These players were hyped from their early teens. But not everyone can go on to be the next Diego Maradona or Ivan Campo. We take a look at where some of these football prodigies have ended up.
Ravel Morrison - Brain Surgeon
The Manchester United starlet’s football career didn’t quite take off as Sir Alex Ferguson had predicted. After several unsuccessful loan spells the young Englishman was picked up by UCH for an internship. He managed to transfer his skills from the pitch to the surgery room and is now a world-renowned neurosurgeon. A real shame he couldn’t make it as a footballer.
Marko Marin - Waterslide Guy
This one probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The 29-year-old German works at waterparks all around Europe, manning the waterslide, almost reminiscent of all those defenders who managed to man-mark Marin out of countless games of football. Also teaches surfing on the side.
Micah Richards - Gender Studies Professor
The former Manchester City powerhouse looked a promising centre-back. After falling out of favour with clubs in England he emigrated to the states in hope of playing in the MLS. He instead ended up studying at Harvard and then becoming a professor there. Fate can be a cruel mistress.
Jack Rodwell - ISIS
You always got the feeling football was never quite right for Rodwell. It’s refreshing seeing him flourishing, doing something he truly loves. Rumours of a transfer to a resurgent Al-Qaeda on the cards.
Bojan Krkic - The One Show
Everybody’s favourite talk-show host. Believe it or not he actually had his beginnings in football. The La Masia product went from sharing the pitch with the likes of Leo Messi and Thierry Henry, to sharing the studio with Alex Jones. An upgrade, we can all agree.
Neymar - Trawlerman
Took us a while to track this lad’s whereabouts. Really went off the radar after leaving Brazilian club Santos. One thing we can’t take away from the former striker is his aptitude when dealing with fishing nets and deep-sea diving - a real catch for the trawlermen.
Jack Wilshere - Pope
The injury-plagued midfielder was picked up by the Catholic Church after being deemed surplus to requirements. Is currently enjoying life in the Vatican. If only someone had been praying for him while he was at Arsenal.
Sven Goran Eriksson - Drill Artist
Budding right-back Sven never really managed to find his feet in the world of football. Instead he found his true calling in the heavy beats and raw lyrics of drill music, and has even collaborated with the likes of 67.
Diane Abbott - MP
Now a labour politician but we probably remember her best as Aston Villa’s central midfield maestro. A career cut short due to injuries and contract complications. She could have been the answer to England’s midfield woes over the last couple of decades. The one that got away.