Luis Suarez was in no mood to be respectful when he scored for Atletico Madrid in their 2-0 win over his former club FC Barcelona. But which other notable players have done the same?
In football, it’s something of an unwritten rule to not celebrate a goal scored against your former employers. It is a way of showing respect both to the club and fans of the side that you once turned out for. Fans, for the most part, understand that transfers are part of the football fabric at this point. However, a non-celebration is a reminder of the fact that this former player actually enjoyed being part of the club. That being said, it doesn’t always work out that way. And watching Luis Suarez celebrate his goal against Barcelona on Saturday (October 2) was a stark reminder of that fact.
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) October 2, 2021
There can be many reasons why a player chooses to break this unwritten rule – which, if we’re being honest, isn’t that big of a deal in the first place.
Here we look at five notable players who have done just that in the recent past.
Of course we’re going to start with Luis Suarez. The Uruguay striker had been a top performer for Barcelona until 2020, when he was deemed ‘too old’ and a ‘negative influence’ by the club hierarchy. He was told by new manager Ronald Koeman to leave the club over a short phone call. He wound up joining Atletico Madrid, Barca’s rivals in a deal that was essentially a free transfer.
Suarez would go on to win the league with Atletico, putting paid to the notion of him being ‘old’. However, he rubbed salt in the wound this weekend with a subtle yet hard-to-miss celebration after scoring against Barcelona. It is worth noting that immediately after scoring, he did not celebrate – even when mobbed by teammates.
However, after they left, he made a phone sign with his hand while looking at the stands. The jibe at Koeman was hard to miss, even though he said afterwards it wasn’t for the Dutchman.
It is unusual for players to go out of their way to antagonise fans of their former clubs when they score against them. But Emmanuel Adebayor is not someone known to play by the rules. The Togo striker became a hated figure at Arsenal when he swapped them for Manchester City.
At the time, manager Arsene Wenger said Adebayor wanted to leave and thus was sold. The striker told a different story, saying Wenger told him he had no future at the club. Whatever the truth, it made for a volatile situation when the two clubs clashed in 2009.
Adebayor would score and did something that left viewers in splits and in shock. He ran the length of the field to where the Arsenal fans were seated, did a knee slide and then soaked in their vitriol. A half-hearted apology after the game did not deter the FA from charging him, fining him and suspending him for two games. A price worth paying for Adebayor, it would seem.
Another former Arsenal striker who did not hesitate to give his former fans the big one. Robin van Persie’s move to Manchester United was controversial to say the least. However, mindful of his long connections to the club, he chose not to celebrate when he scored against them in the 2012-13 season.
However, a season in Manchester red saw the Dutchman cop plenty of abuse and by the following season he had clearly had enough. He especially got an absolute earful from the away fans in a league match against Arsenal at Old Trafford.
Thus, when he scored a header from a set piece, it was little surprise to see him wheel away in celebration, his arms raised aloft as he was congratuated by Wayne Rooney. The bond between Van Persie and Arsenal seemed, at last, broken.
Unlike the aforementioned Van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not someone who did club loyalty. His famously journeyman career saw him turn out for all of Italy’s big three sides: Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan. Indeed, he’s currently at AC Milan and enjoying a fruitful second spell.
But it was his first spell which saw him infuriate the Nerazzuri faithful. In a Milan derby in 2010, Ibrahimovic was hacked down inside the area and won a penalty. It should come as little shock that the Swede stepped up and took the spot kick himself.
It’s worth remembering that he had played for Inter only two seasons ago, yet that did not stop him from celebrating the goal even before the ball hit the back of the net. It might have boiled the blood of the Inter fans, but this was a classic case of Zlatan being Zlatan.
The end of David Luiz’s first Chelsea stint saw him join Paris Saint-Germain on a massive fee. The Brazilian left on good terms and generally spoke positively of his time at Chelsea. However, that did not stop him from celebrating a vital goal scored against the Blues.
It was the Champions League round of 16 encounter, and Chelsea were leading the tie 2-1 with minutes to go. However, Luiz scored from a corner in the dying minutes of the game and celebrated his goal in usual fashion. PSG would go on to advance after a 2-2 draw via the away goals rule.
Luiz did apologise for the celebration afterwards but there was no bad blood; he even rejoined Chelsea in 2016. Incidentally, the man who scored the goal to eliminate Chelsea – Thiago Silva – is currently plying his trade for the Blues.