6 Players Who Left Big Clubs at a Young Age to Succeed Elsewhere

Players leaving their childhood clubs in order to make a career elsewhere have always existed across the history of football.

Some of these players went on to achieve greatness in their careers whereas some might still ponder what could have been if they stayed at their respective big clubs.

Here's a list of six top players who left big clubs early on in their careers.....

6. Paul Pogba - Manchester United

Manchester United bought Paul Pogba for a world record fee in August 2016, however that wasn't the first time that the Frenchman joined the Red Devils.

Pogba had joined United's academy in 2009, but his desire for first team-football led to his departure three years later.

United signed him back from Juventus for an eye-watering £89m after letting him leave for Turin for less than a million pounds.

5. Marco Reus - Borussia Dortmund

Coming up from the ranks of Borussia Dortmund's youth academy, Marco Reus was once released by the German club after being considered too skinny in 2006 and was sold to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Dortmund realised their mistake soon and rectified it by signing him again for €17m in 2011.

4. Juan Mata - Real Madrid

Best known for his time with Valencia in Spain, very few know that Juan Mata actually made his senior football debut with Real Madrid Castilla way back in 2006.

Ten goals in 39 matches for Los Blancos sparked interest from Valencia, who signed the playmaker by triggering a release clause in his contract.

Mata then eventually moved to Premier League side Chelsea in 2011 before joining Manchester United a few years later.

3. Adrien Rabiot - Manchester City

Very few know that in-demand Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrien Rabiot joined Manchester City's academy for six months in 2008 before returning to France before his mother claimed that the midfielder was mistreated in England.

After his stand-off with Paris Saint-Germain recently, the midfielder has signed for Juventus this summer.

2. Cesc Fabregas - FC Barcelona

Barcelona born and bred Cesc Fabregas ditched his boyhood club to join Arsenal back in 2003 before making his debut for the Gunners in the same year as a 16-year-old.

However, he could not turn down the chance to re-join Barcelona in 2011, where he spent three unhappy years before joining Chelsea in 2014.

1. Samuel Eto'o - Real Madrid

Considered a bonafide Barcelona legend, Samuel Eto'o actually began his career at the home of the Blaugrana's fiercest rivals Real Madrid.

The Cameroonian legend, who played just three games for Real Madrd in La Liga endured loan spells at Leganes, Espanyol and Mallorca before joining Mallorca permanently in 2000.

Barcelona bought Eto'o four years later for €24m and he went on to become a club legend under Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola as he won two Champions Leagues and three La Liga titles with the Catalan giants before making another historic move to Inter Milan.