Every summer brings with it a variety of transfers and transactions that change football clubs and also leagues. It is during these open windows that some teams work to better their squads, while other organizations are in situations where they are forced to unload players due to financial issues. The past few summer transfer windows have brought with them some monumental deals that involved men perceived as some of the best players in the world changing sides and cashing in on massive contracts in the process. Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez are just two examples of great footballers who recently moved to different teams, different leagues and different countries.
Tottenham Hotspur supporters were hardly pleased to witness Bale get introduced at Real Madrid. Those who follow Liverpool were left feeling somewhat burned when Suarez completed his switch to Barcelona. Neither of those men are, however, deemed by fans as being traitors to their former employers. It is not, after all, as if Bale chose to move from Tottenham to a hated rival side. Both Bale and Suarez had opportunities to further their careers and find fame and fortunes, and nobody can blame either man for grabbing their chances and joining up with two of the biggest clubs on the planet.
In some cases, however, players seemed to delight in signing for hated rivals in deals that made those athletes reviled among pockets of supporters. One man mentioned in this piece may or may not have known what he was getting himself into when he chose to link up with the City Football Group entity, one that had him break a verbal commitment that he had made to certain fans. The individual atop this list remains a public enemy among many individuals who make weekend treks to football matches even though his famous move occurred over a decade ago. Some transgressions are easier to forget than others.
10. Frank Lampard to Manchester City
Frank Lampard and those who would defend him would probably point out that Lampard had no intention of featuring for Manchester City when City Football Group purchased his services for Major League Soccer expansion side New York City Football Club. Such claims are based on a tale that Lampard was not in a position where he could have declined playing for City after stating that he did not want to play for another Premier League side other than Chelsea. Others, however, would suggest that Lampard most likely knew the score when he put pen to paper on a contract that made him millions of dollars in the twilight of his career. Good work if you can get it.
9. Wayne Rooney to Manchester United
Remember that one time when Wayne Rooney donned a shirt with a message that read “Once a blue always a blue” while featuring for Everton? Everton fans probably have not forgotten that moment, one that proved that “always” can have different interpretations at different times. “Always” in this case would only mean several years, however, as Rooney happily ditched Everton for Manchester United in the early days of his Premier League career. There have been rumors that Rooney could return to Everton before he is finished playing in the English top-flight. Would fans really want him back?
8. Samir Nasri to Manchester City
Samir Nasri is not the only player showcased in this piece who chose to leave Arsenal for another Premier League side with the hopes of winning trophies. It also probably did not hurt that Manchester City awarded Nasri with a pay-raise. City and Arsenal may not have what is considered to be a noteworthy rivalry, but fans of the Gunners who hit out at the player on social media websites such as Twitter no longer view the midfielder as a friend. It is rumored in June 2015 that Nasri once again has dollar signs in his eyes and is hoping to obtain a deal with a Major League Soccer side. We shall see.
7. Alan Smith to Manchester United
It is admittedly a bit harsh to label Alan Smith as being a Judas who is comparable to other individuals featured in this piece. Leeds United had fallen on hard times in 2004, however, and the club being relegated opened up the possibility that Smith was going to pursue his options. When you make a declaration that you are never going to play for a particular opposing side – Manchester United in this instance – fans are going to hold you to your word. Smith joined United in the summer of 2004 in a move that forced him to eat his former famous words.
6. Carlos Tevez to Manchester City
It is very likely that those of us on the outside will never know all of the details that surrounded Carlos Tevez moving from Manchester United to Manchester City in the summer of 2009. Even the supposed fee that Tevez fetched has been in doubt for years. What is not a matter of debate is that Tevez willingly swapped United red for City blue, and his time with City was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs that involved Tevez feuding with manager Robert Mancini. Tevez has since featured for Serie A royalty Juventus, and he recently completed a return to Boca Juniors.
5. Ashley Cole to Chelsea
All Ashley Cole had to do in the summer of 2006 was reasonably negotiate a contract extension with Arsenal. He would have, in such a case, never received the criticism that has followed his every move since then. Cole instead forced his exit from the club before signing with Chelsea, and his actions earned the fullback a reputation for being a greedy player who cared more about the name on the back of his shirt than the badge on the front of it. His career slowly but surely faded while with the Premier League side, and it is believed as of the summer of 2015 that Cole is unable to receive a desired contract from Major League Soccer.
4. Robin van Persie to Manchester United
The Dutch front man was beloved by Arsenal fans for years, and the hope was that Robin van Persie would help the Gunners end what was a long trophy drought. Van Persie had other intentions in the summer of 2012, however, surprising some by turning down a new contract from Arsenal before ultimately joining Manchester United. The move worked out rather well for Van Persie, as he helped United win the league in his first season at the club. Arsenal have not risen to such heights since Van Persie departed the Emirates, but the Gunners have twice lifted the FA Cup over the past couple of years.
3. Luis Figo to Real Madrid
There are probably Barcelona fans reading this sentence who view Luis Figo as the biggest Judas in the history of the game. Figo had been linked with several clubs in the mid-1990s when he completed his move to Barcelona, and he likely would have become a legend at that side had he not moved from those Spanish giants to rivals Real Madrid in 2000. What was deemed to be a “great betrayal” made Figo one of the most hated men in La Liga, and he was the recipient of jeers and debris when he first played against Barca while wearing Real colors.
2. Ronaldo to Corinthians
The Brazilian legend of the sport could be the best example in this piece of a player caring more about No. 1 than about maintaining loyalties or about what his reputation among fans. Ronaldo was a two-time Judas at the club level, playing for Inter Milan and AC Milan and also featuring for Barcelona and Real Madrid. The icing on the cake came in the latter days of his career, when he rehabbed from an injury with Flamengo before putting pen to paper on a contract with rival club Corinthians. Flamengo probably should have seen it coming considering Ronaldo’s past moves.
1. Sol Campbell to Arsenal
Sol Campbell committed the ultimate football sin after the 2000-2001 season when he made the move from Tottenham Hotspur to north London rivals Arsenal. The move was nothing but a positive for Campbell as it pertained to his career, as he experienced great successes with the Premier League outfit. His decision did not come without a price, that being that Campbell became the ultimate villain in the eyes of Tottenham fans. That hatred has not died to this day, as fans sing anti-Campbell songs at White Hart Lane and wherever else Tottenham play matches. Those who support Spurs will not forgive or forget what Campbell did.