I'll Show You! 8 Players Who Flourished Elsewhere After Being Rejected and Overlooked

Being rejected as a professional footballer can be difficult. Some players crumble and dwindle into oblivion, as they cannot regain the confidence in their abilities to become a success elsewhere. On the flip side, some players thrive on the matter, becoming desperate to prove that they are capable to play at the highest level after being told that they aren't good enough. Let's take a look at some of the most high profile names to be shown the door only to prosper elsewhere... Perhaps one of...

Paul Pogba

Perhaps one of the biggest blunders of all time, Manchester United let the then 19-year-old powerhouse swap England for Italy when he moved to Juventus on a free transfer. 


Pogba stated his 'disgust' at the treatment he received from Sir Alex Ferguson, and pinpointed a match against Blackburn in 2011 as the moment he decided he needed to depart Old Trafford. 


Paul Scholes had retired, Darren Fletcher was injured, and Pogba sensed his opportunity, only to see full back Rafael start in midfield over him. 


The 24-year-old consequently rejected a new contract and signed for Juventus, where he won four Serie A titles, was crowned Golden Boy 2013 and named in the FIFPro World XI. 


United duly bit the bullet and re-signed the midfielder for a then world record fee of £89.3m.

Kevin De Bruyne

Hard to believe, I know, but Jose Mourinho cast away yet another young prodigy in the shape of Kevin De Bruyne back in 2014, when he sold the Belgian to Wolfsburg for just £18m after criticising his efforts in training and labelling him a 'kid'.  


De Bruyne spent just two seasons in the Bundesliga, recording 20 goals and 35 assists, before Manchester City smashed their transfer record to bring the playmaker to the Etihad for approximately £55m. 


The 26-year-old has since become one of the best players in Europe since returning to England, scoring 23 and assisting 35 for the Citizens, and again making Mourinho look foolish in his judgement of players. 

Romelu Lukaku

After breaking records for Anderlecht as a schoolboy, Chelsea forked out around £18m for a then 18-year-old Lukaku on a five-year contract. 


Jose Mourinho, a frequent name on this list, saw nothing in the Belgian to give him much game time, and even questioned the forward's motivation levels. 


Mourinho loaned Lukaku out to both West Brom and Everton, where he eventually joined the latter in a £30m deal. 


The 24-year-old impressively notched 53 goals in 110 games for the Toffees, prompting Manchester United to shell out a fee of £75m - potentially rising to £90m - for Lukaku's services. 


Ironically, the man who signed Lukaku for the Red Devils just happened to be Mourinho, who perhaps had realised the enormity of his misjudgement. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

It is hard to believe that one of the most fearsome forwards in world football once found himself unwanted, but that is true of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 


The Gabon international spent five years at the San Siro with AC Milan, making a grand total of 0 appearances for the Rossoneri whilst spending time on loan at Dijon, Lille, Monaco and Saint-Etienne. 


It was at the latter where the 28-year-old announced himself, scoring 29 goals in 54 games for the Ligue 1 side before joining Borussia Dortmund for a bargain €13m, and it was in Germany that Aubameyang really kicked on. 


As it stands, the forward has scored an unbelievable 90 goals in 133 appearances for Dortmund in just over four years, and is regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe.

Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian winger was signed by the rejection merchant Jose Mourinho from Basel for a sum of £11m, but rarely featured at Stamford Bridge before being loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma, joining the latter permanently after scoring 14 goals in 34 games. 


Salah continued his scintillating form in Serie A in his first permanent season at Roma, scoring 15 goals and assisting a further 11 in just 31 appearances, before moving to Liverpool this summer for £36.9m. 


The 25-year-old has made an instant impression on Merseyside, scoring four goals in his first five games for the Reds, earning their Player of the Month gong for August.

Leonardo Bonucci

Similar to Boateng, Bonucci is now widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, winning countless Serie A titles with Juventus and most recently earning a £35m move to AC Milan. 


The 30-year-old had to work his way to the top, however. After being discarded at Inter under Jose Mourinho for a scandalously cheap fee of £3.4m, Bonucci had loan spells at Treviso and Pisa before joining Bari, where he spent one season permanently. 


Bonucci's form at Bari attracted the attention of Juventus, who forked out around €15.5m to bring the Italian to Turin, where he has since flourished in one of the most formidable backlines in Europe alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. 

Jerome Boateng

Arguably now one the best centre backs in world football, Boateng never had it as plain sailing as he does now. 


The World Cup winning German international found himself out of favour at Manchester City under Roberto Mancini after signing from Hamburg, making just 16 appearances for the Citizens before being shipped off to Bayern Munich for a mere €13.5m fee. 


The 29-year-old now boasts five Bundesliga titles to his name, as well as a Champions League winners medal and a World Cup to his name. 

Wilfried Zaha

The Crystal Palace academy graduate got his big break midway through the Eagles' promotion campaign of 2012/13, when none other than Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson came calling. 


Zaha joined the Red Devils in a £15m deal, only to be loaned back to Palace for the remainder of the season, but it was the following season where his worst nightmares were realised.


Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement, meaning David Moyes would be the one tasked with unlocking Zaha's huge capabilities. Needless to say that never happened...


The winger played a total of 28 minutes in the league for United, but has since returned to Selhurst Park, earning consecutive Player of the Season accolades in south London after recording seven goals and nine assists in the 2016/17 season.

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