5 players who are criticized by their own club's fans
Football players are usually a privileged lot with fans adoring and idolizing them. However, for some footballers the picture is not all that rosy.
Angling for a move to another club or a perceived lack of effort are among the variety of reasons some footballers have their own fans booing them. From being bought at exorbitant fees or being the stars of their teams, things have turned quickly for these players who are now struggling to please their own fans.
We look at five footballers who have been castigated and criticized by their own fans this season.
#5 Simon Mignolet - Liverpool
Liverpool’s first choice goal keeper Simon Mignolet has endured a torrid time in between the sticks this season. A lack of confidence in gathering crosses and being susceptible during set pieces has led to the majority of the Anfield faithful losing faith in their first choice custodian.
Mignolet flapping hopelessly at balls being crossed into the box has become a recurrent theme for the Reds this season. Being an excellent shot stopper and apparently having the faith of his manager Jurgen Klopp led to Liverpool offering him a new long term contract at the club.
However, this move did not go down well with the fans who were quick to voice their displeasure on social media. With many of the fans demanding a new goalkeeper, Mignolet has a long and uphill battle to win back the faith and affection of the Anfield faithful.
#4 Jeremy Menez - AC Milan
Often dazzling and frustrating in equal amounts, Menez has been an enigma many managers have tried to get the best of. After enjoying a largely successful debut campaign at Milan where he found the back of the net 16 times, Menez has quickly been pushed to the sidelines with the forward’s attitude often being questioned.
Problems in tracking back and not helping out in defence have not helped his cause. Looking disinterested and not trying hard enough never goes down well with any set of fans and the Milan fans have become disenchanted with the forward. The majority of them want the Frenchman to find a new club to ply his trade.
With Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca being drafted into the side this season, Milan look set to continue their life without the talented but unpredictable Frenchman.
#3 Saido Berahino - West Brom
The player considered to be the next big talent in English football, Saido Berahino had a stellar Premier League campaign in 2014/15, ending the season as the club’s top scorer and a firm fan’s favourite. Berahino ended the season with the whole world at his feet.
However, Tottenham came calling in the summer of 2015 and a declaration by Berahino that he will never play for the chairman of the club Jeremy Pearce again angered the West Brom faithful. Faced with form and fitness problems this season, Berahino soon lost his regular place in the first team with Tony Pulis demanding full committment to the cause from his star forward.
Threatening to go on a strike after his deadline day move was rejected and with questions about his attitude rubbing fans the wrong way, the player has struggled to recapture his best form ever since.
#2 Wayne Rooney - Manchester United
Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore Wayne Rooney. The Manchester United captain has had a tough time this season struggling to recapture the form which gave sleepless nights to defenders worldwide.
Having comfortably been outshone by less fancied players like Jamie Vardy, Odion Ighalo and even his own teammate Anthony Martial, Rooney has looked jaded and slightly off the pace this season. Once the first name on the team sheet, fans have been very vocal about their disapproval of their captain’s form and some sections of the crowd even called for him to be dropped.
Playing in a variety of positions, be it the role of a striker or as a no.10, Rooney has failed to capture the fans' imagination at the Theatre of Dreams. However, fans should write off a player of Rooney’s class at their own peril as the recent resurgence in his form has shown glimpses of the old Rooney United fans love.
#1 Gareth Bale - Real Madrid
Gareth Bale, the most expensive footballer in the world, has found the going tough in recent months with his own fans booing him on plenty of occasions. A scorer of vital and important goals, such as goals in the Copa del Rey final and the Champions League final in his debut season, Bale had a very successful start to his career with Los Blancos.
However, things rapidly started going downhill for the Welshman who struggled a bit for form and fitness in the following season. Rumours of problems with Cristiano Ronaldo also did not help his cause.
With many fans wanting Isco and James Rodriguez to play at his expense, Bale has always played with the Madrid fans questioning his role in the team. Accused of being selfish and not trying hard enough, the famously hard to please Madrid fans soon turned on their erstwhile star man and Bale has had a tough time ever since convincing Madridistas that his high price tag was justified.