World Cup Flop XI: Including Paulinho, Thauvin and Aspas
The best of the best are preparing to face off this summer with the World Cup in Russia now just hours away.
But whilst there will be a host of Premier League stars in action at the competition some names will pop up leaving fans wondering how they are performing on the world stage.
That is because a heap of players at the World Cup this summer have previously flopped in English football.
Fans of Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle, West Ham, Sunderland, Southampton, Manchester United, Chelsea and even Nottingham Forest will be wondering how some of these players are playing at a World Cup this summer.
So here it is, the World Cup Flop XI…
GK: Vladimir Stojkovic
The Serbian has had two spells in English football. Whilst both Wigan Athletic and Nottingham Forest fans will admit he has a penchant for the odd spectacular save, he is also as reliable as British summer time.
Nonetheless, he will be tending goal for Serbia at this year’s competition. The Partizan keeper will hope to add to his 81 caps in Russia.
DF: Martin Caceres
The Uruguay defender spent just six months at Southampton. He seemed an excellent free transfer signing last February. But he played just once before leaving.
After a spell at Verona, he is now at Lazio and will be a crucial part of the Uruguay defence this summer.
DF: Manuel Da Costa
Arriving at West Ham as part of a deal that saw the ultimate flop Savio Nsereko leave the Portugal youth international struggled for regular football at Upton Park.
He struggled with an ankle injury in London and never made a big impact.
After a move to Turkey with Sivasspor in 2013, his career has been on the up. Now at Basaksehir, he will hope to line up in the Morocco back-line this summer.
DF: Jerome Boateng
A pillar of Germany and Bayern Munich’s defence, it did not quite happen for the defender in England.
He played just 16 Premier League games for Manchester City after joining the club from Hamburg in 2010 and left one year later.
One of the players brought into Tottenham with the Gareth Bale to Real Madrid money, the Brazilian failed to capture his best form at Spurs.
Now a regular with Barcelona after a stint in China he will be a likely starter for Brazil this summer.
MC: Ola Toivonen
Aston Villa fans are probably wondering why Morocco’s Karim El Ahmadi or Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez are not picked in central midfield. However, it is hard to look past former Sunderland loanee Ola Toivonen.
A regular for Sweden, the Black Cats tried to send him back to Rennes halfway through his 2015-16 loan spell. That about sums his time at Sunderland up.
RM: Juan Cuadrado
The Colombian wing-back thrived at the last World Cup. Couple with his form for Fiorentina he caught the eye of Chelsea, who spent big to sign him in 2015.
However, Chelsea did not use wing-backs and Cuadrado struggled further forward in a right-winger role.
Now at Juventus, the irony is he would have been perfect for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea system.
LM: Angel Di Maria
A British transfer record signing for Manchester United in 2014 he spent just one season at Old Trafford.
After four goals and 32 appearances, he joined Paris Saint-Germain where he remains today. Expect to see him out wide for Argentina this summer.
FW: Iago Aspas
Perhaps the most shocking turnaround is that of the little Spanish forward. A complete dud at Liverpool he has been in fine form since returning to Celta Vigo in 2015.
Now the diminutive forward looks set to start for Spain at a World Cup.
FW: Florian Thauvin
In fact, this might be a bigger turnaround. Newcastle fans could not believe how underwhelmed they were with the impact of the French attacker after his arrival at St James’ Park.
But after scoring 26 goals for Marseille this season the 25-year-old is with Les Bleus in Russia, leaving Toon fans rubbing their eyes.
FW: Radamel Falcao
Two seasons, two clubs, just five goals. The tale of the tape from Colombia’s leading goal-scorer in English football.
Recovering from a knee injury it appeared the striker was past his best at both Manchester United and Chelsea.
However, he has scored 54 goals since heading back to Monaco and will look to fire his nation to glory in Russia.
And rounding out the rest of the 23-man squad…
Brad Jones (Australia), Guillermo Varela (Uruguay), Filipe Luis (Brazil), Yohan Benalouane (Tunisia), Dedryck Boyata (Belgium), Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica), Carlos Sanchez (Colombia), Giovani dos Santos (Mexico), Ricardo Quaresma (Portugal), Viktor Fischer (Denmark), Andrej Kramaric (Croatia), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria).
Which of these flops is the best? Can any of them lift the World Cup?