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10 Footballers Who Never Quite Lived up to Their Full Potential



Football Wonderkids Who Never Lived Up To The Hype



'Wonderkid' is one of the most overused words in football. We're always looking for the the next name to replace the current starts of our game. We are constantly reading about wonderkids being the next Messi or Ronaldo, but sadly, 99% of these kids won't amount to a thing.

Not every hot prospect should be labelled 'the next big thing. Here's 10 wonderkids who never lived up to the hype or expectation. Fell free to comment below and remind us of any one we may have missed.


Freddy Adu - USA. "The next Pele"


This young American super-kid was showing glimpses of real magic in the MLS at the age of just 16. Many so called football experts were already labelling Freddy Adu as the next Pele - the shining light of 'soccer' in the US, but unfortunately he did not live up to the hype - not even close. At best, Adu managed a few appearances for Portuguese club, Benfica.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 2/10



Bebe - Portugal. "The next Cristiano Ronaldo"


After selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for a then record £80m, Manchester United had their sights set on another young Portuguese player to step into CR7's boots. Bebe only made two starts for the Red Devils and was quickly shipped out to Turkey. Bebe has still not lived up to anywhere the potential United once saw in him as a 19 year old.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 1/10



Adnan Januzaj - Belgium. "The next Ryan Giggs"


Staying on the United theme, Adnan Januzaj was another player who had so much potential, and at still only 22 years of age, still doesn't look like fulfilling it. After a positive start for United under the then manager David Moyes, Januzaj had a long spell out of form, seeing him loaned out to Dortmund and Sunderland. After failing to impress, he is now on his way to Real Sociedad for a cut-dwn price.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 3/10



Giovani Dos Santos - Mexico. "The next Ronaldinho"


After a promising start to his career at Barcelona, Giovani Dos Santos was tipped to be the next Ronaldinho. Tottenham took a gamble on him, but after only making 15 starts for Spurs in four seasons, the young Mexican was sold to Mallorca, and then eventually ended up in the MLS still in his twenties.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 4/10



Ariel Ortega - Argentina. "The next Diego Maradona"


Emerging from the shadows of Diego Maradona, Ariel Ortega was tipped to be the next big thing. Making his move from River Plate to Europe in the 90s, he never quite lived up to his full expectation during spells with Valencia, Sampdoria and Parma. Ortega eventually returned to South America where he finished his career.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 4/10



Ibrahim Ba - France. "The next Marc Overmars"


With lightning speed and attacking flair in the French league, Ibrahim Ba got his shot at the big time with AC Milan in 1997. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan for the dynamic Frenchman, and he was left out of the France squad at the 1998 world cup. Ba was never quite the same after his poor spell in Serie A.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 3/10



David Bentley - England. "The next David Beckham"


After showing some really good glimpses of Beckham like play for Arsenal's youth team, David Bentley had three terrific seasons at Blackburn Rovers, before moving to Spurs in 2008. Bentley's genius seemed to be fading fast though, and after some disappointing spells at Birmingham, West Ham and Blackburn again, Bents proved to be nowhere near Becks.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 2/10



Gaizka Mendieta - Spain. "The next Platini"


When he switched from Valencia to a mega-rich Lazio in 2001, Gaizka Mendieta was perhaps the hottest midfielder on the planet. Mendieta had been the driving force behind a dynamic Valencia team's run to two consecutive Champions League finals, and he could seemingly do almost anything in the middle of the park. Lazio's expensively constructed side failed to gel, however, and the Spaniard could not match the exploits of the recently departed Juan Sebastian Veron and Pavel Nedved. He was loaned to Barcelona, where he became a bit-part player, then he saw out his days quietly at Middlesbrough.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 4/10



Tom Cleverly - England. "The next Paul Scholes"


Tom Cleverly had a great start to his Manchester United career under Sir Alex Ferguson, but once the great man left the club in 2013, it seemed Cleverly's days were as good as numbered. He fell our of favour with United and went to Aston Villa before moving to Watford.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 2/10



Alexandre Pato. "The next Kaka"


Moving from South America to Europe as a young raw talent, Alexandre Pato started his career ever so brightly at AC Milan scoring 51 goals in 117 appearances. But things didn't quite go to plan after his spell in Italy, being shipped back to Brazil for Corinthians, before a series of random loan spells, including a failed one at Chelsea.

Lived Up To Potential Rating: 3/10

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