Soccer is not just the world’s most famous sport but is probably also the world’s most severely scrutinized and analyzed sport too. With millions of eyes on professional players week-in, week-out, even the smallest and negligible details appear magnified in today’s world of television and internet. With cut-throat competition between the teams and the players, the margin for error is so minute that the manager or the players get crucified for their every slip-up.
The world of soccer at present is blessed with some of the best talent on this planet showcasing their abilities at the grandest levels and it is one of the best times to be alive as a soccer fan considering the amount of entertainment that comes along with these superstars. But every good thing has a flip side and just like the most incredibly talented and athletic players, there have also been those which just seemed to be out of place.
There could be thousands of bad soccer players out there but we will try and scoop out just the famous top 20 worst soccer players among them considering the negative fame that they received thanks to their abilities or the lack of it. Obviously this list is very subjective but we made sure that the names included in the list were debatable if not hundred percent certain that they deserve to be in this list.
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20 Eric Djemba-Djemba
People used to say that Jay-Jay Okocha was so good that they named him twice but sadly the same could not be said about Djemba-Djemba. Infact, he was so bad that naming him once was not probably enough. The Cameroon international was signed by English giants Manchester United but his dismal performances quickly saw him being dropped to lower ranked clubs and the slide just did not stop for the midfielder ending up in Asia currently.
19 Bruno Cheyrou
It would be interesting to note that Bruno Cheyrou on his arrival to English club Liverpool FC was dubbed as the next Zinedine Zidane. Let that one sink in for a minute. Not that anyone really believed the notion, but it had a nice ring to it. But sadly for the Frenchman, he was not even close to the legendary Zidane (not many are) and suffered a rather pathetic reign at Liverpool FC, finally being offloaded to many loan moves back to France.
18 Titus Bramble
It is difficult to describe how bad Titus Bramble was as a defender at one point in his career. If you need to have some idea, you can imagine it by the fact that there is an actual YouTube video with the title “How is Titus Bramble Paid to Play Football” and it has over 320k hits. His time at Newcastle United was abysmal to say the least and he was also voted the worst player of the year in the Premier League in 2003-04.
17 Ousmane Dabo
Not many might actually remember who Ousmane Dabo is. Remember that guy who got brutally attacked by Joey Barton during their time at Manchester City? Well, that was Ousmane Dabo. It speaks volumes of the guy’s achievements as a player when his fight against Joey Barton was probably the most famous thing that happened in his career. While he may be on this list, there probably aren't many who hated him for what he did to Barton.
16 David N’Gog
The Frenchman, David N’Gog played for Liverpool FC for three seasons and it still remains a mystery as to how did he manage to stay at a top English club for three whole seasons with almost zero returns. In his entire time at Liverpool FC, he had nine league goals in three seasons and that is certainly a horrible return for a striker. He bounced around a few clubs after and is now back in his native France playing for Stade de Reims.
15 Pascal Cygan
Arsenal FC’s love story with bad defenders is evident as Pascal Cygan makes the list. In plain words, Pascal Cygan was just a bad defender. The fact that he lasted so long at Arsenal FC is a surprise to many. He was shipped off to Spanish side Villareal and from there he was sent to 2nd division Spanish Segunda side ‘Cartagena’ and though Cygan was a part of the Arsenal’s invincible side, his contribution is hardly remembered by any fan.
Players being signed without actually watching them play is a bad idea. Arguably the greatest manager in the history of soccer, Sir Alex Ferguson also made the same mistake with Bebe. “I'm fast, I kick well and I score a lot of goals,” he said upon signing for Man United in 2010. The Portuguese star was brought for a £7 million pricetag but watching him on that pitch would give nightmares to the United fans. His contribution especially with his horrendous crosses was enough to show him the door out of the club.
13 Claus Lundekvam
Claus Lundekvam was signed by Southampton and then the manager Gordon Strachan probably best described this Scandinavian player by saying, “He was carried off at Leicester and someone asked me if he was unconscious. I didn’t have a clue. That’s what he’s always like.” As funny as that sounds, that is exactly what Claus brought on the field as a defender and safe to say it was not helpful to the team at all.
12 Ade Akinbiyi
The fact that Leicester City actually paid £5.5m to get Ade Akinbiyi as a replacement for striker Emile Heskey is still baffling. For all the money the Nigerian cost, he probably would fail to buy himself a goal even if he offered to pay the defenders. He did make one appearance for the National team but it unlike the Premier league side, Nigeria saw that he is incapable of being their lead striker.
11 Salif Diao
Having being steadily dropped from French side Monaco, Salif Diao had to change clubs to Sedan and just as he had a decent 2002 World Cup, English side Liverpool quickly signed him up, only to later realize that is was in fact a huge mistake to do so. He was sent on loan to various clubs following a terrible stint at Liverpool but was unsuccessful at most clubs thanks to awful performances.
10 Royston Drenthe
Royston Drenthe threatened to take his childhood team Feyenord to court if they refuse to sell him to Spanish Giants Real Madrid. In what turned out to be a good start to his career with the Galacticos, soon saw him getting dropped from the side and even getting booed by his own fans in the 2008-09 season. His career never took off after that and his signing still remains one of the bad ones by Real Madrid.
9 Nikola Jovanovic
Nikola Jovanovic is the first Yugoslav footballer to play for Manchester United and he is probably also one of the top-5 worst central defenders to ever play for the Red Devils. Nikola was a huge success back over in his own country in the late 1970s, but his big money move to Manchester United just exposed that he was not as good as previously thought, in fact he was pretty dreadful to say the least.
8 Chris Kamara
If you have heard Chris Kamara on the microphone on Sky Sports you know by now that he is a funny guy. We can only hope that he found a way to laugh at his career at the top-flight leagues because it was equally funny, if not painful. At the lower leagues, Chris would still pass off as a decent player but watching him play for among the big teams was not a pleasant sight.
7 Sebastien Squillaci
When Arsenal FC signed Sebastien Squillaci he seemed like the perfect choice to anchor their defense but how things went south for the Frenchman was baffling to say the least. A series of horrendous defensive errors and displays that lack any sort of pace or conviction soon showed as to why exactly Spanish side Sevilla let him go for just 4 million Euros. He made just 23 appearances for Arsenal in his 3 seasons and it was a disaster to say the least.
6 Savio Nsereko
Why would you possibly pay £9 million for a player who has just scored three seniors goals and that for a 2nd tier Seria B side in Italy is beyond explanation or common sense but West Ham United did this unthinkable in 2009. He has changed 11 clubs in the last six years and has failed in every single one of those clubs. Bizarre to think of how badly his fortunes dipped but looking at his abilities, it becomes very believable.
5 Gus Caesar
Gus Caesar was not really Arsenal FC’s first choice center back but his perfect description comes from an Arsenal loyalist Nick Hornby, who was quoted saying “... painfully, obviously, out of his depth ... he looked like a rabbit frozen to the spot ... and then he starts to thrash about, horribly and pitifully...”. His performance in the 1988 League Cup finals against Luton town still sends chills down Arsenal fans’ spine as they can still remember him falling over his own feet slicing a clearance straight into the path of Luton's attackers and dozing off while the rest of the team tried playing offside. It was probably one of the worst performances in a League Cup final ever.
4 Marco Boogers
It is never a good idea to sign a player without actually watching him play before. But this mistake as done by Harry Redknapp who brought the Dutch striker with the hope that he would bring goals along with him. He immediately made a huge impact in his second appearance for West Ham United but it was for all the wrong reasons as he was soon sent off after coming on as a substitute for a chest-high challenge on Manchester United’s Gary Neville. He went on to make a total of just fourappearances for the club.
3 Benjamin Telechea
This list could be pre-dominant with many Premier League players but it would be a crime to miss out on this La Liga disaster named Benjamin Telechea. He spent one season in top flight football in Spain as a defender and his team conceded 134 goals in 30 games losing 23 of those matches. It is a surprise how his team managed to not lose those remaining 7 but his side was obviously relegated to second division though his legacy of horrific defensive displays stays strong till date.
2 Massimo Taibi
If a £4.5 million price tag was not enough pressure on this Italian goalkeeper, he was replacing the legendary Peter Schmeichel at Manchester United. But the tracksuit wearing goalkeeper rather than stepping up to the occasion, let it slip through his fingers, LITERALLY. Him letting Matt Le Tissier’s timid shot go into the goal is still one of the biggest blunders committed by a Manchester United goalkeeper and he also managed to commit atleast one mistake in each of his three other appearances. A grand total of four appearances is all he got and that was more than enough for him to be shown the door.
1 Ali Dia
Undoubtedly, one of the best stories in history of the game, Ali Dia deserves to be at the top spot in this list for all the right reasons. Ali Dia’s friend called up then Southampton manager Graeme Souness and convinced him that it was legendary striker George Weah on the other end and that Ali Dia was in fact his cousin who played for French side Paris Saint Germain and also had 13 International appearances for his country Senegal. It took them a whole of 52 minutes to convince the manager and he was given a one-month contract.
Ali Dia made his debut as a substitute, replacing Matt le Tissier and then 32 minutes later was substituted off in the 85th minute and that was all the playing he did for Southampton. Yes, he was that bad.
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