8 player vs club fallouts – from "p***** off" Toure saga to own goal threat

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Robert Lewandowski is growing increasingly irritated by Bayern Munich's attempts to block a transfer away this summer, but he isn't the first famous face to have fallen out with his club.

The prolific Pole was thought to have established an unbreakable bond with the Bundesliga behemoths over the past eight trophy-laden years in Bavaria, however, the pair's cast-iron connection appears to now be in real danger of collapse. With Bayern refusing to budge from their not-for-sale stance despite the 33-year-old's evident desire to join Barcelona, the striker has told Polish outlet Onet Sport he "just wants to leave", admitting "something died inside me – and it's impossible to get over that".

It seems things could well get very messy in Munich this summer. With that in mind, Daily Star Sport take a closer look at some of football's most famous fallouts, including a barney over a birthday cake and self-sabotage suggestions.

Yaya Toure v Manchester City

So successful was Yaya Toure at Manchester City that any debate over the Premier League's greatest ever midfielders wouldn't be complete without his name cropping up. It's just a pity the Ivorian's legacy in England was marred by birthday cake-gate.

Back in 2014, the City star kicked up a spectacular stink after the club didn't supply him with a cake for his special day. Days after City clinched a second ever Premier League title, Toure's agent lambasted the club for not adequately celebrating his client’s 31st birthday, stating that the midfielder would subsequently seek summer transfer away from the Etihad.

Having initially denied his agent's claims, Toure then astonishingly backtracked, confessing: “Everything Dimitri said is true. He speaks for me. I will explain more after the World Cup.” That explanation never came, and instead, Toure remained at City for four more years. He later told The Times that he was "p***** off" by the whole ordeal.

William Gallas v Chelsea

Which one of these is the most spectacular fallout? Let us know in the comments

Few have thrown their toys out of the pram quite like William Gallas. The French defender was so determined to depart Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2006 that he made a string of extraordinary threats centred on sabotage.

After allegedly refusing to play in Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final loss to Liverpool at the end of the season before, Gallas supposedly stated he would score an own goal, get sent off or make deliberate errors if selected in the Blues' opening game of the following campaign against City.

"Chelsea believes it is important for our supporters to be made aware of the full facts regarding William Gallas and the lack of respect he showed to the fans, the manager and the club," began a remarkable statement on Chelsea's clubs website which went on to detail the unsavoury episode. With his name smeared through mud, needless to say Gallas denied such suggestions and accused the West Londoners of "lacking class" and "hiding behind false accusations."

Maradona v Barcelona

Barcelona looked to have completed quite the coup back in 1982 by landing World Cup star Diego Maradona for a then world record fee of £5m. Big things were expected from the Argentine ace, however his stay in Spain lasted a mere two-years and was marred by controversy.

The writing was on the wall for 'The Golden Boy' following a chaotic 1984 Copa del Rey final within Maradona's second season, in which the icon was at the epicentre of an almighty brawl with Athletic Bilbao's players. The attacker kicked, punched and head-butted his way through opponents as he sought to take revenge on Andoni Goikoetxea – otherwise known as 'The Butcher of Bilbao' – who had inflicting a serious injury on him the year previous.

"When I saw those scenes of Maradona fighting and the chaos that followed I realised we couldn't go any further with him," one embarrassed Barca executive admitted shortly after the shocking scenes, which played out in front of 100,000 spectators, including Spanish King Juan Carlos as more than half of Spain watched on television. Maradona, who was also known to incessantly argue with the club's chiefs and president Josep Lluis Nunez in particular, was swiftly sold to Napoli.

Emmanuel Adebayor v Arsenal

After being forced out of Arsenal in 2009 following three-and-a-half years in North London, Emmanuel Adebayor took it upon himself to exact revenge on the Gunners in the most extraordinary fashion. The Togolese forward scored against his former employers for new club Manchester City one year on before executing one of the most antagonistic celebrations in Premier League history.

Adebayor ran the length of the pitch before knee-sliding with his arms outstretched in front of an enraged Arsenal away end. Reflecting on the infamous incident on Turkish TV programme 'Beyond the Game' back in 2018, he said: "What was going through my head? A prisoner is out. A prisoner is free.

"I played for the club for three-and-a-half-years, you bought me for £3m, I still have five years of my contract and you let me go for £20m more and you are telling more I am the one leaving for money and abusing me. I am not taking that so its was just to show them that the person you are insulting still has something in his locker."

Dimitri Payet v West Ham

It didn't take long for West Ham to realise they had a real gem on their hands after they snapped up set-piece specialist Dimitri Payet in the summer of 2015. The flamboyant Frenchman sparkled in his two seasons with the Hammers, before the love affair swiftly turned sour.

West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan blasted Payet for betraying the club after he refused to turn out for the Hammers and expressed a desire to return to Marseille due to family problems. In an interview with French newspaper L'Équipe, Payet then admitted he was desperate to depart after growing "bored" of playing for a team in the lower half of the Premier League table.

“I had no desire to play in the lower reaches of the Premier League,” he said. “The defensive system that we put in place did not give me any pleasure. With a 5-4-1 in front of our box, I could have had all the freedom in the world, so it’s difficult for me to explain. You could say that I was pissed off, yes. I worked hard in every game without taking any pleasure. You could say I was bored."

Joey Barton v Rangers

After rebuilding his reputation and helping Burnley seal a return to the Premier League back in 2016, Joey Barton headed north of the border to join Scottish giants Rangers and become, in his own modest words, "the best player in Scotland”. But his stay up there was to be short-lived.

Barton was suspended by the club shortly after arriving following a training-ground bust-up with new team-mate Andy Halliday. To make matters worse, the one-time England international thought it wise to take to national radio to slate his new club's handling of the incident.

"The way it’s been handled is strange," a baffled Barton told talkSPORT. “When you look at my history and you’re told to stay away from the club, it does look like something more has happened, and that’s why I’ve decided to get on the radio and speak, because it’s wrong.” Unsurprisingly, his contract was ripped up by November.

Shefki Kuqi v Crystal Palace

The enigmatic Shefki Kuqi saw his time in South London with Crystal Palace come to an end under a cloud. After being booed off by his own fans in a 3-0 defeat for the Eagles against Wolves, the 'Flying Finn' committed a cardinal sin.

The angry attacker made a crude gesture to his own supporters after being jeered when substituted, which saw Palace manager Neil Warnock promptly place the striker on the transfer list and fined two weeks' wages. Warnock told reporters: "I do not accept behaviour like that.

"You cannot gesture, and I've told him what action we're taking. That's the end of the matter." In response to the point that Kuqi had in fact been provoked by Palace fans, Warnock added: "It is not nice at times, but you cannot go off a pitch like that."

Koscielny v Arsenal

Laurent Koscielny did a grand job of tarnishing his Arsenal legacy after going on strike back in 2019. The Gunners captain refused to travel with the rest of Arsenal squad for the club's pre-season tour of the United States as he made a spectacular stand.

Amid interest from Bordeaux in his native France, the centre-back clashed with the North London club over the terms of the contract they were offering him to stay. As he entered the final year of his £120,000-a-week deal, Koscielny was tabled a new deal, which gave him the chance to remain for two more years but on a lower basic salary with performance-related bonuses available, due to his increasingly concerning injury record. Needless to say, it didn't go down well.

"We are very disappointed by Laurent's actions, which are against our clear instructions," an unusual Arsenal statement read. "We hope to resolve this matter and will not be providing any further comment at this time.” The Frenchman was swiftly sold to the Ligue 1 outfit before further goading the Gunners by throwing away an Arsenal shirt during his unveiling.

  • Premier League
  • Manchester City FC
  • Chelsea FC
  • Bayern Munich FC
  • Barcelona FC
  • Crystal Palace FC
  • Arsenal FC
  • West Ham FC
  • Rangers FC

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