Along with massive hype comes massive pressure and while some footballers embrace the attention, others simply fade away into mediocrity.
Sometimes injuries or psychological issues cause a player's career to take a nosedive but at other times it is simply a matter of media and fans vastly overestimating his abilities or potential.
Ill-considered transfers have also undone many great prospects.
Judging by the names who appear on this list of much-talked-about footballers who failed to succeed at a level that was expected of them, being Brazilian or English often comes with an extra dose of hype.
Some predictable names make the top 20, with Robinho, Freddy Adu and David Bentley all appearing. But who will be No. 1?