clubs.
Oh no. Cole was distraught when Arsenal offered him a contract extension, with only £55,000 per week on the table (breadline territory we know) and like a man in any unhappy relationship, he then went batting his eyelashes at Jose Mourinho and Chelsea, having dinner with Peter Kenyon.
Cole is now hated by Arsenal fans – actually football fans in general – and after his book, My Defence, hit shelves, things were made so much worse. Now, even Cole’s mother probably wouldn’t try and kid herself that he wrote the book himself, or that he can write at all, but having a front two of Radamel Falcao and Fernando Torres seems like a better idea than the editor allowing the passage:
When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on. I’d trusted Mr Dein to push the deal through.
Cole, as we know, moved as part of the Gallas deal and won a shit load at Chelsea, married, cheated on and divorced Cheryl Cole and then made a bizarre move to Roma.
Look away now Liverpool fans.
No matter what Sterling does, it probably won’t hurt as much as seeing academy graduate and fan darling McManaman up sticks and leave for Real Madrid – on a free.
Back in 1999, the Bosman ruling was only just coming into play in a major way, and the Liverpool player was one of the biggest to take advantage of it at the time. He claimed to be ‘sad’ about leaving Liverpool but is still one of a very small number of British players to have truly succeeded abroad and while Gareth Bale has to deal with his car being keyed every other weekend, Macca was loved by the Los Blancos faithful.
The same can’t be said for some Liverpool fans, who were gutted to see him leave, but still consider him to be a club legend, unlike most of the other players who upped sticks and left their boyhood club without them recouping a transfer fee.
It’s never good to lose a player on a free when they dig their heels in and refuse to sign a new contract – and that is exactly what Vlaar has done.
Unlike many players who sign a new contract just to get their clubs a bigger fee when they leave (think Luis Suarez), Vlaar has elected not to do that and take himself off backpacking instead.
The Aston Villa central defender is wanted by a host of clubs, including Manchester United if you believe the whisperings, and could have fetched a decent fee for Tim Sherwood’s club.
Vlaar will go on a free to whoever will take him, providing they are a ‘step higher’ because that’s what he wants apparently.
Chelsea seem to love throwing their money away, especially when it comes to forwards who flop (Radamel, say hi to Mutu, Kezman, Pizzaro, Sheva and Torres) but one of the west London club’s biggest wastes of money and the original contract rebel has to be Winston Bogarde, who managed to earn £10 million for four starts at the club after refusing to leave and running down his lucrative contract.
Oh, and the defender even pocketed a payrise along the way because of the success Chelsea had on the field – not that he had too much to do with it of course.
He spent the final year of his deal commuting daily from Amsterdam and training with the academy players, and could well win the award for worst ever signing made by Chelsea, which, lets be honest, is really saying something.
Saving the best for last, the name we were all waiting for. Judas himself.
After promising Tottenham Hotspur he wouldn’t leave, he then decided it would be a good idea to join neighbours and bitter rivals Arsenal, on a free transfer no less.
Before the move, not only did he utter the words ‘I’m staying’ when asked about his future, but he followed it up with: ‘Being a Spurs fan as a boy and a player for so many years, it would be hard to sign for Arsenal. I don’t think the fans here would ever forgive me.’
The abuse Spurs fans gave Campbell is about as bad as it gets, and the ‘Judas’ is still despised by the less successful half of north London today. Robert Lewandowski is the modern day Campbell, basically doing the same thing to hipster favourites Borussia Dortmund, but for Premier League fans, Campbell is about as bad as it gets.
Oh, and this is how it’s done…
Wayne Rooney kicked up one almighty fuss when he wanted a better deal from Manchester United and even flirted with Chelsea and Jose Mourinho for a time, but we all knew Rooney and agent Paul Stretford were just trying to squeeze even more money out of United.
It worked and the forward ended up with a bumper deal that sees him net a reported £300,000 per week for five long years. That is just under £30 per minute, which is more than most people earn an hour.
Not bad for someone who seemed to spend half of last season in midfield is it.