It’s a curious thing when a player unexplainably goes missing off the footballing map although it’s very common in today’s competitive football world. I’m going to take a trip down the rabbit hole and find out where some of football previously fairly recognisable names went wrong, and where they ended up.
We start off with a huge name back in 2004 where Freddy Adu became the youngest ever professionally signed player in the MLS at the tender age of 14. Despite the great hype and being dubbed the next ‘Pele’ Adu failed to make a name for himself. He secured a big move to Benfica in 2007, but only managed himself 11 appearances in 4 years there. Since then it’s all been downhill for Adu. He has played for some truly unrecognisable teams such as ‘Bahia’, ‘Jadia’ and ‘KuPS’ from the Finnish football system. He has even been spotted promoting nightclubs…
Bebe came to Manchester United in 2010 with a lot of hype surrounding him. Sure, he was never going to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo but fans must have thought they may had another gem on their hands. Like Anderson and Nani, Bebe followed the same path of not fulfilling expectations, but in a much more abysmal fashion. In his time at Manchester United he only managed 2 appearances there – some could argue he was never given a chance, though his loan spells show it was the right choice to get rid. Even at Besiktas, they had little use for the young Portuguese man, only using him in 4 matches across the season. In 2014 he moved to Benfica, back to his homeland, to reignite his career. Unfortunately, it’s just not happening. Since that move he had spells at two lowly clubs – Corboda and Rayo Vallecano.
Michael Johnson quickly rose through the Machester City youth system with so much promise. Reputable players like Dietmar Hamann likened him to ‘Michael Ballack’ and Sven Goran-Eriksson claimed he would be ‘the next big star for England’. Despite Manchester City’s injection of cash and options to buy foreign star players Johnson claimed his place in the team during the 07-08 season, scoring two goals. However for the following few seasons a series of re-occurring injuries kept him out the game for the most part. In three seasons he only managed 10 appearances for City scoring 1 goals. Despite the huge amount of potential under his belt City could no longer keep Johnson on their books with his injury record. On the Christmas of 2012 he was released after images surfaced online of him looking unfit and overweight. Johnson has now retired from football and opened his own estate agents, acknowledging he can no longer have a career as a player.