TT’s Top Five: Players who suffered dramatic falls from grace

Date published: Wednesday 12th October 2016 11:51

TT Top Five: Fading stars

With Wayne Rooney’s powers seriously on the decline, we look at some of the other big names who have fallen from lofty heights.

Wayne Rooney


Many have been wanting to see the back of Wayne Rooney for a long, long time, but there is still an element of shock that his both starting spots for Manchester United and England having been taken away from him in a matter of weeks.

Of course, Rooney is not completely done and dusted, but there is no denying that he just does not have the strong influence on matches any longer.

Rooney has deteriorated from an explosive striker who was mentioned in the same as breath as Pele to a deep, dithering midfielder who cannot keep up with the pace of the modern game.

With Rooney determined to fight for his place, he is going to have to reinvent himself again or else his retirement move to the US or China may be coming much sooner than he expected.

Fernando Torres


As declining careers go, Fernando Torres’ has been pretty spectacular. Scoring a week after making his Atletico Madrid debut aged 17, named captain at 19 and being the subject of numerous failed bids from Chelsea before finally moving to Liverpool in the summer of 2007.

After 81 goals in 142 appearances for the Reds, Torres became the sixth most expensive transfer in history when Chelsea forked out £50million for the Spaniard in 2011.

That was a decision Roman Abramovich would ultimately live to regret. In four-and-a-half seasons with the Blues, ‘El Nino’ would not reach double figures in the Premier League in any of them and is mostly remembered for this horrendous miss against Manchester United.

After failing to reignite the spark in a forgettable loan spell with AC Milan, Torres returned to boyhood club Atletico Madrid and re-joined permanently in early 2015.

Andriy Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko: An expensive mistake by Chelsea

Another signing Chelsea fans will not want to be reminded of is Andriy Shevchenko’s record-breaking £30.8million move from AC Milan in 2006.

Shevchenko was once one of the deadliest and most feared strikers on the planet. After helping guide Dynamo Kiev to five successive league titles, the Ukrainian became the second-highest goalscorer in AC Milan’s history with 175 goals in 296 games during an epic seven-year spell.

It became very clear, very quickly, though, that Shevchenko arrived at Stamford Bridge with his best days well and truly behind him. His desire and commitment to trying to make something of his Chelsea career was admirable, but ultimately there was not even a flicker of a flame left.

He cobbled just nine goals together in 48 top-flight matches for the Blues and promptly went back on his career path with a unsuccessful loan spell at AC Milan before slipping away quietly to his hometown club Dynamo Kiev.

Like Torres, Shevchenko will be forever regarded as one of Chelsea’s biggest transfers flops and all because of the reputation that proceeded him.



And now to the sad tale of the man once known as ‘The Emperor’. Adriano was another potential superstar in the making but personal issues eventually hindered what at one stage promised to be a glittering career.

Adriano made everyone stand up and take notice with a venomous last-minute free-kick to beat Real Madrid in a friendly as a 19-year-old at Inter Milan, before forging a deadly partnership with Adrian Mutu whilst on loan at Fiorentina.

Then at the 2004 Copa America, Adriano became a national hero in Brazil as his seven goals fired the Samba Stars to their seventh continental title and himself to the Golden Boot award.

Impressed with his performances, Inter Milan decided to bring him back to the San Siro but the tragic passing of his father saw the Brazilian fall off the rails.

He lost all motivation, gained weight and struggled with an alcohol battle which forced Inter president Massimo Moratti to send him back to Brazil on unpaid leave.

Adriano eventually appeared to fall back in love with the game after he helped Flamengo secure their first league title since 1992. Roma decided to give him another chance in Europe but they would terminate his contract just seven months into a three-year deal.

He was later released by Corinthians after ‘lacking motivation’ and is now rumoured to be living under gang protection in Rio. Quite the decline.

Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao: Struggled to make an impact at Chelsea

Falcao was so bad at Chelsea and Manchester United that you would not believe for one second that this was the man who had scored a whopping 201 goals in 302 games for Monaco, Atletico Madrid, Porto and River Plate.

Colombia’s all-time record goalscorer was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI and announced as Globe’s Best Footballer in 2012, but his stint in the Premier League two years later would tarnish his legacy.

Just four goals in 29 appearances for Manchester United was followed up with a meagre one in 12 for Chelsea, and he is now back with Monaco trying to resurrect his flailing career.


Mark Scott

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