For all the wonderkids and the talented players that are born around the world every year, there are many that seem to sparkle before eventually fizzling out. For reasons of injury, morale, or just a general lack of interest in the game, many have blown their chances to make it big, and have become the football world’s hardly-knowns.
Here is a list of 5 players who threatened to dominate world football, before slowly sliding into obscurity:
1. Andy Van Der Meyde
Andy Van der Meyde once was an integral part of an Ajax team that also included the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rafael Van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder, and was seen as one of the best young players in world football.
However, after a difficult spell with Inter Milan, he started developing drinking problems and depression, which saw both life and career spiral out of control.
A move to Everton didn’t help him either, as an extra-marital affair and further issues with drug abuse saw his footballing hopes slide slowly into obscurity. After being released by Everton, he had brief spells with Dutch clubs PSV and WKE, before calling time on his career at the age of 31.
When asked about how he threw his career away, he says:
“I was an idiot and sometimes I lie in bed and think about it, ‘Wow man, come on Andy you were a good player’.
“At one moment I was second behind Luis Figo as the best winger in Europe and sometimes I think I wasted it. That is a lesson and now want to help other players and help them not make the same mistakes I did.”