Football’s history is riddled with tales of betrayal, why just last month we had one of the most infamous cases after Dimitri Payet declared he would refuse to play for West Ham to force through a move back to his homeland with Marseille.
The Hammers fans recognised the diminutive French playmaker as their finest player since the enigmatic Paolo di Canio adorned himself to the bubble-blowing masses of the east London club.
Recognition was crucial in this saga because too much of it from the fans left them even more hurt by the 29-year-old’s decision to brutally crush their dreams of him continuing to perform for them.
However, a famous footballing tale of betrayal from the past may have been instigated by a lack of recognition, in fact, Portuguese legend Luis Figo cites this as being the primary reason for his infamous switch from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000.
The winger moved for a then-world record fee of £37.2m as he crossed the El Clasico divide, a poorly trodden path which few decide to embark on.
Figo’s decision to ditch the Camp Nou for the Spanish capital only further intensified an already fiery rivalry, culminating in the famous pig’s head incident when he returned to Catalonia.
“My departure from Barca wore me out a lot. I had a lot of pressure,” the 2000 Ballon d’Or winner told La Liga’s official website, as per Sky Sports.
“At some point I thought no, but it’s that it was not just the sporting and economic part, but rather that it affected more people.
“You have moments in which you doubt, in which you think about whether you are going to do it or not, until you take the step and there is no longer a way back.
“In the end, as is the case in all professions, if you do not feel recognised one hundred per cent, and I do not mean by the public, but rather by the people that manage the club, if you have other offers you think about changing. And that is what happened.”
Figo, unlike Payet who was beloved by all the club, felt unwanted at Barca despite being a world-renowned superstar at the time, one of the finest to ever grace the game.
It was perhaps the most controversial transfer of all time, Sol Campbell’s move on a free transfer to Arsenal from bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur nearly matches it, while Carlos Tevez’s ill-fated crossing of the Manchester divide is certainly up there.
However, for sheer footballing politics between the two goliaths of European football, little can top Figo’s decision which was sparked by his lack of recognition by Barca’s managing staff.
Sometimes the smallest sparks ignite the biggest fires, cliche or not, when it comes to this situation, it illustrates the point perfectly.