Five players who played for two rival clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s future has been a huge talking point over recent days.

If a return to England was ever going to happen for the Portuguese icon, most fans would have believed his former club Manchester United to be the only option.

That seemingly wasn’t the case as of Thursday, with Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes in “direct contact” with Manchester City over a move.

However, City have since withdrawn their interest. With reports claiming that United are now in talks, it seems as if the fairytale reunion could now be on.

Let’s take a look at five instances where footballers did actually go all the way and played for two fierce rivals:

Sol Campbell (Tottenham & Arsenal)

Sol Campbell
Image Credit: Getty / Arsenal FC

As the story goes, when Sol Campbell completed his highly controversial move from Tottenham to Arsenal in the summer of 2001, the Gunners organised a press conference unveiling.

There was no word of the deal in the press, with many of the journalists in attendance believing they were set to announce goalkeeper Richard Wright.

When Campbell walked in, English football was shocked. After nine years with Spurs, the centre-back had done the unthinkable.

At Arsenal, Campbell bolstered a defence that was already one of the meanest in the country. He left the Gunners five years after signing, following two Premier Leagues (including the ‘Invincibles’ season) and three FA Cups.

Andrea Pirlo (Inter Milan & AC Milan)

Andrea Pirlo
Image Credit: Getty

It was a story of what could have been for Andrea Pirlo and Inter Milan.

Or perhaps it was never meant to be. Pirlo left Inter in the summer of 2001 to join fierce rivals AC Milan, after spending a season on loan at Brescia.

It was at Brescia where manager Carlo Mazzone made the decision to push Pirlo back into a deeper midfield role – one in which he would later excel at Milan under Carlo Ancelotti.

He left Milan having won every major trophy in the game – two Champions Leagues, two Serie A titles and two Club World Cups.

Carlos Tevez (Manchester United & Manchester City)

Carlos Tevez
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Carlos Tevez did what was thought to be unthinkable when he directly crossed the Manchester divide in 2009.

The Tevez situation was a bizarre one at the time, with United having agreed to sign him on a two-year loan deal in 2007.

West Ham refused to allow Tevez to leave, though, and amidst a third-party ownership battle, the case went to court.

Eventually, they released Tevez from his contract – meaning that United had to present a loan offer to the third party who owned the Argentinian’s rights.

After two years at Old Trafford, the striker controversially turned down a permanent contract from United and signed for Manchester City instead, with the Citizens paying £47 million for his services.

Luis Figo (Barcelona & Real Madrid)

Luis Figo
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In the most infamous transfer of all-time, Luis Figo joined Real Madrid from Barcelona in the summer of 2000.

How? Simply put, Figo had signed an agreement with Real presidential candidate Florentino Perez.

If Perez won the upcoming elections, Figo would become a Real player unless he paid a penalty fee of £18.75m.

Figo received almost deafening hostility every time he returned to the Nou Camp, with missiles including coins, cigarette lighters, and *that* pig’s head being thrown at him.

Gabriel Batistuta (Boca Juniors & River Plate)

The Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate is perhaps the most fiercely contested derby in the world.

In a rivalry that has spanned over 100 years, the divide is one that is rarely crossed by footballers.

Except, in the summer of 1990, it was. Gabriel Batistuta – before his heroics at Fiorentina that saw him become one of the most feared strikers in world football – signed directly for Boca from River.

The move only lasted one year, with Batistuta scoring 13 goals in 34 league appearances before making the move to Florence, where he would prosper even further.

Featured Image Credit: Getty