We have seen several new heroes during the World Cup tournament - especially with England as a handful of players continue to steal all the headlines. In fact, one of the main stars was watching the tournament as a fan a couple of years back. For a lot of the new stars we are seeing emerge, some fans are clueless to their past and a lot of that has to do with their club teams. These players are with lesser known teams or clubs that just aren’t good enough to feature some of these players. It really isn’t shocking that out of the ten stars on poor teams, almost every player is rumored to join a stronger and more well-known side during the current transfer window. We feature young stars that have the potential to become Superstars just by upgrading team.
Opposite to that we also take a look at bad players playing on great teams. For the most part this is the opposite to the other side of the article as we feature older footballers barely hanging on to a spot. We also feature some rare instances of great talents that just couldn’t find their footing with a prominent side. Perhaps a change of scenery to a lesser team might change things for those players.
Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 great soccer players whose talent is being wasted on poor clubs and 10 poor players on great teams. Let’s begin!
20 Talent Wasted - Jordan Pickford (Everton)
The young 24 year old goalkeeper has turned into the talk of the soccer world. He’s been among the most impressive players during England’s World Cup journey. He went from being an unknown to a goalie that everyone seems to be talking about and one who is now considered to be among the elite.
If you didn’t hear about the keeper chances are it is due to the fact that he plays his football for a lower tier team, Everton. Now Everton isn’t terrible however they aren’t among the top teams in the Premier League. He also had a run with Sunderland just prior. Look for Pickford to possibly change teams following the World Cup.
19 Poor Player - Thiago Motta (PSG)
Take a quick look at PSG’s starting lineup and you’ll quickly realize it is absolutely stacked. The midfield in particular is among the most impressive in the world. Marco Verratti, Adrien Rabiot along with the possibility of N’Golo Kante joining – that leaves lots of players as the odd men out.
It appears as though that was the case for Italian midfielder Thiago Motta. The defensive midfielder was by far the weakest part of the team. It really didn’t surprise many that just a couple of months ago the player decided to hang up the boots for good at the age of 35.
18 Talent Wasted - Suso (AC Milan)
It is hard to believe but you might consider Milan a poor club these days. That’s especially true when you assess their glory days during the early portion of the 2000s. Led by Shevchenko, Maldini and Kaka the club was unstoppable in both Italy and the entire world for that matter.
Things have changed these days with the team struggling to get back into form. Now they don’t have anyone the likes of the previous three mentioned however they do have some hidden gems. One of them is the 24 year old attacker Suso. Quietly, the Spaniard put up another brilliant campaign utilizing his terrific speed and vision on the wing. It should not come as a surprise that his name is currently all over the rumor mill with a possible transfer out of Milan.
17 Poor Player - Loris Karius (Liverpool)
Heading into the Champions League final Karius was the number one goalkeeper with Liverpool – there was no debate. However, his career took a turn for the worst in front of the bright lights that is the Champions League Finals. Karius let his team down when it mattered most. He allowed a couple of softies against Real Madrid. If there’s a team you can’t give up easy goals against it’s the attacking powerhouse of Madrid.
It sunk Liverpool leading to the terrible defeat and one many pundits believe could have been avoided had it been for a better goaltending performance. It is unknown whether or not Karius starts in the upcoming season. Who knows what his confidence is like these days.
16 Talent Wasted - Juan Quintero (River Plate)
Ousted against England, Columbia had few bright spots in the round of 16 matchup. One of them was the crafty attacking midfielder Quintero. With Rodriguez out for the clash Juan seemed to be the only player on the field capable of maintaining the ball and making a play.
He’s a tremendous talent for any team down the middle. However his skills haven’t been on full display just yet, he's playing with the Argentinean side River Plate. He did enjoy a loan to Porto but a player of his standard deserves better. The rumor mill has the middle man linked to a possible transfer to either Tottenham or Madrid. Quintero behind Kane can be a scary predicament for defenders to deal with.
15 Poor Player - Fernando Llorente (Tottenham)
On paper Llorente joining the Spurs looked to be a great move. However the results were anything but that. Fernando struggled with the pace of the Premiership and he quickly became an afterthought on the team. It shouldn’t come as a shock that he refused to sign an extension with the team. His brother also had some harsh words for the team and they way they used his talent.
Mercifully for both sides it appears as though this lackluster relationship is coming to an end. In terms of the worst signings, this one is right up there. Kane doesn’t need a striker to work with. He is more than capable of doing things on his own.
14 Talent Wasted - Harry Maguire (Leicester City)
Another brilliant story from the World Cup has been the play of little known defender Harry Maguire. The 25 year old Leicester man continues to relish the role as leader of the team. His play is inspiring and he has become an integral part of the team’s current success.
Leicester isn’t a terrible team but they were quite underwhelming last season. You can expect Maguire’s value to skyrocket following the World Cup. Almost every top tier Premiership team has interest in the talent. Those involved include Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United. With all that interest it appears unlikely that he’ll stick around with Leicester for that much longer.
13 Poor Player - Keylor Navas (Real Madrid)
Navas isn’t the most popular player in the Real lineup. He didn’t have the best season last year. The goalkeeper was guilty for conceding some lackluster goals. Luckily the damage wasn’t all that brutal in most cases due to the powerhouse Real has upfront. Though clearly, he isn’t at the level of most of the team and the fan base can second that. Despite the struggles, Zidane was always quick to give him a vote of confidence.
David de Gea is among the name that keeps popping up when discussing Real’s future in goal. For now Navas remains the man in net but we won’t be surprised if that changes in the upcoming weeks.
12 Talent Wasted - Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
Perhaps the most underrated goal scorer in the world, Immobile quietly dominated Serie A last season leading the way in goals scored. He plays the game like a classic number 9 striker. His ability to put the ball in back of the net was on full display with Lazio. He set the record as early as March registering the most goals for the club in a single season. Ciro is also the Italian national team’s leading striker.
With all that success comes the transfer gossip. Immobile has his name all over the Italian press these days. Milan is looking to restore face and one of their biggest targets seems to be Immobile. Ciro and Cutrone together upfront might be able to elevate Milan next campaign and perhaps the Italian national team as well.
11 Poor Player - Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)
Giroud might be one of the most overrated strikers in the world and that’s according to most soccer pundits. Although France continues to enjoy a successful run at the World Cup, Giroud has done very little in that regard to help the team. Although he’s the trigger man the player is yet to score a goal. His campaign with Chelsea followed that theme coming off the bench in several clashes.
Perhaps what’s best for Giroud at this point is to join a middle of the pack team while becoming the center piece. Set to turn 32 in the fall, he has turned into a poor player that plays on great teams (both national and club).
10 Talent Wasted - Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City)
The talented winger reminded us all of his greatness during the World Cup. He was by far the strongest Swiss player scoring a dazzling goal and setting up lots of his teammates for prime scoring chances. He’s an underrated talent as of late due to his recent transfer to Stoke City. You can expect that to change following a tremendous World Cup run.
Top tier Premiership sides Liverpool and Manchester United have interest in the player. Just imagine Manchester possibly having both Bale and Shaqiri on the wings while Pogba plays the middle man up top... Now that’s a scary trio.
9 Poor Player - Mateo Kovacic (Real Madrid)
We won’t suggest that Kovacic is a poor player. However on a team like Real Madrid his stint with the club turned out to be a poor one and a campaign that already has him linked out of the team. That isn’t a good sign. Among those in the race for the Croatian include Premiership giants Manchester City. If the transfer is to go through we hope the setup man can re-find his game with the team.
Still only 24 he has time to improve and re-find that game. We hope his confidence isn’t shot too much due to his constant involvement on the bench with the Spanish giants.
8 Talent Wasted - Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen)
The 20 year old is a skilled winger playing in the German league. Several teams had strong interest in the player last offseason and that included powerhouses Manchester United and Chelsea. Admirably, Bailey opted for playing time as opposed to prestige factor of playing for a top tier team. He signed on with Bayer Leverkusen putting that accelerating pace to full usage.
We don’t hear enough of the player due to his involvement with the German team. However this is subject to change in the near future. For now he’ll continue to enjoy his playing time as a center piece of the team’s Bundesliga success.
7 Poor Player - Andrea Barzagli (Juventus)
Age 37 Barzagli continues on with the white and black colors. This comes as a surprise especially with the accelerated pace of the Serie A league these days. It is likely that the Italian sees less playing time. Younger options on the bench exist with the likes of Daniele Rugani and Mattia Caldara, both players that are currently under 25. The team can also opt for experience with Medhi Benatia.
In addition to the strong bench the team has heavy interest in Bayern center-back Jerome Boateng. With the possible transfer of Ronaldo to the team, Juventus wants a formidable lineup. That will likely take place with the old Italian as the odd man out.
6 Talent Wasted - Pablo Fornals (Villarreal)
The 22 year old is a promising attacking midfielder and one some are considering as a key part of Spain’s future. Arsenal was one of the team’s to express interest in the talent, however he chose a decent Spanish side instead, Villarreal. He enjoyed a great campaign netting one of the most memorable goals in his young career against Real Madrid. It was the only goal of the game and a game-winner he won’t forget any time soon.
Like Leon Bailey he’ll stick around with the team for more playing time. However eventually expect the player to join a stronger side, perhaps with either of the Spanish giants Barcelona or Real Madrid.
5 Poor Player - Douglas (Barcelona)
It definitely isn’t a good sign when a team elects to loan you out for another season. It also doesn’t help when you’re over the age of 25 and set to turn 28 in August. This is the reality for Douglas at the moment. The signing has been a total waste and one that has done absolutely nothing for both Douglas and Barcelona. We have rarely seen the Brazilian right-back feature for the squad since the signing.
He played out a season long loan last year with Benfica. With Barca confirming another loan this season and his contract set to expire in 2019 – his days with Barcelona appear to be done with.
4 Talent Wasted - Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan)
Only 19 years old, the AC Milan goalkeeper is considered to be the next in line to take the place of Gigi Buffon. His AC Milan stint hit some serious turmoil last season with a rumored transfer to Juventus. His contract demands did him no favors either. The Milan faithful jeered to young keeper in some of his games last season. He might have a foot out the door at this point and it might be for the best. One of the top goalies in the world he needs to blossom on a stronger side.
In search for a goalie Liverpool is believed to be a frontrunner for his services. This can be a brilliant fit and one that might finally secure his talent as a top goalie in the world with such a strong side.
3 Poor Player - Rafinha (Bayern Munich)
At the end of last season it appeared as though Rafinha’s playing days were done or at least finished with Bayern. However it was a shock that the soon to be 33 year old would sign an extension with the club.
Looking at the team’s depth at the back the veteran is clearly outclassed these days. The young German Joshua Kimmich is a better option at this point. The player is under 23 with a serious amount of potential. And oh, they have David Alaba on the other wing – so yea, Bayern is covered defensively on both flanks. The veteran’s clearly the odd man in such a prestigious lineup.
2 Talent Wasted - Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)
For the most part we have featured younger players wasting away their talent. For the final entry we took a unique turn featuring a veteran that needs a change of scenery before it is too late. Ozil wasn’t in the greatest form during the World Cup as Germany failed to secure a spot outside of the group stage. Inching closer to his 30s, Ozil needs one last shot at a major trophy. Unfortunately that won’t happen with Arsenal.
He wants to make a move to the MLS eventually due to his admiration for the Los Angeles area. However we hope that before that decision is made he joins a prominent side that can give him a shot to leave the European stage as the winner of a major trophy.
1 Poor Player – Claudio Bravo (Manchester City)
The signing of Claudio Bravo started off just fine. However, that would not be the case as of 2017. He was shocking on a number of occasions whether it be letting in six goals on six shots on target or being sent off for a terrible foul for handling the ball outside of his area. All these blemishes led a spot on the bench. Bravo became the laughing stock of the league in 2017. He was by far the worst Premier League signing.
He was rarely featured last season and making matters worse he was banned from national team duty with Chile due to rejecting an invite from his country. Bravo is currently a classic case of a bad player on a great team.