“When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” – Diego Maradona
“You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.” – Lionel Messi
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele
Young players out there ought to take note that three of the best players of all time acknowledge hard work as the cause for their success. These are men who are considered the most talented footballers of their generations, yet credit sacrifice and a dedication to their craft as the reason for their success.
There are those who may have had similar talents to the level of a Messi or a Ronaldo, but have failed to make the most of their quite obvious skills. Here are 10 of the biggest wastes of talent in football, in no particular order.
Christened L’Imperatore (The Emperor) by Inter Milan fans, little did the world of football know the staggering collapse that would befall Adriano’s career. The tall, powerful striker was blessed with incredible control and dribbling skills, which when added to his powerful left foot, often left opposition defences and goalkeepers bamboozled.
His scintillating form made him the toast of Italian football in the 2004/05 season, a far cry from the poverty of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro that he grew up in. However, the death of his inspirational father, Almir, in late 2004 started a tragic downward spiral, with Adriano admitting as much, saying ““My dad always supported me. He liked to watch me play.”
“Without him I started to drown all my problems in alcohol. I was drinking heavily and couldn’t not go out.”
Inter persisted with the Brazilian, but after a couple of loan spells, with weight and discipline issues popping up with regularity, Adriano tore up his contract in 2009, ‘quitting football’. However, he signed with childhood club Flamengo, and later with Roma, Corinthians and Miami United, all clubs that have struggled to keep the striker’s problems at bay.
The Emperor has fallen.