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10 most controversial transfers of all time

Sumedh Pande
Modified 12 Mar 2017, 13:44 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

#2 Sol Campbell - Tottenham Hotspur to Arsenal (2001)

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 14:  Tottenham Hotspur fans berate Sol Campbell of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 14, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Spurs fans’ hatred of Sol Campbell was well justified

When the club's captain tells his club’s monthly magazine that he will never ever join their sworn rivals, fans are ought to believe his statement. In the end, Sol Campbell was a local North London lad who fulfilled his dream of playing for the club he supported as a child. The English defender made 315 appearances for the Lilywhites and was captain of the side for four seasons.

Campbell was considered as the Premier League's best defender at that time and had caught the attention of the likes of FC Barcelona and AC Milan. Spurs fans knew that their beloved leader was leaving White Hart Lane after failing to reach an agreement over a new deal. Little did they know that Campbell would go on and join their bitter rivals, Arsenal

It was a surprise for the fans and reporters as well, who were surprised to see Campbell signing for Tottenham's eternal rivals. Adding insult to this move, Campbell went on to win two league titles and three FA Cups during his time with the Gunners. Spurs loyalists labelled him 'Judas' for his unthinkable move (from a fan's perspective), with the tag expected to follow him forever. 

#1 Luis Figo - FC Barcelona to Real Madrid (2000) 

BARCELONA - NOVEMBER 23:  Luis Figo of Real Madrid is bombarded by missiles as he attempts to take a corner during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid played at the Nou Camp Stadium, Barcelona, Spain on November 23, 2002. (Photo by Firo Foto/Getty Images)
A pig’s head aimed at Luis Figo is evident on the turf of Nou Camp

During his five-year spell at Camp Nou, Luis Figo achieved legendary status with the Catalans due to his flair which saw Barcelona lift consecutive league titles. At the same time, current Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was fighting for his second term as president and wanted to make a huge mark on the club by beginning what is now known as the ‘Galacticos era’. After consultation, a deal was signed with Luis Figo for a sum of £26 million which somehow got leaked to the media. 

The Portuguese then issued a statement in a bid to pacify the Barcelona supporters by saying that he will be at Camp Nou on July 24, the date on which Barcelona were set to start the pre-season training to defend their La Liga crown. But, it was on this day that he was announced as a Real Madrid player for a world record fee of €62 million. Figo won the Ballon d'Or just months after joining Madrid, much to the despair of Barcelona fans. 


Two years later, during a game at Camp Nou, Figo was subject to the Barcelona fan's ire as the raucous home crowd brought the game to a halt for 12 minutes. Along with the bottles, coins and lighters, a pig's head was thrown near the corner flag (close to where Figo was standing) which reflected the anger that the Catalans had in their hearts about this controversial transfer. 

This hatred among the Barcelona fan base makes his move to the Bernabeu, the most controversial transfer of all time. Before him, 17 players had been transferred to Real Madrid from Barcelona but none of them met such a ferocious reaction from the Barcelona supporters.

Published 04 Mar 2017, 09:34 IST
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