It is often said that who the gods would destroy, they first make mad. It is also said that a man’s attitude determines his altitude in life. In this list, we examine a few players who got to the top but couldn’t maintain their position among players of their ilk.
FREDERICO MACHEDA: EIGHT CLUBS, EIGHT YEARS, ONE MEMORABLE GOAL
There is no way this list would be complete without the man. Making his debut at 17, Macheda made his mark and was considered by many to take up or even surpass the strides made by Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in the future. However, what happened?
In an interview with espnfc.com, Macheda himself admitted to not pushing himself hard enough to improve. Like every football fan knows, you want to remain at United, you’ve got to improve. This is the first way in which Macheda got it wrong.
Another mistake. You Don’t snub the advice of Sir Alex Ferguson. Mr. Macheda in 2010 opted to join Sampdoria on loan against Fergie’s wish for him to remain in the EPL. At Sampdoria, Giampaolo Pazzini was sold, and at 19, Macheda was left with a huge responsibility to cater to and ultimately, his decision backfired. He failed at that responsibility and That was how the free fall started. From Sampdoria, he returned to Manchester and moved on to QPR, VFL Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City— all on loan. In the summer of 2014, he signed for Cardiff City for free and then persistent injury problems forced him to be loaned out to Nottingham Forest and he now finds himself at Novara, a second-tier club in Italy. From the Top of the English Premier League to the bottom of the series B. What a pity!
BOJAN KRKIÇ: FROM BREAKTHROUGH TO BREAKDOWN
Born to a Serbian Father and a Spanish Mother, Bojan, after winning the Bronze boot and bronze ball awards in the same FIFA U-17 competition that produced Toni Kroos, made his debut for Barcelona at 17 years and 19 days, while also scoring at 17 years and 53 days— the youngest ever to do so. At the end of that season, Bojan went on to win the 2007/2008 LA Liga breakthrough player of the year. However, close to the end of the Guardiola era, Bojan was sold to Roma, and then injuries became his villain. He could not hold a starting place at neither Roma nor Barcelona, and was loaned out to AC Milan. In 2013, he returned to Barcelona and was once again loaned out to Ajax.
However, the deal went bad and he had to return to Barcelona and was immediately shipped off to Stoke City. He impressed in the 2014-15 but lost his place in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons due to injury. On the 29th January, 2017, he was loaned out to Mainz 05 of Germany for the rest of the 2016-17 season and he now plays for Deportivo Alaves on loan.
CHRISANTUS MACAULEY: AT PAR WITH TONI KROOS IN 2007, NOWHERE TO BE FOUND IN 2017
What a way to kick off your career. Golden boot and silver ball at the South Korea 2007 U-17 FIFA world cup. A lot of offers come your way and you decide to move to Hamburger SV II. Villagers at work. First mistake of your life. This is the story of Macauley Chrisantus.
He joined Hamburger SV II after a sterling performance at the U-17 world cup and spent five years there. Make no mistake about this: he spent four of those five were spent on loan at Karlsruher FC and FSV Frankfurt. In July 2014, Chrisantus signed a three-year contract with Turkish Süper Lig side Sivassporfter his two successful year at Las Palmas in Spain. He moved on to AEK Athens of Greece and after 18 unsuccessful months, he returned to Reus Deportiu, a second-tier club in Spain. As the sub-topic suggests, Chrisantua was at par with Toni Kroos about a decade ago, but while Kroos is comfortable in the top tier of Spain, Chrisantus is languishing at the second tier.
But for time and space, the cases of Stanley Okoro, Nii Lamptey, Mario Balotelli (yes, Balotelli) and Miguel Michu would have been examined. The development of key players from youth is very vital and Africa has been the hotbed of this problem. This, to an extent, is the problem of the Italian and Argentine teams— players are growing old and there’s no young blood to fill in for them. Until the problem is solved, Africa’s poor performance on the global scale cannot be solved.