Saturday, February 21, 2015

Footballers That Failed To Live Up To Their Full Potential!

Buying footballers can be a tricky business.
For the most part, clubs do usually make wise decisions on how to spend their pounds, euros and dollars. However there have always been those select few player transfer deals that can only be described as 'atrocious business decisions' - whatever the reason!

Being considered as one of the next great young footballers is certainly a badge of honour, but it can also be an unnecessary layer of pressure that can cause those young players to either rise to the occasion or fall through the cracks.

You’d think that spending upwards of £20 million on a player would guarantee success.......not a bit!

Whether it was because of attitude problems, or serious injuries at an early stage in their career, or just extended periods of poor form for whichever club they played for, these footballers are a stark reminder that not everyone playing the beautiful game can live up to the monumental hype put on them as a youngster.

Here are some of the most hyped footballers of all time who didn’t live up to their full potential!


Denílson de Oliveira was a Brazilian starlet who was the world’s most expensive player when Real Betis purchased him from São Paulo in 1998 for £21.8 million. However, the story would end in misery for both player and club.

His second season with Betis saw the Spanish club relegated and Denilson loaned back to his boyhood club São Paulo. He eventually returned to Spain but was never an integral part of the squad.

From 1998 to 2005, Denilson competed in 186 matches for Real Betis but only scored 13 goals.
On leaving Real Betis the Brazilian went on to have short spells at clubs in the USA, France, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and in his native Brazil.

For a world-record purchase, the Brazilian failed miserably to live up to his early promise.

Freddy Adu 

At the age of 14, Fredua Koranteng "Freddy" Adu became the youngest American ever to sign a major league professional contract in any team sport, when he was chosen by D.C. United as the number one overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft.

His reputation at the age of 14 as “the next Pele” has arguably been his undoing, even though he’s only 25 now. That said, the Ghanaian-born Adu has experienced a number of poor, short-lived stints at clubs like Benfica, and the numerous clubs he was loaned out to while with the Lisbon club, namely AS Monaco, Portuguese club Belenenses, Greek side Aris and Turkish side Çaykur Rizespor.
His last club was Jagodina in Serbia, where he made one substitute appearance before being released in December 2014.

Adu is currently a free agent.

Juan Sebastián Verón

In 2001 Verón became the most expensive transfer in English football when Manchester United broke the bank for the midfielder. They paid a whopping £28 million to Lazio (14 years ago) for his services.

After only 51 appearances and 11 goals, Verón was shipped off to Chelsea, who also overspent on the player as United recouped £15 million. The Argentinian spent one season at Stamford Bridge before being sent out on loan, back to Italy with Internazionale and then to his boyhood club Estudiantes de La Plataand in Argentina. Eventually he signed for Estudiantes on a permanent basis in 2007 and is now their clubs 'Director of Sports.'

Verón may go down as one of the biggest wastes of money in football history. Not only were his statistics poor, but his overall play was never at the level that led anyone to believe he was ever worth such a big sum.

His several big-money transfers made Verón then the most expensive footballer in history with a cumulative total of £77 million at that time.

Pablo Aimar

Pablo César Aimar Giordano, the playmaking midfielder was dubbed the "new Maradona" early in his career. When just 21, he signed with Valencia in Spain from River Plate for a fee of €24 million million in 2001. Aimar’s time with Los Che was blighted by injuries including a bout with meningitis and he would later sign with Real Zaragoza for €12 million in 2006 and then Benfica for €6.5 million in 2008. In 2013 he went to playclub football in Malaysia, but was released after one season due to injury problems. Aimar has apparently gone back to River Plate to train with the team, but injuries may hold him back from signing a contract.
Injuries played a major factor in Aimar failing to fulfil his potential, but he did earn 52 caps for Argentina over a 10 year period.

The 35 year-old is currently a free agent.

Ricardo Quaresma 

Ricardo Andrade Quaresma Bernardo made his professional debut back in 2001 for Sporting Lisbon, but is only now finally starting to get his career somewhat back on track following a successful season last year with Porto, and just missing out on being selected for Portugal’s 2014 World Cup squad.

The Portuguese winger who has speed, finesse and an array of fancy footwork was once hailed as a talent with just as much promise as his countryman Cristiano Ronaldo. He has largely failed to live up to high expectations, and has been criticised for having attitude problems and purported selfishness on the pitch.

Sporting sold Quaresma to Barcelona for a reported €6 million fee in 2003, but in the summer of 2004 he announced his refusal to play for Barça as long as Frank Rijkaard was in charge. As a result he joined Porto not long after. Quaresma was heavily criticised during his first year with Porto for being selfish and frequently trying to dribble past defenders rather than making a simple pass. He gradually began to incorporate his team-mates into the game, however, and by his third year with Porto, he had become a fan favourite and a key component of the squad.

In September 2008, Quaresma signed for Italian champions Internazionale, managed by José Mourinhoin a cash/player exchange fee of €18.6 million but his time in Italy was not considered a success, with him being given the Bidone d'oro (Golden Trashcan) award for being Serie A’s most disappointing player in 2008. In 2009 he joined Chelsea on loan before returning to Italy, but he did not feature much in Mourinho's plans as the club

In 2010, Quaresma joined Beşiktaş in Turkey for €7.3 million, but in April 2011 Quaresma and veteran player Nihat Kahveci had a spat on the pitch. Nihat was upset at Quaresma for failing to pass the ball and the altercation was broken up by team mates. He also had an altercation with manager Carlos Carvalhal in the dressing room at half-time in March 2012 after Carvalhal substituted Quaresma.
Quaresma did not take the news lightly and began throwing water bottles before launching a stinging attack at Carvalhal. He was released by the club in December 2012, six months before his contract was due to run out.

Quaresma returned to Porto on 1st January 2014 where over ten thousand fans greeted him at the training ground.


Robson de Souza began is career with Santos in Brazil in 2002 at the age of 18. His form for Santos was sensational and similar to Freddy Adu, Robinho’s skills were compared to those of Pele. Robinho's goal record for Santos stood at nearly a goal every other game and earned him a big money move to Real Madrid in 2005. Despite needing time to make himself a regular at Madrid his three years spent with Los Galacticos was considered a success, making 101 appearances and scoring 25 times.

Robinho's £33 million move to Manchester City was a definite setback for his career. Signing with the big-spending club despite wanting to sign for Chelsea, Robinho did well in his first season but injuries caused him to be an afterthought, eventually going back to Santos on loan in January 2010. He then signed with AC Milan for £15 million in August 2010, which was also an up and down time for him. In July 2013, Robinho signed a new contract with Milan on a reduced wage, keeping him with the Rossoneri until 2016.

In August 2014 he re-joined Santos on a one-year loan deal.

Jose Antonio Reyes

For someone who made their senior team debut for Sevilla at the age of only 16, followed by a £10.5 million transfer to Arsenal at age 20, you could say that much was expected of this Spanish winger’s future. Although he’s turned out to be a decent player, José Antonio Reyes Calderón hasn’t exactly been the offensive dynamo people hoped he would be, with his time at Arsenal being largely highlighted by homesickness and inconsistent play, despite winning the league title with them in 2004.

In 2006/07 Reyes joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan deal and it was expected he would join them permanently after his loan expired.
However in 2007 Reyes penned a four-year deal, reportedly worth €12 million with Real's city rivals Atlético Madrid.
After only one season with Atlético, it was announced that Reyes would be joining Benfica on a one-year loan deal.
Reyes returned the following season and had a much more productive spell with Atlético, before falling out with new manager Gregorio Manzano in 2011.

In January 2012 Sevilla confirmed the signing of Reyes, and that is where he continues to ply his trade.

Dmytro Chygrynskiy 

Dmytro Anatoliyovych Chygrynskiy is arguably the worst purchase in Barcelona history. Chygrynskiy was the first Ukrainian player to ever play for Barcelona.
The Ukrainian was just one of many terrible moves made by former manager Pep Guardiola.

Chygrynskiy made his debut for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian Premier League in 2004, at the age of 17. Chygrynskiy was thought to be a formidable defender able to play with the ball at his feet and provide strong aerial coverage for the back line. However, his ability never panned out, and the defender really struggled in La Liga.

After just one season and a mere 14 matches, Barcelona sold the defender back to his former club for €15 million (a loss of €10 million overall)

Chygrynskiy left Shakhtar by mutual consent in February 2015 and seven days later Chygrynskiy joined Ukrainian rivals FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Alberto Aquilani

Alberto Aquilani made his debut for Roma in Serie A at the age of 18 in May 2002.

His favoured position is that of central midfielder, a position which enables him to make attacking runs and at Roma he had been praised for his vision, technique, quick incisive passing and long-range shooting.

After Real Madrid purchased Xabi Alonso in 2009, there was a giant hole in the Liverpool midfield. Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez turned to Italian starlet Aquilani to fill the void left by Alonso. Liverpool paid Roma a substantial fee for the Italian, reportedly £17 million and handed him a five-year contract.

The midfielder was never able to find his form or provide a decent cover for the departed Xabi Alonso.
Injuries played a big part in the saddening career of Aquilani in England. The Italian played only 28 games for Liverpool, and scored just twice.

Aquilani was sent back to Italy on loan, representing Juventus between 2010 and 2011 and AC Milan between 2011 and 2012. Aquilani then returned to Liverpool for pre-season training in preparation for their 2012–13 season. Although his agent stated that Aquilani would remain at Liverpool the club accepted an undisclosed fee for the midfielder from Fiorentina, and his transfer was completed in August 2012.

Liverpool in fact allowed Aquilani to leave the club for free therefore 'The Reds' never received anything back on their hefty investment, and thus Roma also received nothing from the bonus clause that they inserted in his transfer between the two clubs.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Most Influential Soccer Agents in the World

Before the 1990s, most soccer players did not use agents. In some cases, they used their fathers as agents. Because of most parents' naivete about the football business, these young footballers were often given less-than-stellar contracts by football clubs, which yielded lower salaries than they thought they deserved. 

The influx of money into the game since the formation of the 'Premiership' in England in 1992 (now known as the Premier League) created a merchant class in soccer – agents. Modern agents represent both players and managers, and they’re largely responsible for brokering transfers between clubs, managing contract negotiations, and handling all the paperwork involved as the intermediary between players and club management. 
Some agents have also got obscenely rich thanks to all the money floating around the game these days.

Generally speaking, agents get a small percentage cut of their players’ contracts. The precise amount will vary wildly from agent to agent, but that isn’t their only source of revenue. When agents are involved in brokering transfers between clubs, they tend to get a pretty significant amount of cash as well. 

Sure, we may be only talking about 3-5%, but 3-5% of £50 million is still £1.5 – £2.5 million – all for a few weeks of work. Few agents make that kind of money, but the men on this list all have superstar clients who command those kinds of prices, and all that wealth has trickled down to make these agents wealthy and powerful beyond their wildest dreams.

Barry Silkman: 

Although not strictly a player agent, Barry Silkman has made his name and his fortune as a master broker for transfers between top clubs. After a 16-year playing career spanning 14 clubs, in which he was mildly successful, Silkman attempted to turn management into his new day job. When that fell through he found his calling in acting as an agent in the 1990s, and he hasn’t stopped yet. With clients such as David Villa, Demba Ba and Ravel Morrison, Silkman’s ever-growing portfolio of star players means the 61-year-old will be around for the foreseeable future.

Jerome Anderson:

England’s most famous agent has spent a career representing some of the biggest names to ever play in the English Premier League. A banker by trade, Anderson made the transition into player representation just before agents became the powerful merchant-class they are today in the game. Initially he made his name thanks to the talent he brought to Arsenal at the turn of the 21st century; Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, Ian Wright, all were brought to Arsenal thanks to Anderson’s help. These days he’s more closely associated with Manchester City, but represents a wide array of players including John Obi Mikel, the Belguim Axel Witsel and Kieran Gibbs.

Pini Zahavi:

Zahavi hit the headlines through his dealings at Chelsea following the takeover by Roman Abramovich in 2003. Zahavi was actively involved both in the purchase of the club and of negotiationg contracts for all the star players that it would sign in the initial 2-year period after the purchase, with several transfers being investigated for alleged corruption.
The Israeli was also involved in several dodgy takeovers at Portsmouth, but his bread and butter is transfers.
He currently represents players such as Carlos Tevez and Rio Ferdinand.

Mino Raiola:

The mastermind behind journeyman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Raiola has become an increasing presence in a number of big transfer deals, from all across Europe. Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan is his latest client, and he stands to make plenty of money this summer with Liverpool and Inter Milan both keen.
Raiola is ruthless, and also represents the likes of Paul Pogba, Mario Balotelli and Tottenham and France star Etienne Capoue, while Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani counts him as an adviser.

Jonathan Barnett:

Known for helping launch Lennox Lewis’ career in boxing, Barnett hit the headlines in 2006 when he was charged over tapping up offences, relating to Ashley Cole’s transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea. These days he keeps his head down, only boasting a few – albeit huge – clients.
These include Gareth Bale, Joe Hart, Wojciech Szczesny, Rafael, Fabio and Darren Bent.

Cezary Kucharski:

Most agents tend to stick to their native countries to draw most of their talent from, which makes perfect sense. Naturally their network of contacts is larger and deeper in their home countries. 
Cezary Kucharski is the biggest agent in his native Poland, and he’s made his name attracting some of the top Polish talent to his brand in recent years. He has world-class Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski under contract, as well as Dortmund winger Jakub Blaszcykowski. 
Kucharski was a player himself as recently as 2007, but now the 42-year-old prefers to sit back and let others handle the on-field work while he takes care of the paperwork in the back – getting considerably richer in the process.

Pere Guardiola:

Brother of Bayern Munich coach Pepe, Pere Guardiola is an established agent in his own right, representing talent such as Barcelona's Luis Suarez, Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral, and Deportivo de La Coruña winger Isaac Cuenca. 

Paul Stretford:

Stretford is one of the boldest agents around, having dared to take on a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney - one of the most marketable players in the world and manage his career ever since. He was the driving influence behind the England striker’s two transfer requests at Manchester United, and it speaks volumes for the agent that he even dared to take on Sir Alex Ferguson.
Stretford will work closely with Rooney between now and the Summer, as he likely plots a move away from Old Trafford. It will be the second big move of his career, and nothing looks like standing in the way this time, with Stretford likely to use his master contact Jorge Mendes to negotiate a transfer abroad.
Stretford also represents superstar coaches Harry Redknapp and Roberto Mancini.

Jorge Mendes: 

Few are better connected in world football than Mendes, the king of football agents - and he’s never even set foot on a pitch as a player or as a manager!

Having secured a monopoly on Portuguese football years ago, the names of his clients are a who's who in the footballing world: Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, José Mourinho, Ramadel Falcao and Angel Di Maria to name but a few! Mendes is the most sought after agent in the world for both players and clubs, and with good reason; he has control of some of the game’s elite-tier talent, including his crown jewel Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Babe of the Month - Surfer Chick Anastasia Ashley

Anastasia Ashley was born 10th February 1987 in San Clemente, California and is an American big-wave surfer, and occasional fashion model.

Anastasia began surfing at the age of 5 right before moving to Hawaii. At the age of 6, she won a surf contest using a run-down board that she found in a trash can outside of her house. By the age of 7, she picked up a sponsor to replace her run-down board with new ones. 

In 2003, she received the Triple Crown Rookie of the Year award. At the age of 16, Ashley won her first major national title. Later, she also won titles including two National Scholastic Surfing Association championships and the Professional Surfing Tour of America championship. Ashley won the 2010 Pipeline Women's Pro in Hawaii. She appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in 2014. As of 8th September 2014, Ashley is ranked 59th in the 2014 Women's Qualification Series.

In September 2014, she started her own Gypsy Jet Set jewellery line in collaboration with OK1984, a jewellery company.[ She was featured in the October 2014 issue of Maxim Magazine. In November 2014, she went to Ireland for a Web Summit on how to maintain an competitive edge in surfing with a focus on social media tools. Ashley was interested in convincing Taoiseach Enda Kenny to surf.

You can follow Anastasia on Facebook, Twitter Instagram and on her Website