Scoring against a former club has always been a touchy subject in football, especially when there are pent-up emotions to be unleashed into the mix. Top Eleven takes a look at some of the most famous players to shine against their former employers and just how they celebrated their deeds.
Jurgen Klopp once said Dortmund is like a hunter with a bow and arrow, fighting against Bayern Munchen’s bazookas. In 2013, Mario Goetze genuinely surprised Borussia when he asked to be sold to the Bavarian giants, and even more so when he scored against the club that had helped him develop into a world-class player. He didn’t celebrate his goal, so at least there’s that. Goetze is also generally liked throughout Germany due to the fact his goal against Argentina proved the winner in the 2014 World Cup final. No hard feelings, eh?
Cristiano Ronaldo is a fan favorite at Old Trafford and has talked of his love for Manchester United on numerous occasions, which is exactly why he found it so difficult to celebrate scoring against them during Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with the Red Devils in 2013. Ronaldo punished Ferguson’s side by scoring in both legs, but his apologetic gestures showed he still has enormous respect for the club that made him famous.
Despite a relatively successful loan spell at Liverpool, Anelka couldn’t find a place in Gerard Houllier’s side and moved to Manchester City soon afterwards. Coming on as a sub against the Reds in 2003, the Frenchman found himself on the scoresheet twice and made all those who had doubted him take a long moment to think about their decision.
Barcelona and Spain legend David Villa was accused of having double standards when he celebrated scoring against the Catalan team while playing for Atletico Madrid in 2013. The striker had previously refused to celebrate a goal against Sporting Gijon, another one of his former clubs, but he somehow changed his mind about doing the same to Barca, which left many fans disgruntled.
With a couple of moments remaining on the clock, Liverpool beat Chelsea in their 2011 Premier League encounter by scoring through none other than Glen Johnson, the England international netting the decider after a brilliant run. To make things worse for Chelsea, their new signing Fernando Torres came on as a sub and could do naught against his former club.
Marco Reus was the star during Dortmund’s 5-0 Bundesliga thrashing of Gladbach in 2012, scoring two beautiful goals and constantly causing the opposition defence heaps of trouble. Despite a man-of-the-match performance, Reus refused to celebrate out of respect for his former club and is still considered a legend among the Monchengladbach faithful.
It’s no secret Zlatan Ibrahimovic is used to having things go his way, so it was no surprise he managed to score against his former club Inter after moving to AC Milan. As cool as a cucumber, Zlatan routinely slotted away a penalty he himself had won, which then helped the Rossoneri to a well-deserved title. Years later, Ibra has changed clubs a number of times and will most likely sign for a new one at the beginning of the summer.
Robin van Persie
Dubbed a traitor when he left Arsenal for Man United in pursuit of silverware in 2013, Robin van Persie made things worse for himself by scoring against Wenger’s side and celebrating quite wildly. This was viewed as clear lack of respect and Van Persie has never looked back since.
Words simply cannot do justice to how much Emmanuel Adebayor loves sparking feuds with his former clubs. After signing for Manchester City and scoring against his former club Arsenal, the Togolese striker ran the length of the pitch just so that he could taunt the Gunners’ fans, which earned him both a two-game suspension and a fine. He won’t mind, though.
There is no love lost between Carlos Tevez and Sir Alex Ferguson, and that is putting it mildly. The Argentine striker wasn’t given a new contract with the Red Devils despite helping the team to a plethora of trophies, so revenge was definitely on the cards for Carlitos when his new club Manchester City faced United in the Carling Cup semi-final. Tevez scored and cupped his ears towards Ferguson, letting him know exactly what he felt about the Scotsman’s decision-making.
After a brilliant career with Manchester United that lasted an impressive 11 years, Dennis Law scored an absolute stunner against his former team while playing for none other than Manchester City. More importantly, Law scored a vital goal that sent United straight into the Second Division. The King seemed distraught and was barely able to look at his delighted teammates, as he was applauded by home and away fans alike.
That heartbreaking moment takes our no. 1 spot, but do you think we’ve left someone out? If so, start typing and let us know exactly what you think in the Top Eleven comment section!