10 players to commit their future to a club then leave: Figo, Suarez, Campbell
It’s extremely relieving to hear your club’s star player commit himself to the club – but as Liverpool and Tottenham fans among others can tell you, talk is cheap.
For a variety of reasons, fans have learned to take it with a huge pinch of salt whenever a player talks about their future.
And for good reason. Here’s just a small selection of the players to have publicly committed their future to a club, only to leave soon after.
The most famous example of all.
“I want to reassure fans that Luis Figo, with all the certainty in the world, will be at the Camp Nou on July 24 to start the season,” Figo said in 2000.
Moving from Barcelona to Real Madrid is bad enough, but to do so after publicly declaring you were going nowhere…well, Figo had cojones, we’ll give him that.
He also had a pig’s head when he returned to the Barca.
ON THIS DAY: In 2002, Luis Figo had a pig's head thrown at him vs. Barcelona following his move to Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/izPl3RPJEw
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 23, 2015
Suarez delighted Liverpool fans everywhere when in March 2014 he said he would stay at the club regardless of whether they qualified for the Champions League or not.
The Uruguayan had signed a new four-and-a-half-year deal the previous December following a turbulent year which featured Arsenal bidding £40,000,001 for the striker.
Suarez said: “I signed my new contract because I’m very happy here and I want to stay where I’m enjoying football and life. Playing in the Champions League isn’t dependent on that.”
Six months after signing the new deal and one bite at the World Cup later, Suarez was a Barcelona player.
If you ever got to watch Kaka in his AC Milan days then you will know exactly why this man attracted interest from the biggest clubs in the world.
The Brazilian, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2007, was adored by the Milan faithful, and in June 2009 he assured those fans he was staying put.
“I say it for the last time, I don’t want to leave Milan,” he said. “In this period I prefer to stay quiet because I don’t want to be misinterpreted.
“To the millions of Rossoneri [AC Milan] fans I say my decision has been made. I have said I want to stay. Now please leave me in peace.
“Thank God we qualified for the Champions League. We missed it and I missed it. I want to keep winning with Milan. I’m staying at Milan. And as of today, this case is over.”
Less than a month later, he moved to Real Madrid for over £50million, though, to be fair, he genuinely did seem to want to stay and said it was only to help Milan out of a “financial crisis”.
His form at Real would suggest he was telling the truth, but that didn’t make it any easier to take for Milan fans.
He was going, he was definitely staying, and then he actually left. A good old fashioned double U-turn.
After initially appearing set for a move to Manchester City, the midfielder cleared up his future on July 11, 2015, saying: “I’m aware there has been intense media speculation surrounding my future in the last 24 hours and I want to set the record straight.
“I’m not leaving. I’m staying at the football club and I can’t wait for the start of the season and captaining this great football club.”
Six days later, Delph did indeed join Manchester City, which cleared up his future much more effectively.
If Campbell moving across north London wasn’t bad enough for Spurs fans, it was compounded by what he had said six months earlier in 2001.
“I want to play for Tottenham – that’s it. I’ve been here for so long and there’s no reason to think I would want to leave.
“For me to do well at this club would mean everything. I play for Spurs with a passion and desire, and it hurts me when we lose.”
Luckily for Sol, he went on to become an Invincible at Arsenal, so he didn’t have to be hurt by losing all that often.
On July 2, 2012, Silva signed a huge five-year deal to commit his future to AC Milan.
On July 14, 2012, PSG announced the signing of the Brazil international.
Downing left Aston Villa for Liverpool in July 2011, just two months after insisting he was happy to stay at the “fantastic club”.
The winger had just been named Villa’s Player of the Season after an excellent campaign which caught the eye of plenty of teams.
Despite the interest, Downing said he had opened talks for a new contract, adding: “The important thing in football is, if you’re happy, then why change it?”
It’s a question he may have asked himself again down the line…
From vowing to stay at Arsenal to running the length of the pitch to goad their fans as a Manchester City player, things changed pretty quickly for Adebayor.
The striker tried to put speculation surrounding his future to rest in May 2009 when he said: “Arsenal put me where I am today – they made me one of the biggest strikers in the world, I have to pay them back.
“How am I going to pay them back? Make them win trophies. That is what I am here for and I have to fight for that. I do not have any reason for leaving until I get the trophies that I came here for.”
Later that summer, he joined Manchester City, and you know the rest.
In January 2008, Berbatov publicly criticised his own agent for suggesting he wanted to sign for a “bigger club” than Tottenham.
“I am a Tottenham player and I’m trying to give my best, so I can help my team,” Berbatov said. “I’m happy when we play well and I’m miserable when we lose our games.
“I’m happy at the moment. You can win titles and medals with every team and I can win with Tottenham too.”
Come the summer, the silky-skilled forward signed for Manchester United for a fee in the excess of £30million.
In 2008, Fabregas said he wanted to stay at Arsenal for the rest of his life. It was admittedly three years prior to his eventual transfer away, but he should have known football fans never forget.
“I am very happy, everything is going well, I have got friends in the club,” he said. “I like the life and I am comfortable with the fans.
“If they don’t want me here, then of course I would like to go back to Spain. But if the club wants me and the boss thinks I still can give a lot to the club, then I will stay here. I will be here for as long as they want me.”
But when Barcelona come knocking…