In the modern game today, there are those players that mesmerize us with their close control and dribbling. From the jinking runs of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to the striking skills of Sergio Aguero, there really is plenty of talent on the field. But for every special footballer that graces us with their presence and pitch perfect abilities, there are of course the not so special ones. Those individuals who promise so much from a very early age yet fail to live up to expectations.
It can be extremely tough for a player to break through the ranks, whilst confidence is another crucial factor. On the other hand, the tabloid press also have their part to play when it comes to emerging new talent. With labels banded about, it can be very easy for a player to lose focus and literally take his eye off the ball.
However, for some the hype surrounding them can prove to be too much in terms of the final delivery. Take for example former West Ham and Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole. Some 10 years ago, the pint sized midfielder was considered to be England’s long awaited answer to Paul Gascoigne. However the former England international failed to live up to those particular expectations which saw begin a nomadic footballing career. This took Cole to a number of different clubs including the likes of Liverpool and Lille on the continent. In essence, being overrated can cause a detrimental effect to one’s career which can haunt them for the rest of their playing days.
Whether it is an over-inflated transfer fee or a player is simply not performing when it matters, here are the top 15 most overhyped players of all time.
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15 Micah Richards
Tipped for the very top especially during his early career, it’s not quite what happened for Micah Richards. Still competent he emerged from the Manchester City youth academy with gusto. In spite of the fact he burst onto the scene under the reign of Stuart Pearce, Richards career never really took off in the way it should. After a long gap in the English ranks especially at right back he was destined to fill the slot left behind by former Red Gary Neville. Yet, this never came to fruition and now Richard plies his trade in the purple of Fiorentina in Serie A.
14 Jack Wilshere
Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere was at some point on the radar of a wealth of top clubs in the English Premier League. Unfortunately the diminutive midfielder has fallen at the first fence as far as living up to the hype is concerned. Wilshere remains one of England’s brightest young things but he has failed to deliver on a consistent basis on the field of play. It has not completely been his fault as injury and a bad temperament have landed the midfielder in hot water. The most recent incident took place just this season when Wilshere appeared to place his head into that of Marouane Fellaini at the Emirates.
13 Iker Casillas
There is no denying the fact that Spanish and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas was a towering figure for Los Blancos over some period. However, his super shot stopping powers are now flailing as the FIFA 2014 World Cup clearly demonstrated. A shadow of his former self, Casillas certainly does not look as assured as he once was. Furthermore, his ability to make decisions has always been dodgy at best and with his influence on the wane, David de Gea may be waiting in the wings for a shock move to the Bernabeu.
12 Mesut Ozil
After a $45 million move to Arsenal, German international Mesut Ozil was all set to ignite the Emirates stadium. However, Ozil has not even mustered a spark in his short tenure in North London. His performances for the white of Real Madrid were impressive but his defensive ability has been questioned on a number of occasions. Having spent a significant period of time on the side-lines at Arsenal, Ozil has tended to disappear as quickly as Houdini in games. He may come good in the long term but for the time being, there is definitely room for improvement.
Incredible he may not be, but Hulk is another player who has been hyped up to the stars. The Zenit St. Petersburg forward was hit and miss in the World Cup for Brazil and his astronomical wages ensures his value to quality ratio is way off the mark. At the end of the day Hulk has still not managed to secure a big money move to a major league such as La Liga and Serie A. As they say the records do not lie and the stocky attacker never even hit the target in the six games he played at the World Cup. Therefore, his $50 million plus price tag is certainly not justifiable given his genuine ability and scoring stats.
10 Fernando Torres
During his playing career at Liverpool, Fernando Torres was simply a sensation. His notable scoring record not to mention his lightning speed ensured he attracted a bid from Chelsea. The hype would soon come crashing down. Having made the move down South to Stamford Bridge in excess of $80 million, Torres then went from hero to zero in a short space of time. Thanks to a lack of goals and several managers having to accommodate such an expensive signing, Torres was shipped off to AC Milan on a supposed two-year loan. However, this did not last long and the Spanish forward was soon on his way back home to his native Spain. Just a few weeks ago, Torres ended up re-signing for Atletico Madrid after nearly a decade away.
9 Marouane Fellaini
As with the case of former manager David Moyes, the role of being at Manchester United may just be one step too far for Marouane Felliani. The Belgian international signed in the transfer window at the very last minute in the region of $50 million. The former Everton player was known for his aerial threat as well as neat technical ability. However none of this has come to fruition at the Theatre of Dreams as a handful of goals have relegated Fellaini to a bit part player. With current manager Louis Van Gaal assessing his players in light of the upcoming end of the window, Fellaini has simply never cut the mustard in the red of Manchester United.
8 Stewart Downing
A blossoming career in the shirt of Liverpool awaited Stuart Downing after his big money move to Anfield for around $30 million. Blessed with a sweet left foot, the England international soon received a call up to the Three Lions squad. However, his potential let him down and he was on his way out the door to West Ham United. Despite a recent revival in his form, Downing remains a disappointment in terms of his once budding talent.
7 Yaya Sanogo
Another Arsenal player features on the list and this time it is Gunner front man Yaya Sanogo. After Arsene Wenger brought the forward in, he has demonstrated that he is no Thierry Henry. In fact, Sanogo has been shipped out to Crystal Palace where new manager Alan Pardew will have to work his footballing magic. With hardly the most fearsome prowess in front of goal, Sanogo will soon be partnering former Arsenal castoff Marouane Chamakh.
6 Carlos Tevez
Former Manchester City and United striker Carlos Tevez is undoubtedly a trier and his work effort cannot be doubted. Nonetheless, the Argentine striker has been the scrutiny of several big money moves worth more than a whopping $60 million. Not only has he played for both the red and blue half of Manchester but he has been the subject of plenty of controversy. This includes going absent without leave whilst playing for Manchester City and going for long spells without scoring a goal.
5 Andy Carroll
It was only during his spell at Newcastle United that Andy Carroll came to the fore. After a string of impressive performances on Tyneside for the Geordies, Carroll was poached by Liverpool for a whopping fee of more than $50 million. Carroll was supposedly England’s next best striker and his imposing figure and heading ability grew in strength. Unfortunately, his big money move to Anfield did not come to fruition and he endured a torrid time trying to live up to his price tag. This was also not helped by the fact that Carroll sustained several injuries and was eventually signed by West Ham United for half the price.
4 Mario Balotelli
An enigma trapped within an enigma, some might say but Mario Balotelli is certainly difficult to read. The former AC Milan front man has played a host of times for Italy and had a turbulent time whilst playing for Manchester. This was largely in part thanks to a wide variety of spats with his manager and fellow Italian Roberto Mancini. From training ground bust ups to pointing guns on his social media page, Balotelli moved around from club to club. He eventually signed in the summer for Liverpool for a fee believed to be around $25 million. With more than 30 shots on target in this current campaign alone, Balotelli has not even scored more than a couple of goals. Still in his mid-20s, Balotelli will always be the metaphorical football puzzle.
3 Tom Cleverley
One of England’s most promising young midfielders for some time, former Manchester United player Tom Cleverley failed to hold down a regular place at Old Trafford. He was all set to become a permanent fixture in the heart of England’s midfield but many wondered how he even got into the squad. After several years at United, Cleverley was eventually moved on and was transferred to Aston Villa. His unimpressive display in the red shirt coupled with his knack to give the ball away ensures Tom Cleverley features highly on the list.
2 Adel Taraabt
Whilst under the tutelage of Harry Redknapp at White Hart Lane, Moroccan international Adel Taraabt showed form that secured him a host of first team slots. His intricate skill and prowess on the ball was a real talent for both the manager and fans alike. However his talent has been wasted over time and in spite of a spell at AC Milan, Taraabt returned to his parent club Queens Park Rangers. He is currently reunited with former manager Redknapp at Loftus Road but has sparked controversy including having to train on his own.
1 David Luiz
Arguably the most overhyped player in recent history has to be Brazilian defender David Luiz. The ex-Chelsea man made the move to big spending Paris Saint Germain last year for a fee in the region of $80 million. Despite a shortage of high quality centre backs, Luiz’s transfer fee lands him to the top of this list. Not to mention, his hopeless performance in the 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany sees him clinch top spot. While it was a team loss, Luiz deserves his share of the blame for that catastrophe on the international stage.
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