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Top 10 Most Controversial Transfers in Football History

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal to Manchester City could be completed before the end of the summer transfer season. Of course, there are still several issues to resolve on Thursday, the most important of which being that Juventus is demanding a transfer price for Ronaldo, which the City is unwilling to pay.

However, you get the impression that the matter will be rectified quickly, which implies that the Portuguese superstar wearing a sky blue shirt is a distinct possibility. Manchester United supporters will be furious if this happens, and it’s simple to see why.

Ronaldo spent six years with Manchester United, where he won the first of his five Ballon d’Or honors. Simply put, he’s a United legend, which is why a move to City this summer would be highly contentious. However, this isn’t the first time a move has fallen into that category.

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There have been numerous controversial high-profile moves in football over the years, and ESPN chose their top ten in 2020. So, here is the list of the top 10 controversial transfers in history.

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credit – sportskeeda.com

1. John Obi Mikel to Chelsea

This was a strange transfer. In 2005, both Manchester United and Chelsea reported that they had reached an agreement to sign the Nigerian midfielder, prompting FIFA to intervene. Mikel was then asked to select a team for which he would like to play, and he chose the Blues. United demanded £12 million in compensation from the West London club, which they had to pay. Ouch.

2. Carlos Tevez to Manchester City

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Tevez spent two years on loan at City’s arch-rivals United before joining City in 2009. The Red Devils had hoped to sign the Argentine permanently, but that deal fell through, and City swooped in. To add salt to the wounds, the ‘noisy neighbors’ put up a billboard of Tevez with the message “Welcome to Manchester” on it.

3. John Robertson to Derby County

The trade brought Brian Clough and Peter Taylor’s famed partnership to an end. Before Taylor chose to manage Nottingham Forest’s close rivals Derby County in 1982, the pair had a significant amount of success together at Nottingham Forest. Taylor signed Robertson, who is considered one of Forest’s greatest ever players, a year later without alerting Clough. They didn’t speak to each other again.

4. Robin van Persie to Manchester United

Arsenal fans have had to witness a number of their star players join a rival club this century. However, it was Van Persie’s departure that caused the most pain. The Dutchman was undoubtedly the finest player in the Premier League in 2012, and Gooners hoped he would stay in the capital. He didn’t, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s £24 million moves to United helped him win another league title.

5. Ashley Cole to Chelsea

It’s Arsenal once more. Cole was ‘tapped up’ by Chelsea in 2005 while he was in a contract dispute with Arsenal, and Jose Mourinho’s approach was deemed illegal by the Premier League. Despite the fines and the controversy, Cole made the controversial move to Stamford Bridge, with William Gallas following in the opposite direction.

6. Johan Cruyff to Feyenoord

What’s the best method to re-enter a club that believes you’re ‘done’ and ‘overweight’? Sign for their main competitor. Cruyff did exactly that in 1983, during his second tenure at Ajax, and in his one season with Feyenood, when he won the double and was awarded Footballer of the Year in the Netherlands. That’s what you call retaliation.

7. Roberto Baggio to Juventus

Baggio’s world-record £8 million transfer from Fiorentina to Juventus provoked rioting in Florence at the time. Baggio then picked up a Fiorentina scarf that had been tossed on the pitch after being substituted in a game between the two clubs shortly after the transfer. The gesture, predictably, did not go over well with Juve supporters.

8. Sol Campbell to Arsenal

Campbell will never be forgiven by Tottenham fans. What’s up with that? Because the defender hinted that he would stay at Spurs before leaving for Arsenal on a free transfer in quest of silverware and Champions League play. It could be the greatest act of betrayal in English football history, surpassing even Ronaldo’s move to City.

9. Luis Figo to Real Madrid

To transcend the El Clasico barrier, we’ll need to be really daring. After his £38 million release clause was activated in 2000, Figo took the risk of joining Real Madrid from Barcelona. Barcelona supporters were furious that their finest player had joined the side they despised, and when he returned to Camp Nou in 2002, they threw a pig’s head at the Portuguese winger.

10. Mo Johnston to Rangers

After two years with Nantes, Johnston appeared to be on the verge of returning to Celtic, where he had previously achieved great success. However, the deal fell through at the last minute, and Johnston chose to join Rangers instead. Celtic supporters were upset, as were Rangers supporters because the striker was the first high-profile Catholic to publicly play for the club. Getting on both sides of a rivalry’s nerves? That is just remarkable.

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