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.

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