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Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Aleksandar Mitrovic: What happens to football’s wantaway players when they rebel against their club?

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Fulham star Aleksandar Mitrovic has told his relatives that he will never play for the Cottagers again, according to shocking reports. 

The Serbian is the subject of interest from Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal, with Fulham rejecting a second bid in the region of £35million  for the forward last week.

Despite embarking on the Cottagers’ pre-season tour, the 28-year-old has ‘told relatives he will never play for Fulham again’ as he seeks a move. Mitrovic is not the first player to make such comments, and will doubtless not be the last.

Several high-profile athletes have left their former clubs on bad terms, from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo to Carlos Tevez, and Fulham have even experienced it in the past.

And below, Mail Sport looks at the ten most famous wantaway stars in football history – and what happened when they rebelled against their club.

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has reportedly 'told relatives he will never play for Fulham again'

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has reportedly ‘told relatives he will never play for Fulham again’

The forward has interest from Saudi club Al-Hilal and Fulham have already rejected bids

The forward has interest from Saudi club Al-Hilal and Fulham have already rejected bids

Mitrovic could join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, who was previously a wantaway star

Mitrovic could join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, who was previously a wantaway star

Cristiano Ronaldo

Where better to start than with the main man himself?

The most recent name to make the list is one of football’s greats, and a player who also got tempted by Saudi.

Cristiano Ronaldo was 37 years old at the time when his relationship with Man United manager Erik ten Hag broke down as he disobeyed his orders to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham.

This led to the forward being excluded from the squad to face Chelsea the following Saturday, as he took to social media to apologise for his actions.

Next came an exclusive, bombshell interview with Piers Morgan before Ronaldo was shipped off to Al-Nassr the following transfer window. 

Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur before leaving the club

Ronaldo refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham Hotspur before leaving the club

Clint Dempsey

Look away, Fulham fans! Here’s another player that vowed to never play for the Cottagers again.

Back in 2012, the American had his heart set on a move to Liverpool and refused to play in Fulham’s Premier League match.

This led to manager Martin Jol saying: ‘There was never an offer. Clint himself told everyone he was going to Liverpool before he came back so we really thought there was quite a firm interest in him.’

Even more bizarre, New England Sports Network, a website owned by the Anfield proprietors Fenway Sports Group, published a story claiming Dempsey was a Liverpool player. 

In the end, Clint Dempsey joined Tottenham Hotspur and not Liverpool, revealing that his exit left him close to tears.

Clint Dempsey refused to play for Fulham back in 2012 amid interest from Liverpool

Clint Dempsey refused to play for Fulham back in 2012 amid interest from Liverpool 

Dimitar Berbatov

Sticking on the Fulham theme, let’s talk about another ex-Cottager, and this time a striker.

However, this wantaway star’s story came before he even played for Fulham, during his time at London rivals Spurs.

Sir Alex Ferguson seemingly annoyed Tottenham owner Daniel Levy with public comments about Berbatov, insisting that a deal would be done to sign him for Manchester United in 2008.

By the start of the season, there was no real progress on the signing and Berbatov told Tottenham that he was not in the right frame of mind to play against Sunderland – which led to him being fined.

The Bulgarian then refused to play against Chelsea, with United getting their man late on deadline day – and he later revealed he does not regret the decision.

Dimitar Berbatov refused to play for Tottenham

The Bulgarian was eventually given a move to Man United

Dimitar Berbatov refused to play for Tottenham Hotspur as he eyed a move to Man United

Carlos Tevez

One of Berbatov’s former United team-mates was also embroiled in controversy. 

It was reported that Carlos Tevez was told to ‘go back to Argentina’ by manager Roberto Mancini during his time at Man City.

Lo and behold, Tevez did just that, just days after refusing to come off the bench against Bayern Munich, which he was later suspended for.

It took the forward two months before he rocked back up in Manchester, and he was crucial when he returned as he helped City lift the Premier League title despite the controversy. 

Carlos Tevez refused to come off the bench for Manchester City against Bayern Munich

Carlos Tevez refused to come off the bench for Manchester City against Bayern Munich

Raheem Sterling

While Mitrovic is currently on Fulham’s pre-season tour, one player refused to attend his club’s tour to force a move.

Raheem Sterling turned down numerous contract offers at Liverpool as Manchester City pursued him.

When he was told ‘no’ by the Anfield club, Sterling simply refused to attend their pre-season camp to force through the move.

The winger became an icon at City, winning a number of Premier League titles before joining Chelsea last summer. 

Raheem Sterling refused to attend Liverpool's pre-season camp to force through a move

Raheem Sterling refused to attend Liverpool’s pre-season camp to force through a move

Dimitri Payet

Nobody can forget this one, in what was a truly painful departure for West Ham fans.

Dimitri Payet lit up the Premier League during his brief stint in England, scoring a range of sensational free-kicks and being one of the most iconic playmakers the league has seen.

However, he decided he wanted out despite earning a bumper new deal at the Irons.

The Frenchman made his mind up, he wanted to return to Marseille and refused to play for West Ham, which left manager Slaven Bilic ‘p***** off’.

Playmaker Dimitri Payet refused to play for West Ham to force through a return to Marseille

Playmaker Dimitri Payet refused to play for West Ham to force through a return to Marseille

Riyad Mahrez

Another player that set the Premier League alight was Riyad Mahrez.

The Algerian helped guide Leicester City to a remarkable Premier League victory against all odds.

However, the following January he wanted out, as Man City had three bids rejected for him. 

Mahrez simply refused to report for training and was fined two weeks’ wages before returning.

He got his move the following summer though, and has not looked back since, despite it appearing that his Premier League stint is coming to an end as he is set to join Saudi club Al-Ahli.

Riyad Mahrez did not report to training at Leicester City as he wanted to move to Man City

Riyad Mahrez did not report to training at Leicester City as he wanted to move to Man City

Marcos Rojo

Manchester United eventually signed Marcos Rojo from Sporting CP, but it took time for the deal to get done as he tried to force a move.

The Argentine refused to train in Lisbon, which led to former Man United midfielder Juan Sebastian Veron giving him advice.

Despite joining, Rojo’s debut was delayed as he was refused a work permit at first, but he got what he wanted in the end. 

Marcos Rojo eventually got a move to Man United after missing training at Sporting

Marcos Rojo eventually got a move to Man United after missing training at Sporting

William Gallas

You’ll do well to find a more crazy story about a wantaway player than this one. 

Back in 2006, William Gallas thought that Chelsea weren’t paying him his worth, so he wanted to leave – but was refused an exit.

The defender went on strike and reportedly told the club that he would score own goals if he remained at Stamford Bridge.

Re-living the conversation, Gallas cleared things up as he said: ‘You’re going to put me on the pitch OK, but if the heart is not there and I’m not concentrating, I risk making errors, errors that I’m not used to making. 

‘We could let in a goal, so lose a match stupidly. This is what I said, word for word.’

Eventually, he got his move to Arsenal in a part-exchange deal for Ashely Cole, which benefited Chelsea. 

Reports stated William Gallas threatened to score own goals at Chelsea, which was untrue

Reports stated William Gallas threatened to score own goals at Chelsea, which was untrue

Thibaut Courtois

This one still hurts Chelsea fans to this day.

The Blues thought they were set for the next ten years in goal with Thibaut Courtois, the man that forced legend Petr Cech out of his starting role at the club.

All was going well with the Belgian until Real Madrid came along. The shot-stopper failed to show up for training in 2018 as he forced a move to Spain. 

It put incoming boss Maurizio Sarri in an awkward position before Chelsea smashed the transfer record for a goalkeeper on Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Fans have still not forgiven Courtois for his antics, with him receiving boos when returning to Stamford Bridge, while Kepa’s song refers to the Spaniard being ‘better that f***** Thibaut’. 

Thibaut Courtois whent from hero to villain at Chelsea as he forced an exit back in 2018

Thibaut Courtois whent from hero to villain at Chelsea as he forced an exit back in 2018

It remains to be seen as to what happens with Mitrovic this summer, with the Serbian pictured on Fulham’s pre-season tour.

He has not quite gone the Sterling route of refusing to travel with his teammates, and so far he is not refusing to play.

Fulham owner Tony Khan has gone down the Daniel Levy route himself, and engaged in a war of words as he claimed Saudi Arabia have the money to ‘get away with anything’. 

There’s a long transfer window ahead, and it remains to be seen as to whether any stars of the present will join the list of wantaway players who had forced moves in years to come. 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Aleksandar Mitrovic: What happens to football’s wantaway players when they rebel against their club? 24hfootnews.

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