One thing that makes us human is association. We always want to be accepted for who we are. We long to belong to a group or company. I’ve realized it was so from the beginning of time. We were made for each other in order to survive.
The first humans to be created according to the Bible were Adam and Eve. God first created Adam and later realized that it wasn’t good for man to live alone so he created a companion or helper in the person of Eve. Adam was pleased to see Eve and upon seeing her, he said “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
The first two statements Adam made shows that he accepted Eve based on his criteria which is bone and flesh which he also possesses. This means that as humans, we have some innate criterion that makes us determine who we want to associate ourselves with. This also means we have the power to reject people if they don’t fit that criterion. But the truth is, rejection can be painful especially when it comes to relationships, friendship, and occupation. Most at times, we find it had to accept rejection especially when you know what you’re worth but the person fails to see it. In order to get accepted, we push harder and end up getting hurt in the long run. If not handled properly, it leads to depression, low self-esteem and in extreme cases, suicide. But do you know that being rejected doesn’t decrease your value or your being?
Allow me to tell you a story about four football players who were once rejected and how their life turned out in the end.
16-year-old Paul Pogba arrived at Manchester United in 2009 only to quit to join Juventus as a free agent two years later as a result of lack of first team appearances under then manager Sir Alex Ferguson. It surprised many that, one of France’s highest rated youngsters who captained the country’s Under 16 national team couldn’t break into Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team. Not even his reputation as Manchester United’s stand out player in their 2011 youth team that won the 10th FA Youth Cup, having scored 7 goals in 21 appearances was enough to gain the trust of Sir Alex Fergusson.
During his spell at Juventus, he blossomed into one of the world’s best midfielders helping the team win four Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias and made a Champions League Final appearance. He was awarded the Golden Boy award in 2013, followed by the Bravo Award in 2014 and was named by The Guardian as one of the ten most promising young players in Europe. In 2016, he was named to the 2015 UEFA TEAM OF THE YEAR, as well as the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI after helping Juventus to the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final. On 28th October 2014, Pogba was named among 23 shortlisted candidates for the coveted FIFA Ballon d’Or award at the age of 21, making him the youngest player on the list. He also captained his nation to victory at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, taking home the Best Player award for his performance during the tournament.
Interestingly, Manchester United went back for Paul Pogba under coach Jose Mourinho in 2016 for a world record transfer fee of €105 million (£89.3 million).
Another victim of rejection is Juan Mata. In 2011, 23-year-old Juan Mata joined Chelsea from Valencia for a reported fee of £23.5m under erstwhile Chelsea manager Andres Villas-Boas. During his spell at Chelsea, he scored 32 goals, gave 28 assists and was the Chelsea Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons. This impressive record couldn’t get him a regular start in Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team which he took over in 2013. He was offloaded to Manchester United in 2014 for a club record fee of £37.1 million.
Ironically, the stone the builders rejected became the corner stone for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side. He was pivotal in Jose Mourinho’s floundering Manchester United side that settled for 6th position in the premier league during the 2016/2017 season.
Kevin de Bruyne also suffered the same fate as Mata and Pogba. In 2012, Chelsea completed the signing of the Belgian Star for £6.7m under former Coach Andres Villas Boas. Unfortunately, he couldn’t break into Mourinho’s Chelsea side because Mourinho claimed he was poor in training. In 2014, the 22-year-old midfielder was sold to Wolfsburg for a reported fee of €20m. In his first season at Wolfsburg, he scored 10 goals and provided 21 assists. He ended his breakout season with 16 goals and 27 assists in all competitions. During his stint at Wolfsburg, he was awarded the Bundesliga Player of the Year and Bundesliga top assists for the 2014-15 season. He was also awarded the Footballer of the Year in Germany in 2015.
On 30th August 2015, Manchester City announced the arrival of De Bruyne for a reported club-record fee of £55 million ( €75 million) making him the second most expensive transfer in British football history. On his return to the English Premier League, where he wasn’t given a chance earlier, he has so far made 64 appearances for Manchester City, scoring 13 goals and provided 28 assists.
Finally, Manchester United newbie Romelu Lukaku was once a reject. In 2011, Chelsea signed 18-year-old Lukaku from Anderlecht for a reported fee of around £20m under erstwhile coach Andres Villas Boas. Lukaku became a household name in Belgium where he was top scorer in the domestic league in the 2009-2010 season, aged 16. He scored 20 goals for Anderlecht in all competitions during the 2010-11 season.
In 2014, Jose Mourinho disposed off the striker to Everton for a club record fee of £28million. This development came as a surprise to most football pundits but Mourinho claimed the Belgian Star lost focus and was never going to be the first choice at Chelsea.On 12th December 2015, Lukaku became the first Everton player to score in six consecutive Premier League matches. Lukaku scored 22 goals for Everton in the 2015-16 Premier League season. He continued his stellar performance in the 2016-17 season by scoring 21 league goals in the season, thereby becoming the first Everton Player since Gary Lineker 31 years previously to surpass 20 league goals in a season, as well as being the fourth player and first foreign player to score 80 Premier League goals before the age of 24.
Ironically, Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho recently went back for the same player he wrote off 3 years ago for a fee in the region of £75 million. Interesting, isn’t it?
So here are players who once thrived in a club, got rejected when they moved to a different club and then thrived again after moving to another club. In all the scenarios, there were instances of acceptance and rejection.
Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Juan Mata were signed under Andres Villas Boas but a new coach in the person of Jose Mourinho felt they didn’t meet his requirements to warrant a first team place. He offloads them to another team and these same rejects end up thriving Same case can be made for Paul Pogba. So what changed? Some people might attribute it to change of clubs but for me, it goes beyond that. Managers changed. These players thrived after being rejected because they were given the chance to prove their worth and met the requirements of their new coaches.
These players could have cried foul and stayed with the coaches that rejected them just to prove their worth but they didn’t. They rather moved on to where they’re services were needed and appreciated.
This is one thing we fail to identify and accept. The fact that someone rejects you or you don’t make it into a particular association doesn’t mean you’re trash. It doesn’t reduce your value. It’s either you don’t fit into the criteria the person or institution wants or they simply can’t see your worth.
Not only did these players thrive after moving on but their value increased to the extent that, the clubs and coaches that once rejected them had to pay hefty prices to get them back.
Such is life. Everybody has their preference and taste. Opinions don’t define you. It doesn’t matter if your boyfriend says you’re not good enough and vice versa. It doesn’t matter if your boss says you’re not good enough for a position. What matters is knowing your worth and accepting the fact that rejection isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t decrease your worth. If you’re not appreciated or valued somewhere, just do what these players did. Move on!!! Don’t fret and beat yourself up or try to fit into someone’s life. Someone’s inability to recognize your worth is their loss, not yours. Don’t allow someone’s inability to value you, kill your self-esteem thus denying the world the wonderful person you are.
Get up, dress up, and show the whole world the wonderful and valuable person God created you to be.