Scholes, Costa, Tevez, Sterling: An XI of players that refused to play for their club

Andreas Christensen joins a list of players that refused to play for their club, including Raheem Sterling, Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez, Diego Costa and more.

Andreas Christensen reportedly refused to play in the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.

According to the Daily Mail, the Danish defender told Thomas Tuchel on the morning of the game he did not want to be considered because he did not feel ready to play.

Christensen was not injured but had been feeling unwell in midweek.

They add that his withdrawal left his team-mates ‘perplexed and shocked.’

Following Christensen’s FA Cup no-show, we’ve named an XI of players that refused to play for their sides.

GK: Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United)

Ramsdale revealed he refused to train or play after Sheffield United rejected multiple bids for his services.

He told Ben Foster’s YouTube channel in December 2021, per the Mirror: “There were bids coming in and they (United) were turning them down and I was like ‘you said this…’

“Normally if you don’t get your move, you’re rewarded with a new contract. It’s not set in stone but that’s normal.

“So we said that and someone at the club, I won’t name names, said: ‘We didn’t ask him to take less money when he was conceding goals at the start of last year.’

“That’s when I basically went: ‘I won’t play against West Brom, do what you want.’ I didn’t train for the first two days of the week, the Monday and Tuesday and the manager was like: ‘He’ll be alright, he’ll play.’

“Tuesday came and I was like: ‘No, I’m not playing.’ On the Wednesday I wasn’t in the squad and then 10 minutes before kick off I was on my way down [to Arsenal].”

Aaron Ramsdale refused to play for Sheffield United before sealing a move to Arsenal
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – AUGUST 07: Aaron Ramsdale during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield United and Birmingham City at Bramall Lane on August 7, 2021 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

CB: William Gallas (Chelsea)

In a sensational statement, Chelsea accused Gallas of refusing to play and threatening to score own-goals if selected.

Their statement read, per Sky Sports: “He initially refused to play against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final last season in an effort to force an increased contract offer.

“As is now well-documented he refused to join up with the team in Los Angeles during pre-season.

“He went on to threaten that if he was forced to play, or if he was disciplined and financially punished for his breach of the rules, that he could score an own goal or get himself sent off, or make deliberate mistakes.”

Gallas sealed a move to Arsenal shortly after. He later denied the claims and accused Chelsea of ‘lacking class’.

Chelsea accused Gallas of threatening to score own-goals if selected
LONDON – DECEMBER 31: William Gallas of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premiership match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge on December 31, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)

CB: Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla)

According to Sevilla defender Julien Escude, Squillaci was set to play against Braga in the Champions League but pulled out shortly before kick-off.

He said, per football365: “When the coach gave his team talk, Sebastien was starting, then, but there was a change in the line-up. Later, we knew Sebastien refused to play. I am personally a little surprised, but these are things that happen in football. I guess he wanted to leave.”

Squillaci later said he decided not to play as he didn’t want to be cup-tied in case a move to Arsenal went through. He made the move shortly after.

Sebastien Squillaci pulled out of a Sevilla game shortly before kick-off
MOSCOW – AUGUST 03: Sebastien Squillaci of Sevilla (front) competes for the ball with Haminu Dramani of Lokomotiv during the Russian Railways Cup pre season friendly match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and Sevilla FC at the Lokomotiv Stadium on August 03, 2008 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)

CB: Marcos Rojo (Sporting CP)

Rojo admitted he refused to play for Sporting after learning of Manchester United’s interest.

He said in 2014, per the Mirror: “It was a huge surprise when I was told United wanted to buy me.

“I was in Portugal when my representative told me. He asked me to stay calm but I could not. I started living this dream.

“I could not think of anything else. I would call him every day, but when it seemed the transfer would not happen then I refused to work with Sporting.

“That was when [Juan Sebastian] Veron played his part in the process. He was like a strict father to me, scolding me.

“Veron called me one day when I had refused to train with Sporting and said ‘Do not be stubborn. If Manchester United wants a player then they will not let you escape.’

“And so I went back… and the transfer went ahead.”

RM: Kieron Dyer (Newcastle United)

Dyer refused to play for Newcastle against Middlesbrough in 2004.

He said, per ChronicleLive: “I refused to play right wing. He [Bobby Robson] understood why. I’ve never come out and given my side of the story because I’m protecting one of my fellow players at the time. So I could never come out and tell my story.

“I refused to play, which I should never have done. It didn’t help that a couple of games later he got sacked. It hit me hard, I felt responsible.”

Despite Dyer’s actions, Bobby Robson still defended him when the press got wind of the story.

He continued: “Even when I refused to play, immediately after the game the Press got wind of it, Bobby came in and he was still trying to protect me. Even though I’d let him down.

“It made me feel even worse. It was my biggest regret.”

Kieron Dyer refused to play for Newcastle in 2004
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 3: Kieron Dyer of Newcastle celebrates the third goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary’s Stadium on January 3, 2004 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

CM: Javier Mascherano (Liverpool)

Mascherano refused to play against Manchester City in 2010, after Liverpool rejected a bid for his services from Barcelona.

Speaking to FourFourTwo in 2021, he said: “There was an agreement between us that if Liverpool received a decent offer for me, I’d be permitted to leave. We’d spoken about extending my contract, but it seemed like the directors didn’t care about me. In the pre-season after Rafa left, Roy Hodgson arrived. We had a meeting with the managing director, Christian Purslow, who told me I could go if a good offer came in. Then there was an offer on the table, but Liverpool were looking the other way.

“I was quite angry that they weren’t keeping their word. Refusing to play at City was the way I found to show my annoyance. I’d told the club I wanted to leave for family reasons, so I was very upset to have to act the way I did. There was no other option – otherwise, Liverpool wouldn’t keep their promise.”

CM: Paul Scholes (Manchester United)

Scholes was fined two weeks’ wages after refusing to play for Man United against Arsenal in the League Cup. He later expressed his regret.

Scholes said, per the Mirror: “It was Arsenal away in the cup. We’d played Liverpool a day before and he’d left me out of the game, and as you are in those days – or as I was – you’re stupid, you’re young, and you probably feel you’re more important than you actually are.

“We were getting beaten 2-0 in the game as well and there was no sign of him bringing me on, and I was thinking he should have done. But I had a feeling he was trying to wind me up and trying to save me for the game the night after, which was really basically a reserve game.”

“I think we were going from Stockport station, and I drove down to see [Ferguson] and told him ‘I’m not going’.

“To this day I still regret doing it, and he fined me a week’s wages – possibly two weeks’ wages – I was quite lucky just for that, really. If you look now, it’s probably a sackable offence, you’d have to say.”

Paul Scholes refused to play for Manchester United against Arsenal in 2001
4 Aug 2001: Paul Scholes of Manchester United in action during the pre-season friendly match against Wrexham played at the Racecourse Ground, in Wrexham, Wales. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill /Allsport

CM: Dimitri Payet (West Ham)

In February 2016, Payet extended his stay at West Ham as he signed a five-year deal worth £125,000-per-week.

In January 2017, though, he decided he did not want to play for the club any longer.

Slaven Bilic said in 2017, per Sky Sports: “We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us

“We are not going to sell him. I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay.

“He is refusing to play for us. I have a team to manage. He’s probably been tapped up. Until he changes his attitude and shows the commitment the club have shown him, he is out of the team.”

Payet joined Marseille two weeks later.

Dimitry Payet refused to play for West Ham, not even a year after signing a five-year deal
STRATFORD, ENGLAND – JANUARY 02: Dimitri Payet of West Ham United gives the thumbs up during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at London Stadium on January 2, 2017 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

LM: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

Sterling refused to join Liverpool in their pre-season tour in 2015. He joined Manchester City shortly after.

Many Liverpool fans have still not forgiven him for forcing through the move.

Raheem Sterling refused to go on pre-season tour with Liverpool in 2015. He joined Man City shortly after.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 16: Raheem Sterling of Liverpool in action during the Barclays Premier League match betrween Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on May 16, 2015 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

ST: Diego Costa (Chelsea)

Costa was told by Antonio Conte, by text, that he was free to join another team in the summer of 2017.

Incensed by the way he had been treated, Costa went on holiday to Brazil.

He did not return when Chelsea told him to and was fined for his absence. He never played for Chelsea again and joined Atletico Madrid the following January.

Andreas Christensen joins a list of players that refused to play for their club, including Raheem Sterling, Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez, Diego Costa and more.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)

Tevez was named on the bench for Man City’s Champions League match against Bayern Munich in September 2011.

When Roberto Mancini asked him to come on, Tevez refused. The Italian was furious.

Tevez was suspended for two weeks. He was made to train alone after returning and later found guilty.

Mancini said he could return to the squad if he apologised but Tevez refused and went back to Argentina.

The saga came to an end in February 2012 when Tevez admitted he was in the wrong and returned to the squad. He helped them win their first Premier League title a few months later.

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