10 famous players with a strange clause in their contracts

It is reported that Manchester City had Real Madrid put in a 15% sell-on clause in Brahim Diaz’s new contract which could rise to 40% if Manchester United signs him. Here are ten other bizarre clauses inserted into the contracts of famous footballers.

#1. Neymar – All expense paid trip clause

Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona was controversial for many reasons and it was under investigation from FIFA as well. 

The flamboyant Brazilian is known for his extravagant lifestyle and according to the reports, there was a clause in his Barcelona clause that aided his lifestyle. The clause allowed his friends from Brazil to visit him every two months with Barcelona paying for all expenses.

In addition, there was also another clause in his contract which would give him £2 million if he didn’t dispute the coach’s choice regarding his position on the pitch.

#2. Roberto Firmino – Anti-Arsenal clause

In 2014, Arsenal bid £40 million plus £1 pound to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool as the club believed there was a clause in his contract. It needs no saying that Arsenal’s attempt to sign the Uruguayan didn’t go down well with Liverpool.

So, when Liverpool signed Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim for £29 million in 2015, they had a special clause inserted in his contract. According to this clause, Firmino had an £83 million release clause which when activated would make him free to negotiate with any club but Arsenal.

According to Football Leaks, Liverpool ensured that the clause was not applicable to Arsenal.

#3. Radamel Falcao – Knee injury clause

In 2014, Radamel Falcao signed for Manchester United after missing the 2014 FIFA World Cup through a serious knee injury which he picked up while he was playing for Monaco.

Although Manchester United only signed the Colombian on loan, they were wary of his injury and wanted to ensure that they didn’t have to pay his salary for the entire year in case the knee injury relapsed.

So, what did Man Utd do? They had a clause inserted in his contract which enabled them to send the player back to Monaco in case of an injury relapse.

#4. Ronaldinho – The nightlife clause

It is often argued that Ronaldinho didn’t live up to his full potential because of his lifestyle and that might be the case judging on the clause in his contract at Flamengo.

In 2011, the Brazilian decided to leave Europe and return to his native Brazil to play for Flamengo. However, Ronaldinho wanted to live life as he pleased and had a bizarre clause inserted into his contract which allowed him two nights out per week which Flamengo happily agreed to. 

#5. Paul Pogba – The anti-PSG clause

Paul Pogba’s rose to fame in a jiffy after joining Juventus in 2012 and many clubs in Europe were interested in signing him while he was contracted to the Serie A giants. Eventually, he was sold to Manchester United in 2016 for a then world record fee of £89 million.

However, when Pogba was still at Juventus, the club wanted to keep him for as long as possible and inserted a £55 million release clause during his first contract extension. Juventus was wary of the cash-rich PSG, so, if the Parisian club wanted to sign Pogba, then they would have had to pay £8 million extra.

#6. Samuel Eto’o – Private jet clause

In the early 2010s, Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala spent a lot of money to recruit established players from around Europe including Roberto Carlos, Willian, Lassana Diarra and even Samuel Eto’s from Inter in 2011 for £22.5 million.

Eto’o was entering the twilight of his career and Anzhi provided him with an opportunity to make a lot of money before hanging up his boots. Not only did the Russian club pay him £20 million a year but they also had an incredible clause in his contract to make his life easy.

The Cameroonian preferred to live in Moscow rather than Makhachkala and because of a clause in his contract, Anzhi would have to transport him around in a private jet.

#7. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – The 20 minutes or more clause

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Arsenal in 2011 and enjoyed a terrific debut season with the Gunners which helped him land a place in England’s Euro 2012 squad.

Despite his good performances for Arsenal, he was often used as a substitute late in a game much to the bemusement of fans. Turns out, there was a reason why Arsene Wenger used the Englishman as a late substitute.

According to Chamberlain’s contract at Arsenal, his club would have to pay £10,000 pounds to his former club, Southampton, every time he played 20 minutes or more.

Appearances related clauses are common in football but one restricted by minutes on the pitch is rather unusual.

#8. Mario Balotelli – Good behaviour clause

Mario Balotelli has a history of controversial behaviour on and off the pitch. It would take ages to discuss at the length the things he has done to land himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

In 2014, when Liverpool decided to bring the volatile forward back to England, they wanted to ensure that he didn’t bring the club’s name into disrepute. Therefore, they had a waiver of conduct inserted into his contract to ensure he kept his behaviour in check.

Although Balotelli was a massive flop at Liverpool, surprisingly, he didn’t get sent off or get involved in any controversies while he was at Anfield.

#9. Luis Suarez – No biting clause

Luis Suarez is a wonderful football player and has achieved so much on the field. However, he will always be remembered for his controversial behaviour which includes biting opposition players on three separate occasions.

A year before Barcelona signed the Uruguayan, he bit Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea and a few weeks before he joined the club, he bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. So, when Suarez joined Barcelona, he was serving a four-month football ban.

To ensure that their big money signing did not cause them any loss by getting banned for biting again, Barcelona had a clause inserted in his contract which stopped him from biting a player and if he did so, there would be harsh consequences.

#10. Dennis Bergkamp – No fly clause

The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost ship that can never make port and the non-flying Dutchman is a legendary football player who feared flying.

The former Arsenal superstar, Dennis Bergkamp, had a phobia of flying. So, when he negotiated his contract with the Gunners, he had a clause inserted to cope with this phobia.

According to this clause, Bergkamp did not have to travel with the squad on trips in which the team used an aircraft as its means of transport.

Here is an extract from his autobiography that highlights how much he fears flying.

‘I’ve flown countless times in large planes, small ones, tiny ones. At Ajax, I once flew in a minuscule plane over Mount Etna near Naples when we got into a terrible air pocket – in terms of flying, I’ve seen and done it all and I’m simply not flying again. Ever.’

‘In talks with Arsenal, if I said “a million” they automatically deducted a hundred grand “because you don’t fly”. And I accepted that.’