Footballers Ego: the footballers who preceded Neymar and Cavani

Following the tussle between Edinson Cavani and Neymar Jr, rumours have intensified suggesting that the pair are no longer willing to play together.

But it is not the first time this happens in the crazy world of football. Here are some previous examples of players whose massive egos got in the way.

Joey Barton and Ousmane Dabo

The controversial English midfielder has made plenty of enemies throughout the years, but his altercation with Dabo was quite possibly the worst. Following an altercation at City’s training ground, the Frenchman was brutalised, suffering many head injuries. Barton joined Newcastle a month later.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rafael van der Vaart

When both players were still forging their reputations at Ajax, their egos clashed. The Swede tore the Dutchman’s ankle ligament in an international fixture and van der Vaart told the press he had done it on purpose. Zlatan reacted by saying that if he accused him again ‘he’d break his legs, and this time it will be on purpose’ and 13 days later he was sold to Juventus.

Oliver Kahn and Jens Lehman

A longstanding rivalry built due to the fact that they featured in the same Germany squad throughout their careers, fighting for the No 1 jersey. They were outspoken about their feud, using the media to put each other down on several occasions.

Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski

They first fell out over contrasting political views when at Dortmund, and the tension escalated when Lewndowski took ‘Kuba’s’ international captaincy. The winger spoke out against the decision before Lewandowski invited every member of the Poland setup to his wedding, aside from Blaszczykowski. The striker joined Bayern the following year.

Lothar Mattaus and Stefan Effenberg

They played together for Germany, often partnering each other in central midfield. In his autobiography, Effenberg hit out at Matthaus, calling him ‘a big mouth and a quitter’, also including a chapter titled ‘What Lothar Matthaus knows about football’ followed by a blank page.

Andy Cole and Teddy Sheringham

Another petty act which unfolded this particular sporting rivalry. Sheringham snubbed Cole’s handshake when the striker replaced him to make his full international debut and the incident sparked 15 years of resentment between the two. ‘From that moment on, I knew Sheringham was not for me’, Cole said in 2010. They still managed to play together for Manchester United and England without speaking a word to each other.


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