In an ever-evolving sport such as football, over the years, and clubs found new, creative ways to make use of transfer windows to deal with deficiencies in the squad. Be it purely on a temporary basis (with no purchase option) to help give a player valuable minutes or a try-before-you-buy deal with an obligation to purchase a player; it has proved to be a valuable option.
There have been many high-profile loan deals conducted in the last few years, including those of Kylian Mbappe to PSG, James Rodriguez to Bayern Munich, Carlos Tevez to Manchester United, and many more. More recently, Barcelona's record signing Philippe Coutinho joined this list as well, after being shipped away to Bayern after falling out of favour at the Nou Camp.
It's always a strange experience for a player to play against their parent club. Many players in the past have done so with their loan clubs and, more importantly, inflicted defeat and misery over their permanent employers. They have come back to haunt their former clubs in devastating fashion.
Here, we take a look at five such instances, beginning with the most recent such scenario.
#5 Philippe Coutinho vs Barcelona | UCL 2019/20
Philippe Coutinho, who moved from Liverpool to the Catalans to fulfil his dream, became the most expensive Barcelona player in history after a move worth over €140m. However, he quickly fell out of favour at the club, leading to him leaving on loan to Germany.
Barcelona were on the receiving end of one of the most clinical performances in UCL history from Hansi Flick's Bayern Munich in Portugal. The round of 16 tie was explosive right from the get-go as Bayern found the net thrice in the opening 20 minutes — albeit one of them was a comical own goal scored by David Alaba.
There was hope for the Blaugrana after Luis Suarez scored their second goal, bringing the scoreline to 4-2 at the time. However, that sense of hope didn't last too long as the ruthless Bavarians were right on top of proceedings. The knockout punch, though, was delivered by one of their own.
Coutinho was brought on for a mere 15 minutes and helped add three goals to Bayern's tally in that period — setting up Robert Lewandowski's 14th UCL goal of the campaign, and then scoring their seventh and eighth goals of the game. His devastating cameo added insult to injury on what was a truly shambolic night for Barcelona.
#4 Kingsley Coman vs Juventus | UCL 2015/16
Bayern Munich have shown a liking to utilising loan deals to their benefit, and have conducted some of the most high-profile loan deals in the recent past. Kingsley Coman was one such player who the Bavarians took from Juventus on a two-year loan deal before signing him permanently later on.
Pep Guardiola's German champions were then drawn against Max Allegri's Juventus in the round of 16 of the 2015/16 UCL campaign. The first leg was a thrilling 2-2 encounter in Turin which saw the home club recover from a two-goal deficit to set up a blockbuster game at the Allianz Arena.
Juventus took an early lead and were 2-0 up within half an hour of the game after Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado found the back of the net. Bayern Munich pegged one back with just over 15 minutes left to play, and equalised in the dying embers of the game. Extra-time beckoned, and Thiago finally found the breakthrough to give Bayern a 5-4 lead on aggregate.
As the Bianconeri threw everything they had to try and recover salvage a goal, things went from bad to worse. Coman — fresh off the bench — ripped the Italian defence apart and scored a cracking goal to knock his parent club out of the UCL.
#3 Thibaut Courtois vs Chelsea | UCL 2013/14
A young Thibaut Courtois was purchased from Genk before being immediately loaned out to Atletico Madrid in 2011. It was at the Vicente Calderon that the Belgian plied his trade to become one of the most impressive shot-stoppers in world football and helped Atleti to their solitary LaLiga Santander title in the last decade.
Courtois was also a key figure for Atleti's stellar run in the UCL. In the last year of his three-season stay in the capital city, he came up against his parent club Chelsea, managed by former manager Jose Mourinho. The Blues demanded a £5m fee to allow Courtois to play against Chelsea due to a clause stated in Courtois' loan contract.
However, UEFA stepped in and rendered Chelsea's monetary demand 'null, void and unenforceable' which allowed Atleti to field their star goalkeeper. There was reason behind Mourinho and Chelsea's concern about Courtois playing as he made a string of breathtaking saves across both legs for the Rojiblancos.
The Belgian kept a clean sheet home and guarded their goal excellently in the away leg, conceding just one goal while watching his teammates put three past his parent club. Chelsea went crashing out, and Atleti marched on to the final, albeit ultimately losing to cross-town rivals Real Madrid.
#2 Fernando Morientes vs Real Madrid | UCL 2003/04
Spanish forward Fernando Morientes was a bonafide goalscorer during his time in Spain for Real Madrid, Real Zaragoza, and other LaLiga clubs. However, his spell with Los Blancos took a wrong turn after the arrival of Brazilian superstar Ronaldo Nazario from Inter Milan for a then-record fee.
As a result of Ronaldo joining the capital club, Morientes lost his place in the starting XI next to Raul. Due to a lack of playing time, Real made the decision to loan him out to AS Monaco ahead of the 2003/04 campaign... and that would go on to be a decision they would live to regret deeply.
Monaco and Real Madrid locked horns in the last 16 of the competition, and the Spanish record champions prevailed victorious with a 4-2 scoreline at the Bernabeu with Morientes grabbing an away goal. In the reverse fixture, the principality club stunned Real Madrid with a 3-1 victory, eventually progressing to the next phase at the Blancos' expense.
Morientes was among the goals once again, having scored at home and away against his parent club. He ended the tournament as the highest-scorer with nine goals. Monaco ultimately lost the final to a young Jose Mourinho's FC Porto.
#1 Alvaro Morata vs Real Madrid | UCL 2014/15
Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata was sent on a two-year loan deal to Juventus between 2014 and 2016, which saw him have a successful spell away from his hometown club. The Spaniard was vital for the Bianconeri, and although he didn't score goals in abundance, he scored vital goals in clutch moments for the side. Naturally, he was a fan-favourite at the Allianz Stadium.
As fate had it, Juventus and Real Madrid were drawn against each other in the semi-finals of the 2014/15 UCL. Los Blancos travelled to Italy in the first leg and were greeted by one of their own just eight minutes into the game as Morata slotted the ball past Iker Casillas to open the scoring.
Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled Morata's goal out with an equaliser, but it was in vain as Carlos Tevez made it 2-1 to the home side from the spot. In the reverse fixture, The Portuguese opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu but Morata, once again, popped up with a crucial equaliser after a brilliant team move.
His two goals across both legs gave Juventus the win, and ultimately made sure of his parent club's elimination from the competition. Real Madrid eventually re-purchased him only to sell him to Chelsea just weeks later.