The hardest thing may not be getting to the top, it is staying at the top.

Many footballers have experienced this the hard way, after working tirelessly and making themselves highly reputable, they cannot live up to their fame and are quickly forgotten.

Here is a look at five footballers who rose to fame before descending to nothingness.

1. Alex Song

After dominating Arsenal's midfield and linking up nicely with Robin van Persie the Cameroonian international made a name for himself as a quality defensive midfielder for the Gunners.

After reporting to Arsenal that he wanted to leave the club Song signed for Barcelona for a fee of £17million.

Song has yet to make any kind of influence for the Catalan giants and many people have already forgotten who Song is.

When asked if they have ever heard of Song, most people will likely respond with 'which one?'

2. Ibrahim Afellay

Another man to reach fame before joining Barcelona and has since been forgotten. He was signed for €3 million and started brightly, finishing the season with a La Liga title and Champions League winner's medal.

However, since then he has virtually fallen off the face of the earth. A series of injuries sidelined him from the squad and he has not been able to regain the starting job ever since.

He was loaned out to Schalke this summer, but that turned sour for him as well when he gained a thigh injury and was sidelined for two months.

You cannot be remembered if you are never on the pitch.

3. Salomon Kalou

The former Chelsea forward has featured in two Champions League final squads, one of which was lost and the other of which came out as victors.

He even took one of the penalties in a Champions League final shootout, although it was the one in which Chelsea lost.

After the Blues latest final appearance, and win, he was released from the club and joined French side Lille.

Since then he has become a forgotten figure, and may need to force a move back to the Premier League if he is to get his name back on the map.

4. Florent Malouda

At one point he played a pivotal role in the Chelsea and French squads. He even featured in the World Cup final in Germany, which was the climax of his professional footballing career.

But in his final year at Chelsea he failed to feature in the first team squad and was relegated to the reserves. Malouda now plays in Turkey for Trabzonspor, and the 33 year old ex-French international has now become a forgotten figure.

5. Aleksandr Hleb

At one point in his career he was the star play maker in the Arsenal line up and the best player in the Belarus national team.

Then Barcelona came calling. As a squad member of the Catalans he spent most of his time warming the bench and only made five starts as a Barcelona player.

He spent the next four years playing for six different clubs and failed to make a name at any of them.

He now plays for FC Bate Borisov, and is the epitome of Arsenal fans' stating that their star players should not leave the club for brighter futures.

In Hleb's case, he went from household fame to forgotten name.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here:

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: