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5 Brazilian players who failed to fulfil their potential

Elvis Ume O
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 21 Jul 2018, 13:29 IST

Football is a sport that regularly churns out young superstars who are tipped for greatness. Increased global media coverage and attention mean that most of these players are thrust into the limelight earlier than they can handle it, leading to most of them derailing.

When it comes to production lines for talented young footballers, there is probably none bigger than Brazil, with the country's fanatical followership of football turning it nearly into a religion in the South American nation.

Almost every young boy in Brazil dreams of becoming a professional footballer and wearing the mythical yellow and blue of the Samba Boys and have a plethora of historical Brazilian legends to look up to.

Most Brazilian footballers hone their developmental skills on the streets of Brazil where the focus is on technique and not tactical nous, hence the skilful nature of the average Brazilian player.

History is littered with an abundance of young players who showed early promise but faded away after their bright start and Brazil has given us its own fair share of talented youngsters who didn't live up to their billing. I list the top 5 Brazilian wonder kids who didn't fulfil their potential.

Honourable mentions: Paulo Henrique Ganso, Lulinha, Anderson, Keirrison, Evandro Ronatto

#5 Robinho

Brazil v Chile: 2010 FIFA World Cup - Round of Sixteen

With 100 caps (6th highest) for the Seleção and 12 senior titles won, it is understandable to wonder what the 34-year-old attacker is doing on the list, but the truth is that a lot more was expected from Robinho and he largely failed to deliver. He was picked by Pele to be his successor in 1999 at the tender age of 15 and three years later aided Santos in winning it's first Campeonato Brasileiro since Pele himself won it in the 1970s.

He was courted by a number of top European clubs but eventually agreed to join Real Madrid in 2005. He spent three seasons at the Bernabeu and was instrumental in their league triumphs of 2007 and 2008 but after the club failed to offer him a new contract in the hope of using him as a lightweight to get Ronaldo to Madrid in 2008, Robinho asked to leave the club.

He arrived at Manchester City as their first marquee signing for a then Premier League record of £32.5 m on the same day that the club was taken over by the Abu Dhabi United group. Robinho failed to impress significantly at the club and just a season later was sent on loan back to former club Santos as he had fallen down the pecking order at City and sought playing time to retain his place in Brazil's squad for the 2010 World Cup. Since that time, Robinho has become something of a journeyman turning out for AC Milan, Santos, Guangzhou Evergrande, Atletico Mineiro and now the Turkish Super Lig with Sivasspor.


Robinho never stayed in one club long enough to earn legendary status there and though he will retire with his career considered relatively successful by many, for all the early promise shown by Robinho, he failed to live up to expectations.

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Published 21 Jul 2018, 13:29 IST
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