7. Yaya Toure
Pep Guardiola and Yaya Toure’s strained relationship took a step further during their time together at Manchester City. It appeared the midfielder’s time at the Etihad Stadium was over when Guardiola refused to include him in the squad for the 2015/2016 Champions League campaign following the words of his agent Dimitri Seluk, who accused the Spaniard of maltreating his client.
After a few tense weeks, Toure decided to apologise to the club and the management both for himself and on behalf of his agent. He returned into the team for the match against Crystal Palace on November 19, in which he scored a match-winning brace.
The Ivorian finished the season with 32 appearances in the Premier League, recording six goals and five assists to his name. He later won the league title with the Cityzens during the 2017/2018 campaign before leaving as a free agent at the end of the season.
6. David Beckham
David Beckham was dropped from the English national team in September 2006 following the appointment of Steve McClaren as head coach. That was just the tip of the iceberg.
In January 2007, then-Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello declared that Beckham would only train with the squad and won’t take part in games – after it was confirmed that he would leave for LA Galaxy at the end of the season.
However, Beckham was able to win over both sides. He regained his spot in the national team and started England’s first match at the new Wembley against Brazil on June 1, 2007.
He also fought his way into Real Madrid’s team, contributing four goals and nine assists across all competitions and helping Los Blancos to claim the Liga title at the end of the season.
5. Carlos Tevez
“He [Tevez] refused to warm up and again refused to go on the pitch. If I have my way he will be out. He’s finished with me. If we want to improve as a team Carlos can’t play with us. With me, he is finished.”
Those were the words of then Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on Tevez after the Argentine refused to come in as a substitute during a match against Bayern Munich in September 2011.
It initially looked like the attacker had reached the end of the road at the Etihad but he later apologised and made his comeback six months after his last appearance. Tevez then played a huge role in the latter phase of the season and won the Premier League title with the club.
4. Luis Alberto
The Spaniard failed to cut it at Anfield over three separate spells and was consequently sold to Lazio in the summer of 2016 for a meagre fee worth €4 million.
Alberto has become a fortified player in Serie A. He’s taken his game to an incredible height and rightly ranks among the best players in the Italian top-flight at the moment.
He finished as the most creative player in the division this season with a whopping 16 assists to his name.
Alberto also has seven goals to his name and he is currently on the radar of many top clubs across Europe.
3. Serge Gnabry
Arsenal will surely be biting their fingers this season watching how impressive Gnabry has turned. The winger was barely given a chance during his stint at the Emirates Stadium, with just 10 appearances to his name across four years (2012-2016).
He was deemed surplus to requirements and offloaded to Werder Bremen for just €5 million in August 2016. Gnabry picked up immediately he switched to the Bundesliga. He scored 11 goals for the German club in his debut campaign and 10 in the subsequent one. His incredible performances caught the eye of Bayern Munich who snapped him up for €8 million in 2017.
Now, Gnabry is one of the finest wingers in Europe. So far this season, he’s bagged 20 goals and 13 assists for the Bavarians across all competitions and the trajectory promises to be on the upward run.
2. Mohamed Salah
Chelsea signed the winger from Basel in January 2014 but weren’t patient enough to see him reach his potential at Stamford Bridge as they sent him out on loan to Fernabache just a year after he was acquired.
Salah was later loaned to Roma, who decided to sign him permanently for €15 million in the summer of 2016. He peaked immediately after landing in Italy scoring 34 goals and 22 assists for the Serie A giants before earning a mega move to Liverpool in 2017.
At Anfield, he has placed himself at the very top of the game bagging 94 goals and 41 assists in just three years, winning the Champions League and Premier League titles with the Reds as well as several individual accolades.
1. Kevin De Bruyne
Jose Mourinho wasn’t convinced by Kevin De Bruyne’s efforts when the Belgian arrived at Chelsea from Genk in a deal worth €7 million in the summer of 2012.
He was first sent on loan to Werder Bremen for the 2012/2013 season before being sold to Wolfsburg in January 2014.
At the German club, the playmaker took his game to a whole new level; bagging 20 goals and 37 assists and was rewarded with a big-money move to Manchester City in 2015.
At the Etihad Stadium, he has established himself as one of the biggest names in the sport. De Bruyne has helped the Cityzens with 56 goals and 89 assists from 221 appearances so far, to go with two Premier League triumphs and other honours.