A combination of factors, including injuries, lack of consistency, off-field issues, or failure to adapt, can hinder even the most promising careers and prevent players from achieving legendary status in football. Few such players are:
Eric Djemba Djemba
The Cameroonian was once held in high regard in the French league after a promising spell at his first club Nantes. Djemba Djemba was seen as the successor to Manchester United legend Roy Keane. As a promising 22-year old, he made his way to Old Trafford in the summer of 2003 after the two clubs agreed a fee of £3.5 million. He made his debut with Cristiano Ronaldo against Bolton that year.
However, personal problems along with a bad attitude affected his promising career and his career path took a different turn than Ronaldo’s.
Owen was one of the most exciting young talents in world football when he burst onto the scene as a teenager at Liverpool. He won the Ballon d’Or in 2001 and scored a famous goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. However, injuries took their toll on his body, and he was never the same player again. He retired from professional football at the age of 33.
Robinho was a highly promising Brazilian forward who burst onto the scene at Santos and earned a move to Real Madrid. In 1999, at 15 years of age, Robinho was picked by Brazil legend Pelé as his heir apparent and, in 2002, went on to lead Santos to their first Campeonato Brasileiro title since Pelé himself played for the club.
He showcased exceptional dribbling skills and creativity, but his career failed to reach the heights expected of him. Robinho struggled to adapt to the demands of European football and faced inconsistency in his performances. In 2017, an Italian court convicted Robinho of sexual assault in 2013. He had spells at Manchester City, AC Milan, and other clubs but was unable to fulfil his immense potential.
Johnson was an English midfielder who was once considered a rising star in English football. He emerged through Manchester City’s youth academy and showcased immense talent and technical skills. However, a series of personal and mental health issues, along with recurring injuries, severely impacted his career. Johnson’s decline was swift, and he retired from professional football at the age of 24, never fulfilling his early promise.
Kaka was a phenomenal Brazilian attacking midfielder who won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2007. However, a series of injuries and a decline in form hindered his career, preventing him from maintaining the extraordinary level he displayed earlier in his career.
When Pep Guardiola gave Bojan his debut at Barcelona, he beat a certain Lionel Messi to become the youngest ever player for Barcelona. Not only that, he is rumoured to have scored around 800 goals for various age groups since he joined the Catalan giants, and was touted to be bigger than the Argentine number 10.
However, as Barcelona invested in the likes of David Villa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Bojan found first-team chances hard to come by despite some impressive performances for the Spanish giants. He eventually moved to Roma, after falling out with Pep.
Since then he has had the career of a nomad. Despite being just 26 years old, he has changed clubs six times in his career. His latest move was to Bundesliga club Mainz to get regular playing time which he didn’t get at Stoke City. STOKE CITY.