One not very happy bunny.

9 memorable substitution strops from De Bruyne to Salah, Messi & Ronaldo…

Footballers can have fragile egos at the best of times and it’s fair to say that they don’t always take well to being substituted off.

This can be for a multitude of reasons. The player might be unhappy with his own performance or he could be showing his displeasure at the decision itself.

We’ve looked back through the years and have picked out six of the most memorable substitution strops.

Kevin De Bruyne

Pep Guardiola had to take time out of Manchester City’s pulsating match against Liverpool in March 2024 to pacify a simmering De Bruyne after the midfielder was hooked in the second half.

Considering the Belgian playmaker produced another magic assist to set up City’s opener, we can understand his frustrations.

Mohamed Salah

The Liverpool superstar has an excellent track record when it comes to scoring on the opening weekend, but the 31-year-old had a frustrating time at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

After having a goal of his own chalked off for offside, Salah wasn’t too happy to see his number go up on the substitutes board. A frustrating afternoon all round for the forward.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is certainly no stranger to an outburst or two and to be honest, who could blame him? His ruthless mentality is what got him to the top and he wants to play at every given opportunity.

It’s a real shame how things ended for Ronaldo at Old Trafford and the cracks had already started to show in his first season back at the club. He certainly wasn’t happy when he was withdrawn against Brentford.

Granit Xhaka

Considering Xhaka was booed off the pitch by Arsenal fans at the Emirates back in 2019, his outburst to being substituted was probably justified.

Plenty of fans and pundits alike thought this was the end for Xhaka in an Arsenal shirt, but it’s a real testament to his character that he managed to turn this around in the end.

Lionel Messi

It’s fair to say that Messi didn’t have the best debut season with PSG and things got off to a pretty frosty start when Mauricio Pochettino substituted the Argentine superstar in his home debut.

To be fair to Pochettino, PSG did end up winning the game thanks to his substitutes with a 93rd-minute Mauro Icardi winner, but the Messi subplot grabbed all the headlines at the time.

Anthony Gordon

The Newcastle winger didn’t take kindly to Eddie Howe withdrawing him against Brentford last season. The duo quickly smoothed things over, but Gordon’s temper tantrum on the sidelines raised eyebrows at the time.

Olivier Giroud

Being substituted before half-time in a World Cup final is always going to sting. Didier Deschamps took the bold decision to withdraw Giroud and Ousmane Dembele in the 41st minute, with France trailing 2-0 to Argentina.

It’s fair to say that Giroud didn’t take too kindly to the decision.

James Milner

This one was absolutely perfect. Klopp had to talk Milner through his decision to take him off after the veteran midfielder clearly wanted to stay on the pitch.

Only for Curtis Jones, who had replaced Milner, to then instantly set up Salah for the opening goal. The emotions in the dugout were quickly flipped and Milner saw the funny side in the end.


The water bottle throw is a template for these substitution strops. Jose Mourinho told reporters after the game that Dele wasn’t happy with his own performance.

“I think he was angry with himself not with me,” Mourinho explained. “And the team were better when he came off.”


TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the 20 players with the most PL substitute appearances?