Here are our 7 World Cup stars who subsequently flopped.
7. Daniel Amokachi - 1994 World Cup
Nigeria made their World Cup debut at the 1994 World Cup, a tournament they went into ranked fifth in FIFA’s World Rankings. The Super Eagles topped their group ahead of Bulgaria and Argentina, with Amokachi scoring one of the goals of the tournament. In a tremendous exhibit of pace, power and precision, he sent a rocket of a shot into the top right of the net in Nigeria’s final group game against Greece. Playing for Club Brugge at the time, the pacy forward, renowned for his thunderbolts, made a £3 million move to Everton. Amokachi became a cult hero at Goodison Park when he subbed himself on without manager Joe Royle’s permission and subsequently scored twice in an FA Cup semi-final, but overall, he struggled in the Premier League and averaged less than a goal every four games. He left for Besiktas in 1996.
6. Kleberson - 2002 World Cup
Goias' player Murilo (L) vies for the ball with Brasilia's Kleberson during their Sudamericana Cup football match at Serra Dourada Stadium in Goiania, Goias State, Brazil on August 25,...
A man who only ever crops up in England when discussing Sir Alex Ferguson’s worst signings, Kleberson starred for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. In a Brazilian squad containing the likes of Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Gilberto Silva, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho which went on to win the World Cup, Kleberson began the tournament on the bench. He made his first start against England, where his energy and tenacity was impressive, and he started both the semi-final and final that followed.
After Leeds failed to sign him after the World Cup, Manchester United saw off competition from Barcelona to sign him for £6.5 million in 2003. Kleberson was rubbish, there’s no other way to put it. He came in as a replacement for fellow South American flop Juan Sebastian Veron, but he was ten times worse than the Argentine. He left for Besiktas and was back in Brazil by 2007.
5. Salvatore Schillaci - 1990 World Cup
Salvatore Schillaci was a top class centre-forward for about six to eight months, and a pretty mediocre one for the rest of his career. He scored 15 goals in 30 Serie A games in his first season at Juventus, earning himself a spot in Italy’s squad for the 1990 World Cup. Having begun the tournament on the bench, he ended it with a Golden Boot, but returned to obscurity shortly afterwards. Five goals in 25 games the following season certainly qualifies him as a flop, and two years after that he was playing in Japan.
4. Stephane Guivarc’h - 1998 World Cup
Auxerre forward Stephane Guivarch (R) controls the ball under pressure from Lens 13 December during the French League Cup which Auxerre won 2-0. AFP PHOTO
You could argue that Stephane Guivarc’h never really starred at a World Cup, but he was France’s first choice centre-forward when they won the tournament on home soil in 1998. Despite the presence of fellow forwards like Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet, Guivarc’h was Aime Jacquet’s number one, starting four games and coming on as a sub in another. He started in the quarter-final, semi-final and final. He had scored 21 goals in 32 Ligue 1 games the previous season, and Newcastle paid £3.6 million to acquire his services that summer. Once named as the worst striker in Premier League history, the Frenchman only actually made four appearances, from which he scored once, but he certainly qualifies as a post-World Cup flop.
Seen as though both El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao starred for the same country at the same World Cup and subsequently signed for and flopped at the same Premier League team, we figured it was fair game to include them as double entrants.
Diouf was really one of the stars of the 2002 World Cup, impressing with his searing pace and dribbling abilities as Senegal reached the quarter-finals, and he made the All-Star Team of the Tournament. Liverpool promptly made him their second most expensive signing of all time, but he became better known being called ‘lower than a sewer rat’ by Neil Warnock - before later signing for Warnock at Leeds - than his silky skills in England.
Salif Diao also made a big impression at the 2002 tournament, for both good and bad. Diao gave away a penalty, scored a magnificent team goal and was then sent off all in a single game against Denmark. Liverpool had seen enough to bring him to Anfield though, but Diao made only 37 league appearances in 5 years, before enjoying a mixed spell at Stoke City.
2. Robert Vittek - 2010 World Cup
Robert Vittek of Slovakia shoots and scores a late penalty during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Round of Sixteen match between Netherlands and Slovakia at Durban Stadium on June 28,...
Robert Vittek is an interesting character. He agreed a move to Real Madrid which fell through as a teenager, and went on trial at Birmingham City a short while later. He had carved out a decent career for himself in Germany and France when the 2010 World Cup arrived, making him Slovakia’s first choice centre-forward. He became the country’s all time leading scorer at the finals, scoring once against New Zealand, twice against Italy to knock them out, and once more in the knockout stages against the Netherlands. Only Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, Diego Forlan and David Villa scored more goals than him in South Africa. After the tournament, he headed to the Turkish Super Lig, but scored only once in 12 outings the following season. Now aged 36, Vittek is currently playing for Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, where he has scored twice in 31 games.
1. Javier Margas - 1998 World Cup
There are unsuccessful World Cup signings, and then there’s Javier Margas. An assured centre-back with a rocket of a right foot, Margas earned rave reviews in his four games for Chile at the 1998 World Cup. Harry Redknapp certainly liked what he saw, and he wasted no time bringing Margas to Upton Park from Colo-Colo. In two years, the Chilean captain made just over 20 appearances for the Hammers, struggling to adapt to life in East London. It was after 2 years that Margas didn’t report for training, for a couple of weeks that is. Attempts to locate him proved fruitless until Margas and his wife flew home and left West Ham. The centre-back didn’t play again, and now apprently owns a string of unusual hotels in Chile.