Eight Brazilian stars that never reached their potential
For every Ronaldinho, there seemed to be countless other talented Brazilian samba stars that had the flair to dazzle audiences but couldn't back it up with the determination and hard work to enjoy long careers.
Still, we'll look back fondly on some Brazilian stars that entertained us even for a short time. Today's throwback is all about the mega-talented Brazilians that leave us feeling "what could have been?..."
At one point, Inter Milan fans and indeed the rest of the watching world thought that Brazilian Ronaldo finally had a replacement and heir to his throne. Adriano was powerful, had a lethal shot and could bully defenders off the ball with his aggression, skill and pace.
However, Adriano got involved in off-pitch controversies and ultimately his personal problems curtailed what could have been a stellar career. Here's another look at that hammer of a left foot:
Once thought of as a brilliantly gifted attacking midfielder and number 10, Oscar was transformed into a harder-working central player by Jose Mourinho after his £25m move to Chelsea from Internacional. Now 27, he's taken the high-salary route in China, despite it previously being known as a destination for players the wrong side of 30.
Every player of the popular computer game Football Manager would have probably signed Ganso at one point or another. The tall, elegant left-footed playmaker is three years Neymar's senior and the pair grew up together at Santos but then their careers reached a fork a fork in the road and they’ve enjoyed vastly contrasting success and fame. Ganso's eventual move to Europe at Sevilla was a disaster and now he's back in Brazil at with Fluminense. The talented ball-player got eight Brazil caps but it should have been so, so many more.
Robinho dazzled audiences in LaLiga with stepovers, mesmeric dribbling and showmanship. He also turned all of that into end-product in 2006/2007 when he was an instrumental figure in Real Madrid's title triumph. This alerted the attention of Chelsea in September 2008 and the London club thought that they had their man when he was in the capital to sign terms. However, Manchester City swooped in under their noses and parted with a then British record transfer fee of £32.5m to sign him up. He started well for the Citizens but the climate caught up with him and he left the country. Now he's at Başakşehir F.K. in Turkey.
"The Duck" as he's affectionately known, was thought of as the next best thing in football when he was a teenager. Now a few months short of his 30th birthday, it's hard not to look back and wonder how good he could have been if it weren't for all of the injuries he sustained. AC Milan signed him up for a massive fee in 2007, and that fee indicated how much faith they had in the teenage striker. Quick, agile, creative, technically gifted and a composed finisher, Pato was destined for the top of the game.
The injuries started to take hold in 2011 and he was never able to string together enough appearances to get his mojo back. He's since had stints at Chelsea, Villarreal, Tianjin Tianhai and now he's back in his native Brazil with São Paulo.
Arsenal had been crying out for a high-quality central midfielder, and Arsene Wenger plucked this young Brazilian out of obscurity and hopes were high for a player that had captained Brazil at numerous youth levels.
However, Denilson quickly became a target for criticism and frustration from Emirates Stadium fans, for his perceived laziness and indifference on the pitch. Denilson heralded the end of Arsene Wenger's youth project and was replaced by the experienced Mikel Arteta.
It might be controversial to call Anderson a "flop" considering that he's won the Champions League and numerous Premier League crowns with Manchester United, but there's always been the feeling that he could have been better. Ill-discipline and fitness issues meant that he was never a first team regular for long at Old Trafford.
Manchester United's era of midfield flops didn't stop at Anderson and Eric Djemba-Djemba. Kleberson, a World Cup winner in 2002, was signed as the man to fill the large boots of Roy Keane. It didn't go according to plan for the defensive midfielder, who only lasted two years at Old Trafford.
There's another crop of talented Brazilians currently plying their trade around Europe, but which ones will make the grade? Only time will tell.