Football is full of surprises, from unexpected goals to shocking results. One needs to look no further than both the Premier League and the Champions League this season. So far, in both competitions, there have been plenty of shockers that have left our collective jaws agape.
So far this term, we have seen the reigning treble holders Manchester City lose unexpectedly away at the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and to a lesser extent, Arsenal. We have all seen their cross-city rivals Manchester United on the receiving end of plenty of disappointing results as well this season, dropping defeats to the likes of Galatasaray, Crystal Palace, and Brighton, at Old Trafford no less. In fact, their performances in the Champions League have been so poor that they currently sit bottom of their group. Bovada sportsbook makes them +4000 outsiders to lift the famous big-eared trophy this season – much longer odds than were offered before a ball was kicked.
But sometimes, the biggest surprises come off the field, in the form of unexpected transfers. Football fans are always excited to hear news about transfers, especially if it involves big-name players moving to different clubs. Some transfers may be expected, while others leave us speechless and in disbelief. After all, it’s not every day that you see a player move from one rival team to another or leave a notorious club to join a team with much lower standing.
Robinho: Real Madrid > Manchester City
When Brazilian forward Robinho stunned the football world by moving from Real Madrid to Manchester City in 2008, many were left scratching their heads. The Blues weren’t the powerhouse that they would go on to become a decade later, and they had only just been taken over by the Abu Dhabi Sports Investment group. The former Santos star was one of the finest strikers on the planet at the time and a move to Chelsea had been touted however, it was the Citizens who pounced on transfer deadline day.
Many people were stunned by the move, especially as other popular clubs like Chelsea were also vying for Robinho’s signature. Not only was he leaving Los Blancos behind, but he was also joining a club that was not exactly known for its success at that time. While his time at the Etihad didn’t last long, the transfer was still shocking and made a massive impact on the English league.
Mesut Ozil: Real Madrid > Arsenal
Another Real Madrid player making the list is Mesut Ozil, who left the club in 2013 to join Arsenal. At the time, the German playmaker was considered one of the most talented players in the world. He was a key man for Los Blancos, who had just won La Liga in record-breaking fashion the previous season. The transfer came as a shock to football fans worldwide, as Ozil seemed to have it all at Real Madrid and many were surprised that the Spanish giants were willing to let him go, and even more surprised that the Gunners were able to sign him for a British record fee.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: Borussia Dortmund > Arsenal
Another big signing for Arsenal came in 2018 when they brought in Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund. The Gabonese striker was one of the most prolific players in the Bundesliga, and many believed he would leave Borussia Dortmund for one of Europe’s heavyweight teams. Nonetheless, it was Arsenal who pounced, breaking their transfer record to bring him to the Emirates for a reported £56 million.
Lionel Messi: Barcelona > Paris Saint-Germain
Did any of us truly expect to see Lionel Messi in a shirt other than that of Barcelona? The Argentinian genius symbolized everything that was beautiful about the Blaugrana, winning ten La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues. As well as that, he picked up the Balon d’Or a record-breaking six times and it seemed as though he would play for the Catalonians until the day he retired. Then, when it was announced that the club’s financial issues meant that they could not afford to resign him, the earth was turned upside down.
They had already lost Neymar in 2017 for a mind-boggling £220m and once Messi was confirmed to be leaving, it was like a dark cloud descended on the Camp Nou. Messi would also opt to join Paris Saint-Germain, just as his former teammate had done three years prior, and seeing him at the Parc des Princes with the number 30 – rather than the famed number 10 – on his back was a strange sight for all. While the reasons behind his move are complex and varied, there is no doubt that his departure reshaped the landscape of European football.
Luis Figo: Barcelona > Real Madrid
Our final shocking transfer is one that still stings for many Barcelona fans. In 2000, Luis Figo was one of the best players in the world and a fan favorite at the Camp Nou. But that didn’t stop him from signing for Barcelona’s hated rivals, Real Madrid. The move was controversial to say the least, with Barcelona fans feeling betrayed by their beloved player. Figo would go on to win two La Liga titles with Real Madrid, but his legacy with Barcelona will always be tainted.