15 players who left their clubs on bad terms with Romelu Lukaku's Chelsea future in doubt


Romelu Lukaku’s future at Chelsea was left in doubt earlier this week after the striker made controversial remarks in an interview with Sky Sport Italy that he was ‘not happy’ with his current situation at the club.

The Belgian striker joined Chelsea in the summer from Inter Milan for a landmark figure of £97.5 million and has since scored seven goals in 18 appearances for the Blues.

But after missing large parts of the season with illness and injury, Lukaku admitted he was frustrated with the formations Thomas Tuchel was choosing to play and spoke regrettably about his departure from Inter Milan.

The video, which was released last week, left a bitter taste with Tuchel and saw the Blues boss leave the Belgian striker out of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash against Liverpool.

The Chelsea manager and Lukaku met on Monday to discuss the incident, leaving speculation amongst fans about whether the Belgian will pull on the blue jersey again this season.

While we wait to hear the fallout of their meeting, let’s look back at some other stars who left their clubs on bad terms and where they went next.

Johan Cruyff (Ajax to Feyenoord – 1983)

Dutch footballing wizard Johan Cruyff was one of few players to cross the divide between rivals Ajax and Feyenoord.

Having made 276 appearances across two spells with Ajax, Cruyff was not astonishingly offered a new contract. Despite his allegiances to Ajax, he controversially chose to leave the club in 1983, where he finished his career winning a domestic double at Feyenoord.

Sol Campbell (Tottenham to Arsenal – 2001)

Having spent nine years at Tottenham, making 255 appearances, Sol Campbell controversially decided to switch his allegiances and join north London rivals Arsenal, much to the outrage of many Spurs fans.

Campbell joined the Gunners on a free transfer in 2001 and received significant abuse for the move, admitting in a talkSPORT documentary, called ‘Being Sol Campbell’, that he still receives vitriol till this day.


Jaap Stam (Manchester United to Lazio – 2001)

Despite being part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1999 treble-winning Manchester United side, Jaap Stam and Ferguson’s relationship deteriorated significantly before the Dutchman’s departure from Manchester.

The dispute arose through comments the defender had made in his autobiography, which angered the Man United manager.

Stam had claimed the Ferguson had tapped him up to join the Red Devils from PSV Eindhoven without the Dutch club’s permission. He notably left the club the same year, but Ferguson later admitted that selling the defender to Lazio was a mistake.

Luis Figo (Barcelona to Real Madrid – 2000)

Another player to cross lines between rival clubs was Portuguese legend, Luis Figo.

In 2000, Figo was moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of £37 million. While he succeeded with Madrid, winning the Champions League two years later, he was never welcome back at the Camp Nou.

Barcelona fans were clearly upset at his dissent to their Spanish rivals, heckling Figo, throwing objects at him and on one occasion launching a severed pig’s head onto the field.

Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea – 2006)

After a long-standing transfer debacle that saw Chelsea receive a fine for trying to tap-up then Arsenal and England left-back Ashley Cole in 2005, Jose Mourinho finally got his man in 2006.

While Arsenal gained the services of William Gallas as compensation for the move, it was revealed that Cole had turned his nose up at a £55,000 per week contract from the Gunners in favour of a new deal with south London rivals Chelsea.


William Gallas (Chelsea to Arsenal – 2006)

While Cole moved to Chelsea, defender William Gallas moved the other way, but his departure was equally as unsavoury.

Before leaving Chelsea, the club made a profound statement, as reported by Sky Sports, claiming the defender had threatened to score an own goal against the club or get sent off deliberately.

Joey Barton (Manchester City to Newcastle 2007)

After joining Manchester City in 2002, Joey Barton’s time at the club came to an abrupt ending after he attacked teammate Ousmane Dabo during a training session.

The attack effectively ended his time at Manchester City. Barton was handed a £100,000 fine and was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and 200 hours of community service.

Later in his career, Barton would have yet another training ground altercation with Rangers team-mate Andy Halliday that again saw the club terminate his contract.

Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham to Manchester United – 2008)

Tottenham were once again at the centre of the action in 2008 when they reported both Manchester United and Liverpool for trying to tap up Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov.

Chairman Daniel Levy was quoted in The Guardian, saying their behaviour was “disgraceful” and claimed Berbatov ‘had no respect for the club’.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester United to Manchester City – 2009)

After spending two years at Manchester United, the relationship between Sir Alex Ferguson and Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez broke down, with Ferguson claiming the striker did not want to sign a new deal with the club.

With Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov in the squad, Tevez struggled with game time and sensationally swapped allegiances to the blue side of Manchester.


Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal to Manchester City – 2009)

Emmanuel Adebayor will always be remembered for his controversial goal and celebration against his former club, Arsenal.

After heading the ball into the net to help Manchester City defeat the Gunners 4-2, the Togo international sprinted the length of the pitch to celebrate scoring a goal against Arsenal fans.

But the incident was linked back to his unsavoury departure from the club in 2009, where Adebayor claimed manager Arsene Wenger had forced him out of the club.

Mario Balotelli (Manchester City to Inter Milan 2013)

Mario Balotelli will forever be remembered for his antics on the pitch, but it was often claimed that a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini was the cause for his departure back to Inter Milan back in 2013.

But according to The Mirror, Roberto Mancini had stated this was not the case, and Balotelli left the club because of a fallout with fellow teammates. Whatever the case, Balotelli left in awkward circumstances in a season where he missed 11 domestic matches thanks to suspensions.

Dimitri Payet (West Ham to Marseille – 2017)

West Ham moved to the London Stadium in 2016, but French midfielder Dimitri Payet did not feel at home in Stratford.

Having signed a 12-month contract the year prior, Payet controversially refused to play for the club and said he “risked [his career] regressing” if he stayed at the club, sparking outrage among West Ham fans.


Diego Costa (Chelsea to Atletico Madrid – 2017)

Chelsea were at the centre of more player unrest in 2017 after Antonio Conte chose to text their talisman striker Diego Costa that his services were no longer required.

The Spaniard had scored 20 goals for the Blues in their 2016-17 title-winning season but admitted afterwards that he was wrong going to Chelsea in the first place.

Ross Barkley (Everton to Chelsea – 2018)

Ross Barkley’s move to Chelsea left a bitter taste for many Evertonians after the midfielder left in dramatic circumstances following a deadline-day scramble that saw Everton lose out on £20m.

The season prior, Barkley was on the cusp of joining Chelsea for £35m, but the move collapsed after the player made a U-turn and returned to Everton, only to seek a move at a much lower price tag the following January.

Alvaro Morata (Chelsea to Atletico Madrid – 2020)

Perhaps not as controversial as Costa’s move to Atletico Madrid, his Chelsea replacement, Alvaro Morata also admitted he was unhappy with his time at Chelsea.

After completing his move to the Spanish club in 2019, the striker said he was happier at Atletico and believed his teammates “thought I wouldn’t do anything good with the ball.”


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