On the whole, footballers have a pretty cushty life. They get to live most people’s dream by turning up to work to kick a ball around and getting paid handsomely to do so while at the weekend, they lap up the adulation of thousands of fans on the terraces. What’s there not to like?
While footballers have a pretty sweet deal all things considered, sometimes their dream job can turn into a bit of a personal nightmare, particularly if they aren’t selected by their managers to play in important matches.
When a footballer finds themselves out of contention for selection, usually injuries, suspensions or a loss of form are to blame, but sometimes it goes a little deeper than that…
As in every walk of life, footballers will come across people in their club that they just don’t get on with very well. If it’s a teammate, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Consider that Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham hated each other while at Manchester United but put their differences to one side for the good of the team in a hugely successful period for the club.
However, the situation can be far bleaker if a player doesn’t see eye to eye with their manager or head coach. Although it is the players that win matches through scoring goals or making saves, the manager rules the roost and if he falls out with one of his players, there’s usually no going back.
Throughout football history, there have been hundreds of examples of players being left out in the cold by their manager.
Squawka has taken a look at some modern examples to see whether the player in question managed to turn things around or were left on the sidelines.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)
Jose Mourinho made the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan one of his first priorities upon joining Manchester United, securing the Armenian playmaker from Dortmund after he had managed 15 assists and 11 goals in the Bundesliga.
However, Mkhitaryan struggled to make an impression in his first few months at Old Trafford with Mourinho leaving out of his matchday squad altogether and publicly chastising him for his displays.
Eventually, Mkhitaryan was able to convince Mourinho of his qualities and he has managed five assists and a goal from the Red Devils opening five Premier League matches this season.
Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger is renowned for his loyalty and patience when it comes to his players, sometimes infuriatingly so, hanging onto underperforming stars for far too long.
That makes the current situation with Mathieu Debuchy all the more confusing. The Frenchman has managed just 23 appearances for the Gunners in three years with only one of those coming last season. Wenger has well and truly axed him from his plans.
It’s an increasingly bleak situation for the out-of-favour Frenchman.
Oumar Niasse (Everton)
You can’t help but not feel sorry for Oumar Niasse’s plight at Everton under Ronald Koeman. Just six months after signing for the club under their previous manager Roberto Martinez, Niasse was stripped of his shirt number and forced to play with the reserves.
Clearly, Koeman didn’t rate the striker highly, but his treatment of him appeared from the outside to be extremely harsh. Niasse went on loan to Hull midway through last season and despite impressing he still can’t get a look-in at Goodison, even though they’ve scored just two goals in five Premier League games…
Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool)
Nobody really knows the full story of what happened between Jurgen Klopp and Mamadou Sakho but something definitely did happen. What happened led to neither man being very happy with the other. The fact that Klopp is the boss and Sakho is a player meant that Sakho spent his time on the bench, before being farmed out on loan to Crystal Palace, now his permanent home after a summer transfer.
The whole affair left Liverpool fans a bit bemused as the Frenchman often showed excellent leadership and decisive defending for the Reds – something they lack all too often at the back.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United)
Mkhitaryan isn’t the only player to fall foul of Mourinho’s methods at Manchester United… World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger found himself ostracised from the first-team after the Portuguese’s arrival.
His treatment was even worse than Mkhitaryan’s as he was left to train with the reserves as Mourinho looked to offload him. His exemplary attitude in training earned a brief reprieve as he made four first-team appearances in cup competitions before leaving for Chicaco Fire in January.
Victor Valdes (Manchester United)
Yet another Manchester United player! This time, though, Jose wasn’t the man responsible for being nasty to a player as it was Louis van Gaal who made Victor Valdes’ short stay in the North West an utter misery.
It was Van Gaal who handed Valdes his professional debut at Barcelona but the pair’s relationship soured quickly at United as the Dutchman forced him to train on his own before sending him out on loan to Standard Liege to get rid of him.
Mario Balotelli (Liverpool)
Ah Mario, you’ve got to love him, unless you’re his manager that is… Super Mario famously got himself sent off just a minute after Mourinho instructed him not to at Inter and was criticised by Lucien Favre for a couple of below-par performances for Nice in August.
However, it was during the Italian’s ill-fated spell at Anfield that his manager eventually reached breaking point. Brendan Rodgers, fed up with his lackadaisical work ethic banished him from the side in pre-season in 2016 before finally managing to cut him loose by sending him on loan to AC Milan.
Jurgen Klopp evidently didn’t fancy Balotelli too much either, cancelling his contract to free him up to join Nice.
Florent Malouda (Chelsea)
Florent Malouda belongs in a very exclusive club of footballers to win the Champions League final in their last-ever appearance for a club.
Usually, that fact would be a cause for celebration, but in Malouda’s case, it was anything but, as he stuck around at Stamford Bridge for a further year without playing after featuring in the historic win over Bayern Munich.
Neither Roberto Di Matteo, nor Rafa Benitez, was able to find a place in their squads for the Frenchman who joined Trabzonspor at the end of his contract.
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City)
This was a saga and a half. Cast your mind back to the early days of Manchester City’s ‘project’ and you might recall the club struggling against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena with Carlos Tevez sat sulking on the bench.
Tevez refused to start warming up after being ordered to do so by Roberto Mancini and the row well and truly erupted when the Argentine decided to pack his bags and head home for a six-month golfing holiday.
Mancini said he would never play for the club again under his management but he welcomed him back with a few months remaining in the 2011-12 season and he played a key role as the club lifted the Premier League title for the first time.
Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United)
A really unsavoury situation, this, that cast Newcastle United in an extremely poor light. Just two months after receiving surgery to treat testicular cancer, Jonas Gutierrez found himself cast adrift by his managers who didn’t want to select him as it would’ve triggered a one-year contract extension in his contract.
His incredible professionalism meant that he had forced his way back into first-team contention under John Carver by the end of the 2013-14 season and he ended up scoring a goal that effectively kept the club in the Premier League.
A couple of years later, Gutierrez won a disability discrimination lawsuit against Newcastle.
David Beckham (Real Madrid)
David Beckham might be a national treasure but that hasn’t meant much to some of his managers with Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello both falling out with him in dramatic circumstances.
While at Real Madrid, Beckham made the earth-shattering decision to sign a pre-contract agreement with LA Galaxy midway through the La Liga season and Capello was not impressed, dumping him out of his first-team plans.
Beckham’s dedication in training eventually persuaded Capello to have a rethink and he ended up helping his side win the league title a few months later before setting off for LA.