The best footballers too have had to face rejections in their incredible careers and while it doesn’t seem believable, here’s a list of eight of such great players who were not deemed to be good enough for certain clubs….
8. Raul – Atletico Madrid
Following Atletico’s then-president Jesus Gil’s decision to close their youth academy as a cost-saving measure, Raul was let go by Atletico and he moved on to Real Madrid’s youth team in La Fabrica.
7. Marcus Rashford – Manchester City
Marcus Rashford could have joined Manchester City at the age of nine but was lured to join Manchester United instead, by none other Rene Meulensteen.
Manchester City, meanwhile, had already reportedly decided they won’t be selecting the young Mancunian anyway.
6. Zinedine Zidane – Blackburn Rovers
Former Blackburn Rovers boss Kenny Dalglish was said to have asked chairman Jack Walker about making a move for Zinedine Zidane back when he was still at Bordeaux, to which Walker (reportedly) replied: “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”
That quote is enough to sum what Blackburn Rovers are today.
5. Yaya Toure – Arsenal
Yaya Toure was handed a trial and Arsenal and he even played in a friendly for the Gunners as a 20-year-old in 2003, but failed to impress.
Arsene Wenger called his performance ‘completely average’. His brother Kolo signed for the Gunners, but he moved to Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – AC Milan
Current Arsenal hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a young player for AC Milan back in 2007 but he could not get a spot in the team ahead of the likes of Fillipo Inzaghi.
Aubameyang was loaned to a couple of clubs before joining St. Etiene.
3. Samuel Eto’o – Real Madrid
FC Barcelona great Samuel Eto’o actually joined Real Madrid and later in his career, shared an insight into Los Blancos claiming how he was forced to leave Madrid in 2000. He also claimed that he was racially abused by his fellow players and club officials at Santiago Bernabeu.
2. Mario Balotelli – FC Barcelona
When he was just a 16-year-old playing in Serie C for Lumezzane, Mario Balotelli got a trial with Barcelona. Head of the youth team Jose Ramon Alexanko later said: “Mario played an exceptional game, he scored five goals. He was good enough and we could have signed him.”
However, the Catalans rejected him because of his poor attitude.
1. Lionel Messi – Newell’s Old Boys and River Plate
The greatest footballer to set foot on the field, Lionel Messi was rejected by Argentinean clubs Newell’s Old Boys and River Plate because both teams were unwilling to pay for his $1,000-a-month growth hormone treatment after he was diagnosed with a deficiency.
Barcelona decided to do that and they earned themselves a footballer who would go on to set fire to the beautiful game.