Scouting footballers and predicting whether a young player will fulfil their potential isn’t a science. Some times it takes luck finding as there are plenty of distractions along the way that can derail a footballer’s career. There are plenty of excellent young stars expected to reach the big time that burned brightly but dimmed quickly. Here is a look a five who never fulfilled their potential.
There is something about Barcelona academy graduates post-Lionel Messi that seem to flame out quickly and are then sold off. Bojan Krkic is one of those players and he made his first-team breakthrough in 2007 playing 104 games for Barcelona. Spells at Roma, AC Milan, back to Barcelona, and Stoke City followed amongst others. In 2019, Bojan joined his eighth club, Montreal Impact.
Sebastian Deisler’s career was over by the time he turned 27. Although his career wasn’t ended by poor form or any other non-football issues, Deisler’s demise saw a highly rated player finish his playing days early. Deisler was once more highly rated than Sebastian Schweinsteiger.
Portugal’s Fabio Paim has led a journeyman’s football career after being considered the next Cristiano Ronaldo. Two years younger than Ronaldo, Paim was expected to the next big Portuguese export to hit the big time. As of 2018, Paim had played for 19 different teams.
Anthony Le Tallec
Liverpool fans remember the bleach blonde, braided haired Frenchman during his time at Anfield. La Tallec was just 16 when he arrived after then-manager Gerard Houllier was taken by the winger’s play at the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Le Tallec was under contract for seven seasons at Liverpool but played just 17 times. In 2019, he joined French amateur club Annecy.
Freddy Adu’s name will live in football infamy. Signed by Major League Soccer’s DC United, Adu was just 14-years old. Adu was a good youth player but wasn’t able to hold his own in the world of men. Although Adu showed flashes of becoming a star, he was never consistent. A number of ill-advised moves to various clubs resulted in Adu never settling in one place for very long. Adu last played in 2018 for Las Vegas Lights of the United States’ USL Championship division.