6 Footballers Who Had Their Reputations Ruined by One Bad Career Move

​Fernando Torres, remember him? He used to score goals for fun and terrorise top-flight defences.

Well, that was when he was at Anfield. You may recall the other Fernando Torres, the one who couldn’t hit a cow’s behind with a banjo. Yes, poor old Fernando went from lethal marksman to laughable misfit after joining Chelsea for £50m in 2011 (back when £50m was actually £50m). 

Once a contender for PFA Teams of the Year and the ​Premier League Golden Boot, third in the 2008 Ballon d’Or, Torres first became something of a joke and then a pitied, out-of-sorts striker in the space of about three months.

That’s all behind him now, with the World Cup winner announcing his retirement from football on Friday. To pay homage to his volatile career, here’s a look at six other players whose reputations were damaged by unwise moves.

Andriy Shevchenko

Andriy Shevchenko

In many ways, Shevchenko was the original big-money flop, the man who paved the way for future flops to go about their flopping. He was a pioneer, if you will.

He totted up some impressive tallies with boyhood side Dynamo Kyiv, hitting 33 goals in his final two seasons in the Ukrainian capital. His performances got even better following a record $25m switch to ​Milan in 1999, the striker collecting a pair of​ Champions League titles and amassing over 25 scores in all bar two of his seven campaigns with the Rossoneri.

Then came the eye-watering £35m move to ​Chelsea in 2006, for whom he netted just nine goals in 48 Premier League appearances.

The best explanation for his disturbingly quick drop-off is that the forward simply didn’t gel with his Blues teammates early enough and never regained his confidence, thereafter. 

Jack Rodwell

Jack Rodwell

I remember Rodwell’s breakthrough year at ​Everton. He swept home a delightful goal during a 3-1 victory over ​Manchester United in February 2010 – the first match I had ever seen him play – and looked so composed, so assured and so ready to take the league by storm.

Then he decided on a move to ​Manchester City, a transfer from which he never recovered. Given the Sky Blues’ astronomical spending in the past decade, £10m for the midfielder doesn’t seem too bad.

It was arguably the worst £10m they ever paid. Rodwell never seemed comfortable at the Etihad Stadium and it was readily apparent that he was out of his depth. He continued to deteriorate following a switch to Sunderland, both physically and mentally, eventually refusing to play for the club.

He has been handed a lifeline by Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers, though it is one that many feel he doesn’t deserve. Despite his steep salary rinsing Sunderland, Rodwell didn’t answer the call in their time of need. Criminal.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

This one is actually hilarious. Sanchez was marvellous whilst at ​Arsenal, offering a deadly goalscoring threat, as well as producing neat interplay with teammates.

At United, however, he’s like a different person. From the moment he missed an open goal against​ Newcastle United less than a month into his Old Trafford career, his spell in the north-west appeared to be doomed. And so it proved, with Sanchez looking more like an imposter than a footballer these days.

He has now become a figure of ridicule for opposition fans and a focal point for Red Devils supporters to vent their frustrations. It still makes me chuckle when I remember that United pay up to £500,000-a-week for his… services?

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

When you uncover the real story behind Carroll’s insane £35m transfer to ​Liverpool, it’s actually rather sad. The Geordie loved his boyhood Newcastle and agreed to join the Reds because he knew the significance of such a ridiculous sum of money to the Magpies.

He didn’t want to go, yet still received abuse from the Toon Army for what was, in reality, a selfless act (sort of). The footballing gods were uninterested in Carroll’s righteousness, though, and struck him down with a plague of poor form and relentless, niggling injuries.

Currently 30 years-of-age, the England international is little more than a squad player at ​West Ham United, only once making more than 20 league appearances for the Hammers since his £15m acquisition. Things looked decidedly more rosy before that fateful transfer to Anfield.


Ched Evans,Robinho

Robinho effectively performed a character assassination on himself after initially looking like a Manchester City legend in the making. The Citizens made him the Premier League’s most expensive purchase in 2008, taking him away from ​Real Madrid for the lofty price of £32.5m.

In the 31 top-flight matches he featured in during his debut campaign, the Brazilian collected an admirable 14 goals, whilst also acting as the creative heartbeat of the side. And then he decided Manchester was too cold and rainy…

Robinho only scored once the following year, the final goal in a 4-2 FA Cup defeat of the mighty Scunthorpe United. He was shipped off to his homeland on loan for the second half of the season, before being offloaded to Milan that summer, never to be seen on these shores again.



Kaka was sublime at San Siro, fuelling Milan’s charge to two Champions League finals. he was just so elegant and gracious on the ball, yet also capable of devastating opponents.

The €68.5m sum Real forked out for him in 2009 by no means seemed over the top at the time the deal was struck for the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner. 12 months later, however, and it felt as though the Serie A side had duped their illustrious Spanish rivals.

Kaka was half the player at the Bernabeu and ghosted through many games. Massively overshadowed and outlasted by Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema who signed the same summer, Kaka’s time with Los Blancos is characterised by struggles and disappointment.


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