We'll never get over Messi and Ramos...

8 sets of footballers we can’t believe were teammates: Messi & Ramos, Martial & Silva…

The path to stardom in football isn’t always linear and the best storylines often involve bizarre twists and turns along the way; specifically players striking up partnerships you never knew you needed.

We’re not just talking about the big striker, little striker combo here, or the unlikely defensive duo who blend aesthetics with action. No chance.

We’re talking players who the footballing Gods never intended to be in the same timezone instead sitting together for pre-match meals and sharing the same changing rooms, no matter how warped a reality it might feel.

Football has thrown up some truly absurd teammate pairings over the years. You’ve heard about the usual suspects – Arteta and Ronaldinho, Kane and Vardy – but we’re bringing you fresh duos. Here are seven sets of players we cannot believe were teammates at one point in time.

James Rodriguez & Seamus Coleman

When it comes to football’s weirdest and wonderful, we can almost always count on Everton to provide. And provide they did in lockdown.

Somehow appointing Carlo Ancelotti as manager at the beginning of 2020 was outrageous enough, but they kicked it into another gear when they pulled off the signing of James Rodriguez that summer.

His arrival gave us endless combinations, but the thought of him trying to understand a word of Seamus Coleman’s thick Irish accent on a training pitch in Merseyside continually fries our brains. What a duo.

Lionel Messi & Sergio Ramos

It’s still fresh in the mind, so we’re all still a little numb to it. But taking a step back from it all, how utterly bizarre was it that Messi ended up teammates with Sergio Ramos of all people in Paris?

A pair who spent the best years of their career trying to carve out a legacy by doing everything they could to ensure the other looked as useless as possible, the two arch-rivals suddenly had to play happy families as they swapped Spain for France, house-hunting together and desperately trying to spare Paris Saint-Germain’s European blushes.

Son Heung-min & Ruud van Nistelrooy

One that not only brings a tear to the eye of striker enthusiasts around the world, but a duo that’ll absolutely fry the concept of time in your brain.

Son joined Hamburg at the beginning of his career in European football and shared the striker role with Van Nistelrooy, who joined the Bundesliga side from Real Madrid in 2010.

The South Korean has since blossomed into a superstar and spoken on record about how learning from the Dutchman was so beneficial, while Ruud the dude himself actually tweeted in April 2011: “My teammate Son Heung-min, massive talent! 18 years old… Watch out for him. Class!”

Takes one to know one, Ruud.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrating for Portugal and England captain Harry Kane

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Michael Bradley & Francesco Totti

Son of Bob, Michael Bradley embarked on a rather bizarre two-year spell to Rome from 2012 to 2014 as his playing career in Europe wound down.

Americans seem to love Serie A these days, but the thought of Bradley training alongside Mr. Roma himself Francesco Totti is an extremely weird one, no matter how much the league leans into the land of supersized sodas and funky penalties.

It’s not a blasphemous combo, but the thought of Bradley getting on the half-turn and trying to feed through balls to an icon like Totti is really, really weird. Not even an eight-year deep Football Manager save would cook up such an unlikely pairing.

Anthony Martial & Bernardo Silva

Before the pair both headed to different sides of Manchester, Martial and Silva were actually a pretty handy duo in Monaco.

The pair scored nine goals each in Ligue 1 in 2014-15, ripping it up as they finished third and reached the Champions League quarter-final. It was off the back of that season that United pulled the trigger on a young Martial, bringing a blossoming partnership to an end.

Silva would soon be reunited with his former colleague when he moved to the blue side of Manchester in 2017, by which point the two stood on opposite sides of the battle line.

Christopher Nkunku & Moussa Diaby

Another one to fry your mental timelines, Nkunku and Diaby both find themselves in the Premier League these days with Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively, but they were once coming up alongside one another in Paris.

The pair of electric forwards have actually run in parallel for a rather freakish amount of time in their careers so far, breaking through together at PSG and amassing 33 goal contributions between them in 2019-20, before both being sold to Bundesliga sides and now finding themselves in England together.

Nkunku has been injured, but Diaby has largely been a hit in his first season for Villa and will no doubt continue to improve. PSG missed out on a seriously deadly French duo here.

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Mohamed Salah & Micah Richards

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Liverpool’s Egyptian king once shared the changing room with ‘Big Meeks’ who has seemingly made a habit of forming unlikely duos, considering his work alongside Roy Keane.

Having fallen out of favour at Manchester City, Richards swapped England for Italy and signed for Fiorentina on a season-long loan in 2014-15. Salah – still at Chelsea at the time – was allowed to leave on loan at the beginning of 2015 and also found himself in FirenzeIt, spending the second half of the campaign with Richards as a result.

It seems the pair struck up quite the bond in the half-season they spent together. Salah told Sky Sports in 2023: “Oh my god, [Richards is] one of the craziest guys I’ve ever met. He’s really such a nice guy.

“My family were in London and he was alone and we would always go for coffee. I didn’t have a car, he picked me up always before training and after training to drop me home. He was my driver at the time!”

Samuel Eto’o & Leighton Baines

Remember what we said about Everton at the start? Yeah, we’re back there again…

For half a season at the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign, there was a point in time where Leighton Baines was tasked with whipping balls into Champions League winner Samuel Eto’o, who now donned an Everton shirt.

It didn’t last long, with Eto’o signing in the summer of 2015 but leaving in January 2016 to sign for Sampdoria, but it happened and it was as weird and wonderful as it sounds. The Toffees, eh?