Chicharito’s agent is a genius. He managed to convince a team like LA Galaxy that the diminutive player is an adequate replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. As North America’s MLS continues to be used as a dumping ground for players way over the hill and those in search of that pre-retirement golden handshake, we look at which faded stars plummeted the quickest, leaving fans of their respective MLS franchises deflated in the process.
When Lampard was signed to a reported $6 million a year deal at New York City Football Club, he was supposed to spearhead a revolution at the MLS new boys that would enable them to begin to compete with cross city rivals the New York Red Bulls.
However, Fat Frank, as some of his detractors liked to label him, still had his heart set on Premier League glory with Manchester City. Because he was officially signed to NYCFC’s parent company, City Football Group, he was under no obligation to play in New York, instead acting as a floater who could move between the group’s multitude of teams.
When the Chelsea legend did eventually take to the field – in the only sky blue strip that New York fans were bothered about – he did perform well, making his signature lung busting midfield dashes. Ultimately, he never lived up to his billing though, and returned to manage his beloved Chelsea, where he’s shortening the odds of the Blues qualifying for the Champions League. He’s certainly worth using a sports FreeBet on at the moment, not something that could be said at any point of his MLS tenure.
Someone really needs to explain to MLS team supremos that players known for their endless stamina and knee jolting tackles might not be quite as effective when they begin pushing into their mid-thirties. None of that would stop LA Galaxy from signing the Liverpool maestro, Steven Gerrard. He huffed and puffed over the course of 18 games, but never really set the world alight, especially considering the fearsome reputation he’d nurtured in the Premier League.
Stevie G particularly struggled with the extensive travel involved in the North American game, along with issues such as the altitude of pitches like Salt Lake City’s. He’s now back in among the sort of blood and guts football he typified, in his role as manager of Glasgow Rangers. It remains to be seen if he’ll thrive as a suit on the sidelines, and any speculation around that is a whole different story.
Don’t go thinking that all MLS failures hail from the land of Monarchy and funny accents. When Lothar Matthäus arrived in the US he was 39 years old and one the most decorated German footballers of all time.
Unfortunately for Metrostars fans, he spent much of his time on the rehab table, or should we say rehab beach in France. Yes, when Matthäus complained of back pain, he decided it best to fly a thousand miles to the glitzy beach resort that is St. Tropez, Rather than having a club physio tending to his medical needs, his super model girlfriend rubbed tanning oil into muscles that were pretty much done with taking soccer seriously. Matthäus is the gold standard for all MLS flops.
At his best Freddie Ljungberg was a force to be reckoned with. He was a member of the infamous Arsenal team known as The Invincibles, who went an entire Premier League campaign unbeaten. Predictably, by the time he made the journey across the Atlantic to the Seattle Sounders he was damaged goods, suffering from mystery migraines that blurred his vision and a hip that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a retirement home. Eventually the former underwear model would undertake something of a testimonial world tour, plying his diminished trade in Japan and India before calling time on his career.