The Famous No Shows, Tevez Is Not Alone

Manchester City has been the capital of player controversies in recent years but not even they could have expected Carlos Tevez to cause another storm at the club by refusing to play. But he isn’t the first player to refuse to take to the pitch and he won’t be the last. Here are five other footballers who have refused to carry out their day job.

Dimitar Berbatov

Tottenham’s start to the 2007/08 season was already a disaster before they travelled to Newcastle for a mid-week fixture, with boss Martin Jol fighting to cling on to his job. Having dropped Dimitar Berbatov for the match at St James’ Park, Jol called on the Bulgarian just after half-time when Spurs were already 2-0 down. The Bulgarian initially refused before reluctantly taking to the pitch – Jol was sacked five days later. At the start of the following season, Berbatov was involved in another storm as he refused to play for Juande Ramos’s Spurs side to try and force through a move to Manchester United. He got his wish as the north London side caved into United’s offer on transfer deadline day.

Kieron Dyer

Dyer has since gone on to admit his refusal to play on the right wing against Middlesbrough in 2004 is the biggest regret of his career. The winger, then at Newcastle, was instead dropped by boss Sir Bobby Robson but the writing was on the wall for the former England manager who was sacked shortly after. Robson at the time covered for the player saying he had a tight hamstring, but Dyer has since revealed he did go against his manager’s wishes. Dyer said, "I still should have started the game where he wanted me to start. I can’t believe now that I acted the way I did. What was so horrible about Middlesbrough was that he got sacked a couple of games after. I took that on my shoulders."

Alex Kolinko

If you thought Manchester City was a circus right now it has nothing on events at Crystal Palace nine years ago. After Palace conceded a goal against Bradford, reserve keeper Alex Kolinko apparently laughed on the bench only to be then punched by boss Trevor Francis. Kolinko said on the incident, "I was not laughing in the dugout. The manager punched me on the nose. I have not been given an explanation why he did it. My nose is very sore and bruised." Later that season the Latvia international was fined two weeks’ wages for refusing to play in a Championship match against Leicester.

Sebastien Squillaci

Eager to keep his dream move to Arsenal alive, Squillaci refused to play in Sevilla’s Champions League qualifier against Braga last season to avoid being cup-tied for his potential transfer to the Gunners. But the centre-back left it very late to state his intentions of not playing, with boss Antonio Alvarez having already given his team talk with the French international in the starting XI. The late withdrawal left Alvarez angry and Squillaci’s team mate Julien Escude later lifted the lid on the incident. Escude said, "When the coach gave his team talk, Sebastien was starting, then, I do not know what happened, with the coach or Monchi (Sevilla’s sporting director), but there was a change in the line-up. Later, we knew Sebastien refused to play. I am personally a little surprised, but these are things that happen in football. I guess he wanted to leave."

Pierre van Hooijdonk

The Dutchman had been a star in Nottingham Forest’s instant promotion back to the Premier League in 1998, but after the sale of strike partner Kevin Campbell before the new season he went one better than all the other names on this list. Not only did Van Hooijdonk refuse to play, he went on strike until November due to ‘broken promises’ from the club’s board. By the time he returned Forest were on a crash course back into the Championship. Manager, Dave Bassett decided his talent was worthy enough to reinstate him to the side but team-mates were less than happy – even refusing to celebrate with him when he scored. Forest were relegated at the end of the season and Van Hooijdonk left to join Vitesse Arnhem.

Exclusively by Dan Ripley

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