Twitter reacts as Ryan Babel returns to the big leagues after years soaking in the backwater.
"He has the potential to be the next Thierry Henry," said Marco van Basten in 2007, as reported by The Guardian.
Now Marco van Basten knows a thing or two about strikers. He was, after all, one of the greatest of all time. So far from us to question the 1989 Ballon D’Or winner’s judgement.
It’s just that, with hindsight, these comments appear rather outlandish. Because this prodigious, world-beater-to-be was one Ryan Babel. And he was, as you all know, most certainly not “the next Thierry Henry.”
Twelve league goals in four years at Liverpool dented that particular argument very early on and dismal spells at Hoffenheim, Ajax, Kasimpasa and Al Ain hardly helped either. In fact, in 14 games in the Arabian Gulf League, Babel scored one goal, insulted the club on social media and was demoted to the reserves.
Consequently, the now-29-year-old is arguably more famous for a mocked-up picture of Howard Webb than any on-pitch genius.
But, if all goes to plan, Babel could be gifted a scarcely deserved route back into the European game with mid-table La Liga side Deportivo, according to Sport, as they aim to cover the absences of crocked newcomer Joselu and last season's top scorer Lucas Perez (below). As you can imagine, the club’s fans are just enamoured with the news.
Babel to cover for Joselu. Don't expect much, whatsoever. An OK signing with a high chance of disappointment. https://t.co/cGIx1d4KiC— Chris (@MoarFootball) September 14, 2016
The signing of @Ryanbabel has very litle chance of success. I am one of those people who thinks it is better to sign no one.— Felipe Matilla (@FelipeMatilla) September 14, 2016
Ryan Babel to Depor is so random.— Víctor (@WeTheCapital) September 14, 2016
@Ryanbabel amazing how category nothing players always find a club to line their pockets...— Mark Bouwhuis (@Mbouwhuis1981) September 14, 2016
Ryan Babel to Dépor is about as random as Kevin Prince Boateng (below) at Las Palmas.— Adri Lourido (@adrilourido) September 14, 2016
Ryan Babel to Depor. WTF.— Hαłłναяðя⚽ (@Hallvardr_vcf) September 14, 2016
Not understanding the signing of Ryan Babel. Prefer we didn't sign. This isn't FIFA 09— Miguel Lago (@Fieiro) September 14, 2016
That's not to say no one is optimistic though. Or is this just thinly-veiled sarcasm? You be the judge.
Lol Ryan Babel to Depor. Life is beautiful.— Migueliño (@miguelismo1919) September 14, 2016