10. Manchester City
Given the wealth of talent at the disposal of Manchester City, it is a common occurrence to see a strong contingent of players left out on the bench. During a Champions League clash against Bayern Munich back in 2012, the City bench consisted of internationals such as Gareth Barry, Samir Nasri, Carlos Tevez, Pablo Zabaleta, Costel Pantilimon, Edin Dzeko and Joleon Lescott, and the match was infamous for Tevez defying manager Roberto Mancini’s orders by refusing to get himself off the bench.
While the above picture taken during the 2014 World Cup cannot necessarily be construed as a substitute bench, the talent present on it is simply amazing. Consisting of superstars such as David Luiz, Neymar, Thiago Silva, Hulk, Fernandinho, Oscar and the World Cup winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, it is a group which is full of flair and talent. Unfortunately, the talented bunch could not perform when it matter out on the pitch and were dumped out of the tournament in an embarrassing fashion with a 7-1 defeat against eventual winners Germany.
After having sealed their place into the knock out stages of the Champions League, Chelsea decided to field a weakened side in their clash against RKC Genk back in 2011. Left on the bench were Chelsea legends John Terry and Frank Lampard, who amassed over 1000 appearances, combined while sitting alongside the duo was fledgling star Josh McEachran.
7. AC Milan
In a far cry to their current struggles, AC Milan used to boast one of the best teams in the world and such was the strength at manager Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal that he could exercise the luxury of leaving out the likes of Kaka, Alexandre Pato, Andrea Pirlo, Marek Jankulovski and David Beckham on the bench during a Serie A clash in 2010.
6. Manchester United
In a bid to turn their fortunes around, Manchester United spent extortionate amounts of money on new players during the start of the current campaign but the expensive pieces to the puzzle have not fit into place as well as the Red Devils would have liked. In an embarrassing 5-3 defeat against Leicester City, the United bench consisted of Antonio Valencia, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Luke Shaw while ahead of the superstars, manager Louis van Gaal and assistant Ryan Giggs look crestfallen by the performance.
Germany emerged triumphant during the 2014 World Cup and it has to be said that the victory was well deserved. Die Mannschaft certainly boasted a wonderfully talented set of players which helped to the victory but arguably what won them the prestigious title was their wonderful teamwork as well as strength in depth. Typified here with a bench consisting of the likes of Jerome Boateng, Sven Bender, Andre Schurrle, Kevin Grosskreutz, Julain Draxler, Ron-Robert Zieler, Roman Weidenfeller and finally Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany could have perhaps beaten most sides in the competition with their second team.
Having been routed 4-0 in the first leg Champions League clash against Bayern Munich in 2013, Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova decided to rest some of his star players for the return leg at the Nou Camp and surprisingly, Lionel Messi was left out on the bench. It was not only Messi who sat out as the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Thiago Alcantara, Cristian Tello, Dani Alves and Martin Montoya also watched from the sidelines.
3. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich undoubtedly possess one of the best teams in the world and manager Pep Guardiola can certainly afford to rotate his players. In a bid to freshen the Bayern side, Guardiola rested most of his key players in a Bundesliga match and the bench consisted of Arjen Robben, Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller – arguably one of the best set of players sitting in the dugout.
2. Real Madrid
With Real Madrid having surrendered their chances of winning the La Liga title to Barcelona in 2013, manager Jose Mourinho stated that he would be concentrating only on the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. As a result, Mourinho left out the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Iker Casillas on the bench for the clash against Levante. Despite the stars not starting, Madrid managed to claim a comfortable 5-1 victory.
Spain is blessed with so many stars that a host of wonderful players do not even get a chance to start. As a testament to this fact, manager Vicente Del Bosque had to leave out the likes of Victor Valdes, Alvaro Arbeloa, Fernando Torres, Raul Albiol, David Silva and Juan Mata during a Confederations Cup clash in 2013.