4 Players Who Failed To Fulfill Their Potential – Arsenal & Liverpool Flops Feature
Writer Chris Weir gives us four players who failed to live-up to their world class potential with Arsenal and Liverpool flops featuring on the list.
“Without a doubt amongst the greatest ten players I have ever seen play, in all my life”.
That’s how Diego Maradona summed up his views on Jorge ‘Magico’ Gonzalez, the former El Salvador and Cadiz forward.
Never heard of him? Me neither, until I read this great article by World Soccer’s Eamonn Foster. El Magico’s form for Cadiz was so impressive that he even came close to linking up with Maradona at the Camp Nou, before letting the chance slip by because of his off-field antics.
It’s a trend we see more often these days. For some, the lure of instant fame and wealth is too great, and players are ill-equipped to deal with the status and trappings of top-level sport.
Here are a few modern day cases of when talent was overshadowed by shenanigans off the pitch leading to these players failing to fulfill their world class potential.
1. Nicklas Bendtner
At one time, Nicklas Bendtner was seen as the great Danish hope for Arsenal. A deadly partnership with Arturo Lupoli at youth level was followed by an impressive loan spell at Birmingham City, with the rangy forward scoring 11 goals in 42 appearances.
Sadly, Bendtner’s career since has been an abject lesson in how not to be a footballer. Unproductive spells at Sunderland and Juventus were intertwined with numerous negative headlines, and his professional nadir was reached this week when he was left out of Denmark’s latest squad to face Scotland, as well as being left out completely by Wolfsburg for their last six games
2. Samir Nasri
Now known more for the colour of his hair than any on-field contribution, Nasri may as well make a permanent reservation on Manchester City’s bench.
It wasn’t always like this, however. At Arsenal, the agile Marseilllais gave another dimension to the Gunners attack with his dribbling and low centre of gravity, putting in stunning performances like this one to defeat Manchester United in 2008.
His departure to City left a bitter taste for Arsenal fans, with Nasri calling them “stupid” after the he agitated for a transfer. He’s also fallen out with Didier Deschamps, with the latter hinting that Nasri doesn’t have the right ‘attitude’ needed to be in the squad. Its a shame for a player who was once touted as Zinedine Zidane’s natural successor.
3. Mario Balotelli
Inter. Manchester City. AC Milan. Liverpool. Four clubs at the top tier of European football. Four clubs where Mario Balotelli has flattered to deceive.
José Mourinho famously called the Italian forward ‘unmanageable’. With the litany of incidents and tantrums throughout his career so far ( he’s only 25), you begin to see why.
Balotelli has never quite managed to keep a low profile wherever he’s been. While its entertaining for the media and fans, it’s tragic for the career of a player who destroyed Germany in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
4. Adel Taarabt
Harry Redknapp is renowned for his man management skills. It speaks volumes, then, that he described Taarabt as the “worst professional I have ever come across”.
Despite his shortcomings, Taarabt almost singlehandedly got QPR promoted to the Premier League in 2012, doing enough to eventually earn a loan move to Milan after a brief sojourn with Fulham. Nowadays you’ll find him lining out for Benfica’s B Team, looking less likely than ever to fulfill his once-astronomical potential.
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