5 active footballers who fell off the radar after showing promise
The game of football is unique in that it can grant players fame and fortune, as well as take it away in almost equal measure.
While some players go on to achieve immortality and fame beyond measure, others are not so lucky and barely make it to the summit of the game.
The current digital age of social media has seen fans following the lives of footballers down to the minutest details, especially those playing for the biggest clubs.
However, the sheer volume of football games played weekly means that it is almost impossible to keep track of what every footballer is up to, especially if they do not ply their trade with the elite clubs of the European game.
It is especially jarring if such players were once the toast of fans worldwide due to their status in the biggest sides.
For different reasons, players are always bound to make career moves and for better or worse, these transfers have a severe impact on their careers.
More often than not, higher financial remuneration is usually behind such moves, while for others, it is the lure of playing for a bigger club and contesting for trophies.
However, things do not always work out according to plan and the result is that fans are left wondering about the whereabouts of the majority of these players who fell off the radar.
With an exclusive focus on active footballers, we shall be having a rundown of promising players who fell off the radar and where they currently ply their trade.
#5. Samir Nasri
Current status: free agent
Samir Nasri emerged as a highly-rated youngster in Marseille and subsequently signed for Arsenal in 2008, spending the next three years in north London.
For all his talents, Nasri was, however, plagued by disciplinary issues and fell out with several of his coaches, while his money-mongering transfer to Manchester City in 2011 eroded all the goodwill he had amassed with fans of the Gunners.
For those who had followed his career, this would hardly have been surprising, as the Frenchman employed similar tactics when departing Marseille despite signing a new contract with the Ligue 1 side.
Things began brightly enough for Nasri at City and he helped the club lift their first Premier League title in dramatic circumstances on the final day of the 2011/2012 season.
However, things began to unravel for him when he suffered a long-term tendon injury in November 2015 that ruled him out for five months,
Since then, Nasri has hardly made an impact on the field and his case was hardly helped by an 18-month ban which was handed out to him for breaching doping rules, although he continues to maintain his innocence.
Nasri’s last club was Anderlecht with whom he signed for free in July 2019 and he is currently without a club having been released by the Belgian side.
#4. Nuri Sahin
Current club: Antalyaspor
Nuri Sahin spent six successful seasons with Borussia Dortmund under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp and was one of the most coveted midfielders in Europe in his prime.
A bidding war was undertaken for his services and Real Madrid ultimately won the race for his signature, signing a then 23-year-old Sahin in May 2011.
Signing for Real Madrid is pretty much a make-or-mar situation as if things go right, fame and fortune are guaranteed but the increased pressure to perform at the club is almost unparalleled in any other team.
Despite having several instances of young and promising players who fell off the radar after signing for Los Blancos, the allure of playing for the biggest club in the world ensures that the LaLiga giants still remain an attractive destination.
Unfortunately for Sahin, he did not get the dream career he hoped for, and just a year after arriving the Bernabeu, he was loaned out to Liverpool – where he spent just six months – before returning back to Dortmund.
Now 32, the former Werder Bremen midfielder currently plies his trade with lowly Antalyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig and this is a steep fall from the levels projected for him less than a decade ago.
#3. Adnan Januzaj
Current club: Real Sociedad
In the disastrous reign that was David Moyes’ tenure as Manchester United manager, the one bright spark was the emergence of a certain Adnan Januzaj.
He made headlines after scoring a brace on his first start to help United come from behind to defeat Sunderland in the Premier League.
Some fine performances over the rest of the season heightened expectations that he would be the ‘new Giggs’ and the latest academy product to make an impact on the first team.
There was also a scramble for his international allegiance, with Januzaj being eligible to represent no fewer than six countries, although he ultimately settled on Belgium.
Now 25, the Belgian international has not had the sparkling career many predicted and he currently represents Real Sociedad after an underwhelming one-year loan spell with Borussia Dortmund.
Unlike the other players on this list, Januzaj still has time to revive his career, although he would have to show vast improvements from his current performance levels in the Basque country.
#2. Mario Balotelli
Current club: Brescia
After being named the 2010 Golden Boy, big things were expected of Mario Balotelli but rather disappointingly, he has made more headlines for the wrong reasons than his exploits on the field.
The 30-year-old has represented some of the biggest clubs in the world including Liverpool, Manchester City, and both Milan clubs but he has never stayed long enough at any side to cement his status.
Balotelli has a rap sheet of wrongdoings that could take a day to read out and he is unarguably one of the most controversial players in the history of the game.
Having failed to establish himself at any of the top sides on the continent, the Italian international currently plies his trade with Brescia who would spend the current season in the lower tier of Italian football, hardly the stage where a player like Balotelli should be playing.
Current club: Shanghai SIPG
Oscar had the football world at his feet when he decided to sacrifice his dreams and ambitions in Europe for the money and riches on offer in China.
The midfielder was one of the stars at Chelsea and was earmarked for big things at Stamford Bridge or beyond but he completed a shock transfer to the east for a then Asian record transfer fee.
The fact that he was only 25 years at the time further added to the incredulity of the move but it has been hugely beneficial for the Brazilian, who is currently among the highest paid players in the world.
Oscar is undoubtedly one of the highest profile players who fell off the radar in the last five years but it appears that he favors a return to Europe, with just four months remaining on his current deal.
If he does return to the biggest stage, there could yet be another chance for the former Sao Paolo man to rewrite his career and end it on his own note.
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