Rebuilding a footballing dynasty - and what happened next?
Spain defender Sergio Ramos

Rebuilding a footballing dynasty – and what happened next?

With several of Europe’s leading clubs in a transitional period this summer, we’ve taken a look at which past seasons have seen the biggest exoduses of title-winning players.

Real Madrid will start next term without Sergio Ramos and there are suggestions that his central defensive partner Raphael Varane could follow him out of the door.

There are changes afoot at Barcelona too; Lionel Messi is currently out of contract and – even if he commits to another season at the Nou Camp – it is hard to imagine the Catalans’ record-breaking number 10 extending his stay for much longer.

With these impending overhauls in mind, we have examined the clubs who have undertaken the biggest football rebuilding season, looking at the times where trophy-winning players with the largest number of combined appearances were moved on.

Premier League

The largest exodus of title-winning players in Premier League history was at the end of David Moyes’ short-lived reign at Manchester United.

All-time record appearance holder Ryan Giggs was followed out of the door by three key members of the defence who had won the Champions League and five Premier League titles together.

The Red Devils fell from first in the league to seventh and failed to qualify for Europe as a result.

While the arrivals of Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria helped them return to the Champions League with a fourth-placed finish the following season, United are yet to reclaim the league title.

Premier League betting

La Liga

Barcelona have been phasing out their golden generation in stages. Carlos Puyol and Victor Valdes were amongst the first to leave in 2014 but Xavi stayed on for a further year, Iniesta lasted until 2018 and Messi is still going strong.

The club were not immediately shaken by the loss of their captain, winning only the second treble in their history. They remain the only Spanish club to win the league, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League (or European Cup) in the same season.

Barcelona have added a further three La Liga trophies to their cabinet but have not won the Champions League since Xavi left. After their first league finish outside the top two for more than a decade, is another rebuild due?

La Liga betting

Serie A

Paolo Maldini and Andriy Shevchenko both played their last game for AC Milan in the 2-0 victory over Fiorentina on the final day of the 2008-09 season.

However, the core of the team that had delivered two Champions League titles stayed on until the end of 2011-12, winning Serie A once more along the way.

That same summer, Milan also cashed in on younger stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva in possibly the biggest football rebuilding season Serie A has ever seen.

Their performance in each of the major competitions was only slightly worse in 2012-13 than the season before, so the move didn’t immediately seem like a disaster, but 10 years have now gone by without Milan recapturing the Scudetto, the Champions League or the Coppa Italia.

Serie A betting


When Bayern failed to win the Bundesliga for just the third time in 10 years in 2006-07 it was the cue for an exodus which saw the likes of Mehmet Scholl, Hasan Salihamidzic and Owen Hargreaves depart.

The arrivals of Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose saw them return to the summit and deliver a fourth league and cup double in six seasons.

In their 13 campaigns since then, Bayern have won a further 10 league titles, six DFB-Pokals and two Champions League trophies.

Bundesliga betting

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain ended the 19-year wait for their third Ligue 1 title in 2012-13 and immediately allowed a number of seasoned players to leave.

Sylvain Armand, Mamadou Sakho and Guillaume Hoarau had all played more than 100 times for the club but were allowed to find new pastures.

The rejuvenated Parisians delivered another league title the following season, aided by new arrivals Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos.

PSG have gone on to win five titles in the seven seasons since then, managing to successfully replace the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Lucas Moura with superstars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Ligue 1 betting

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