Maicon, at his prime, was considered one of the best right-backs of his time. So phenomenal were his prowess that it led to the extremely talented Dani Alves to be situated on the fringes of the Brazilian national team.
However, at the age of 31, one can already see that Maicon has lost much of his pace and most of his ability. Sure, he has positional awareness and can function adequately when needed, but he is no longer the player he used to be.
Here’s Tottenham’s Gareth Bale turning Maicon inside out during the Champions League of 2010.
Once deemed to be the player to cement himself in the Manchester United team as the next Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani has never really lived up the hype.
Never on par with Ronaldo, Nani has indeed struggled to find a regular starting place in the United’s line-up. Although the flashes of brilliance are still there, he is inconsistent at best and would be better served plying his trade elsewhere.
Another Manchester City player, Gareth Barry was once regarded as one of the best midfielders around. Rafa Benitez’s biggest mistake was perhaps trying to bring him into the Liverpool squad at the expense of Xabi Alonso.
He never lived upto the potential when he left Aston Villa for Manchester City (rather than Liverpool), and he has never been as instrumental for them. Now at 31, he, it seems, is rapidly approaching the end of his career.
What an immense player and a consummate professional Scott Parker has been his entire career. He blossomed into one of the finest destroyers in professional football at West Ham and gave an outstanding performance last season at Tottenham which saw the North London team finish fourth.
However, with his Achilles injury getting worse and Andre Villas-Boas stance on including more youngsters into the team, it seems Parker’s days at White Hart Lane seem to be numbered.
Kaka is still undoubtedly an amazing player. However, Jose Mourinho’s policies have hurt him greatly. Despite his influence on the team and his game changing abilities, Kaka could never cement himself as starter at the Bernabeu.
It would have served him greatly if he had pushed through a move last summer. However, the failure of a move to materialize has seen his talent being largely wasted at Madrid. With old age creeping in, one would wonder if there are many top clubs wishing to sign him.
Nigel de Jong
No longer the sought-after defensive enforcer, Nigel de Jong has seen a rapid fall from grace. Once an indispensable part of Roberto Mancini’s defensive-minded Manchester City, De Jong had to move across to Italy for more chances at first-team football.
He is still playing admirably for Milan, but it seems he has had his peak already and slowly waning off.
Never liked for his arrogant stance, the Danish International, despite being only 24 years of age, is finding it hard to play. Overhyped by himself, it would be surprising if his arrogance were translated to footballing abilities for a change.
At 34 years of age, Pizarro is no longer regarded as the immense goal-scoring threat he had established himself as at Werder Bremen.
With Bayern Munich playing a predominantly 4-2-3-1 formation, he has to compete with the likes of Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gomez, he is often overlooked.
If you haven’t heard, Chelsea are yet to offer a contract to Frank Lampard.
It is indeed a sad state of affairs and shows the ruthless nature of Roman Abramovich. Lampard turns 35 soon, and it seems that his illustrious career is indeed coming to a bitter end.
On a personal note, I hope Lampard continues to play at Stamford Bridge and retires as a Chelsea legend rather than being offloaded and signed by other English clubs.
Abou Diaby is a frustrating character—especially if you are an Arsenal fan. He is injured for most of the season, and on those rare occasions that he is fit, he puts on a splendid performance akin to those of Patrick Viera and gives much room for optimism for the fans.
And then he gets injured again.
He is an immense player, but if his injury troubles are not sorted out soon, he will indeed be approaching the end of his sporadic career.
Follow me on Twitter: @BrenGoetze