Search icon


09th Nov 2015

3 of football’s biggest falls from grace

Tom Victor

It seems just weeks ago that Michu was taking the Premier League by storm, but the Spaniard is now looking for a new club after being released by Swansea.

The former Rayo Vallecano man was an instant hit in South Wales, scoring 18 Premier League goals in his first season after arriving for just £2m and earning his first and only Spain cap.

In fact, he was so successful that his price tag was used to emphasise his bargain status, but it now acts as a signal of his falling stock.

But after an injury-hit second season at Swansea, followed by an injury-hit loan spell with Napoli, he was reportedly turned down by clubs over the summer and is now available on a free.

It’s not the first example of a player going from world-beater to unwanted in such a short space of time – here are a few of the most notable.

Amr Zaki

When Egyptian striker Zaki was ranked by Fifa as the world’s best striker, it was met with derision.

But people were forced to eat their words when the stocky frontman scored seven goals in his first eight Premier League games for Wigan Athletic after joining on loan from Zamalek.

That form didn’t last long, though. After hitting double figures in late December, Zaki failed to find the net in the new year.

He returned to Cairo at the end of the campaign, before a short-lived loan spell with Hull in 2010 brought no further goals. Now 32, he is a free agent after underwhelming stints with a number of clubs in Turkey and North Africa over the last five years.


David Bentley

Bentley might have been Tottenham’s record signing when he joined from Blackburn for £15m, but the fee seemed fair for one of English football’s rising stars.

He was one of the stars of a Blackburn squad tearing up trees under Mark Hughes, with his time at Ewood Park highlighted by a hat-trick in a 4-3 victory over Manchester United.

But things didn’t work out at Spurs, despite a wonder-goal in his first North London derby, and he ended up playing less than 50 league games for the club.

Following a spell in Russia and a brief loan return to Blackburn, Bentley retired from football before turning 30.


Marco Negri

Both Bentley and Zaki took the Premier League by storm, but former Rangers striker Negri’s star shone even brighter and even more briefly.

After arriving in Glasgow at the age of 26, Negri notched 10 goals in his first six games for the Gers – not bad considering he failed to score in two of them.

He ended his first Rangers season with a record of more than a goal a game, including a hat-trick against Kilmarnock, four at home to Dunfermline and all five in a victory over Dundee United.

But an eye injury brought an early end to that campaign and a series of other health and fitness issues plagued him in the next few seasons.

He only played three more times for Rangers in as many years before flitting around Italy playing fewer and fewer games before retiring uncapped in 2005.