In soccer, some players would start their careers from the top as a youngster and continue in that trajectory till they retire. Several players, in that regard, enjoyed prominence all throughout their careers.
Some started very low and very late and were not known or regarded until they were in their mid-20s and later parts of their careers.
However, the most unfortunate ones are those who start very bright but, despite the early premises, fail to remain consistent and maintain their status as top-class players.
Not of the lack of talents, but it’s mostly ill luck with injuries, bad contractual moves, and sometimes stark indiscipline.
In today’s article, you will learn about some of the players who were once making waves everywhere until someone suddenly asked, where are “they” now?
Here are the soccer players who fell off.
1. Dele Alli
Dele Alli’s fall from grace to grass is one that many young talents must examine and try to avoid.
He is one of the baffling examples of soccer players who fell off despite having talent and opportunities.
This was a player who went from League One straight into Tottenham’s starting lineup as a teenager.
He won the PFA Young Player of the Year award twice and scored on his England debut, including shattering records all along the way at less than 23 years old.
Between 2015 and 2018, he really looked like the next English football legend as he and Harry Kane tormented defenses and even helped Spurs reach the UEFA Champions League final and England the World Cup semi-finals.
Five years down the line, Alli can’t even secure a starting lineup in the Turkish league with Besiktas.
2. Lucas Moura
There is no way a discussion about Tottenham making the UEFA Champions League final will be held without Lucas Moura’s name popping up.
This was the man who helped Spurs with a hat-trick in the second leg of their UEFA semi-final when they needed to beat Ajax to get to the final, where they eventually lost to Liverpool in 2018.
However, that was not the only moment that defined his career, as he spent five years at PSG winning trophies.
After 2018 it has been a downward spiral for the Brazilian even though he is still on the books of Tottenham.
Not many reckon with him again as the game-changer that he once was and has been forgotten.
3. James Rodríguez
After a stunning performance topped with one of the greatest World Cup goals against Uruguay at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, James Rodríguez failed to replicate the same performances and, from a generational talent, became a generational journeyman.
During his three-year stint at Porto, James achieved recognition in Europe, earning multiple awards and trophies.
Subsequently, in 2014, he transferred from AS Monaco to Real Madrid for a colossal transfer fee of £63 million, surpassing Radamel Falcao as the most expensive Colombian football player and one of the most expensive footballers ever.
However, in Real Madrid, he was unable to cement his place and went on loan to Bayern Munich.
James Rodríguez returned to Real Madrid, but was soon shipped to Everton on a free transfer.
He joined Qatari club Al-Rayyan in 2021, but after a year at the club, the club terminated the contract of James Rodríguez by mutual consent.
Aged 31, he’s been all around the world and back, and now at Olympiacos in Greece.
Given his potential and capabilities, not many would have expected that James would not be playing at a top club now.
4. Philippe Coutinho
Whatever happened to the man that caused problems for Premier League defense and defenders alongside Luis Suarez between 2013 and 2018?
Philippe Coutinho was once feared for his ability to strike curling long-range shots, as well as his combination of vision, passing, and dribbling.
The Brazilian forward was scoring goals for fun until he was not anymore when he joined Barcelona.
He went on loan to Bayern and returned to Camp Nou, but he provided nothing new.
Many thought a return to Premier League would help, but maybe not to Aston Villa, where he looks no different from a squad player.
5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a darling at Borussia Dortmund, the same at Arsenal until he was no longer dear there.
A huge loss of form coupled with indifferent body language saw the Gabonese career anti-climax in 2022.
He left Arsenal for Barcelona, a move that many thought would place him well for trophies that he wasn’t opportune to win at Arsenal, but he could even get a place in the starting line.
Soon he retired from international football and returned to the Blues side of London, where he was even left out of their UEFA Champions League roster.
6. Eden Hazard
This is one that seems hard to believe; Hazard was only a step lower than Ronaldo and Messi when he was at Chelsea.
He mesmerized, he impressed, he scored, he dribbled, he won titles, and he became a club legend.
A move to Real Madrid was deemed as the perfect fit for the player who was hugely talented and obviously befitting a club like Real Madrid, only that he failed to live up to expectations and has grown fat since joining Los Blancos.
He can’t make the starting lineup, he can’t string appearances, he can’t even score goals, and he’s become a liability to the Spanish giants.
Eden Hazard is undoubtedly one of the most shocking soccer player who fell off.
7. Luka Jović
Jović set Europe and Germany on fire with performances for Frankfurt between 2017 and 2019 when he was on loan from Benfica.
The Serbian had done everything to convince Real Madrid to move to Spain.
Something seemed off from the start of the rumors about the deal, and it was glaring from his first game and first season.
Even a return to Frankfurt on loan from Real Madrid was not enough to save him. Jovic is still in the topflight with Fiorentina in Serie A, but it’s not where he is expected to be.
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