Football players that didn’t live up to the hype
Over the years they have been many players billed as the “next big thing” or the next Pele. Some have this thrust on them from a young age and others had large expectations placed on them due to their form or big transfer costs. We have put together a list of some of the more well known!
Freddy Adu is among the classic examples of a player who was given to much to young (as the songs goes). Heavily hyped as a future superstar, he was offered a contract by DC United at 14, making him the youngest player ever to sign professional footballing contract in the USA. By the time he turned 17 he had already won the first of his 17 caps for his country.
At one time scouts from the likes of Manchester United , Liverpool and Real Madrid where tracking his progress. He did eventually move to Europe to play for Benfica, he failed to live up to expectations there and spent the majority of the time out on loan to AS Monaco, Aris F.C, Belenenses and Caykur Rizespor.
Adu recently moved to Bahia in Brazil (he was swapped with Kleberson who appears further down the list) sadly this didn’t work out either and he now is playing for Jagodina in Serbia.
It seems strange to say that a player that has won the World Cup was not a success but anyone that watched him play would agree. Following winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, Kleberson was touted as an intergal part of the winning side as he formed a defensive duo with Gilberto Silva to balance the attacking talents of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo.
Luis Felipe Scolari even gave him the seal of approval prior to moving to Manchester United, where after injuring himself in only his second appearance he went on to only make about 22 more appearances! The Brazilian midfielder would then move on to Besiktas, playing nearly 50 times before splitting acrimoniously together with the club more than alleged unpaid wages two years later.
He has since played for Flamengo, Atletico Paranaense, Bahia and Philadelphia Union.
When he christened Kenny the “Goodison Gazza”, Peter Beardsley most likely didn’t realise just how prophetic his remark will be.
Like Gascoigne, Kenny was a fearless midfielder, with an eye to get a pass and, despite his youth, the confidence to play it. Only, also similarly to Gazza, Kenny failed to deal with the attention off the field pretty too as he did on it.
Kenny placed up no resistance towards the temptations of drink and drugs and Everton ultimately gave up on the England Under-21 one-cap wonder. Former Everton striker Graeme Sharp, then manager of Oldham, offered Kenny the change to rebuild his career though after only 4 games he was sacked again.
Kenny had only himself to blame, but he accepted that: “I was fully hooked on coke. I required it just to get by. I was an addict and a complete mess. It got so negative that I wasn’t even serious about whether Everton had been winning or losing. Some Monday mornings, I got house at four or five o’clock, had a few lines of coke, slept for an hour or so, then got a cab towards the coaching ground. I looked a real mess.”
After tipped for major things by both Sven Goran-Eriksson and Roberto Mancini, Michael Johnson was one of numerous players who came by through the ranks at Manchester City and was expected to be a national star.
Nonetheless, despite a good start to life at Eastlands following his debut against Aston Villa in 2006, injuries struck which kept him out for virtually a year.
While on loan at Leicester City he failed to impress and he sadly announced his retirement while still in his mid-20s.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Juan Sebastian Veron was not a poor player. For the duration of his time in Italy he was among the most devastating players on the pitch, most notably when he was at Lazio and he would help to dictate the play with his array of passing.
He helped Lazio to a domestic treble under the guidance of Sven Goran-Eriksson in 2000 and he became one of the most sought after players in Europe. When Manchester United paid £28.1 million for the Argentinian in 2001, he was anticipated to spearhead a side that had just won the Premier League for a third successive year.
Nonetheless, he never ever seemed to adapt to a midfield of Paul Scholes and Roy Keane
A £15 million move to Chelsea did not work out either and Veron moved to Inter Milan on a two year loan deal just before heading b
David Bentley is a classic instance of a player who floundered following a major money move.
Immediately after spending three years at Blackburn Rovers, six months of which have been on loan, Bentley secured a £15 million move to Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.
Throughout his time at Blackburn, Bentley had turn out to be the first player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United on February 1st 2006. A series of promising performances continued to push Bentley’s profile higher as he managed to force his way in to the England squad, with then England manager Steve McClaren hailing him because the ‘new’ David Beckham.
One of the best moments he had at Spurs was scoring a 40-yard strike against his 1st club Arsenal. Regrettably that was as great because it got for Bentley as Harry Redknapp looked to Aaron Lennon to utilize pace and speed as opposed to the capabilities of Bentley.
A drink driving offence and also a falling out with Redknapp following Tottenham’s qualification for the Champions League would see Bentley fall further nonetheless down the pecking order, resulting in him being sent out on loan to Birmingham City, West Ham, FC Rostov (Russia) and Blackburn prior to ultimately getting released in 2013.
David announced his retirement in 2014 after being with a club for some time
Cherno Samba rose to prominence as a 13-year-old and was signed by his local club Millwall after blasting 132 goals in 32 games for his junior side!
He was linked via the back pages (this was before twitter!) to a host of large clubs and was reportedly the topic of a £2m bid from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. The Gambian-born frontman represented England at Under-16s to Under-20s and was supposed to spearhead the Three Lions’ 2006 World Cup bid, but he got nowhere near Sven-Goran Eriksson’s celebration and two years later he pledged his allegiance towards the nation of his birth.
Agents were falling over themselves to acquire their claws into Samba with his father claiming he was supplied £25,000 by an agent to take manage of his son’s affairs. He went on trial at Liverpool but nothing occured.
He was last heard of playing in the Norwegian Second Division with FK Tonsberg.
One of Arsene Wenger’s less accomplishment stories. The striker was signed for £8million in June 2001 however the frontman didn’t live up to his ‘fox in the box’ tag.
WIth 20 goals in 60 games for Everton after a debut as a 16-year-old he impressed Wenger sufficiently to sign for what was then a massive fee. He only went on to make 20 appearances for Arsenal, though he who was capped by England and he even scored. He then has played for a range of clubs including Everton , Sheffield Wednesday , Newcastle Jets and Accrington Stanley. We think he is currently clubless.
Anthony Le Tallec
Anthony Le Tallec believed he was the next big thing and as good as Carlos Tevez or Fernando Torres, though in the end he ended up in Ligue 1 playing for Valenciennes.
The French youngster arrived at Liverpool together with his cousin Florent Sinama-Pongolle to get a combined fee of £6million from Le Harve in 2001.
Le Tallec was described as the ‘Zinedine Zidane’ and Gerard Houllier was the man who brought the pair to Anfield. Le Tallec only made 20-odd appearancesfor the Reds in six years.
He did get shipped out on loan a number of occasions but it really is protected to say, the player who was purchased as a playmaker with an eye for a killer pass as well as a man capable of person brilliance – he did not provide.
Curtis was touted as a future England captain though on the books at Manchester United, which was not unreasonable, given the defender had skippered England at every single youth level up to Under-20.
Curtis attended Lilleshall as a youngster and was part of the FA Youth Cup winning side in 1995, alongside Phil Neville. Possibly it was the other Neville, on the other hand, who blocked Curtis’ route to becoming a United regular. Curtis never broke into the first tema and became a Football League journeyman, representing Blackburn, Sheffield United, Leicester, Portsmouth, Preston, Nottingham Forest, QPR, Wrexham and Northampton, prior to moving to Gold Coast United in Australia. He is now a coach in USA.
The story of Sonny Pike should serve as a warning to anybody responsible for the welfare of a young talent.
Pike was coaching at Leyton Orient when he was taken on by Dutch giants Ajax. Instantly, he was billed as a future superstar, but these about him appeared reluctant to wait. Just before he was a teenager, the curly-haired kid had an agent and was on Television pretty much as typically as Paul Gascoigne.
Sadly and probably unsurprisingly, like Gazza, the youngster struggled to cope with all the attention and demands placed on him. He suffered a nervous breakdown while nonetheless at Ajax, when his parents’ marriage was also ended by the strain suffered by their son.
Pike later admitted: “I couldn’t take it, and I got ill, truly screwed up. I stopped going to education and stuff, because I was so screwed up I could not hack it. Hunting back, it really is incredible how low I was.”
After leaving Ajax, Pike returned to England and played non-league football.
Alan Ball once predicted that Martin ‘Buster’ Phillips would be the country’s first £10 million player. He did eventualy move for £500k to Manchester City, but that proved to be the highest division he played in. Martin made a name for himself playing for clubs like Torquay