Mbulelo Mabizela pictured here during his time at NFD side Royal Eagles. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
In order to be considered among the all-time football greats it is essential that one be blessed with a combination of talent, good attitude and plain luck. In the cases of the following players, they certainly had/have as much talent as the all-time greats but lacked one of the other traits mentioned.

1. Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela (South Africa)

Mabizela was once one of the hottest properties in South African football. After inspiring Orlando Pirates to a pre-season win over English giants Tottenham Hotspur in 2003, he earned a move to White Heart Lane. Mabizela had the technical qualities to succeed in England and even scored a cracking goal during his Premier League debut against Leicester which is actually regarded as being one of the best Spurs goals of the Premier League era. Unfortunately the Pietermaritzburg-born player’s career was plagued by disciplinary issues.

2. Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal)

During his younger years, Quaresma was regarded as a more technically gifted player than his Portuguese compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo. Quaresma earned a move to Barcelona in 2003 which was unsuccessful. He then returned to his homeland with Porto and won everything there was to win in Portugal. Quaresma had all the natural skills to become one of the best in the world but struggled for consistency, so much so that he only made his first World Cup appearance in 2018, aged 34. He was however part of the European Championship-winning Portugal side of 2016 and scored a crucial goal in the last 16 phase of the tournament against Croatia. He also scored the winning spot-kick for his side in their quarter-final win over Poland in the penalty shoot-out.

3. Robinho (Brazil)

Once touted as being “the new Pele” Robinho was expected to become the face of Brazilian football during his younger years. He earned a move to Real Madrid from Santos in 2005 and was largely inconsistent for Los Blancos. Robinho did show flashes of brilliance throughout his career but never reached the same heights as a fellow South American that he used to be regularly compared to 10 years ago: Lionel Messi.

4. Adriano (Brazil)

In large part, Brazil’s failure to win a football World Cup since 2002 has been due to their inability to find a prolific number nine since the retirement of the legendary Ronaldo.

Inter Milan signed Adriano for a second time in 2004 after prolific spells with Fiorentina and Parma and he quickly become one of the best forwards in the Serie A and became touted as the successor to Ronaldo. Adriano went on to lead his country to the 2004 Copa America title and finished as the top scorer during the tournament.

Adriano’s career took a downward spiral in late 2004 following the death of his father Almir whom he was very close to. This led to battles with depression as well as off the field issues which impacted on his work ethic and performances. Adriano had decent spells in Brazil with Flamengo and Sao Paulo since but failed to achieve what he was capable of doing.

According to reports from Brazil, Adriano is now once again living in the Brazilian Favelas and has been linked to criminal syndicates. In 2014, he was cleared of drug trafficking charges.

5. George Best (Northern Ireland)

George Best is regarded as being one of the best Manchester United players of all time and did help the club to two league titles and one European Cup triumph. What is often overlooked is that Best went on to play for 16 clubs in less than 10 years after leaving United.

Best had immense dribbling and finishing ability but lacked the same desire to win as Pele and Diego Maradona which showed during the final decade of his career.

@EshlinV


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