Almost Legend

Anderson Oliveira: It Was All A Blur

He became Brazil’s brightest star after coming through at Gremio before entering global consciousness at FC Porto. His fast rise sparked a tussle between Europe’s biggest clubs for his signature; a tussle won by Manchester United.Already a full international by the time he showed up at Old Trafford, no one could have believed that Anderson…

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Javier Portillo: Right Club, Wrong Time

His goalscoring record in the Real Madrid youth teams eclipsed that of the great Raul Gonzalez; making Javier Portillo the most celebrated wonderkid in Spain at the start of the millennium.  Breaking into the Real Madrid team of the Galactico era proved even more impressive.  Sadly, his breakout would prove to be a false dawn….

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Hatem Ben Arfa: Misbehaved

Hatem Ben Arfa: Misbehaved The mercurial playmaker has failed to make the most of his dazzling potential but his former coach says people have the wrong idea of him. Now 33, Ben Arfa joined Real Valladolid in January as he looks to rediscover the spark which saw him once touted as France’s biggest talent of…

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Stuart Holden: Cursed By Injuries

After breaking out in Major League Soccer with Houston Dynamo, Stuart seemed set to become the USA’s next global superstar. Unfortunately, his career became a tragic story of a footballer whose body failed him by breaking down frequently with injuries. Fans will always have that lingering feeling of what might have been if he was…

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Rabiu Ibrahim: What Went Wrong ?

Nigeria thought it had found a replacement for the great ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha when Rabiu Ibrahim stepped into the scene at Nigeria’s successful outing at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2007. After making his way to Portugal to start what was a promising career, Rabiu Ibrahim quickly turned into a tale of wasted time and…

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The Loan Ranger

In 2004, Lionel Messi was not the most popular teenage sensation in the world. That title belonged to Freddy Adu, who broke soccer records by making his professional debut aged 14. His talent promised a glorious career but what followed was a nomadic career characterized by many bus stops. His story is one of extreme…

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Freddy Adu: The Loan Ranger

In 2004, Lionel Messi was not the most popular teenage sensation in the world. That title belonged to Freddy Adu, who broke soccer records by making his professional debut aged 14. His talent promised a glorious career but what followed was a nomadic career characterized by many bus stops. His story is one of extreme…

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Adel Taarabt: So Many Missed Shots

Early in his career, Taarabt became known for his tricky feet and outrageous skills. His move to Tottenham should have launched his career alongside Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone. Sadly, in a career that took in clubs like Fulham, AC Milan and, currently, Benefica, Taarabt best days were found at QPR; a stark…

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Andy Van Der Meyde: Ruined By Personal Demons

A stand-out talent in an Ajax team that featured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Westley Sneijder, Steven Pienaar, and Rafael Van Der Vaart, Andy Van Der Meyde had the world at his feet early in his career before struggling at Inter Milan and self-destructing at Everton. A classic tale of how personal demons can get in the way…

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Yoann Gourcuff: Struck down by injuries

As a youngster, Yoan Gourcuff was the closest thing France to a creative outlet since Zidane retired. Tasked with leading France to a new era, he failed to cope with the pressure of filling Zidane’s boots and watched his career water down to a mere footnote; a far cry from what could have been given…

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