There was a time a couple of years ago when current Barcelona star Neymar and Sao Paulo's Paulo Henrique Ganso were considered as footballing equals. They were the 'Boys from Brazil' destined to make it big on the global stage.
Both were linked to several big name European clubs and touted to be the successors to the likes of Ronaldinho and Kaka for the Brazilian national team.
Sadly, this prophecy only held true for Neymar - with the forward achieving all that he yearned for with Barcelona, while his buddy Ganso never got his passport stamped with a Schengen visa.
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Ganso was an equally promising and skilled midfielder who did not garner the recognition and popularity that his talent merited. Injuries and misfortune crippled the Brazilian’s career as he went from becoming one of the most promising midfielders of the generation to a forgotten entity in the span of a few years.
The midfielders shocking decline in form is also a testament to how demanding and challenging the career of a sportsman really is.
Star at Santos
Ganso made it through the youth ranks at Santos to become a regular in their first team as an attacking midfielder. He was the creative force at the club, providing a load of assists to fellow teammates.
His link up play with Neymar was spectacular, with Ganso providing the majority of the assists for the forward's lethal finishing.
The midfielder’s stellar play earned him a place in the Brazilian national team. After representing Brazil in the under-20 and under-23 age groups, he had a chance to sport the iconic yellow jersey in his full debut on August 10, 2010.
The midfielder made eight appearances for the National team between 2010 - 2012 and was touted to be the successor to Kaka.
However, a serious knee injury kept him sidelined for a lengthy period. Ganso could never completely recover from the injury which inadvertently cut short his European ambitions. He could never really regain his touch and struggled, even in the Brazilian league.
The 26-year-old was hot property in 2011, with top clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United attempting to poach the Brazilian away from Santos.
Sadly, twelve months into the future and the midfielder was struggling to find a place even in the Santos squad and was sold off to direct rivals Sao Paulo.
Ganso’s transfer from Santos to Sao Paulo in 2012 created an uproar of sorts in the Brazilian media. Not very often is a player allowed to join a club’s direct rivals.
The midfielder received a lot of unjustified hatred for his move from the Santos fans. He struggled to reinvigorate his career at Sao Paulo and had a disappointing first season by his standards, scoring only five times in 34 games.
Another spell of injuries kept the Brazilian sidelined for a reasonable chunk of the 2013-14 season. Ganso had dropped from being Brazil’s future star to becoming just another midfielder in the country.
The rise of Chelsea’s attacking midfielder Oscar has practically killed off all hopes of a Ganso comeback to the national team.
Rejected MLS move
In 2015, the Brazilian had a chance to reinvent himself with talks of a move to MLS side Orlando City, the current employers of Kaka.
There was a lot of anticipation surrounding the transfer and how Ganso’s career could take a turn for the better - being understudy to Kaka. However, the move broke down when Sao Paulo rejected the bid ending a potential revival unceremoniously.
Today, Ganso continues to play in the Brazilian league and is now a shadow of the player that he once was.
Which other players never fulfilled their potential? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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