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    Saturday, 29 July 2017

    Football players who wasted their talent through loyalty

    Here is a list of loyal players who could have made a better career for themselves elsewhere. These absolutely respected players stayed loyal to clubs, and do not use them as a mere stepping stone to bigger and better things. However, in their personal careers, they did not benefit much as they were not selfish to make the megabucks moving across clubs in Europe, rather they concentrated on achieving more in terms of silverware
    Pepe Reina
    Reina joined Liverpool in 2005, just after their UEFA Champions League triumph against Milan, and would have thought he was joining a rising club that would hunt for trophies year in and out. However, all he has won is one FA Cup title, one League Cup and a single Community Shield. For a goalkeeper of his calibre, his eight-year stint at Liverpool has been disappointing to say the least.
    You may think of Cafu as one of the best players ever in his position. He won the World Cup twice which is probably reward enough for his fantastic ability. However in 11 years in Italy, six with Roma, five with Milan, he only won a disappointing two Serie A titles and a single UEFA Champions League. If he had been able to cut the cord and join a club like Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, he may have been one of the most successful right backs ever.
    Jamie Carragher
    After his 2013 announcement that he was retiring, I couldn’t help but think that Jamie Carragher’s career, all of which has been spent playing for Liverpool, has been slightly wasted. He has never won a Premier League title, leaving success to only cup competitions, with the highlight being the 2005 Champions League. If he had a greater ambition, he could have moved to a more successful club. That would have lined his awards cabinet with a few more trophies.
    Brede Hangeland
    I am not too sure if this one is due to loyalty or just a lack of bids. However, since Brede Hangeland joined Fulham in 2008, he has impressed so much with his defensive abilities, that only half a season in, he was being linked with teams such as Arsenal and Manchester United. He could have made a move that would have seen his career sky-rocket, and could have won some trophies to go with his defensive talents. Of course, Arsenal have not won anything, however if they had someone to fix their defensive frailties, they probably would have challenged for more trophies, or even won the League Cup they lost to eventually relegated Birmingham at the very least.
    Steven Gerrard
    Much like Carragher, Gerrard spent almost the whole of his productive career at Liverpool, and only a single 2005 UEFA Champions League victory to truly look back on as a fantastic achievement. However, unlike Carragher, Gerrard was a world-class potential for many years, and he had many suitors to sign him for big money. The biggest blunder of his career was when he turned his back on a move to Barcelona, which in hindsight would have given him the potential to put his stamp on a world-class player’s tag, or even could have been considered as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, if not all-time.
    Landon Donovan
    It is not his loyalty to one particular club that has not led Donovan to be widely regarded as being successful, but loyalty to the American franchise league, the MLS (Major League Soccer). His professional career started in Germany for Bayer Leverkusen. However, he only made 7 first team appearances in total, becoming unsettled and moving back to his native USA. He has an abundance of talent, that could have flourished a great deal more than it has if he had stayed in the more competitive European game. He has had sporadic loan spells back in Europe, where he has impressed, so it seems a great shame that he never flaunted his talents in the Champions League. He made four appearances in Europe, however they were in Europe’s secondary competition, the UEFA Cup/Europa League. It’s a shame for Europeans that Donovan is a patriotic star.
    Francesco Totti
    Totti spent his entire career at Roma, winning only one single Serie A title. In the early 2000s there was always speculation about the Roma all-time leading goalscorer leaving to play for Real Madrid’s Gal├ícticos. However, such move never came to fruition. For someone who could be considered as one of the best players of his generation, his trophy cabinet is disappointingly sparse. He could have won at least 10 titles, and a Champions League or two with the talent he had at his disposal, but loyalty to his club went first for Totti, and sadly for the neutral, loyalty created another wasted star.
    Alan Shearer
    Alan Shearer’s career got off to a flyer. He was one of the most promising strikers in English history, and won his first Premier League title with Blackburn in 1995 aged only 24. Little did he know, that would be the last competition he’d ever win. In the summer of 1996, Manchester United were after the number one England striker, at the time, however, he made the surprise world-record £15million transfer to his hometown club of Newcastle United. In a bid to become a legend at St. James’ Park with the hope that he could win things with the club he supported, he bit off his nose to spite his face, so it came to be. If he had joined Man Utd, he would have bagged himself countless titles and a Champions League victory, and would probably now be seen as a legendary world-class striker, rather than, merely Premier League’s all-time scorer with only a single trophy to his name.

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