10 Players Who've Had a Worse 3 Months Than Steven Gerrard
On the surface, he appears to be a millionaire with a beautiful family, living the dream of playing world-class football. But Steven Gerrard is not a happy man.
On Wednesday, the Liverpool star let slip—according to The Guardian—that the past three months have been the "worst of (his) life," with the misery of letting the Premier League title slip away (pun intended) being compounded by England's abject World Cup outing.
Perhaps what Gerrard needs in this difficult time is a little perspective. To that effect, here are 10 players who have had an even harder time in the last few months...
For much of his career, David Luiz has appeared to be the happiest man in the world. Not a day went by without the Brazilian flapping his tongue around, grinning from ear-to-ear while fixing his hands in a semi-permanent "shaka" gesture.
In the past three months, however, we saw some changes.
Not only did Luiz have to deal with the crushing disappointment of a third-place Premier League finish with Chelsea, but he put in a disastrous performance at the World Cup.
Luiz wore the captain's armband during the Germany semi-final, but instead of leading the troops, he played one of the worst games of his career. He was at fault for at least half the goals, he was constantly out of position and seemed utterly lost without Thiago Silva holding his hand.
Just three weeks before that fateful game, Luiz became the most expensive defender in the world. Now, the likes of Frank Lebeouf are saying he is not fit for the role. No wonder he cried so much.
Stevie G is only too aware that Liverpool's season unravelled at Selhurst Park, when the Reds decided to let Crystal Palace score three goals in the space of nine minutes.
After the domestic season and before his annual attempt to force a move away from Liverpool, Suarez had a World Cup campaign to deal with. However, this was put into jeopardy when he picked up an injury while training with Uruguay.
The talismanic striker managed to score a brace against England "at 50 per cent fitness," but then tragedy struck in the match against Italy, when he accidentally tripped and lost his balance, landing teeth-first on Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder.
Poor Luis was given absolutely no sympathy for his unfortunate tooth injury by the evil English-speaking media, and the anti-Uruguay conspirators at FIFA gave him a four-month ban for the game—just for biting someone on the field for the third time! How harsh is that?
Suarez's future looks a little brighter, as the banned player has now been bought by a team banned from buying players, but he still faces a few more months of no football-related activity.
It's impossible not to feel sympathy for the recent plight of Marco Reus.
The Borussia Dortmund star was in fantastic form at the end of the 2013/14 campaign, and even though the Bundesliga shield was out of reach, he could look forward to a thrilling World Cup in Brazil.
The 25-year-old played in a friendly against Cameroon, but disaster struck in the 44th minute of a match with Armenia, when he sustained an ankle injury that would keep him out of Die Nationalmannschaft's final squad.
So, one of Germany's brightest stars was forced to sit on the couch and watch his teammates win the World Cup without him.
Like Gerrard, he finished second in the league, but at least the Liverpool midfielder actually got a chance to prove himself in Brazil.
Last season wasn't a career highlight for Ashley Cole, mainly because he was being kept out of the Chelsea team by some bloke called Dave.
The 33-year-old's campaign hit a crescendo of disappointment in May when England manager Roy Hodgson told him he would not be coming to Brazil. Cole jumped the lead on Gerrard by a few months by announcing his retirement from international football.
The former England left-back now has the chance for a fresh start at Roma, but as you can see, his fellow Giallorosso might not have taken to him just yet.
It's been a bitterly disappointing 2014 for Radamel Falcao, who looked to have ended his chances of featuring in Colombia's World Cup campaign when he picked up a serious knee injury in January.
However, the Monaco star's rehab went so well that he was included in the provisional 30-man squad to head to Brazil. But just when it looked like he might make a miraculous return for the big tournament, the 28-year-old was ruled out about a week before the action started.
Falcao can grasp a quantum of solace from giving former Monaco teammate James Rodriguez the limelight, but he will be itching to put this period of his career behind him.
In May, Neymar finished his first season in Spain without a major trophy and with just 12 goals—a far cry from the 43 he managed in 2012.
After finishing his duties with Barcelona, the 23-year-old assumed his role as the person upon whom the entire nation of Brazil would pin their hopes for the World Cup.
Neymar handled the astronomical pressure of holding together an average Brazil team very well. However, he received huge blow—both literally and metaphorically—when he was kneed in the back during the quarter-final victory over Colombia, breaking a vertebrae and putting him out of action.
The nation went into mourning and he released a tearful message describing his plight, but it wasn't enough to stop his teammates from forgetting how to play football against Germany.
The last three months haven't brought the domestic or international success he would have hoped for. And now, he has to deal with new Brazil coach Dunga criticising virtually everything about him.
Wayne Rooney didn't have an awful lot of fun last season guiding Manchester United to seventh place in the league—their lowest finish since 1990—while under the leadership of a manager who once sued him for libel.
From there, the 28-year-old striker headed out to Brazil, where he scored his first-ever World Cup goal but was largely ineffective in England's doomed campaign.
Rooney now faces a future under a manager who is calling out star players for a lack of fitness. He must know his Louis van Gaal scalding is coming soon.
Ronaldinho has enjoyed a charmed life, managing to balance a world-class football career with a propensity to go out and party every single night.
There were suggestions that Luiz Felipe Scolari would include the former Barcelona superstar in his squad for the World Cup, but despite a decent season with Atletico Mineiro, he failed to make the cut along with Kaka and Robinho.
Once touted as America's answer to Pele, Freddy Adu has spectacularly failed to live up to his potential.
The former Benfica forward has spent most of 2014 working through a series of unsuccessful trials. In February, he attempted to get a gig at Blackpool, but he failed to impress a side who currently do not have enough squad members to fill a team.
In the past three months, Adu has been on trial with Norwegian side Stabaek and Holland's AZ Alkmaar to no avail. Finally, he ended up with a contract at Serbian club FK Jagodina. It's his 10th club in as many years, and he's still only 25.
It's probably fair to say that Fernando Torres has had a disastrous three years, let alone three months.
The out-of-form striker finished the 2013/14 Premier League season with just five league goals. At the World Cup, he managed a consolation goal in a dead rubber against Australia after Spain had already confirmed their embarrassing exit.
Since returning from Brazil, Nando has been linked with stories of a manager "desperate to sell him" (as per The Telegraph) and he managed to add yet another humiliating close-range miss to his collection.
See, Stevie—things could be worse.