Top 5 Flash-in-the-Pan Footballers Who Drifted Away

 9 years, 4 months ago 0 Comments

Yesterday against Arsenal, Harry Kane showed us all once again how good a season he is having, the 21 year old has so far scored 22 goals in all competitions and has almost single handedly kept Tottenham’s Champions League dreams alive. Pundits and journalists alike are urging Roy Hodgson to pick him for England and rightly so.


Harry Kane is only 21 and he still has a lot of time to join the list of players who failed to realise their potential. The list is endless and embarrassing all at once and we have picked 5 of our favourite flops for you.

1) Alexandre Pato

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Brazil seems to yield more players who are ‘the next….{insert legend}‘ than any other country, and Alexandre Pato was no different, after bursting into Internacional’s first team at the tender age of 17 it seemed the striker would have an outstanding career ahead of him. Europe took notice of his performances for Internacional and when he broke Pele’s record as the youngest player to score in a FIFA competition the bids started flying in. Pato chose to move to AC Milan at the age of 18 and in his first 2 seasons at the club he was electric, scoring for fun and doing it in the big games. Sadly from 2010 onwards Pato’s career fell into decline as he was plagued by injuries (which AC claim were faked) as his star faded in Milan. When a Brazilian returns to Brazil from Europe it is usually one of two reasons, either they are coming to the end of their career, or it is because they failed and unfortunately when Pato returned to Corinthians in 2013 it was due to the latter. By the way Alexandre Pato is 25 years old!

2) Freddy Adu

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Freddy Adu was tipped to be hot as shit after his performances for Real Salt Lake at the tender age of 17, and when he captained the US national side in the U20’s World Cup in 2007 Europe’s big boys started to take notice, including a certain Mr.Ferguson. Adu decided on signing for Portuguese giants Benfica and his European dream began, and swiftly ended. Adu scored 5 goals in 20 games for Benfica and was then loaned out to Monaco where he, once again, wasn’t very good, he was loaned out 4 more times by Benfica before they shipped him back to the MLS in 2011. Currently Adu plies his trade for Serbian Superliga side Jagodina. Adu is still only 23 years old but having made his debut at 14 we can’t see him lasting until his 30’s.

3) Michael Owen

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Controversial one here but we have placed Owen in this list on the basis of unfulfilled potential. Michael Owen was the ultimate wonderkid scoring on his debut for Liverpool at the tender age of 17 he went on to score 118 goals in 216 appearances for the Reds. For England Michael Owen was ever reliable and boasts 40 goals in 89 games for the national side including, of course, one of the best goals England have ever scored in a World Cup against Argentina in 1998. Owen moved to Real Madrid’s Galacticos in 2004 and was unfortunately used as a bench warmer for a season in La Liga making only 36 appearances, 19 as a substitute before moving back to England for an ill fated spell at Newcastle United. Owen was relegated with Newcastle and afterwards moved on to Man United and Stoke and was never to rediscover his form again. Owen burned bright but burned fast and by the age of 27 his career faded into relative obscurity.

4) Javier Saviola

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Anyone who played on Football Manager and bought this guy will be well aware of his talent, sadly Saviola never realised how good he was, or could have been. Saviola won the South American player of the year award at the age of 18 whilst playing for River Plate and promptly signed for Barcelona in 2001. For Barca he scored 49 goals in 123 apps which isn’t a bad yield, although his goal to minute ratio was 1 goal every 200 minutes! Saviola was loaned out by Barca before he completed a move to Madrid which didn’t bring much success and after 17 appearances he was sold to Benfica before touring Malaga, Olympiakos and and finally Verona where he plays now. Saviola’s issue was not that he wasn’t good, it’s that he was never great.

5) Federico Macheda

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Macheda’s debut for Manchester United was against Aston Villa, Macheda was 17 years old and came off the bench with the game at 2-2, with one of his first touches Macheda spun on a sixpence and curled a beautiful shot into the net for the winning goal for Manchester United and the goal that would see that their title challenge stayed on track. Cue comparisons with every great player that ever existed, which continued a week later when he once again scored the winner this time against Sunderland. Macheda looked the real deal, but after another 25 appearances he had only scored 2 goals and was promptly shipped out to Sampdoria on loan. Macheda went on to be loaned out 6 times by Man United and eventually in 2014 he signed for relegation fodder Cardiff.

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