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Five football players who left to join their arch rivals

| 02.04.2014

Football rivalries around the UK are strong enough to divide families, friendships and marriages but it seems players are becoming increasingly immune to the passion that can separate the country’s town and cities.

Moves that were once unthinkable can now be made with relative ease thanks to a number of precedents set over recent years.

With Tottenham’s Younes Kaboul reportedly set to follow in Sol Campbell’s footsteps with a move to Arsenal we look at five others who ignored the wrath of the fans to further their careers.

Carlos Tevez – Manchester United & Manchester City


Tevez joined a list that included the likes of Andy Cole, Denis Law and Peter Schmeichel in having played for both sides but rarely in the history of two clubs have players been sold to their rivals and even less frequent when the player is in the ascendancy.

The Argentine bucked this trend in 2009 and while United fans will point out it was the club’s refusal to meet Tevez’s price tag that saw him leave, his move to the Etihad left a bitter taste in their mouths, especially after City unveiled a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard.

Carlitos won two Premier League titles with United but will never be forgiven for helping the Citizens to their first league title in 44 years in 2011-12.

Nick Barmby – Everton & Liverpool


Having previously played for Tottenham and Middlesbrough, Barmby made a name for himself during a four-year spell at Goodison Park which saw him score 18 goals in 114 league appearances.

His displays for the Toffees earned admiring glances from Manchester United in 2000 but the Red Devils were outbid by Liverpool and Barmby was allowed to become the first player to cross Stanley Park in that direction since 1959.

The England man became an instant hit at Anfield, scoring in the Merseyside Derby and firing a penalty in the League Cup shootout win over Birmingham on the way to a treble that also included the FA Cup and Uefa Cup.

Mo Johnston – Celtic and Rangers


While Johnston did not move directly between the two clubs – enjoying a successful two-year spell with Nantes in between – this controversial move irked both sets of fans.

The striker had agreed a return to Celtic in 1989 and the Bhoys sold Frank McAvennie back to West Ham to make way.

However, when Rangers offered more money at the last minute, Johnston agreed terms to become the club’s first major Roman Catholic signing.

Celtic fans were obviously outraged, but Gers supporters were equally perturbed, burning scarves and handing back season tickets in protest.

However, much was forgiven with the Scotland international going on to net around 50 goals – including an injury time winner over Celtic – and helping Rangers to back-to-back league titles.

Clarence Seedorf – Inter Milan & AC Milan


After winning two Eredivisie titles with Ajax and a La Liga trophy with Real Madrid, Seedorf arrived in Milan amid a wave of expectation.

However, his two-year spell at Inter failed to deliver any silverware and he was allowed to join city rivals Milan in a swap deal involving Francesco Coco.

The Dutchman ensured that Inter fans would never forgive him by helping Milan to their first Coppa Italia in 26 years in his first season at the club in 2002-03.

He then resumed his title winning ways a year later and also added another Scudetto, two Champions League medals and a Supercoppa triumph to his CV before heading to Brazil with Botafogo.

Hugo Sanchez – Atletico Madrid & Real Madrid


Few players have turned out for both Madrid clubs and while Jose Antonio Reyes and Raul are some more recent examples it is the sale of Mexican star Sanchez that irks Atelti supporters the most.

After some impressive displays in Mexico and the US, Sanchez was brought to Spain by Atletico in 1981 but failed to set the league on fire in his first few seasons.

However, Atleti’s faith in their man paid off in the 1984-85 season when his goals fired them to Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Copa wins and a runner-up finish in the league.

This though was enough to make Real pay notice and he was subsequently sold to Los Blancos and went on two win five consecutive league titles, the 1989 Copa del Rey and the 1986 Uefa Cup, scoring more than 200 goals in 283 appearances!

Both clubs are in the running to land this year’s title, with Real 11/4 second favourites ahead of 7/2 shots Atleti, but after spending his most successful years with the former it’s clear who Sanchez will be cheering on.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.