Real Madrid Confirm Appointment of Santiago Solari as Head Coach Until 2021

​Real Madrid have confirmed the appointment of Santiago Solari as permanent first team coach, with a contract running until 30 June 2021.

Santiago Solari was promoted from manager of Real Madrid’s Castilla side after Julen Lopetegui was dismissed last month.

The Argentine, who won two La Liga titles and the 2002 Champions League as a player with Los Blancos, has won all four of his fixtures as manager since taking over as interim boss on 29 October.

​​With Spanish league rules dictating that a coach may only take charge of a club on an interim basis for a maximum of two weeks, Real Madrid confirmed the expected permanent appointment of Solari with a short statement on their official website on Tuesday evening.

It reads: “The Board of Directors of Real Madrid CF, meeting today November 13, 2018, has agreed to the appointment of Santiago Solari as coach of the first team until June 30, 2021.”

Solari, who also featured for Atletico Madrid during his playing career, was initially thought to be only a stop-gap solution following Lopetegui’s departure, with Real Madrid expected to seek a more experienced long-term hire. However, after Antonio Conte ruled himself out of the running, Solari guided Real to four consecutive victories in three different competitions.

RC Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

The first game of Solari’s reign saw Los Blancos hammer lower league Melilla in the Copa del Rey, with further victories against Real Valladolid and Viktoria Plzen.

In his final game as interim coach over the weekend before the international break, Solari saw Real win 4-2 against Celta Vigo.

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4 Football Clubs Who Should Definitely Try to Sign Inter Goal Machine Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi is one of the most lethal strikers in Europe at the moment and with ten goals in 13 appearances in all competitions this season.

The striker shared Serie A’s Capocannoniere title for the league’s top scorer last season (alongs with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile), having netted 29 times in the league, and could take the accolade for the third time before his 27th birthday if he carries on in the same form in 2018/19.

There are several top clubs crying out for an out-and-out number nine to lead the line, and with Icardi’s reported release clause set at a not particularly off-putting €110m, Inter may have a fight to keep their captain for much longer.

Here are five clubs that could certainly use Icardi’s goals…

4. Chelsea

Despite a recent mini-resurgence, the Stamford Bridge jury is still out on Álvaro Morata. 

The Spaniard has five Premier League goals to his name in 2018/19, but has often flattered to deceive and rarely looked like the dominant, reliable centre forward Chelsea have needed since the exit of Diego Costa.

With Michy Batshuayi farmed out on loan and Olivier Giroud a peripheral figure, Chelsea are in need of an instinctive striker like Icardi, who makes the right runs into the area and knows where the goal is. 

His movement causes defenders problems, which was evident against AC Milan in the recent Derby della Madonnina, and he is a deadly finisher, who can score all kinds of goals – just ask Tottenham!

Maurizio Sarri has been linked with a litany of forward options from Callum Wilson to Krzysztof Piątek, but surely none represent the sure-fire quality of Icardi.

3. Real Madrid

It has been difficult for Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo up front and his absence has been visible. 

Ronaldo wasn’t just a goalscorer, he was instrumental to the manner in which the Real Madrid played, getting the ball out wide, linking-up with his creative teammates in Isco and Luka Modrić and making the darting runs, from which he scored many.

The side haven’t found a suitable replacement to score the goals, with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and returning striker Mariano Diaz all failing to fill the void. 

Icardi would be the ideal candidate to try and fill the void at Madrid. He is a target man and selfish poacher like Ronaldo, who would thrive off the service from Madrid’s playmakers. 

2. Manchester United

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho’s faith in number nine Romelu Lukaku seems to be wavering. 

The Belgian has failed to turn up in the big games for United, with his only goal against last season’s top-five, coming against former side Chelsea back in February.

Without a goal since September, Lukaku has just four goals in 14 appearances in all competitions this season. 

On his day, Lukaku can be one of the most deadly strikers in the world. He demonstrated his ability for Belgium in the World Cup, but his performances in a United shirt, differ widely to his displays for the Belgians. Despite having the aerial power and presence to keep possession and link-up with teammates, he hasn’t got a great first touch, causing many opportunities to be rushed and usually squandered.

Icardi could be a vast improvement, considering his ability to control the ball well, which allows him enough time to pick a corner and find the net. The Argentine’s timing of his runs is also an aspect that would certainly improve this United side.

1. Atlético Madrid

Atlético Madrid are a side struggling to find goals in the league this season. The Rojiblancos have just 16 goals in 12 league matches and despite losing just once in La Liga, they have drawn five matches, demonstrating a lack of cutting-edge and a failure to kill off games.

One would think that with Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa, Los Colchoneros would be firing on all cylinders, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Griezmann has struggled for goals since his World Cup win, while Costa is yet to score in La Liga in nine outings. 

The former Chelsea striker has been linked with a move away in January, with the Chinese Super League a potential destination.

Griezmann and Costa are two versatile strikers. The Frenchman is agile and skillful with a wand of a left foot, while the Spaniard is a powerful player, who bullies defenders. However, Icardi is very much a combination of the two. He knows how to get the better of defenders and tussle with his more physical opponents to keep hold of the ball. He possesses good trickery to create a yard of space and utilises his pace to make darting runs.

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Luka Modric Insists Real Madrid Will ‘Give Everything’ to Win Fourth Straight Champions League Title

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has declared that Los Blancos will ‘give everything’ to continue their dominance and win a fourth straight Champions League title as they look to overcome a dreadful start to the league campaign that saw manager Julen Lopetegui sacked.

Modric played a crucial role in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumphs in 2016, 2017 and 2018, the latter combining with an exceptional World Cup to bag him the Best FIFA Men’s Player award ahead of former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in September.

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The Croatian earlier also helped Real to Champions League glory in 2014.

“I hope to win some titles that we have ahead of us, and above all to improve our game. And with the new coach, I’m sure we’re going to improve and have a good season,” Modric told Goal.com as he was awarded with this year’s Goal 50 trophy, handed out each year by the online publication since the 2007/08 season.

“Nothing is impossible in football, especially for Real Madrid, as what we have done the last three seasons is something unimaginable, but we have achieved it.

“Why can’t we go for the fourth [consecutive Champions League]? We are going to give everything. We have to be humble, work hard and respect others because there are great teams and every year it is more and more difficult to win this cup.

“We have shown many times that nothing is impossible for this team.”

UEFA Champions League'Real Madrid v Liverpool FC'

Real are currently top of their Champions League group after three wins and one defeat in their first four game of this season’s competition. A victory away against Roma on matchday five will secure a place in the knockout rounds with a game to spare.

Real have won four straight games in all competitions since Santiago Solari replace Lopetegui in an interim capacity. The Argentine is now widely expected to be more formally handed the reins until at least the end of the season, possibly beyond.

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Real Madrid ‘File Papers’ With RFEF to Appoint Santiago Solari as Coach Until End of Season

Real Madrid are reported to have ‘filed the papers’ that will see the reigning European champions appoint interim boss Santiago Solari as coach until at least the end of the season.

Solari was appointed on a two-week basis after Real sacked Julen Lopetegui and a long-term hire was expected to be made. But Antonio Conte reportedly ruled himself out, while Roberto Martinez and Mauricio Pochettino remained loyal to Belgium an Tottenham respectively.

RC Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Since taking over, Solari has guided Real to four consecutive victories in three different competitions and appears to have done enough to convince president Florentino Perez to hand him a contract for the rest of the campaign.

ESPN clams to have been informed by the Spanish association (RFEF), that the paperwork for Solari to take the job on a more formal basis has been submitted by the club.

Spanish league rules dictate that a coach may only take charge of a club on an interim basis for a maximum of two weeks, after which time a proper appointment must be made.

Real Madrid CF v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga

Lopetegui was dismissed after Real were humiliated 5-1 by Barcelona in the first Clásico of the season last month. The first game of Solari’s reign saw Los Blancos hammer lower league Melilla in the Copa del Rey, with further victories against Real Valladolid and Viktoria Plzen.

In his final game as interim coach over the weekend, Solari saw Real win 4-2 against Celta Vigo.

The 42-year-old former Castilla boss will now hope he can continue to inspire positive results and earn a longer term contract when the situation is reassessed in summer.

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Key Real Madrid Trio Set to Miss Time After Picking Up Fresh Injuries in Win Over Celta Vigo

Real Madrid’s troubled campaign was dealt a further blow on Sunday evening, as their 4-2 victory over Celta Vigo was marred by the injury of three key players.

Los Blancos were two goals up midway through the second half, but Hugo Mallo’s goal gave Santiago Solari’s side a nervy twenty minutes, before goals from Sergio Ramos and Dani Ceballos put the game beyond Celta’s reach. It was a game to forget for Célticos man Gustavo Cabral, who had the misfortune of both scoring an own goal and being sent off.


As detailed by Marca, three ​Real Madrid players were forced off the field with injuries during the course of the match: ​Casemiro, Sergio Reguilón and Nacho. The trio join an already heaving treatment table at the Bernabéu, with defenders Dani Carvajal, ​Raphaël Varane and Jesús Vallejo all nursing injuries.

The report claims that Nacho’s injury is the worst, with Spanish journalist Arancha Rodriguez reporting that the defender will miss around eight weeks, while Casemiro will miss around three weeks. 

Solari will be thankful that the international break has come just at the right time for his side, and will be hopeful that some of his stars will be able to recover during the week’s break from domestic football.

Since the premature departure of Julen Lopetegui, who sensationally left Spain on the eve of the 2018 World Cup to join Los Blancos, Solari has managed to steady the ship as caretaker manager of the club. Since their humbling 5-1 loss to ​Barcelona, Real Madrid have won their last four matches on the bounce under their new boss.

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Meanwhile, ​Real Madrid have reportedly lined up moves for a host of talented young players in the January transfer window, as they look to bolster their squad for a title challenge. River Plate defender Exequiel Palacio and Santos wonderkid Rodrygo are believed to be top of the club’s wish list due to their reputations as potential stars of the future.

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Emilio Butragueno Says Real Madrid ‘Very Happy’ With Caretaker Boss Santiago Solari

​Emilio Butragueno has given the strongest indication yet that Real Madrid will appoint Santiago Solari on a long-term basis, asserting that he is ‘very happy’ with the caretaker manager’s audition.

Los Blancos made it four wins out of four under Solari with a convincing 4-2 victory against Celta Vigo on Sunday to move within four points of league leaders Barcelona, who lost at home to Real Betis.

Butragueno, ​Real’s director of Institutional Relations, indicated that he had been very impressed with the team’s performances under Solari.


“The truth is that we are very happy with him,” Butragueno said after the game, quoted by ​Marca.

“There is no doubt that he came at a very particular moment and has been able to achieve very good results. It was a very complicated game and we also had setbacks with injuries, [but] we had personality and character.”

Julen Lopetegui was sacked two weeks ago after the crushing 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in El Clasico. Real Madrid won just one of his last seven games in charge, scoring only four goals in the process.

In four games under Solari, who was promoted from his role as manager of Real Madrid Castilla, Los Blancos have scored 14 goals.

​El Chiringuito is also reporting that Solari will get the job on a permanent basis following his excellent start. 

There do not seem to be many other managers left in the running for the top position at the Santiago Bernabéu. ​Talks broke down with Antonio Conte, ​Arsene Wenger has ruled himself out of contention, and ​Mauricio Pochettino insists he is committed to Tottenham.

Real Madrid v Real Valladolid - La Liga Santander

Real Madrid must make a decision on Monday, due to rules which prevent a caretaker manager from holding the position for longer than 15 days.

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Celta Vigo 2-4 Real Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Benzema Stars in Thrilling Los Blancos Win

Real Madrid continued their unbeaten start under Santiago Solari with a hard fought 4-2 win over Celta Vigo at the Abanca-Balaidos, on an eventful day in La Liga.

Karim Benzema starred for the Los Blancos to close the gap on leaders Barcelona – who suffered a shock home defeat against Real Betis. The Frenchman opened the scoring, before having a hand Real’s second – only for Hugo Mallo to pull one back for the hosts.

RC Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

An audacious penalty from Sergio Ramos and Dani Cabellos’ curling effort made it 4-1, with Brais Mendez netting a late consolation.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


REAL MADRID

Key Talking Point

Santiago Solari’s fourth consecutive win as caretaker manager wasn’t pretty at times, but ultimately effective. Having come in to the fray following Julen Lopetegui’s dismissal last month, it seems the former ​Real player has invigorated a team previously lacking in confidence. 

RC Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Despite the fragility of Real’s back line, Solari would have been delighted at his side’s creative play and clinical finishing – illustrated in the first goal. 

Both instrumental, Luka Modric’s sublime ball over the host’s defence was dispatched from Benzema who could have had five on the night.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Courtois (7), Odriozola (7), Nacho (6), Ramos (7), Reguilon (7), Kroos (8), Casemiro (6), Modric (7), Vasquez (6), Benzema (9*), Bale (7).

Substitutes: Asensio (5), Ceballos (7), Sanchez (5).


STAR MAN – Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema certainly answered his fair share of critics and suggested he could be Real’s main man this season. Having threatened early on, he gave his side the lead with a carbon copy of ​Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal for Juventus in the Champions League last Wednesday. 

Although Real’s second goal was ruled as a Gustavo Cabral own-goal, the French international played a huge part and tormented the Celta defence throughout with his hold-up play, balance and finishing nous.

WORST PLAYER – Javi Sanchez

Having replaced Sergio Reguillon on the stroke of half-time, Javi Sanchez’s first appearance in Madrid colours was difficult. Up against the energetic Mallo, the youth product was unable to prevent the experienced defender from scoring. 

Perhaps harsh, but a learning curve for the 21-year-old.


CELTA VIGO

Key Talking Point

Despite being the second highest scoring team at home behind Barcelona in 2018, it was their defensive naivety that proved Celta’s downfall on the night.

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They could do nothing about Benzema’s opening goal, but mistakes from Cabral and David Junca were punished by the La Liga giants. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Alvarez (7), Mallo (7), Cabral (5), Roncaglia (5), Junca (5), Yokuslu (6), Beltran (6), Aspas (7), Mendez (6), Boufal (5), Gomez (6)

Substitutes: Mor (6), Hjulsager (6).


STAR MAN – Hugo Mallo

A threat all night, Hugo Mallo’s first goal since October 2016 gave Celta a glimmer of hope with a well-taken volley. Linking up with the impressive Mendez, the right-wing back caused havoc against his opposite number Sanchez and performed far better than his defensive counterparts.

WORST PLAYER – Gustavo Cabral

At fault for Real’s second goal, Gustavo Cabral’s night ended early having picked up two bookings. He endured a torrid evening against Benzema and was clumsy at times. In truth, his evening could have been worse – but for his keeper’s impressive saves in the first-half.


Looking Ahead

Despite Real gathering momentum in recent weeks, the international break could prove handy with a number of injuries. Duo Casemiro and Reguilon were both replaced, in a growing injury list that includes first team regulars Marcelo, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal. 

RC Celta de Vigo v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Meanwhile, Celta’s form will be a concern for Antonio Mohamed, whose side will look to re-group for their next league game at Real Sociedad after the international break.

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Real Madrid Compile List of January Transfer Window Targets to Reignite La Liga Title Challenge

​Real Madrid are believed to have started compiling a list of potential targets to sign in the January transfer window, with the likes of Santos wonderkid Rodrygo and River Plate defender Exequiel Palacio being considered.

Los Blancos got the season off to a terrible start, with their new manager Julen Lopetegui lasting just 14 matches before being sacked. Caretaker boss Santiago Solari appears to have steadied the ship, having won all three of his matches in charge thus far, but the club are likely to target the January transfer window to strengthen and keep their title challenge alive.

Real Madrid CF v Real Valladolid CF - La Liga

According to Spanish outlet Marca, young talented stars are top of the club’s agenda, and they will first attempt to bring forward a deal already thought to have been struck for Rodrygo – with the hope being to bring the 17-year-old forward to the Bernabéu in January rather than next summer.

Powerful defender Palacio has also been earmarked as the heir to Sergio Ramos, and is an Argentina senior international already at the age of just 20. In addition to the aforementioned starlets, RCD Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso is also being targeted, after an impressive start to the season with Rubi’s high flying side.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol - La Liga

The report also states that ​Los Blancos are in the market for an established midfielder and striker, but claims that the club have not yet decided which players to pursue. Certainly, as the club lie seven points adrift of league leaders ​Barcelona, new signings will be a major boost to their chances of hauling themselves back into the title race.

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Meanwhile, River Plate’s president has confirmed that talks between the Argentine club and Los Blancos regarding a possible deal for Palacios will be ​held off until after the Copa Libertadores finalRiver Plate face their fierce rivals Boca Juniors in a two-legged final, with the second match taking place on 24 November.

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Real Madrid Forced to Change Font of Matchday Shirts After La Liga Wins Court Case

Real Madrid will be forced to change the font of the writing on their matchday shirts after La Liga won a court battle against Los Blancos.

Teams in La Liga are all required to use the same font for the names and numbers on their shirts during league matches, but Real opted to use a different font during August’s 2-0 win over Getafe. This is the second consecutive season that Real have utilised various fonts, but they will now be forced to abide by La Liga’s rules.

News of the court ruling came from ​Cadena SER, who announced that ​Real will also be forced to pay the costs of the legal proceedings as a result of losing the case.

Real were pleading for a different font which would emphasise the ‘z’ in the likes of ​Karim Benzema or Alvaro Odriozola, but they have been unsuccessful in their endeavours and must now adhere to ​La Liga’s font regulations.

Spanish clubs are allowed to select their own font during Champions League and Copa del Rey matches, but La Liga require all the participating teams to use a certain style of writing whilst playing in the competition.

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

It certainly has been a turbulent start to the new season for Real, who parted ways with manager Julen Lopetegui after an abysmal start to the season. The Champions League winners failed to win any of Lopetegui’s last five league matches, including a humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of rivals ​Barcelona which ultimately proved to be the final straw for Real officials.

Castilla manager Santiago Solari was named as caretaker manager whilst the club looked for a permanent successor to Lopetegui. The likes of Antonio Conte, Leonardo Jardim and Mauricio Pochettino have all been heavily linked with the position, but there has been no official word on any progress.

Real Madrid v Real Valladolid - La Liga Santander

La Liga rules state that Real cannot have an interim manager for longer than two weeks, meaning the club will have to either confirm Solari as their permanent manager, or find another suitable candidate before the end of the upcoming international break.

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8 Famous Footballers Tipped for Greatness Who Never Quite Lived Up to Their Potential

It’s hard for fans and pundits alike not to heap pressure on emerging talents within the world of football. 

There’s a special kind of excitement garnered by watching promising youngsters take their first steps into the game. 

Some players are able to deal with the pressure and go onto achieve greatness. Others aren’t so lucky. 

For one reason or another, there are some players who show incredible promise in their formative years, but it doesn’t translate to a successful career. 

Here are eight of those players, who were unable to truly realise their early potential. 

8. Jack Wilshere

So much was expected of a man dubbed as the saviour of English football. Wilshere made waves as a youngster, making his Arsenal debut at 16 (the youngest player to do so at the time) and becoming a first team regular by 18. 

Who can forget his 2011 performance against Barcelona, where a 19-year-old Wilshere held his own against one of the greatest midfields of all time?

However one thing cursed Wilshere across his career, stopping him reaching the heights many had hoped for: he couldn’t stop getting injured. 

An ankle problem picked up in pre-season meant that Wilshere missed the entirety of the 11/12 season, and from that point on recurring injuries would halt any momentum Wilshere would build. 

Now 26, Wilshere currently plays for West Ham after Arsenal finally gave up on him in the summer. He still has time to forge a decent career (if he stays fit), but it looks unlikely that he’ll reach the atmospheric heights he seemed destined for.

7. Freddy Adu

All of the hype that surrounded this American starlet proved to be much Adu about nothing. 

The Football Manager legend was playing professional football at 14 after DC United picked him up in the 2004 MLS Super Draft. he quickly attracted attention from Europe’s biggest clubs such as Inter Milan and Manchester United – he even had a trial with the English giants, but couldn’t play any competitive games due to a lack of work permit. 

Adu’s career never kicked on at any point. After finally making his European move to Benfica, Adu endured a string of loan moves, playing for Monaco, Belenenses, Greek side Aris, and Turkish second division side Caykur Rizespor. 

After his spell with Benfica eventually ended, Adu became a journeyman and played for some of the most obscure clubs; FK Jagodina of Serbia, Finland’s Kuopion Palloseura, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Las Vegas Lights FC all gave Adu a home at some point. It’s fair to say that Adu didn’t enjoy the glittering career many in his homeland thought he would. 

6. Adriano

The man who was once hailed as the reincarnation of Ronaldo (the Brazilian) had an explosive start to his career. He made his name at Inter, for whom he scored 42 goals between 2004 and 2005. He was living up to his billing as Ronaldo’s heir apparent with the Brazilian national team, becoming top scorer in their 2004 Copa America triumph. The Brazilian also gained cult 

hero status for his 99 shot power in the Pro Evolution gaming franchise. 

However, personal issues saw Adriano’s career take a nose dive. Inter captain Javier Zanetti recalls that Adriano wasn’t the same after hearing of his father’s death, and went into a spiral of depression which he was unable to recover from. Issues with attitude and weight soon followed, and the player who was once described as a Zlatan Ibrahimovic/Ronaldo hybrid was no longer there. 

He returned to Brazil for stints with Flamengo and Corinthians, but the same problems followed him there. With his father gone and his bank account full to the brim, Adriano lost much of his motivation to play football and so stopped taking it seriously. If circumstances had been a little different, it’s baffling to imagine just how good Adriano could have been. 

5. Mario Balotelli

For one reason or another, Mario Balotelli was never too far away from the limelight. The Italian was a raw but exciting talent during his time at Inter, winning a host of trophies under Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho. There were always question marks over his discipline, but it was always assumed that those issues would be sorted out as Balotelli matured. Unfortunately, said issues would follow him for the majority of his career. 

On his day Balotelli is unplayable; his tremendous technical ability and flair coupled with his strength make him a handful for any defender. He reunited with Mancini at Manchester City, and his time at the Etihad was mixed with success and controversy. Balotelli helped the team to their first Premier League title, playing the ball to Sergio Aguero who struck their famous winner. However his off field antics garnered just as much attention.

His ill-discipline was starting to affect his time on the pitch as well. Constant suspensions and fines, and a training ground bust up with his manger meant that Balotelli’s playing time was restricted, and his place in the City squad becoming more untenable as time passed.

 He returned to Italy with Milan and enjoyed a career resurgence, scoring 30 goals in 54 games for the club. His second stint in England with Liverpool was less successful, as he scored just one league goal in 16 matches. 

The Italian has now taken his mercurial talent to France, enjoying a spell with Nice. While Balotelli has enjoyed a good career by any measure, it hasn’t quite been  the great one that his talent suggested was possible. 

4. Ricardo Quaresma

A player who always threatened to break out big on the European stage, it never quite happened for Ricardo Quaresma during his career. The king of the ‘trivela’ (his trademark outside of the foot skill) had several chances at some of Europe’s biggest clubs. 

He left boyhood club Sporting for Barcelona in 2003, but he only last one season with the Catalan giants. He re-established himself during a four year stint with Porto, which earned him a move to Inter. His time in Italy was hardly a qualified success, and he joined Besiktas via a brief loan spell with Chelsea. For one reason or another, Quaresma was never more than a bit part player in Europe, and he could never capitalise on the promise he showed in his early career. 

He has enjoyed success with the Portuguese national team however, earning 80 caps and being a part of the team that lifted the European Championships in 2016. His goal against Iran at the 2018 World Cup was a reminder of the talent Quaresma possesses, and how good he could’ve been. 

3. Micah Richards

Micah Richards burst onto the Premier League scene at an early age, with many touting him to be a key fixture in the England squad in years to come. While everything started promisingly, the end result saw Richards’ burgeoning career fizzle out by the time he was 30. 

Richards broke into the City first team at the age of 17 under Stuart Pearce, and he became a first team regular soon after. He was also a regular for the England squad, becoming a favourite of then manager Steve McClaren. Richards was the first choice right back for Roberto Mancini during City’s maiden title win, and it looked like the Birmingham born defender was set for a career right at the top. 

However, Richards quickly fell out of favour in Manchester. He made just 19 appearances for the club in the three years following City’s title win, and was even shipped out on loan to Fiorentina. 

His move to Aston Villa didn’t turn out to be the career springboard that Richards might have hoped, as he can’t even get into the Villa squad whilst they battle in the Championship. After promising so much in his younger years, it appears as though Richards’ career will end with a whimper. 

2. Royston Drenthe

After winning player of the tournament for the Netherlands at the 2007 Under-21 European Championships and securing a move to Real Madrid, it appeared as though the Royston Drenthe coming out party was in full swing. However, the start of his career proved to be his peak. 

In his three years at the Bernabeu, Drenthe never produced consistently, eventually falling behind Marcelo in the pecking order. The Dutchman struggled to rekindle any kind of form during his subsequent loan moves (including Everton and Sheffield Wednesday), and started to fall out of love with the game. 

Drenthe tried his hand at a rap career (yes, seriously) performing under the name Roya2Faces (yes, seriously), which is a career move many couldn’t have seen him making after lighting up that European Championships 11 years ago. 

Drenthe has come out of retirement this year to sign a one year deal with Sparta Rotterdam, but the best of his career is unquestionably behind him. 

1. Ravel Morrison

Every single person that watched a young Ravel Morrison play thought he was destined for the very top. Rio Ferdinand often recalls how Sir Alex Ferguson pulled himself, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs aside at training to show them Morrison, who the great Scot described as being better then all of them when they were his age. 

Some described him as the best player to come from United’s academy since Paul Scholes. In United’s 2011 FA Youth Cup winning team, which contained first team regulars Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba, Morrison was the standout. Every account of Morrison from his teenage years suggests that he was a once in a generation talent. However the successful career never materialised.

Morrison was a product of his rough Manchester upbringing, and could never seem to escape the problems of his environment. This led to United selling Morrison to West Ham, where Morrison showed brief glimpses of the talent everybody was so excited about, with his brilliant solo goal against Tottenham in 2013 a particular highlight. 

However attitude problems prevailed, and after a slew of Championship loans with Cardiff and QPR, Morrison headed to Lazio, but the same problems resurfaced. 

Now on loan at Atlas at 25, with his peers from that Man United youth team achieving things at the highest level, one wonders if Morrison regrets how his career turned out. 

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