Players form tends to ebb and flow, as does the form of teams. The best players have the mentality to match their ability, and as such can remain at the highest level and continue to put in top class displays over a sustained period of time. However, some players will come out of nowhere to have barnstorming seasons, while others having been tipped for big things will ultimately disappoint.
Little was expected of Leicester City this season but the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy and Danny Drinkwater have all performed beyond even the most optimistic of Foxes' fans wildest expectations, whilst much more was expected of Chelsea, who have had a dreadful campaign with a whole host of their players flopping. It is the latter we focus on here, looking at the players in the world game who have flopped the most this season.
There are a number of reasons why a player may 'flop', so to speak. Often a player can impress for one club, earning him a move to a new club whose differing style of play, tactics and/or management can see him struggle to replicate the form they showed at their previous club. Struggling with the weight of expectation, injuries and off-field issues are all other reasons a player may 'flop'.
Here are the top 20 soccer players who flopped this season:
20 Theo Walcott
19 Nicolas Otamendi
18 Geoffrey Kondogbia
17 Gabby Agbonlahor
16 Radamel Falcao
15 Gokhan Inler
14 Wilfried Bony
12 Wayne Rooney
11 Florian Thauvin
10 Mario Balotelli
Time appears to be rapidly running out for Mario Balotelli to prove to everyone that he is as good as he thinks he is. After a quite frankly disastrous season at Liverpool, the Italian was loaned back to AC Milan. Despite being perennially inconsistent, Balotelli has always scored goals in Serie A, until this season that is. The former Manchester City man, now aged 25, has notched an embarrassing one goal in 16 outings for the club, seeing his stock fall even further.
8 Chelsea Squad
7 Mario Gotze
6 Luiz Adriano
Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano was prolific over the eight years in which he spent in Ukraine playing for Shakhtar Donetsk, where he scored 128 goals in 266 games for the club. After almost a decade in the Ukraine, Adriano left the club in the summer of 2015, joining AC Milan. In Italy, Adriano has been rather underwhelming. Managing a meager 4 league goals in 21 games up against the tougher defences of Serie A.
5 Yaya Toure
4 Christian Benteke
Similar to Wilfied Bony in many respects, as Christian Benteke has also gone from being a beast up front for a lesser club to struggling for game time with a bigger club. There were a few raised eyebrows when Brendan Rodgers forked out £32.5 million for the big Belgian. Although undoubtedly talented, Benteke did not seem to fit into the ethos and style Liverpool were looking to implement, and so it proved.
3 Jackson Martinez
2 Memphis Depay
Dubbed the 'next Ronaldo' due to his array of tricks and ability on the ball, Memphis Depay was an exciting signing by Manchester United, who hoped the Dutchman would light up the Premier League. Depay arrived at Old Trafford fresh off the back of a remarkable campaign with PSV, in which he scored 28 goals in 40 games, picking up the Johan Cruyff Trophy, joining the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Dennis Bergkamp and Arjen Robben to have done so. He was also named the Best Young Player in the World in 2015 by France Football.
1 Eden Hazard
Despite almost the entire Chelsea team having an entry on their own on this list, Eden Hazard undoubtedly deserves his own entry and it comes in at top spot. Never has a player won the PFA Player of the Year Award in the Premier League and then gone on to have such a shocker as Hazard has the following season, although he did buck the recent trend of winning the award and then signing for either Real Madrid or Barcelona, perhaps that's where he went wrong.
Hazard is of course not alone in having a hugely underwhelming season for the Blues, but widely recognised as the clubs best player, Hazard was exceptional in 2014/15, and quite rightly talked about in the same breath as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Luis Suarez. This season, it would be generous to mention him in the same bracket as Marc Albrighton and Andros Townsend. Hazard has 3 goals, 3 assists and has created 57 chances in the league this season, in comparison to 14 goals, 11 assists and 97 chances created last time out.
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