Football is a team game. Coaches are the team leaders on and off the pitch, meaning they deserve some respect coupled with pressures that fall on them when their team is underperforming. Several times, though, when a top player clashes with the manager, the result is often exodus. Either the player leaves or the coach does.
There are numerous clashes of such nature with similar results. Some are kept under the wrap, while fans spot others from a mile away. The symptoms start most times with the player underperforming this gives the coach reason to drop him, leading inevitably to the departure of the player or the coach. Here are four examples.
You are right! Just those who you are thinking - Pierre-Emerick Aubayang is among the list of Africans who have worn the Gunners jersey but he was practically thrown out of the team. We don't know the full story but the presence of one was seen when Arteta left the Gabonese striker on the bench during a North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2021.
Although, the former midfielder said the issue has been resolved and refused to shed more light on the matter -- with pictures surfacing on the internet showing Aubameyang being stuck in traffic.
The matter was silent until recently during the 2021-22 season, Aubameyang was dropped from the team without an explanation, then he was stripped of his captainship and next his contract was terminated for him to join Barcelona.
At his unveiling at Barca, Aubameyang opened up about his relationship with Arteta, the former Dortmund striker said, "I don't think I did anything wrong, I think (the problem) was just with him (Arteta). He wasn't happy. I was calm and that's it.”
After Auba's story, we would await Arteta's response to him in the coming days.
It could be saddening to see a player who has scored 92 goals in 165 games for Arsenal, a skipper of the North London club leave unceremoniously.
Another ominous situation in football is the case of the Argentine playmaker Papu Gomez and Piero Gasperini at the new rising star club Atalanta in the Italian Serie A.
Gomez like Aubameyang captained the energetic Atalanta side who managed to make it to the quarterfinals of the 2020 UEFA Champions League.
Papu Gomez was at the centre of things at the Bergamo club as the diminutive midfielder read the game and used his pass and vision to open up opposition defence.
All that ability went up in smoke when Gomez and coach Gasperini started to have issues to the point they almost went physical.
According to Papu after moving to Spain with Sevilla, "I disobeyed him in a tactical indication," Gomez told newspaper La Nacion of how the controversy began. "There were 10 minutes left until the first half was over and he asked me to play on the right, while I was playing very well on the left. And I said no.
"Having done that in the middle of the game, with the cameras ... it was perfectly [fine] that he got angry. I already knew that at half-time he was going to take me out, and so [he did].
"But in the halftime locker room, he exceeded the limits and tried to physically attack me."
"When there is physical aggression, it is already intolerable. So I asked for a meeting with the president of the club, Antonio Percassi, and I told him that I had no problem continuing, accepting that I had been wrong: as a captain, I had not behaved well, I had been a bad example disobeying the coach.
"But I told the president that I needed an apology from Gasperini."
That apology never arrived, however, which essentially ended the relationship between Gomez and the organisation.
"The next day there was a meeting of the entire team," the player said. "I apologised to the coach and my teammates for what had happened. And I did not receive any apology from the coach.
"After a few days, I communicated to the president that I did not want to be at Atalanta working with Gasperini. The president told me that he was not going to let me out, that he was not going to release me. The tug of war began and the costs were for me that they separated me from the squad and I ended up training only with the reserves.
"It was ugly because after seven years they left me lying there, after everything I gave the club. They behaved badly. The president did not have the balls to ask the coach to simply apologise to me. That was the end of everything."
But after Papu's statements, Gasperini responded during an interview with Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, "Gomez's behaviour and attitudes, in and out the pitch, became unacceptable for the manager and his teammates," said the Atalanta coach.
"The physical attack came from him, not me, but the real reason he left Bergamo is that he seriously disrespected the owners of the club. I hope that Gomez can continue to shine with his performances, as he did at Atalanta."
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess who would be next on our list -- tempestuous Diego Costa and Italian Antonio Conte at Chelsea which ultimately ended his stay at Stamford Bridge.
Costa helped fire Chelsea to the Premier League title in Conte’s debut season, but the pair had a major bust-up during the campaign during which the Italian told the striker to ‘go to China’.
After dropping Costa, Conte brought the Spain international back into the fold for the remainder of the campaign.
But the Chelsea manager then told the striker in the summer, via a text message, that he was no longer part of his plans at Stamford Bridge which means he was sacked over a text message!
It all started in 2016 during a match against Leicester City, Costa netted the opening goal in a 3-0 win for the Blues, but in the 71st minute gestured to the bench to be withdrawn, a request that was denied by Conte.
According to reports, it seemed the Spain striker actually lost his cool because he was tired of the constant coaching from his boss on the touchline which he took to be a direct criticism of his performance. His message to the bench was that they should take him off if he was not good enough.
This was the start of what later led to a text-message sales of the Spaniard.
When the Italian coach later opened up about his relationship with Costa, he said “First of all, I am a person that doesn’t want to speak badly about a situation with a player from a club that I trained.
“It’s right always to keep good memories and I prefer to keep good memories also about Diego Costa because we won together a league title in an incredible season.
“But, for sure, the truth, we know the truth. The player, his agent, the club and I. We know how many times he asked to go away to Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, during the season to go to China, and at the end of the season to join, again, Atletico Madrid.
He is currently a free agent while Antonio Conte is back in England with Tottenham Hotspur.
Well, this feud has some colours of racism in it, according to one of the men involved and unlike any of the above, the feud transcends more than one stint.
Yaya Toure was part of the Barcelona team where Guardiola started his coaching days. Pep started his senior coaching career just a year after Toure was bought in a transfer worth €10 million (which as of that time was a good deal for a very talented player).
The Ivorian midfielder started dropping down the pecking order as the Spaniard tactician favoured Sergio Busquets over Toure. Given Busquets' talent, we can say it is just a matter of choice -- nothing much.
After his departure from Barca in 2010, Toure opened up about his time there. He said, "Whenever I asked him something, he always gave strange answers, He pretty much ignored me until City's offer came in. That's why I eventually opted to leave. I didn't speak to Guardiola for a year.
"If he had talked to me, I would have stayed at Barcelona. I did not want to go and wanted to end my career in Barcelona. However, he had no faith in me.
Toure had a productive three-year-long stint at Camp Nou, including two years under Pep. In 2008-09, he helped the team win their first modern-era triple.
Ironically, the two men crossed paths again at Manchester City, and that did not go well either. On this occasion, there was more shining light on the situation. Toure joined City in 2010 and has since grown to be one of the leaders of the club. So to drop him from the squad would raise an eyebrow.
Toure explained, "When he arrived at City, he told me right away that he needed me to coach the youth.
"Even if I had some options to leave, I thought that I would be able to enter the legend of the Citizens. The same thing last summer when he asked me to stay. Maybe he was afraid of losing control of the dressing room if I left because he knew what I was representing for the group? But after the transfer window closed, I saw that I was removed from the team.”
Toure said he believed that his treatment at the hands of Guardiola was motivated by the City boss's desire for revenge, and also due to jealousy over their positions at the club:
“I think I was dealing with someone who just wanted revenge on me," said Toure.
“I do not know why, but I have the impression that he was jealous of me, that he took me for a rival. There you have it. We always looked at each other weirdly.
Later in 2018 in an interview with Football magazine, Toure accused Guardiola of having a problem with black and African players.
But Guardiola rebutted that he has no problems with African players or black African players.
Either way, after eight seasons at Man City -- Toure left.