Wasted Talents

A couple of days ago, the sporting bible “France football” published their top 10 footballers who wasted their talent. The list contains some really serious names and we all agree that these people could’ve achieved much more than they did. Here’s their list:

-Antonio Cassano
-Paul Gascoigne
-Stan Bowles
-Antonio Angelillo
-Dimitar Berbatov
-Rishidi Yekini
-Mario Basler
-Nicolas Anelka
-Andy van der Meyde

I won’t question their opinion. It’s “France football” after all. I decided to give my own personal top 10 of players who for one reason or another didn’t achieve as much as they should’ve.

1) Michu

Every Premier League fan remembers Michu. He’s a cult hero. He went to Swansea in the summer of 2012. The Spaniard took the league by a storm, scoring 22 goals for the swans that season. He helped them win their 1st and only ever major trophy, as the welsh team won the 2013 League cup. They even played in the Europa League and reached the round of 32 where they lost to Napoli. In addition to his great games, Michu got a call up for Spain’s national team. The next season he couldn’t reach his own standards and scored only 6 goals across all competitions. After that Michu left Swansea for Napoli. He couldn’t adapt to the Italian side. Injury meant he would return to Wales and due to the team’s financial problems he was released. He tried to resurrect his career at Langreo and Oviedo before retiring at the age of 31. He’s now a technical secretary at Oviedo. The ultimate “One season wonder.”

2) Alexandre Pato

Alexandre Rodrigues Da Silva or commonly known as Alexandre Pato made his professional debut at the age of 16 for the Brazilian side International. He helped them win the Club World Cup in 2006 before going to Milan. In Milano, Pato was one of the best players in the world. He was awarded the Golden boy award in 2009 and was part of the last Milan team to win the Scudetto in 2011. He’s the author of one of the fastest goals in the UEFA Champions League. He scored against Barcelona after only 24 seconds. At that time it looked like Alexandro Pato was Brazil’s “Next big thing.” He certainly was…on FIFA. 97 rating in few seasons time… But in real life injuries ruined his career. He played for Corinthians, Sao Paolo, Chelsea, Villareal, and Tianjin Quanjian but could never reach the heights he did at Milan. He’s now 31 and yesterday (13.02.2021) he announced signing with Orlando City in the MLS and I doubt we’ll see him hitting top form again.

3) Anderson

Anderson caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson himself when he was only 18 years old. He was transferred from Porto to Man United in 2007. He won the Golden Boy award in 2008 making him the 2nd United player to do so. For few seasons he was an integral part of Manchester United. During his time in Manchester, the Red Devils won four Premier League titles, 2007/2008 UEFA Champions League, two league cups, and two Community Shields with the Red Devils. After a couple of injuries and lack of consistency, it was clear that he was out of form and shape and fell out of favor. He left United for Fiorentina on loan in 2014 trying to find his form again. It didn’t work. He went back to Brazil and played for Internacional and Coritiba, before going to Turkey and Adana Demirspor where he is the assistant manager now.

4) Mario Balotelli

The next Golden Boy winner. He won the award in 2010 while playing for Inter Milan. One of the most talented Italian strikers in the last 10 years. Sadly his lack of discipline cost him a better career. A player that received so many chances to show the world what he’s capable of; Inter, Manchester City, Milan, Liverpool, Nice, Marseille, Italy’s national team. We’ve seen glimpses of his talent everywhere he has been. But no manager could work with him for more than 2 or 3 years. The highlight of his career will always be that semi-final against Germany in 2012. Shame…

5) Ricardo Quareshma

One of the most technically gifted players in the last 15 years. His skills, his rabonas, his outside of the foot passes, and shots are second to none. Sadly he couldn’t deliver at the biggest stage. He certainly had the chance to, but his discipline and lifestyle allowed him to blossom mostly in Portugal and the Turkish league. Shame we couldn’t enjoy him more on a top-level.

6) Alexander Buttner

His inclusion here might be a bit questionable, but once Sir Alex said that he’s one of the best players he coached. He was a young and promising left-back during his 3 years at Manchester United. But he couldn’t handle the pressure and the competition from Patrice Evra. Buttner was recently released by the Cyprus side Apollon Limassol.

7) Yoan Gurcuff

The French playmaker had the potential to become one of the best players in the world…on FIFA 10. However, he couldn’t shine outside his home country. Branded as one of the best playmakers in League 1 it’s a mystery why he never moved abroad to try and shine in a different league.

8) Marion Gotze

Germany’s Golden boy, and Golden boy award winner in 2011. Gotze is the man who brought the 4th World Cup to Germany. After conquering Germany with Borussia Dortmund, Gotze decided to take the next step, and he joined Bayern Munich. Sadly for him maybe the only thing that he made an impression with was his announcing. He wore a Nike T-shirt with a big logo, and Bayern is branded as Adidas team. His plan to conquer Europe and the world with Bayern didn’t work so he returned to Dortmund after just 3 years. He could never return to the form he had before. After a couple of months recovering from myopathy (a muscular disorder that affects the fibres in the muscles, meaning they do not function correctly) he moved to PSV and is starting to build his fitness again. He’s still 29 so he might have the chance to prove that he doesn’t belong to this list, but it looks that his best days are way behind.

9) Valeri Bozhinov

General Bozhigoal, 2004 Golden boy nominee, branded as one of the brightest talents in Europe. Youngest foreign player to make an appearance in Italy’s top-flight division when playing for Lecce. Fiorentina, Juventus, Manchester City, Parma, Sporting CP are just part of the clubs he’s been part of during the years, the list can be an article itself. A couple of injuries in his early days and his lifestyle stopped him from fulfilling his expectations. He is a cult hero in Bulgaria now. Legend of the pitch. His interviews and life videos are unique. Maybe he has the chance to make us happy with his social media appearances for a long time.

10) Ronaldo

Ok, this might be a bit controversial. O Fenomeno is one of the greatest ever. World cups, Copa Americas, Confederation cup, league titles, national cups. Meanwhile, he recovered from 2 serious knee injuries. The only thing he’s missing is a Champions League trophy. But can you imagine what this man could’ve achieved without all the injuries he had? Maybe even Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would’ve been away from the records they have now.

Published by Ilian Angelov

Football fan. Liverpool supporter. I love writing about sport. Freeride and beach volleyball enthusiast.

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