London, United Kingdom | AFP | Diego Costa’s stand-off with English Premier League champions Chelsea is just the latest in a long line of disputes between players and their employers.
Here AFP Sport picks out five such infamous examples:
French World Cup squad’s ‘Busman’s holiday’
Probably the most spectacular and humiliating spectacle experienced by a national side as the entire squad — captained by Patrice Evra and including icon Thierry Henry — refused to get off the bus for a training session at the 2010 World Cup. Their fury at unpopular coach Raymond Domenech had been provoked by the sending home of the player nicknamed ‘The Incredible Sulk’. Nicolas Anelka had launched a foul-mouthed tirade at Domenech at half-time over his tactics in the first-half of the opening loss against Mexico, and was duly punished. Unsurprisingly given the venomous atmosphere, France went out in the first round. Evra, Anelka and others were severely disciplined on their return whilst little has been heard of Domenech since.
Blame it on the Bogarde
Costa will have to go some to outdo Dutch international Winston Bogarde in causing as much trouble for Chelsea. Signed aged 30 and apparently without the knowledge of then Blues manager Gianluca Vialli in the 2000/01 season, the latter’s successor Claudio Ranieri disliked him so much that he wanted the player to leave just weeks later. Bogarde dug his heels in and stayed for four years, despite being dropped first to the reserves and then the youth team. He justified his behaviour by declaring in his biography: “This world is about money (he was on a reported £40,000 a week), so when you are offered those millions you take them. Few people will ever earn so many. I am one of the few fortunates who do. I may be one of the worst buys in the history of the Premiership but I don’t care.”
Tevez refuses walk-on part
Argentinian international striker Carlos Tevez played up to his nickname of ‘Apache’ by refusing to warm up to potentially go on as a substitute for Manchester City in the last moments of a Champions League match in September 2011 against Bayern Munich. Manager Roberto Mancini said Tevez, then 28, would never play for City again. But a combination of his massive wages and the huge fee City were asking meant there were no takers. Tevez holidayed in Argentina and considered retiring before eventually returning to the first team in March 2012. He was to leave in 2013 for Juventus.
Van Hooijdonk lights Forest fire
Dutch international striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk’s goals had been instrumental in Nottingham Forest returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking in the late 1990s but he went on strike at the beginning of the 1998/99 season because he was furious key players had been let go. He then trained at his old club NAC Breda and demanded a move, which was rejected. He eventually yielded and then-manager Dave Bassett felt compelled to play him. But the depth of antipathy at the club was reflected when he scored his first goal on his return and the players congratulated Scott Gemmill for creating the chance and not the goalscorer. Forest were relegated and he left, Vitesse Arnhem buying him for £3.5 million.
‘Godfather’ just the spur for Berbatov
Moody Bulgarian international striker Dimitar Berbatov tested the patience of the Tottenham Hotspur hierarchy and manager Juande Ramos as he looked to engineer a multi-million pound “dream” move to Manchester United at the beginning of the 2008/09 campaign. Appropriately for a player who learnt English by watching the Godfather films, he awaited an offer Spurs couldn’t reject. He refused to play in the Premier League game with Sunderland and was threatened with demotion to the reserves. Spurs complained to the Premier League about United ‘tapping up’ the striker but eventually sold him on September 1 that season for £30 million.