Having watched every World Cup game this summer, I was somewhat amazed and rubbing my eyes in disbelief to see some of our Premier League flops (past and present) perform exceptionally well on the biggest stage of them all.
Here are just 5 names (in alphabetical order) that caught my eye, and showed the world this summer what they are truly capable of when they are in ‘the zone’:
Although the winger cost Charlton £2 million in the summer of 2004, Dennis Rommedahl never set the Premier League alight as he did in the Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven. The Danish international spent more time on the bench and in the medical room than he did on the pitch. In his 3 year spell at the London club, Rommedahl only managed to make a total of 85 appearances (20 coming off the bench) in all competitions and netted 9 times for The Addicks. Having signed the speedy winger for £2 million, the player and Charlton agreed to sell him to Ajax in the summer of 2007 for £680,000…a big loss for the London based club at the time. However, this summer Dennis Rommedahl rolled back the years and was undoubtedly one of, if not the best player for his country. Rommedahl managed to start all 3 games for Denmark in the World Cup and managed to net a goal against Cameroon which proved vital at the time, as well as assist with a goal or two in the other group matches. The 32-year-old received the man of the match award that night against the Lions, and was a constant threat throughout the tournament.
The Uruguayan international flopped so badly in the Premier League that some quarters of the media dubbed the striker ‘Diego Forlon’ and ‘Diego Birtles’ (after Gary Birtles, who was also a United striker that flopped). Forlan was signed by Fergie from Argentinean side Independiente for just under £7 million in 2002. The striker made his debut for the club against Bolton on the 29th of January 2002, and did not score a goal for his new club until the 18th of September that same year. The former Manchester United forward went on a 27 game goal drought which lasted up to eight months. The Uruguayan could not settle in Manchester as he would have liked, and as a result, was forced to move on in 2004. The Uruguayan has since resurrected his career in Spain having had a 3-year spell with Villarreal from 2004-2007 and more recently with Atletico Madrid. Forlan carried his great form into South Africa this summer and showed the world what he was truly capable of. Forlan was Uruguay’s main focal man, and in my opinion, single handily led his country to the 3rd place play off match of the tournament. The striker played all 7 games for his country this summer and also managed to bag 5 goals along the way. Diego Forlan was undoubtedly one of the best players at the tournament this summer, and has done nothing more than enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s finest. Let’s see how many clubs will be knocking on Atletico’s door for the services of the 31-year-old striker this summer.
Dos Santos was one of the brightest young starlets to come out of the Barcelona youth system and impressed immensely with his dazzling performances for the Spanish giants. In 2008 the Mexican was snapped up by Spurs for £4.7 million and has ever since struggled hugely to regain the form he showed in a Barcelona shirt. The Mexican international has not been able to cement a first-team place at Spurs, and as a result has had loan spells with Ipswich Town and most recently Galatasaray. Giovani has so far made a total of 15 appearances for the North London club and scored 3 goals…a major flop, especially considering how and where his career started off. However, in the World Cup this summer, Giovani dazzled for Mexico and showed what he is truly capable of and has certainly given Harry Redknapp a bit to think about this season.
With a flawless CV at hand, many would have thought that the holding midfielder would have achieved great personal success in the English game, sadly we all thought wrong. The Argentinean international arrived in the Premier League in 2001 and left swiftly after only 3 seasons in the best league in the world. The midfielder cost Manchester United £28.1 million in 2001 and a further £15 million for Chelsea in 2003…at both clubs he flopped big time. Veron failed miserably in his attempt to adapt to the faster pace of the Premier League, and as a result, the midfielder was given less time to think on the ball. Considering the amount of money splashed out on the Argentine’s services (£43.1 million in total), Veron had to be labelled as a Premier League flop. Juan Sebastian Veron’s transfers to both Manchester United and Chelsea were listed by The Times amongst the 50 worst transfers ever in Premier League history. This summer in South Africa however was a totally different story. The 35-year-old did very well alongside Javier Mascherano in the Argentine midfield and was a solid performer when given time on the pitch. Veron showed off his wide range of passing, positional experience and was somewhat of a leader on the field this summer…he’s still slow off the mark mind you, but what do you expect from a 35-year-old central midfielder. His time in South Africa proved to everyone watching, that in fact there’s still a little bit more fuel left in the tank.
Mark Hughes signed the Brazilian international for and estimated £32.5 million from Real Madrid on the final day of the summer window in 2008. High expectations were expected of the Brazilian after producing some wonderful performances in the Primera League, sadly for City the 26-year-old has failed to adapt to the English game. Robinho has made a total of 53 appearances for the club so far and has only managed to accumulate a poor 16 goal return in the process. The forward scored only one goal last season in an F.A Cup tie against lower league side Scunthorpe and has fallen down the pecking order, which evidently prompted a move to his old club Santos in January this year. However, this summer in South Africa, Robinho looked like the player he once was. The creative spark returned and with that came special performances for his country this summer. 2 goals in 4 appearances is not a bad return, but it was his creativity and runs which would have impressed the City fans. Robinho was arguably one of Brazil’s best performers during the World Cup tournament, and will more than likely be looked at more closely this season by his City boss Roberto Mancini.
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