What happened to these sensationally once talented players?
Becoming one of the world’s top footballers necessitates having talent, attitude, and work ethic at a high level to fulfill whatever potential players could have in their younger days. In many cases, players gifted with surreal raw talent have failed to live up to expectations for various reasons, some of which could be in their control, while others not. While attitude and work ethic solely depends on the player being professional, luck is usually out of reach, especially when injuries are involved. The following players never fulfilled the potential they showed early on in their careers and went on to become wasted talents.
5. Ricardo Quaresma.
Ricardo Quaresma made his professional debut for Sporting CP in 2001, in a season where he ended up winning his first title. His move to Barcelona proved disappointing, and he returned to Portugal at 21. After winning three titles consecutively, Quaresma joined Internazionale. However, his career went downhills despite displaying phenomenal skills and dribbling abilities. Even though he made a comeback to win his country a title in 2016, he never fulfilled the abundant potential he showed early in his career.
Robinho’s talent has never been doubted. However, he wasted any slight chance he had. His early days at Santos were filled with the promise of a great player who would conquer the world. After his move to Madrid, things would have been much better after his move to Madrid, but his poor attitude got the better of him, and the player Pele named his heir apparent never reached that level. He later joined Manchester City in 2008, a disaster, before moving to AC Milan. He is an example of attitude preventing a player from being truly elite.
When former Internazionale captain Javier Zanetti was asked about the biggest regret in his professional career, his answer was Adriano. Adriano led Brazil to Copa America triumph in 2004, emerging as the tournament’s top scorer and best player. In 2005, he was the top scorer and best player in the Confederations Cup. He single-handedly demolished Germany in the semifinals and played a significant role in crushing Argentina 4-1 in the final game. However, what happened next led to the downfall of the next big thing in Brazil. Adriano’s father died, and he revealed that even though he moaned and grieved, he never recovered. In 2009, he signed for Flamengo, where he gave up on football and never showed up for training. Sad story.
2. Abou Diaby
Towards the end of the 2005/06 season, Arsenal were leading 3-0 away to Sunderland in the final minute of the match when Dan Smith tackled Abou Diaby. The tackle ended Diaby’s career before it took off and marked the beginning of his injury woes. From 2007 onwards, Abou Diaby missed more than 300 senior club games because of injury. One cannot help but wonder what might have been were it not for the Frenchman’s fitness problems.
1. Michael Owen
Michael Owen went from teen sensation to a joke. His goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup announced the entrance of a British sensation on a global stage. While his stint at Liverpool was a success, the fateful move to Real Madrid marked the beginning of his downfall. He would later move to Newcastle United, upon which, at the end of his time at St. James’ Park, he went from a world beater to a man who had to convince clubs to sign him.