Football trials is a way that clubs and teams found their talents by giving them chance to train with them in order to see their full potentials.
However, trials or talent days, are becoming increasingly rare. Now, many football trials are run by talent agencies who have contacts with prominent teams and clubs. If they see a talented player at their trials, then they pass the player on.
In July 2020, Barcelona snapped up Spanish wonder kid Pedri Gonzalez from Las Palmas after he allegedly failed a trial at Real Madrid.
Few months after he signed for Barcelona, Pedri in an interview with Cadena SER said; “I went to test with Real Madrid but they told me I didn’t have the level,”
“I thank the one who told me I was not worth it, now I am in the team that I have always loved.”
Pedri Gonzalez has been an integral part of Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona setup, making ten appearances for the Catalans this season.
The 17-year old Spain’s U17, U18, U19 and U21 star twitted on Saturday after his first La Liga goal; “Happy Saturday!!! First La Liga goal”.
The young Spaniard has been just one of many football stars who have benefited from joining another team after a trial with the other, as they always seem to comeback and hunt their former side.
Brazilian Superstar Neymar Jr is one of a long list of footballers who trialed at one club but represent the other.
At 13, Neymar Jr was invited to the Real Madrid team in Spain for a trial.
The Brazilian returned to his former club Santos after a successful trial, but the reason Madrid opted out for an immediate signing of the wing wizard is still a mystery to many.
Neymar Jr formed part of the 2005/2006 youth set up at Madrid which made-up of Dani Carvajal and Pablo Sarabia.
But he returned to Santos and signed his first professional contract after the Brazilian club accepted to pay a compensation to his parents coupled with a new house close to the clubs training ground.
The 28-year old Brazilian left Barcelona to join PSG in a World record £200m transfer. This could be what Real Madrid should have received if they had signed Neymar Jr.
In 2005, fresh from a glorious outing at the FIFIA U17 world cup for Nigeria, John Obi Mikel was offered a trial by one of World’s biggest football clubs Manchester United.
Following a successful trial, Obi was offered a whopping £1.5m salary aged just 17.
Mikel after agreeing the initial contract later said no to Sir Alex Ferguson on two occasions after Chelsea had jumped into the deal.
Mikel’s situation was one of the craziest off-field battles United have fought with Chelsea.
However, the Blues were victorious on this occasion and signed Mikel in 2006 thanks to extra work by then coach Jose Mourinho.
Mikel said; “As a footballer, you have to make decisions you live with for the rest of your life.”
This was one of the toughest decisions of his career.
Interestingly, the former Super Eagles of Nigeria Captain won the Champions League, Europa League, two premier league titles, four FA cups and two league cups in his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge. This is what United were missing.
In 2017, Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic made a statement while playing for Manchester United, “IBRA doesn’t go for trials.”
This occurred in a documentary of his Career after giving a throwback on his early days.
The Lion as he claims met with then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to discuss on the possibility of him joining the Gunners.
But was only considered for a trial and the forward left and now has played for Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United but made a statement, “I can’t play for Manchester City because I have more trophies than them.”
In the past, greater number of signings were done after series of trials.
But the mini tournaments organised by scouts have foreseen the initial purpose of trials.
Though clubs still go on with trials having a lot of benefits in it, some stand to loose as players either shun their offers or accept a better one.