It is no secret that former World Cup, UEFA European Championship and Champions League winner Víctor Valdés has been frozen out by Louis Van Gaal in recent months at Manchester United. In July 2015, Van Gaal announced that Valdés had been transfer listed and was subsequently not given a squad number for the upcoming 2015/16 Premier League season after he allegedly refused to play for the Under-21 team. Since then, Valdés has not appeared for the club, finding himself far down the pecking order, behind David De Gea, Sergio Romero and the youngster, Sam Johnstone. Recent reports even go as far to say that Valdés has not been allowed a locker at the club’s Carrington training ground and must train alone, whilst simultaneously suffering with the humiliation of being left out of the official Manchester United team photograph despite still being contracted to the club.
Despite suffering from becoming an outcast at the club, Valdés is not alone in being frozen out of a big Premier League team; here are four more players who have suffered a similar fate to the isolated shot-stopper.
Nicolas Anelka – Chelsea (2011-2012)
On 3rd December 2011, Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas announced that Anelka, along with centre-back Alex, had both handed in transfer requests. After completing a move to Shanghai Shenhua on 1st January 2012, Anelka made claims against Villas-Boas stating that he had been forced to train with the youth team. Furthermore, the former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool man revealed that he was forced to use a separate changing room away from his first team compatriots, was left off the invite list to the club’s Christmas banquet and, to add insult to injury, he was banned from using the first team car park, having to use the local community car park; in short, Anelka was well and truly frozen out at Chelsea.
Carlos Tevez – Manchester City (2011-2012)
On 27th September 2011, Carlos Tevez found himself on the bench against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. With his side 2-0 in the second half, Roberto Mancini called upon the Argentine to come off of the bench and help his team win the game. What followed was, in Tevez’s words, a ‘misunderstanding’ between himself and the manager as he refused to enter the game, much to the condemnation of pundits all over the footballing world. As a result of his refusal, Tevez was initially suspended for 2 weeks, however after the involvement of the club’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, he was placed on gardening leave and was frozen out of the training ground until the situation had been resolved; the only football he could play during this period was with his international team, Argentina.
Florent Malouda – Chelsea (2012-2013)
Florent Malouda, the second player on this list who has been frozen out at Chelsea, like Nicolas Anelka decided to hand in a transfer request after becoming disillusioned at the club. Despite receiving various offers from clubs away from Chelsea including from his former club, Lyon, Malouda insisted on not taking a pay cut to leave the club. So he remained at Chelsea throughout the season and, having been left out of the squad for every competition, there was no way back for him. After refusing to apologise for criticising manager Roberto Di Matteo’s training regime, and pulling out of a proposed move away from the club, Malouda was made to train with the Chelsea Development Team. The former French international saw out his contract and was released on 30th June 2013; this whole debacle cost Chelsea over £4 million in wages paid to Malouda.
Emmanuel Adebayor – Tottenham Hotspur (2013-2014)
Emmanuel Adebayor is much like Marmite: he is either loved and hated, depending on where your allegiances lie. André Villas Boas (seemingly our pantomime villain in this list) was by no means a fan of the Togolese striker. At the start of the 2013-2014 season, Villas Boas ordered Adebayor to train with the Spurs youth team and was left out of the official Tottenham Hotspur team photograph, reportedly due to the fact that the striker was not in favour of Villas Boas’s training methods, and questioned him publicly about them. For the rest of Villas Boas’s tenure he was well and truly frozen out, and he played only 45 minutes, as a half time substitute in the 6-0 drubbing to Manchester City at the Etihad. Karma came swiftly as Villas Boas left the club by ‘mutual consent’ on 16th December 2013. The incoming manager, Tim Sherwood instantly gave Adebayor his striker berth back, and was well repaid when he ended the season with 14 goals in 25 appearances.