Football’s most expensive flops

2012-04-02 08:42

Ridiculous price tags, huge wages and mega-rich owners have become all too familiar in football.

Even in times of recession, football clubs continue to break the bank when signing high-profile players.

Unfortunately, a big-name signing does not always guarantee success; just ask Chelsea’s Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker has endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge where he has been a shadow of the free-scoring figure that Liverpool fans adored.

But Torres is just one of many very expensive flops in recent times.

Even veterans like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger have had a few shocking signings that failed to justify their price tags.

Some of the most expensive failures are:

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – His move from Inter Milan to Barcelona was expected to bolster an already formidable attack. But Ibrahimovic never settled at the Catalan giants and although he scored 16 goals in 29 appearances, his transfer is seen as a failure. He cost Barca about £54 million (R664 million), the second highest transfer fee at the time. Despite signing a five-year contract, Ibrahimovic was loaned to AC Milan at the end of his first season after a fall-out with manager Pep Guardiola.

Andy Carroll – Desperation is the only possible explanation for Liverpool forking out £35 million (R430 million) for an unproven striker. With Fernando Torres sold to Chelsea, Liverpool needed a replacement fast as transfer deadline day loomed. Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish could be forgiven for trying to appease Liverpool fans who were still smarting from the sale of their beloved Torres. But panic buying is never a great idea as both the manager and fans have learnt. Carroll was having a fine season at Newcastle United but has been a miserable failure at Liverpool. He may still prove his critics wrong but over a year since his move, there has been little to suggest that this will be the case.

Kaka – While brilliant during his time at AC Milan, Kaka has found life in Spain with Real Madrid a lot more difficult. In 2009, Madrid paid £55 million (R676 million) for the former World Player of the Year and while there have been glimpses of the old Kaka that would terrorise the opposition with his footwork, he has failed to impress on many occasions. The 29-year-old has scored 20 goals in 62 appearances for Madrid.

Andriy Shevchenko – Regarded as one of the world’s top strikers, Shevchenko was yet another expensive addition to Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea squad when he signed from AC Milan in 2006. He started well enough by scoring on his debut but goals became more and more rare, with Shevchenko only netting nine goals in 47 appearances. Definitely not worth his £30.8 million (R379 million) price tag.

Juan Sebastian Veron – Manchester United signed the Argentine midfield maestro for £28.1 million (R346 million) from Lazio in 2001. Veron struggled to adapt to the faster pace of English football and scored seven goals in 51 appearances. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson defended the player’s performances but two years later the Red Devils were glad to see the back of him when he was sold to rivals Chelsea for about half the amount United paid for him.

Not all expensive players fail to live up their hype. Christiano Ronaldo, the most expensive player in football history at a whopping £80 million (R984 million), has been excellent since his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

However, Madrid are yet to eclipse their arch-rivals Barcelona even with Ronaldo’s flurry of goals. Purists will be satisfied that their “money doesn’t buy titles” philosophy remains true for now.

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