15 Players Who Will Disappear into Obscurity After 2014 World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup has now finally drawn to a close after just over a month of spellbinding action in Brazil involving some of the very best players on Planet Football.
However, as is always the case in the aftermath of such tournaments, there are those who for a plethora of different reasons will now simply just disappear into obscurity, including these 15 stars…
Not surprisingly, misfiring Portugal frontman Helder Postiga was barely spotted during the recent World Cup finals in Brazil, and this despite coach Paulo Bento losing first-choice striker Hugo Almeida to injury in their opening group-phase encounter with Germany.
However, when the 31-year-old was then called upon to lead his country’s line in their next clash with the U.S., the ex-Tottenham Hotspur and FC Porto forward pulled up lame as well after just 16 minutes.
And given that the Valencia attacker also failed to net during his six-month loan spell with Lazio this year, one has to wonder when, if ever, we will glimpse the player again in action?
Eduardo Da Silva
The 31-year-old Croatia international endured a hugely frustrating World Cup campaign—much like the Balkan nation itself—featuring for just 21 minutes at Brazil 2014 after being brought on as a late substitute in his country’s group win over Cameroon.
However, having recently been released by Shakhtar Donetsk and with rumours linking the forward with a return to his native Brazil, do not be at all surprised were Eduardo da Silva to now suddenly disappear off the footballing radar altogether.
With the 2014 FIFA World Cup expected to be Yuri Zhirkov’s last-ever appearance for Russia in the finals of a major international tournament—and even that lasted for only one game—the left-sided player, who turns 31 in August, will now return home to resume his club career in relative obscurity with Dynamo Moscow.
With the veteran midfielder having finally decided to call it a day with Greece following his country’s World Cup elimination at the hands of Costa Rica in the last-16 stage, we will no longer be seeing Giorgos Karagounis on the international stage ever again.
And with the 37-year-old having also been released by Fulham in the aftermath of the west London club’s relegation from the Premier League at the end of last season, there is now every chance that Greece’s most-capped player will simply slip into obscurity.
OK, so while it may be far-fetching at present to suggest the imminent demise of the Arsenal and Costa Rica striker, eye-catching World Cup displays are also no firm guarantee of continued success in the game, as the likes of Salvatore Schillaci and El Hadji Diouf have both demonstrated in the past.
And with rumours beginning to circulate that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is already planning to offload the striker to Newcastle United next season, then it is not totally beyond the realms of fantasy to suggest a scenario somewhere down the line whereby the player is no longer at the forefront of people’s imaginations.
With the Brazilian national team now set for a major overhaul of personnel in the aftermath of their 7-1 humiliation by world champions Germany in the semi-finals of the World Cup, and Luiz Felipe Scolari’s subsequent departure as Selecao boss, it would be a minor miracle were we ever to see Jo leading the line for his country again.
And while the 27-year-old is certainly a far better player than he was able to show during his fleeting performances in attack for the host nation this summer, the lanky Atletico Mineiro forward is also an attacker with limited abilities at the highest level, who the footballing public will barely notice vanish from our screens going forward.
As brilliant a World Cup as the Algeria international enjoyed in goal for his country, one has to wonder just how much more we will see going forward of the CSKA Sofia shot-stopper now that the competition has finally come to an end?
In fact, unless the 30-year-old is suddenly picked up by a club in a better league, there must now be a strong possibility that the goalkeeper could just vanish into total obscurity after really catching the eye these past few weeks in Brazil.
Despite some bizarre analysis by the Castrol Index which somehow rated the Switzerland international as one of the 10 best players in the World Cup following the last-16 action in Brazil, one suspects that we may not be seeing too much more of the Hamburg centre-back going forward.
The 27-year-old, who featured in all four of his country’s contests at the tournament, struggled at times at the back—as the central defender has also done on many occasions in the past with Arsenal, Birmingham City and Hannover 96—so do not be shocked were the player to completely fade from the world of football at some point further down the line.
The experienced Portugal international featured at the heart of his country’s back four in all three of their group games at this summer’s World Cup.
However, with the Fenerbahce central defender not getting any younger, and the Turkish champions having also been excluded from next season’s UEFA Champions League, one wonders when we may next catch a glimpse of the 32-year-old?
It has not been a great past few weeks for the Ecuador international, who failed to hit the back of the net for the South Americans in the World Cup as he and his country exited the tournament at the group phase.
However, to compound matters further, the 25-year-old has since had his contract with Al Jazira terminated, meaning the striker is now currently looking for a new club for next season in what may very well be a case of "watch this space" as far as the player’s career is now concerned…
Honduras midfielder Wilson Palacios had a World Cup to forget, with the experienced Stoke City midfielder being sent off in the Central Americans’ opening group-phase encounter against France after picking up two needless first-half bookings.
And with the 29-year-old also now reportedly heading out to the Middle East and a possible new career with Qatar SC, having been made surplus to requirements at the Britannia Stadium, then do not expect to see the former Wigan Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur water carrier on your screens again anytime soon.
Let’s face it, would it really be that much of a shock were Russia coach Fabio Capello to now suddenly dispense with the services of Aleksandr Kerzhakov as the Italian looks ahead to the 2016 European championship—by which point the striker will be 33—and beyond?
And if that were to be the case, then you can easily see the Zenit St Petersburg frontman’s club career also drawing to a close, with the player disappearing into the footballing wilderness as a result.
Asamoah Gyan once again managed to catch the eye after a series of impressive performances in attack for Ghana at this summer’s tournament, with the 28-year-old even becoming Africa’s all-time leading World Cup goalscorer after netting his second strike of the competition in his country’s final group match with Portugal.
However, with the player now set to return to United Arab Emirates and resume his club career with Al Ain, there must be every chance the Black Stars skipper will simply disappear into obscurity in the not-too-distant future.
It may be some time, if ever, before we see Steven Defour in a Belgium shirt again following the midfielder’s dismissal for a reckless tackle in the Red Devils’ final group-stage contest with South Korea at this summer’s World Cup.
And with there also some doubt regarding the 26-year-old’s future at FC Porto after Defour was linked to a number of Premier League strugglers at the turn of the year, do not be surprised were the player to suddenly fall off Planet Football’s radar at some point in the near future.
We were already likely to hear less and less about the much-maligned Brazil striker after his disastrous displays up front for the host nation during this summer’s World Cup, with Fred set to return to Fluminense in the aftermath of the tournament.
However, following the 30-year-old’s decision on Sunday to retire from international football, the chances are that last Tuesday’s humiliation at the hands of world champions Germany could be the last time we ever see the player.