The term ‘wonderkid’ is perhaps thrown around too much in modern football, as any young player that shows any sign of promise is quickly labelled as ‘the next (insert footballing superstar here)’.
It creates huge pressure on young players, and sometimes the expectations are just way too high. Here we look at those in the past who have failed to live up to their ‘wonderkid’ label.
The Spaniard, more commonly known as just Bojan, was a graduate of the famed La Masia academy at Barcelona, and the Catalans had an exciting prospect on their hands.
After playing with the Barcelona B side as a teenager, he gained a reputation as a prolific goal-scorer with excellent dribbling skills, and made the jump to the first team in 2007. Bojan impressed in his first few seasons, scoring a reasonable amount of goals considering his age, as he looked at home in an attack that contained world class talent.
However after sliding down the pecking order at Barcelona due to the likes of Messi, Pedro and Villa being the preferred options up-front, he sealed a switch to Roma in 2011.
Bojan had a poor first season in the Italian capital, managing just seven goals in 37 games.
Surprisingly, Serie A giants AC Milan offered to take the Spaniard on loan for the 2012-13 season.
Yet again though, Bojan suffered a lack of playing time, and ended the season with a goal tally of just three in 19 games.
Milan were unwilling to permanently sign him, so he was shipped back to old club Barca, but once again he is sent out on loan, this time to Holland with Ajax.
Only time will tell if Bojan can go on to fulfil his potential, as he looked so promising in his teenage years at the Nou Camp.
Perhaps the biggest name on the list, and also the one who had the highest expectations.
He was tipped by Brazilian legend Pele to be the player to be his heir when he was just a young teenager.
After tremendous performances in the Brazilian league with Santos, he moved to Real Madrid in 2005, with so much pressure being placed on his shoulders to become one of the great Galacticos.
He had an excellent debut season in La Liga scoring 14 goals, and he flourished in the side, showing off his skills and attacking flair that wowed the Spanish capital.
He also impressed in following seasons, and became an important player for the club.
Therefore it came as a great surprise when Madrid chose not to renegotiate a new contract for the star, and it came as a huge shock when he moved to Manchester City for a fee of £32.5 million, breaking the British transfer record.
Robinho became the first name to move to the newly-rich club, and he was set to take the Premier League by storm and propel City to overnight success.
However, his time in England was short-lived as just one-and-a-half injury plagued seasons later he was loaned to Santos for six months, before being sold to AC Milan for less than half of what they had bought him for, a fee of £15 million.
Since arriving in Italy he has been unable to recapture the scintillating displays he produced for Real Madrid, and as a knock-on effect he also lost his place in the national team.
With new Brazilian talent coming onto the scene with Neymar and co, it seems his Brazil playing days are over, which is a shame considering what he used to be capable of.
Those who remember Freddy Adu’s name will also undoubtedly remember the massive amount of hype and expectation that went with it.
Adu was meant to be the first big American footballing superstar, but as a teenager he faced so much pressure that he just seemed to crumble and fade away.
After impressing in his native MLS, he was signed by Benfica as a teenager, and was quickly loaned out in order for him to gain first team experience of European football.
However, he quickly looked increasingly lost playing football in Europe, and in his time at Benfica, he was loaned out four consecutive times.
His five years in Europe saw him score just seven goals, as he never managed to show for a moment why so much was expected of him.
After his career in Europe was over, he moved back to the MLS with Philadelphia Union, and is now currently undertaking a six-month spell in Brazil with Bahia.
It is hardly surprising how hard Adu really did flop, considering what was expected of him. At just 24-years-old, Adu has already been at nine different clubs, yet he may still be able to rejuvenate his career if not playing at the highest level.
But if one thing’s for certain he will never fulfil his touted potential of being ‘the next Pele’.
Disagree with any name on the list? Have your say below.
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