New Chelsea striker Alexandre Pato has the chance to finally fulfil his potential after joining the Blues on loan until the end of the season.
The Brazilian was once billed as one of Europe’s future top strikers during his days at AC Milan, but injuries stunted his development before he returned to his homeland with Corinthians.
He has since rebuilt his career back in Brazil, but will be hoping to make the headlines for the right reasons rather than joining Radamel Falcao as another transfer flop.
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Here are five former youngsters who failed to realise their potential, and individuals Pato will be hoping to avoid being compared with during his time at Stamford Bridge.
There came a time where Freddy Adu was the most in-demand youngster in world football and tipped to be the poster boy for soccer in America for years to come.
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However, the 26-year-old was to never live up to the billing after flopping at Portuguese giants Benfica.
He is currently plying his trade in the North American Soccer League with Tampa Bay Rowdies – quite a plight for a player who had once been tickling the fancy of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Federico Macheda’s dramatic winner against Aston Villa in 2009 propelled him into the limelight, with many believing the youngster could emulate teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and become a hero at Old Trafford.
However, he netted for the Red Devils on just four occasions over the next six years and was released after being deemed surplus to requirements by Louis van Gaal. The 24-year-old is now at Championship side Cardiff.
Anthony Le Tallec
Gerard Houllier may be a Liverpool legend but the Frenchman did make some peculiar signings towards the latter end of his time at Anfield.
One of them was Anthony Le Tallec, a youngster with the world at his feet and the player Houllier believed could inspire Liverpool to countless Premier League titles.
Alas, the French youngster failed to make the grade and, after various loan spells away from Merseyside, he was finally snapped up on a permanent basis by Le Mans in 2008 for the poultry sum of just £1.1million.
A Portuguese winger with slick black hair, an eye for the spectacular and a never-ending plethora of skills at his disposal. No, not Cristiano Ronaldo, we’re talking about Ricardo Quaresma.
The 32-year-old was meant to be the one to drag Portugal back from the dark ages after their miserable 2002 World Cup, but his career was to stall after a move to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan in 2008.
He was loaned to Chelsea mere months later but Guus Hiddink was not a fan, and after impressing for Porto he is now having a second spell back with Turkish side Besiktas.
Manchester City thought they were signing the heir to Pele’s throne when they signed Robinho from under the noses of Chelsea in September 2008.
However, the Brazilian was to prove the first expensive flop of the Sheikh Mansour era and was sold to AC Milan having finally lost the trust of manager Roberto Mancini.
Still just 32, the player is currently with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Guangzhou Evergrande who he represented in the Club World Cup back in December.
Are there any other players that never lived up to their potential? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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