Manchester City and Manchester United’s locations might be a major deterrent for players.
In summer 2017, Manchester City signed Dani Alves. He was eager to reunite with Pep Guardiola, with whom he had conquered the globe at Barcelona, and had just had lunch with him to organize the season at the Etihad Stadium.
The Brazilian also pushed Juventus to cancel his contract early for the reunion. Alves instead joined Paris Saint-Germain, shocking City and enraging Guardiola.
So why? Joana Sanz, Alves’ ex-wife, disliked Manchester. The Spanish model, who Alves had married on the idyllic island of Formentera days before the U-turn, favoured the City of Love above Oasis and The Smiths.
Manchester, which now rivals New York for big skyscrapers, is still behind Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, and Paris as a place for footballers to reside.
Sanz, who split with Alves this year after he was provisionally arrested and charged with alleged sexual assault, is not the only girlfriend of a player who dislikes the city.
Angel Di Maria, Carlos Tevez, and Nolito have been the most critical of Manchester, while Ilkay Gundogan departed Man City for Barcelona to travel to warmer climates. It contributed to Bernardo Silva leaving City this summer.
With the transfer market in full swing and numerous changes on the horizon for both Manchester teams, Kemi Ashefon examines why some international players do not like living in the city and highlights the remarkable few who fondly recall their time there.
Avoiding clubs due to city is an mistake. A source who helps sportsmen adjust into new clubs said that City and United are among the world’s largest and most successful teams, therefore playing for them outweighs any concerns about living in Manchester.
“There’s no player I can think of who wouldn’t want to go to City or United, they’re such big clubs that they are above these concerns, the club weighs more than the city” he adds. I don’t think a city would influence you in your prime.
It would be a mistake to skip those two top-five clubs because of the city. England is the world’s top league, thus players desire to play there.
I don’t think it’s a decisive element, a city may be better or worse, and players typically stay in their houses since their day-to-day activity is quite simple and they largely focus on playing football.” Haaland and Grealish are happy, having won the treble. Young players don’t care about the city.”
Manchester isn’t Barcelona. Off-the-field circumstances matter more to Alves and Di Maria, worldwide stars and Champions League champions.
Gundogan, who played seven years at City and captained them to the treble, has done everything imaginable.”No one would say no to going there if you’re young and starting out,” says the insider. But Gundogan has won everything, so he wants a new challenge.
He’s been in Manchester for seven years, so why would he stay somewhere with grey skies and, for example, where he can’t get good sushi?
“Manchester’s food, weather, and beach can’t compare to Barcelona’s. Everyone wants to live there. Vacation spots? Manchester isn’t unsightly, but its food is lacking. It’s better than Paris, Barcelona, or London, Europe’s New York.
Despite complaints, improving food ,Players’ partners grumble about Manchester’s cuisine. Di Maria’s wife called the local food “disgusting,” while David de Gea’s girlfriend Edurne Garcia, who didn’t move to Manchester when the goalkeeper joined United in 2011, said you had to seek out the best restaurants, and even then they weren’t as good as Spain’s.
Sara Arfaoui, Gundogan’s wife, complained about restaurant quality last year. “I tried so bad to find a good restaurant but horrible food everywhere,” she remarked.
“London maybe, Manchester nothing.” I’m sorry.”Manchester was awarded Lonely Planet’s top UK destination in 2023 due to its expanding culinary renown. Time Out ranked it third in the world two years ago, after San Francisco and Amsterdam.
Guardiola helped open TAST, a city center Catalan restaurant, and there are several more high-end Spanish eateries in town. Guardiola enjoys Musu, whereas Erling Haaland prefers Dishoom, San Carlo, and cooking steaks during City’s Premier League triumph party.
United former manager Louis van Gaal loved Chinese eatery Wings. United players and music singers Rihanna and Drake frequent Zouk Tea Bar and Grill.
Many jokes revolve around Manchester’s rainy weather. It’s Europe’s 16th wettest city. Despite having greater rainfall, Milan, Munich, and Lyon seldom turn players away due to weather.
Former City winger Nolito made news by saying that Manchester’s lack of sunshine had caused his daughter’s complexion to change color and appear like she had been “living in a cave”. Doctors urged him to give her vitamin D supplements.
Nolito came from Celta Vigo, Spain’s wettest city, which gets 5.8mm of rain per day compared to Manchester’s 3.2. He struggled with the short winter days.
“We’d have lunch together, dinner at home, go down and have a coffee, but it didn’t quite work,” he said. If it turns dark at 5pm, it seems like 10pm at 6pm and you get exhausted. ‘Bloody hell, it’s just six!’”
Nolito struggled at Manchester despite having a year to adjust before joining Sevilla.
Sergio Aguero scored 275 goals for City, including the 2012 Premier League title-winning goal. For a City fan favorite, he didn’t appear to fit in. He stated he spent much of his spare time alone, except when his son and brothers visited, in the 2018 documentary “All or Nothing”.
He spoke Spanish during the Champions League final telecast on BT Sport, with Cesc Fabregas translating.
Tevez: ‘Manchester has nothing’. Tevez, who left United for City in 2009, fell out with the club in 2011/12 after refusing to warm up and come off the bench in a Champions League match against Bayern Munich.
Supporters were furious about other incidents too. In 2011, after four years in Manchester, he declared the city had “nothing” and admitted to making no new acquaintances.
“I’m never going back, not even on holiday, not for anything,” he continued. Tevez confessed last year that he had refused to study English in a weird protest against the Falklands War. “The seven years I spent in England were: ‘Okay, I’m here for work but I’m not getting used to English culture’,” he stated. Talk to me in my language since I won’t learn English, study Spanish.”
Argentines appear to struggle in Manchester. None more so than Di Maria, who became United’s record signing in 2014 for £60 million ($76.2m) but departed one year later for PSG after falling out with Van Gaal and angering Red Devils supporters with his lack of dedication.
His family was burgled while in their home, which was terrible. His wife Jorgelina Cardoso subsequently claimed she despised the city before they moved there.
Di Maria’s wife stated: “I didn’t want to go to Manchester because at that moment in time, I was friends with Gianinna Maradona, who was married to [Sergio] Aguero, and we flew from Madrid to his house in Manchester to pay him a visit for two or three days when Angel had a few days off at Real Madrid,” she added.
It was awful! It was awful, so we left the house saying, “See you later guys. “I told him to go anywhere but England when we left. One year later, we were in England, which was a sh**hole.
“Cardoso also feared the city’s “weird” residents. “You’re walking down the street and you don’t know if they’re going to kill you,” she said. “All the girls are all dolled up, perfectly made-up, and there’s me with my hair in a bun and no make-up.”
A few international players have enjoyed the place. Juan Mata left Chelsea for United in 2014. Mata wrote about his experiences in London on his blog, and when he relocated to Manchester, he praised the city’s culture.
He frequented the Whitworth Art Gallery and wrote enthusiastically about the Northern Quarter and its record shops. He has kept in touch with the city after joining Galatasaray in 2022. He opened The Trequartista: Art and Football United in Manchester last week with a performance art work by German artist Tino Sehgal. Manchester was my home, and I’m sure my friends will be glad to see me when I return. “Great city,” Mata commented.
Kompany ‘understands the place’. Mata hosted a municipal art show like another Manchester United great. Eric Cantona, who helped revive the city’s global profile in the 1990s, mounted a six-month show at the Football Museum with local artist Michael Browne and has spoken about his passion for the city’s political involvement and disobedience.
Vincent Kompany is another foreign-born Manchester champion. The former City captain founded Tackle4MCR to generate money and awareness for homelessness in the city.
Andy Burnham, Manchester’s mayor, said Kompany’s interest in the city’s rising homelessness crisis “speaks powerfully about the effect Manchester has had on him and how he understands the place, his emotional intelligence”.Carla Higg, a lifelong Manchester City fan, is married to the Belgian.