Do you know there are footballers who grew up supporting rival clubs? You would probably agree that it’s pretty common for a footballer to support one club as a kid but go on to play for entirely different clubs. And frankly, that’s fine. But sometimes things get a little twisted and players just find themselves signing for the rivals of their childhood clubs.
Footballers Who Grew Up Supporting Rival Clubs
In this article, we’ll be talking about some of these players who supported the rivals of their clubs.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
We would be starting with one of the greatest players of all time – Cristiano Ronaldo. He might be the greatest player to ever wear the Manchester United Jersey, but one thing is certain, he did not grow up supporting them.
Instead, he grew up supporting Benfica. Now, that’s not so bad, because Manchester United and Benfica are not rivals. But the issue with that was that he went ahead to play for one of Benfica’s biggest rivals Sporting Lisbon. Pretty wild, right?
Of course, he didn’t have much of a problem with that. Because let’s face it, no youngster would turn down one of the biggest clubs around him because of some rivalry.
2. Roy Keane
You see, Roy Keane is a Manchester United legend by every standard. And not just that, no other Manchester United captain in the history of the club lifted more trophies than him.
But it turns out he was a Spurs fan while growing up. Of course, almost nobody knew this until he retired. But the point is, being a Spurs fan didn’t even stop him from picking Manchester United instead. And you can’t say he made a wrong choice there. Because there’s no way he would have won all those trophies if he had rejected Manchester United for Spurs.
3. Heung Min Son
Heung Min Son is a Manchester United fan who chose to play for Spurs. He has also been one of the best and most loved players in Spurs in recent years.
Right now he’s a Spurs sweetheart, but he used to support Man United. And that was mostly because of Park Ji Sung. But surely, after many years at Spurs and after scoring goals against United, this man probably feels nothing for United at this point.
4. Cole Palmer
Here’s a guy who truly felt bad after scoring against his boyhood club – Cole Palmer. This man has a soft spot for Manchester City after coming through their academy. He also likes Chelsea because they pay his wages. But believe it or not, he didn’t support either of these clubs as a kid.
The club he loved most as a kid was Manchester United. Pretty surprising, right? But it all makes sense because he didn’t celebrate his goal against them at Old Trafford recently.
Considering how many games he’ll play against them in the future, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll celebrate goals against them. But one thing is certain, he cannot deny supporting Manchester United as a kid.
5. John Stones
There’s one player who denies supporting Manchester United as a kid – John Stones. Here’s the thing. There are many claims that Stones supported United as a kid. But there is still no clear evidence that he supported them because he never admitted to doing so. In fact, he even opted to join their rivals Manchester City over them.
So it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll admit to supporting Manchester United anytime soon, no matter how strong the claims are.
6. Erling Haaland
On the other hand, his teammate Erling Haaland can’t successfully deny supporting Leeds United as a boy.
The Manchester City gunman was born in Leeds, and his father played for Leeds United. So it’s not much of a surprise that he took to liking them.
Of course, he has also claimed that he supported Manchester City as a boy, but who’s he kidding? Even his father hinted that he supported Leeds as a boy.
7. Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero was a fan of Liverpool when he was younger. But unlike Haaland, he didn’t deny supporting them. Matter of fact, he even admitted to supporting them as a boy, because of Michael Owen. Pretty cool, right? Of course, that didn’t stop him from banging in goals against them while he was at Manchester City.
8. Eden Hazard
Neither did it stop Eden Hazard from putting Arsenal to the sword everytime he met them, even though he supported them as a kid. He even admitted that he supported them because of the French players like Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires. But make no mistake, Hazard never let these sentiments make him go easy on them. Matter of fact, he loved scoring against them. He even scored against them in his last ever game for Chelsea, in that 4-1 win in the 2019 Europa League final.
9. Tammy Abraham
It turns out that scoring against Arsenal is just one of many things Hazard has in common with Tammy Abraham. The AS Roma striker once played for Chelsea, and even scored against Arsenal in that time. But it turns out that just like Hazard, he also supported the gunners as a kid.
Seriously, though, why do former Arsenal players and fans enjoy scoring against the club? It seems to be a pretty regular thing, don’t you agree?
10. Declan Rice
Here’s a shot at payback for the Arsenal fans. Declan Rice not only did he support Chelsea as a kid, but he also played for their academy. But for some reason, they kicked him out of the academy as a young boy. And now they probably regret that decision, while Rice must be pretty delighted to be a gunner.
12. Martin Odegaard
Odegaard might be their captain and sweetheart right now, but as a boy, his heart was filled with love for their rivals Liverpool. Back in 2014, he even called them his dream club.
But apparently, that love wasn’t enough to make him join them at the time, because when presented with the options of Real Madrid and Liverpool, he chose to sign for Madrid instead.
13. Paolo Maldini
Not many people would turn down the chance to play for Real Madrid. But here’s one player who did – Paolo Maldini. He turned down Madrid in 2002. He also made the highest number of appearances for AC Milan in the club’s history. But did you know that he supported their arch-rivals Juventus as a boy?
Well, as shocking as it sounds, it’s true. But you just know that right now, he is AC Milan through and through.
14. James Ward Prowse
James Ward Prowse could have built a similar legacy at Southampton, though. Sadly, they got relegated and he had to leave the club. And you probably think he supported them as a kid, but turns out he didn’t. He was a fan of Portsmouth as a young boy. He even had a season ticket and made an appearance as a mascot for them. But sadly, he never got to play for them.
15. Marcel Sabitzer
The story is a bit different for Marcel Sabitzer, though. At least he got to play for his childhood club Bayern Munich. But it’s also quite awkward that he now plays for their closest rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Of course, he wouldn’t be the first player to play for both clubs. Guys like Lewandowski, Mario Gotze, and Matt Hummels also played for both teams. Coincidentally, some of these guys also supported either of the two teams. It turns out Mario Gotze also supported Dortmund but played for Bayern Munich too.
Now, surely there are other footballers who supported rival clubs as kids. You probably know a few of them.
So go ahead to the comments section and tell us some others that you know.