Talent isn’t enough if you’re at the wrong club. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. So many kids around the globe dream of making it to the very top and playing for the biggest clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, and Juventus. However, only a few will ever make it to an elite level.
Getting there is only half the battle. When you do, you have to maintain the same levels of skill and motivation. Sometimes players gamble on a move to a big club. In short, they see it as a pathway to glory and financial security. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Today, we’re going to look at 30 players who reached the top and fell away. Some got injured and were never able to reach their full potential. Others got old and their careers just fizzled out. Then you have those who just weren’t able to cope with the pressures of an elite club. Check out the list below.
30. Gaizka Mendieta
Let’s kick this list off with a real blast from the past. Back in 2000, Lazio was one of the strongest and richest sides in Europe. They had their eye on Gaizka Mendieta, one of the brightest talents on the continent at the time. He had played an instrumental role in helping Valencia to consecutive Champion’s League Semifinals.
Lazio was happy to fork out $50 million for him. That might seem standard by today’s crazy transfers, but in the early 2000s that was definitely an outrageous sum of money. Anyway, an expensively-assembled Lazio side failed to gel and he was sent to Barcelona. That didn’t work out either and he ended up at Middlesbrough.