Development is not linear in football. Some players tend to excel during their younger years, while others are late bloomers.
Jamie Vardy is an example of the latter case. There are certain players who tend to peak too early in their footballing careers, and as a result, are unable to maintain that form. This may be due to various reasons, including injuries and burnout.
We look at 5 players who peaked too early in their professional football careers.
Anderson was supposed to be the next big Brazilian talent during his days with Gremio and Porto.
He became a global name after he moved to Manchester United in 2007 from the Portuguese giants for £28.3 million. This was seen as a steep price for an inexperienced young player, but Anderson's talent was never in question. However, he had only made limited appearances for Porto the season prior to his big move.
The Brazil international made 181 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United. Most of his appearances came during his initial seasons with the club. Anderson won four Premier League titles with the Old Trafford outfit, but the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson affected his minutes. After spells with Fiorentina, Internacional and Adana Demirspor, the 33-year-old retired in 2020.
#4 Ricardo Quaresma
Ricardo Quaresma, alongside a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, were seen as the future of Portuguese football during their time at Sporting CP.
Both players have enjoyed good careers, in their own way. Quaresma has always been a mercurial figure, renowned for his flair and technical ability. He is not the most consistent of performers, but is capable of producing a moment of magic as and when he decided to do so.
The Portugal international was part of the Portugal side which won the Euros in 2016. Quaresma and Ronaldo's careers may not look similar, but the former has done well for himself. The 37-yea-old's disappointing stints with Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea have been counteracted by good spells with Porto and Besiktas. Quaresma currently plays for Vitoria Guimaraes.