Professional football can be a lonely space – especially when players are recruited by clubs located far away from family and friends. It is also a notoriously competitive space as the same pool of players is competing for the same spots in Europe’s topflight.
Friendships between players are not that common. That is probably why the few professional footballers who do become BFFs – on and off the field – get an enormous amount of media attention.
That is all good and well when the relationship is all beer, beef and burp-a-thons… but what happens when the bromance ends? Do things turn nasty or does the ‘love affair’ simply fade away?
Here are three famous football friendships that have taken strain. Some are on the skids while others are more about geographical separation than hard-assed heart break:
Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba
It wasn’t that long ago that Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba were the greatest of friends. They spent their time chilling out poolside in LA in the off-season wearing matching red. They also cruised the city’s streets in a luxury limo.
The pair posted endless photos on Instagram to celebrate their bromance and even streamed a live swagger to announce Lukaku’s excitement at getting signed by Man U. It was a golden time for the BFFs.
They were key players for the Red Devils and even shared the same agent. It was all as it should be… the perfect friendship.
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Unfortunately, the former Everton power striker and his bestie soon fell out. According to rumours it was the pressure of playing for the same club that saw things unravelling.
When Lukaku refused to take Pogba’s side in his protracted melee with manager Jose Mourinho, the writing was on the wall. It was bye-bye to a bromance that literally played out on social media!
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Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson
Only two seasons ago Liverpool teammates Adam Lallana and the incumbent captain Jordan Henderson were inseparable. They practised together, shared the same room and combined beautifully on the football field to provide some of the more memorable moments for the Reds.
Both men were vital cogs in the Liverpool machine and both men were effusive in their celebrations together every time one or other scored a goal. It was a match made in heaven.
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Then tragedy struck. Lallana had a spate of injuries that kept him sidelined for months on end. Henderson on the other hand had to focus on his job as captain - a job that is so demanding it took up the lion’s share of his time.
Although the pair has shared a few lunches, the imposed breakaway from the game has diluted what could have been the biggest football bromance of all.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo Viera Da Silva
Cristiano Ronaldo and his Brazilian teammate Marcelo Viera Da Silva spent almost ten years together playing for Real Madrid. On the field they were magic. Off the field they were the greatest of friends.
It wasn’t neglect or disloyalty that broke up the relationship; it was Ronaldo’s decision to pursue his career at Juventus that put paid to the ardour.
In a moving tribute to his famous friend Marcelo mentioned ‘10 years of happiness, good football, victories, defeats and wonderful times’. It was the kind of tribute that brought a tear to the eye.
Although the bromance is on an enforced hold, there are whispers that Marcelo is heading for Juventus – a move that will see him reunited with his very best friend… sweet!
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