6 South American players who failed miserably in the Premier League
Led by the likes of Brazil and Argentina from the front, South America has always been a vast storehouse of immensely talented footballers, with several of Europe’s elite clubs constantly scouring the talent-blessed continent for budding young talents.
Well, probably over half of the plethora of all-time greatest footballers to have graced the beautiful game are South American and the rags to riches stories of some of the legends of the game have inspired generations to take up football as a career.
When it comes to the Premier League in the recent era, the fans in England have been blessed to see the likes of Oscar, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero, Gilberto Silva, Fernandinho and Carlos Tevez weave their magic and set the stage on fire with moments of sheer brilliance.
However, there is a reason why unproven South American strikers arriving on the British shores from the talent-blessed continent are still viewed with suspicion by the English fans.
Historically speaking, the Premier League has not very often proven to be a happy hunting ground for South American stars and many of them have been forced to return to their homeland in a bid to resurrect their career.
This doesn’t only apply to players coming directly to the Premier League from South American clubs but also to those arriving from other European leagues.
Here are 6 South American recruits since the turn of the century who arrived in England with a lot of reputation but never really hit the ground running:
1. Claudio Pizarro (Chelsea)
A bonafide goalscorer for Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and a three-time league winner in Germany, Claudio Pizarro arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2007 with a massive reputation for scoring goals and Chelsea handed the Peruvian stalwart the No.14 shirt for the 2007-08 season.
However, the Blues fans would probably not like to recall the following sequence of events because Pizarro’s talents got lost in translation upon his arrival in English football and he simply made a mockery of his vast reputation, scoring only twice in 32 appearances in all competitions.
Tipped by many to be Chelsea’s answer to Nolberto Solano, a Peruvian midfielder who had graced Newcastle United from the late 90s to the mid-2000s, Pizarro hardly ever lived up to the expectations and quite unsurprisingly, he was deemed surplus to demands at the club just after a season.
The towering forward returned to the Bundesliga in 2008 and immediately rediscovered his old form, winning the UEFA Champions League with Bayern in 2012-13.
Now 40, Pizarro is still active in the Bundesliga and the upcoming 2019-20 campaign is expected to be his swansong in professional football.
2. Diego Forlan (Man United)
‘South American players and Man United are not really a match made in heaven’ is a cliche that probably originated from Juan Sebastian Veron’s failures at Old Trafford around the turn of the century and accentuated even a more by Diego Forlan, who arrived in the Premier League from Argentinian club Independiente in January 2002.
Having scored 41 goals in 90 appearances for Independiente over the course of three seasons, Forlan arrived as a bright young South American talent at Old Trafford and was tipped by many to reach great heights under the tutelage of the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Uruguayan’s start to life in the Premier League was not great though, as he failed to find the net even once in 18 appearances in the latter half of the 2001-02 campaign.
He did, however, tease the fans with glimpses of his brilliance in the 2002-03 season, scoring 9 goals in 45 appearances to help the Red Devils claim the Premier League title.
The highlight of Forlan’s United career was scoring a brace in a league victory over Liverpool as well as the winner against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the League Cup.
The Uruguayan left United for Villarreal with a lacklustre record of 17 goals in 98 appearances but he took the La Liga by storm with 25 goals in his debut campaign.
Forlan plundered goals for fun at Villarreal and later on at Atletico Madrid, winning the Europa League with the latter and going down as one of the greatest ever Uruguayan footballers of all time for his heroics at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
3. Agustin Delgado (Southampton)
One of the most feared South American strikers of his generation and arguably the finest striking talent to have emerged from Ecuador’s production line, Agustin Delgado enjoyed resounding success with Ecuadorian clubs El Nacional and Barcelona SC, as well as Nexaca in Mexico before earning a move to the Premier League with Southampton in 2001.
Delgado’s decision to play for Ecuador at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with an existing injury proved to be one of the worst of his career and when he returned to England’s south coast after the tournament, his injury turned out to be a chronic one.
That coupled with his reluctance to learn English and difficulties in adapting to life on the British shores meant that Delgado was never going to fulfil his promise in the Premier League.
The Ecuadorian scored only twice in 15 appearances over the course of three seasons before heading back to his homeland with Aucas to pick up the pieces of his tottering career.
4. Guido Carrillo (Southampton)
Shifting the focus to some of the more recent transfer blunders, Guido Carrillo was neither a bonafide goalscorer in Europe nor an international player for Argentina at the senior level when he arrived at Southampton for a then club-record fee of £19.2million from Monaco in January 2018.
A tally of 21 goals in 95 outings for Monaco didn’t really make Carrillo a prolific striker but the lofty price tag meant that the fans at St. Mary’s had every reason to expect big things from him.
Well, the move went down as one of the worst ever January transfers in the Premier League and six months later, those who had viewed Mauricio Pellegrino’s decision to play a gamble on the Argentinian with scepticism, were absolutely right.
It didn’t take long for the Saints to figure out that Carrillo lacked the general nous of a striker to thrive in the Premier League and the Argentinian failed to find the net in 10 appearances in the latter half of the 2017-18 campaign.
Carillo was shipped out on loan to Leganes in the La Liga last summer and Southampton have another white elephant in their ranks to get rid of after the failures of Sofiane Boufal.
5. Afonso Alves (Middlesbrough)
Talk about Guido Carrilo being one of the worst January transfers in the Premier League, Afonso Alves isn’t far behind in that regard. Signed for a fee of £12.5million by Middlesbrough from Dutch club Heerenveen back in January 2008, Alves arrived at the Riverside Stadium as a full international for Brazil and certainly one of the hottest striking properties in Europe.
The move looked like a good fit for Boro given that Alves had netted 48 goals in 48 appearances for Heerenveen prior to his arrival on Teesside.
However, a bright start to his Premier League career which included a hat-trick in an 8-1 drubbing of Man City soon degenerated into a series of lacklustre displays, as the Brazilian seemed to have forgotten the art of scoring goals,
Alves found the net on only 10 occasions in 42 Premier League outings and Middlesbrough were relegated just 16 months after signing him.
6. Nicolas Medina (Sunderland)
The second Argentinian player in this list, Nicolas Medina carved out a massive reputation for himself as one of the burgeoning talents in his homeland at his boyhood club Argentinos Juniors before earning a move to Sunderland in 2001.
Medina made only a solitary FA Cup appearance for the club and never actually featured in a league game, making him one of the club’s worst-ever transfers.
Medina won the Gold Medal with Argentina at the 2004 Athens Olympics and played for Spanish second-tier clubs Real Murcia and Leganes before returning to his homeland.
Now 37, he is still active in professional football and currently plies his trade with Peruvian club Sport Huancayo.
3 Winners and 3 Losers from PL gameweek 5 including Tottenham and Arsenal
3 Winners and 3 Losers from Premier League gameweek 5
Premier League action returned with a bang after the end of the first international break of the season and Round 5 of the 2019-20 campaign produced some mesmerizing football for all sets of fans to savour and admire.
Man City’s shock 3-2 defeat away at Norwich City was arguably the hottest talking point from this weekend, while a few of the other big-six clubs, including Man United, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea should also be happy with how things panned out for them in Round 5.
Arsenal blew away a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road to share the spoils in a 2-2 draw against Watford, while top-six hopefuls Everton were beaten 3-1 away at Bournemouth.
Watford and Wolves once again finished the week as the only two sides in the Premier League who are yet to register a single victory thus far.
Without further ado, let us take a look at 3 winners and 3 losers from Round 5 of the Premier League:
Jurgen Klopp’s side stretched their lead over defending champions Man City to five points at the top of the table, as a first-half brace from Sadio Mane followed by a third goal from Mo Salah in the second half guided the Reds to a comfortable 3-1 comeback victory over Newcastle United.
Jetro Willems put the Magpies in the driver’s seat early in the game with his pile driver from the edge of the box but heroics from Mane, and Roberto Firminio who came on as a substitute for Divock Origi midway through the first half ensured that Liverpool stretched their winning run in the Premier League to 14 games in a row, becoming only the fourth team to achieve such a feat.
While it was more of a regulation victory for Liverpool, the fans at Anfield have every reason to hope that Man City’s stumble at Carrow Road proves to be one of the title-defining moments later on in the season.
Nevertheless, for the time being, Liverpool have a lot of breathing space with a five-point lead at the top of the standings.
It was a treat to watch how Chelsea’s young guns completely whitewashed an underwhelming Wolves side 2-5 away from home on Saturday, with Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick making him the youngest Blues player to achieve such a feat in the Premier League.
Frank Lampard’s side had come under criticism for blowing away a two-goal lead at home against Sheffield United prior to the international break but the Blues absolutely demolished Wolves in ruthless fashion to get back to winning ways and finished the week placed 6th in the standings.
While Abraham stole much of the limelight with his hat-trick, fellow academy graduate Fikayo Tomori also got the crowd off its feet with an absolute stunner from 35 yards out, as did Mason Mount, who bagged his third goal of the league season.
3. Tottenham Hotspur
Having lost 1-0 to Newcastle United and drawn 2-2 away at Arsenal prior to the international break, Spurs came into the game against Crystal Palace with only a solitary victory in their first four games.
However, the home fans will be relieved after the Lilywhites produced arguably their best display of the season thus far and cruised to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Roy Hodgson’s side, who dropped down to 12th place in the standings after that defeat.
An own goal from Patrick van Aanholt, sandwiched by Heung-min Son’s brace and Erik Lamela’s strike made the score 4-0 before the interval and though Spurs moved up to 3rd place in the standings this week, they still have plenty of catch-up to do if they are to get back in the title race.
1. Man City
It was always going to be interesting to see how Man City would cope with the opposition in the Premier League following Aymeric Laporte’s injury and the defensive blunders against Norwich City are sure to have Pep Guardiola scratching his head to find a solution for the upcoming fixtures.
Some poor marking allowed Kenny McLean to head home the opener for the Canaries early in the first-half before Teemu Pukki took advantage of some ineffective coordination at the back to set up Todd Cantwell for the second.
Sergio Aguero pulled one back just at the stroke of the interval but a horrible error from Nicolas Otamendi allowed Pukki to make it 3-1 in favour of the hosts. It stayed that way until Rodrigo found a late goal. City struggled to hit great heights against a Norwich side that ran them ragged with their never-say-die mentality on the pitch.
Undoubtedly, Man City’s defeat comes as the first big twist in the title race and Guardiola will be aware that his team cannot afford such slip-ups if they are to keep themselves within striking distance of Liverpool at the top of the table.
Arsenal didn’t have the worst of results in Round 5 but Unai Emery is likely to be disappointed to have come away with just a draw from the trip to Watford, with the Gunners blowing away a two-goal lead in the second half to somehow salvage a point.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s brace in the first half was cancelled out by goals from Tom Cleverly and Roberto Pereyra after the interval, the latter coming from the penalty spot after the Argentine was tripped by David Luiz inside the box.
A victory over Watford would have propelled the Gunners to 3rd place in the standings, ahead of Spurs, who currently hold that position, but some poor defending and lack of resilience at the back cost Arsenal heavily once again.
A victory over Bournemouth would have seen Everton finish the week in the top four but instead, the Toffees currently find themselves outside the top-ten, languishing at 11th place in the standings after suffering a 3-1 defeat to the Cherries away on the south coast.
Callum Wilson’s opener was cancelled out by Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header just at the stroke of the interval before Ryan Fraser made it 2-1 with a free-kick and Wilson put the game to bed with his second goal midway through the second half.
The Toffees failed to capitalise on their chances and this defeat definitely comes as a big blow to their hopes of challenging for a top-six place.
[Image] Premier League Team of the Week for gameweek 5 featuring Chelsea duo and Norwich star
2019-20 Premier League: Team of the Week Round 5
Premier League returned to action with a bang this weekend after the end of the international break and Round 5 witnessed plenty of turnarounds in fortunes for some of the big-six clubs.
Wolves continued their losing habits and Everton stumbled against Bournemouth, while newcomers Norwich City grabbed the headlines with a shock 3-2 victory over Man City at Carrow Road.
There were plenty of individual performances that got the crowd off their seats and it is now time to assemble the standout performers from Round 5 in our Team of the Week.
Premier League Team of the Week
Tim Krul (GK)
The Dutchman showed a tremendous level of calmness and composure between the sticks against a world-class Man City attack and made several key saves to propel his team to an upset victory.
Serge Aurier (RB)
Perhaps a rather surprise inclusion in the list, the Ivorian announced his return to Spurs’ starting eleven in an emphatic manner and stole the show against Crystal Palace with a superb all-round display.
Harry Maguire (CB)
The England international returned to face his former club Leicester City and did ever so well to keep Jamie Vardy at bay in the Red Devils’ 1-0 victory at Old Trafford.
Fikayo Tomori (CB)
He might not have done an awful lot defensively in Chelsea’s 5-2 victory over Wolves but his 35-yeard screamer is likely to be one of the top contenders for the Goal of the Season award.
Andrew Robertson (LB)
The Scotsman assisted Sadio Mane’s equaliser in the 3-1 triumph over Newcastle and put in yet another lion-hearted performance down the left-hand side of the pitch.
Scott McTominay (CDM)
The youngster was one of the brightest sparks in United’s victory over Leicester this weekend, thwarting the Foxes with numerous interventions in the middle of the park.
Emiliano Buendia (LM)
Norwich City, as a unit, completely outplayed Man City in the 3-1 win at home and the Argentinian was one of the standout performers with his creativity and uncompromised work rate.
Heung-min Son (RM)
The Korean hasn’t had the best start to the season but he finally rose to the occasion and bagged a brace in the 4-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace, including a stunning volley that rattled the net.
Roberto Firmino (CAM)
The only inclusion in the elite eleven who came on as a substitute, the Brazilian changed the whole complexion of the game in favour of Liverpool and completely bamboozled the Magpies with his guile, craft and work rate.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (ST)
One of the sure contenders for the Golden Boot this season, the Gabonese international took his tally up to 5 goals with a well-taken brace against Watford.
Tammy Abraham (ST)
The Chelsea academy graduate just can’t stop scoring at the moment. The youngster bagged a hat-trick in the Blues’ 5-2 triumph over Wolves and took his tally up to 7, becoming Chelsea youngest-ever player to score a Premier League hat-trick.
Chelsea vs Valencia: Preview, Team News, Prediction and more
Chelsea vs Valencia: Preview, Team News, Predicted XI and Score Prediction
With the international break finally over, Chelsea made a wonderful return to the Premier League with an emphatic 5-2 victory over Wolves away from home, thanks to a hat-trick from Tammy Abraham.
Having managed to steady the boat in the league after a series of lacklustre results, Frank Lampard is now set to turn his attention to the UEFA Champions League for the first time in his managerial career, with the Blues preparing to play host to Valencia on Matchday 1 at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have been drawn together with Valencia, last year’s semi-finalists Ajax and previous season’s Ligue 1 runners-up LOSC Lille in Group H and the home fixture on Matchday 1 could be crucial in helping the Blues pick up the early momentum.
Chelsea enjoyed an unbeaten run en route to their Europa League glory under Maurizio Sarri last season and they will be hoping to make an impact on Europe’s elite stage this time around.
Intriguingly, all the 11 goals that Chelsea have scored in the Premier League this season have been delivered by English players, with Abraham currently the top-scorer with 7, followed by Mason Mount with 3.
Both the youngsters are currently enjoying their first full season at Stamford Bridge and despite a bright start to life on the domestic front under Lampard, it will be interesting to see how they respond to their first exposure on the biggest stage of it all – the UEFA Champions League.
Valencia, on the other hand, suffered a damaging 5-2 defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the La Liga this weekend and new manager Albert Celades will have his work cut out when his team makes the trip to West London to face a new-looking resurgent Chelsea unit on Tuesday night.
Turning the pages of the record books in the build-up to this Matchday 1 fixture, Chelsea have faced Valencia on 6 occasions in European competitions without suffering a defeat in any of those games, with the Blues winning three and drawing the rest.
More importantly, Valencia have won just 2 of their last 18 trips away to English clubs, with the most recent of those victories coming against Stoke City in the Europa League in 2012.
To that end, Chelsea are the outright favourites to come away with all three points from this clash, while Valencia will be looking to better their woeful record away from home against English clubs in European competitions.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is ruled out with a calf injury, while fellow academy products Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi are yet to regain match fitness after returning from a spell on the sidelines.
Emerson Palmieri missed the game against Wolves on Saturday due to a thigh injury and it remains to be seen whether he returns to action in the Champions League fixture.
N’Golo Kante too wasn’t in the matchday squad for the weekend game and is expected to miss the midweek clash, with Kovacic and Jorginho likely to continue in a central midfield role.
Antonio Rudiger, who made a return from injury on Saturday, was substituted against Wolves and Lampard is likely to go in with Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma as his three centre-backs if he opts to continue with a back-three system.
Willian played the full ninety minutes against Wolves and Christian Pulisic, who was an unused substitute on the day, could make his return to the eleven.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham
Chelsea 2-1 Valencia
Given the history and the home advantage that the Blues are set to enjoy, expect Lampard’s men to come away with a 2-1 win against the La Liga side.
Arsenal3 weeks ago
Focussing on Emery’s tactical change against Tottenham – what does it mean for Arsenal moving forward?
Bristol City3 weeks ago
EFL Championship round 6: Winners and Losers of the weekend including high-flying Swansea and struggling Huddersfield
Arsenal2 weeks ago
Premier League gameweek 4: Winners and Losers from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s rise
Arsenal2 weeks ago
Premier League gameweek 6: 5 Talking points from the weekend including Chelsea’s slip and Leicester’s surge