Many of us including myself have spent the past three weeks watching the World Cup unfold, rubbing our eyes in disbelief. There are a number of players we used to watch back in the day @ the Premier League who have suddenly exploded to life. Here they are:
Robinho (Manchester City and Brazil)
The arrival of Robinho led boss Mark Hughes to gush: ‘I am absolutely delighted to get the opportunity to work with such an incredible talent like Robinho’ Sixteen months later, they were both out of the club. Funny enough City fans complained the £32.5m signing from Real Madrid seemed lethargic and there were off-field distractions.
To some people he seemed more like a waste of cash. The Manchester City Robinho never scores away from home or looks like he’s trying but when with Brazil he becomes a whole new player.Loaned out to former club Santos in January, Robinho returned to our screens in June a different player with Brazil. The creative spark had returned, the cheeky grin was also present – as were calls from fans and players to bring him back to Eastlands. I hope this happens.
Diego Forlan (Manchester United and Uruguay)
It took Forlan an agonising 27 games to break his scoring duck after signing for United from Independiente in January 2002. And he only managed a further nine in his 63 league games for the club.
He eventually departed for wearing the wrong boots! Sir Alex Ferguson insisted he wear long studs, when he failed to adhere to the edict and subsequently slipped in front of goal – he was out.
The Old Trafford no-hoper bloomed into a Uruguayan world beater. His career was resurrected at Villarreal and more recently at Atletico Madrid and has forced his way into the reckoning for player of the tournament in South Africa. Oh, and his goal against Holland wasn’t too shabby, either.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Arsenal and Holland)
Granted the former Rangers and Feyenoord winger departed north London with a stack of medals but there’s no denying Arsenal fans didn’t get to see the best of the Holland captain. Van Bronckhorst spent three years under Arsene Wenger, picking up a league title and two FA Cups but his tenure was blighted by injury. He made just 41 league appearances for the Gunners before moving to Barcelona.
What Giovanni von Bronckhorst lacked for Arsenal he has certainly made up for in this World Cup for Holland.This tournament is his football swansong, and he’s going out with a bang. Into the final after scoring one of the tournament’s best goals.
Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham and Mexico)
It doesn’t take too much to excite Spurs fans – and the prospect of bringing one of the hottest talents at Barcelona to White Hart Lane was no different.
The long-suffering fans thought they had brought the new Cesc Fabregas to the club but what they got was a Fabregas-lite version – plenty of tricks and touches but not much end product.
New man: Stick him in a Mexico shirt and he’s great – stick him in a Tottenham Hotspur shirt and he grates…
Loaned to Ipswich and then to Galatasaray, Tottenham seemed certain to lose their £4.7m investment in an attempt to off-load him.
But his performances for Mexico have given Harry Redknapp a clue as to what Dos Santos is capable of and the playmaker is keen to return to north London.
He said: ‘I can prove myself here with some patience and opportunities. I need to speak to the club to understand how they look at me – but ideally I want to stay
There’s no doubt that Veron arrived at Old Trafford with an impeccable CV but things couldn’t have gone much worse for the holding midfielder. For £28.1m – and a further £15m splashed out by Chelsea – we expected a little more. He managed two years in Manchester and made just nine appearances for Chelsea before being banished never to be seen again (or so we thought).
Argentina arrived at the finals in South Africa in something of a mess but with Veron holding the midfield alongside Javier Mascherano, Maradona’s side excited. Until they met the Germans, that is. Then they exited.