When a dazzling 20-year-old starlet from Sporting Lisbon signed for Barcelona for nothing short of 6 million euros, heads were turned as people were forced to take notice. The tricky Portuguese winger who can play on either side and is both footed - ring any bells? A certain Cristiano Ronaldo?
Unfortunately, Ricardo Quaresma did not reach the dizzy heights that were expected of him. He was always reported to have had a large ego which did not help him during his time with the Catalan giants, but so does Ronaldo. Surely this didn't spark a decline in his career?
In his debut season, he made 10 starts and 11 substitute appearances for Barca, but expressed his desire to leave due to a falling out with Frank Rijkaard - who happily shipped him out as part of a deal which brought in Deco, with Porto, Quaresma's new club, also receiving 15 million euros.
Despite a stagnating story, it is surprising he ended up with spells in Dubai and Turkey. Quaresma showed signs of real talent in his four years at Porto, and was a key player and fan favourite by his third season.
His incredible free-kicks and flair were key components of his game. A 17 million euro move to Inter Milan followed, as they were not blind to his undeniable ability. Quaresma had just the start he would have been hoping for, voted Man of the Match in his first game.
Jose Mourinho claimed whilst he is 'a great talent, he will have to learn, otherwise he won’t play, and I am sure he'll change and become more tactically disciplined. He likes kicking the ball with the outside of his foot, but if you ask me about him in a few months' time, we'll be talking about a different Quaresma.'
Yet again, Quaresma failed to adapt. He is often referred to as a flop, and was voted the worst Serie A player for 2008. He played 24 games in 2 years, and only played 4 games in an unsuccessful loan spell at Chelsea.
By this time, after missing two golden opportunities to become a legend, Quaresma was 27. Acting on this, Quaresma decided to spend the next three years with Besiktas and Al Ahli, making himself one of the most famous flops in world football.
He has somewhat recovered with the only club at which he has performed well, FC Porto. Many Portuguese fans were angered at Paulo Bento's decision to not name him in the World Cup squad for Brazil 2014, and this view was reinforced as they crashed out at the group stages, with many feeling that due to the National side's lack of recognised strikers, Ronaldo should have played through the middle with Nani and Quaresma on the wings.
Whilst he could have reason to be annoyed himself, he should be more concerned with the way in which he stagnated his own career. Quaresma was released from Besiktas on bad terms after being suspended by the club. He told the manager that he was 'nothing' before throwing water bottles in the changing rooms at Half-Time in the Club's Europa League game against Atletico Madrid. He only made 10 appearances for Al Alhi, scoring two goals - I'm sure he didn't move for the money.
A career with 427 appearances and 77 goals wouldn't usually be the statistics for a player referred to as a 'wasted talent', especially since Quaresma has played in Europe's top leagues.
Despite this, Ricardo Quaresma is possibly the biggest wasted talent in the history of football. The untapped potential he left behind cannot be retained, and despite my adoration of him growing up due to his free-kicks and quick feet, I have to hope he enjoys the money he attained rather than footballing plaudits. At 31 years of age, Quaresma is projected to retire at Porto. Within his depth.
Aside from being a flop, he is also well known for his 'Trivela' goals, an incredible technique of which he is the master.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms