Ricardo Quaresma has made a stunning return to the limelight after years of poor form

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Once considered one of the brightest prospects in world football, Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma failed to live up to those high expectations.

Having started his career around the same time as fellow Portuguese international Christiano Ronaldo at Sporting Lisbon, the two players have had vastly different experiences at both club and international level over the last decade or so.

Quaresma has suffered disappointing stints at several top clubs, falling out of favour in the Portuguese national team as a result, whereas the Real Madrid forward has gone on to win three Ballon d'Or awards as well as three Champions League titles during the same period.


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Deemed by many as one of the most promising players in Europe during his first stint at FC Porto, Quaresma never quite managed to turn potential into real quality.

However, the last two years have seen a rise in fortunes for the skilful winger and have duly earned him a spot in the 23-man Portugal squad for Euro 2016.

Promising start to career

Quaresma is one of the many talented players to have broken through from the renowned Sporting Lisbon academy, which also produced world class players such as Ronaldo, Nani and Portuguese legend Luis Figo.

The 32-year-old helped the side from the Portuguese capital to a league and cup double in 2001/2002, having broken into the senior team during the same season.

A move to Spanish giants Barcelona in 2003 was seen as a potential career enhancing move but limited playing time and a fall out with manager Frank Rijkaard saw the Portuguese make a move back to his native country, this time with Porto.

During his four seasons at the Dragao, the winger established himself as a fan favourite. His audacious style of play, outrageous tricks and trademark outside-of-the-foot crosses were all characteristics that won the supporters over.

Quaresma's career seemed to be back on the right track at Porto after a frustrating season at the Camp Nou, putting him back on the list of emerging talents.

Outrageous playing style and decline in form

The Portuguese winger's adventurous style of play could also garner criticism at Barcelona as well as at Porto and served as one of the key factors in the player being overlooked for the national team time and time again.

Dazzling displays at Porto saw Quaresma selected for several World Cup qualifiers but he still missed out on the final squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Despite earning a place in the Portuguese squad during Euro 2008, he featured sparingly under Luiz Felipe Scolari.

The winger was not selected for the 2010 World Cup and only featured on the bench during Euro 2012.

Quaresma's solo playing style left little opportunity for collaboration with other teammates. Poor decision making as well as unnecessary tricks saw the winger lose the ball to opposition defenders on a regular basis, where a pass to a teammate would have sufficed.

When the moves worked, it was great to watch but the Portuguese player's insistence on refusing to pass the ball proved to be detrimental to his chances at subsequent clubs.

During his time at Inter, under manager Jose Mourinho, Quaresma barely featured in the first team, as the Portuguese manager disliked his selfish style and reluctant work ethic.

After a loan spell at Chelsea during 2009, Quaresma returned to the San Siro but his dismal form continued, resulting in the player being sold to Turkish club Besiktas in the summer of 2010.

After a mediocre two seasons at the Istanbul club and altercations with club manager Carlos Carvalhal, the former Barca man moved to the Middle East with Al-Ahli of UAE.

However, another average season saw the Portuguese return to former club Porto.

Return to form

The Portuguese player managed to reinvent himself during his second spell at Porto, adding more maturity to his game.

Having lost some pace, the winger refined other aspects of his game such as passing, his chemistry with teammates and decision-making all making him a much greater threat than before.

The 32-year-old scored a brace during a Champions League quarter-final first leg against German giants Bayern Munich at the Dragao, helping the Portuguese side to a 3-1 win.

Now back with Besiktas, the improvement in the winger's form has been evident, earning him a return to the Portuguese national side.

Having scored only one goal in the last six years for Portugal, Quaresma has already managed to score three goals during friendlies over the last month after returning to the national team fold.

Selected in the 23-man squad for Euro 2016, the highly skilled winger is expected to start in the first team alongside veterans Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho and Bruno Alves.

The recent 7-0 demolition of Estonia in a friendly saw the Besiktas man bag two goals and two assists, further enhancing his chances of being selected in the first team.

Considering recent results and the presence of so many experienced players in the side, the Portuguese team may have finally come of age, and Quaresma will be relishing the opportunity to help his team clinch their first ever major international title.

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Euro 2016
Ricardo Quaresma
Cristiano Ronaldo

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