Biggest Redemptions In Football: Football is beautiful. It’s the one place where no one is ever truly condemned. You might be down today, but there’s always a chance for you to pick yourself back up. We’ve seen that happen many times in this sport, and that’s what we want to explore today.
Biggest Redemptions In Football
1. Harry Maguire
Let’s start with the man who hit rock bottom: Harry Maguire. His time at Manchester United has been challenging. Firstly, the significant amount of money spent on him placed immense pressure, and he didn’t quite live up to expectations. Consequently, he faced bullying, shame, and even threats for an extended period.
His own home fans turned against him, and there were even reports of bomb threats being sent. Despite suggestions for him to leave the club in the summer to revive his career elsewhere, he insisted on staying back and fighting for his place at United.
Many labeled him as silly, but look at him now; solid in every game he has played and scoring the only goal against Copenhagen to secure United’s first points in the current Champions League campaign.
From being bullied by the Old Trafford crowd, Harry Maguire had those same fans chanting his name after he brought them victory. What a turnaround.
2. Andre Onana
Andre Onana seems to have initiated his own turnaround as well. The Cameroonian goalkeeper did not experience the ideal start he had hoped for in England. From errors leading to goals to conceding cheap ones, it has been a topsy-turvy beginning. However, in the match against Copenhagen, he emerged as a hero.
United teetered on the brink of squandering two points against Copenhagen, but Onana rose to the occasion. He saved a last-minute penalty, securing the team’s first victory of the campaign. Now, that’s precisely how to kickstart a redemption story.
3. David Beckham
There’s no Manchester United player, past or present, with a more remarkable redemption arc than David Beckham.
This man became the most hated person in the country after England’s elimination by Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, following his sending off in the second half of the game. For years, Beckham endured mockery, taunts, and bullying from his own countrymen; it was a challenging period!
However, when his chance for redemption arrived three years later, he seized it. Beckham played exceptionally well that day. Then, in the 93rd minute, he won a crucial free-kick. With everything riding on it, he stepped up, and guess what! He bent it like Beckham! That goal not only sent England through to the 2002 World Cup but also transformed Beckham from a villain to a hero. It was magical.
4. Ferran Torres
The way Ferran Torres is turning his fortunes around at Barcelona is remarkable. Just a few months ago, the club was contemplating ways to force him out, but look at him now—scoring every other day and securing vital points for the team.
Amidst all the criticism and attempts to ostracize him, Torres kept his head down, doubled his efforts in the gym, and continued to improve. Now, he boasts 6 goal contributions in 624 minutes, the equivalent of 7 games. That’s a brilliant redemption story if ever we’ve seen one.
5. Joao Felix
We’ve all known Joao Felix to be a highly talented player. In fact, he was named the Golden Boy in 2019. However, his move to Atletico didn’t quite work out, and the loan stint at Chelsea last season wasn’t exactly beneficial either.
So, despite being just 23, many were already condemning him as a wasted talent. Nevertheless, he made a move to Barcelona in the summer, and from day one, Felix has shown that he’s still got it. He has been incredibly important for the Blaugranas, and after the challenging spells at Atletico and Chelsea, he’s back to being considered a top player.
6. Antoine Griezmann
When Antoine Griezmann left Atletico to join Barcelona for 120 million euros in 2019, many believed it was an upgrade. However, as it turned out, it became a significant downgrade for his career.
This move came just a year after he won the World Cup with France and finished in 3rd place at the Ballon d’Or. Despite these accomplishments, Griezmann was quickly labeled as one of the biggest flop signings in the history of Spanish football.
Turning 30 while struggling at Barcelona, people began writing him off, speculating that his career had come to an end, and he might consider moving to the US, China, or elsewhere. However, Griezmann decided he wasn’t done just yet. After two challenging years at Barcelona, the Frenchman returned to Atletico, initially on loan and then permanently after one season. Since then, he has rediscovered his best form.
Last season, Griezmann emerged as Atletico’s most crucial player and played a pivotal role for France in the World Cup. He was a strong contender for the La Liga MVP last season, finishing with 32 goal contributions in 38 league appearances. Remarkably, he has continued this impressive form into the current season. Griezmann’s resurgence to such high levels was unexpected after those challenging years at Barcelona.
7. Darwin Nunez
In England, it is Darwin Nunez who is experiencing a brilliant redemption story. Last season, after his move to the Premier League, fans began comparing him to Haaland, setting him up for failure from the very beginning.
Nunez struggled to score in his first season and was quickly labeled as a flop. However, this season, he has started to redeem himself with 8 goal contributions in 499 minutes of football—equivalent to 5 and a half games. This includes 2 goals off the bench against Newcastle, turning the game around and securing a victory for Liverpool. This is redemption.
8. Miguel Almiron
Speaking of Newcastle, how could we forget Miguel Almiron’s redemption arc? From being criticized to the extent that Grealish equated Mahrez playing badly to him playing like Almiron, to becoming one of the best right-wingers in the Premier League.
He went from having just 1 goal contribution in 30 Premier League games in the 2021-22 season to an impressive 13 in 34 in the 2022-23 season. Along the way, he even won a Premier League Player of the Month award. What a turnaround!
9. Marcus Rashford
The Manchester United forward faced heavy criticism in 2021 for his performance in both the Europa League and Euros finals, causing a significant dip in form. He concluded the 2021-22 season with just 7 goal contributions in 32 games.
However, he successfully redeemed himself in the 2022-23 season, finishing with an impressive 41 goal contributions in 56 appearances. His contributions helped United end a 6-year trophy drought, and he achieved additional recognition by winning 3 Premier League Player of the Month awards in one season and being named Manchester United Player of the Season. Truly an insane redemption.
10. Vini Jr
We’ll now wrap up this list with Vini Jr. From Benzema literally begging a teammate not to pass to him because he was playing so badly, the Brazilian has grown to become the main man at Real Madrid.
Just a few years ago, he was written off as nothing more than a flamboyant kid who couldn’t finish chances. But now, he’s a Champions League winner, a confirmed starter for one of the biggest clubs in the world, and arguably the best left-winger on the planet right now. Redemption stories don’t get better than this.
Did we miss any significant redemption stories? Share them with us in the comments below!