Friday, 29 October 2010

Top 5: Fergie Flops

Sir Alex Ferguson has built a reputation as one of the finest managers in World football, but even the very best make mistakes. Here's five:

5. Eric Djemba-Djemba
Prior to the Belgian's arrival at Old Trafford Eric Djemba-Djemba was dubbed so good they named him twice. I'm not sure who they are, but they couldn't be more wrong.

Djemba-Djemba spent a torrid spell at Manchester United and was subsequently sold to Aston Villa and his career has been in decline ever since.

The Djemb now plays his football Danish side Odense BK.

4. William Prunier
The French defender made two appearances for Manchester United, coming in on a trial basis when United's defensive pairing at the time Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce were both out injured way back in 1995.

Prunier impressed in his first match against Queens Park Rangers, playing alongside an inexperienced Gary Neville. But, in a disastrous 4-0 drubbing at the hands of a mediocre Tottenham side, Prunier looked completely out of his depth and was made scapegoat for United's poor performance.

The Frenchman never played for United again after his trial lapsed and he moved to Denmark and FC Copenhagen.

3. Massimo Taibi
Life after Peter Schmeichel was tough on Sir Alex and finding a suitor to the Great Dane was tough. Ferguson thought he had uncovered a gem in Venezia 'keeper Massimo Taibi.

The Italian stopper at the time was competing with Mark Bosnich and Raimond Van Der Gouw for the number one spot at Old Trafford and impressed on his debut, despite flapping at a free-kick that allowed Sami Hyypia to score. Taibi made a number of top drawer saves and United won the game 3-2, but it was to be Taibi's following two United appearances which sealed a cruel fate for the Italian stopper.

A high-profile error against Southampton and a conceeding five goals against Chelsea, saw Taibi's United career come to a premature end. The following season Taibi returned to Italy, signing for Reggina .

Taibi retired from football in 2009 ending his career with Italian side Ascoli having re-established himself as a top keeper throughout his remaining playing days in Italy.

2. Kleberson
After returning from the World Cup in Japan Kleberson was Brazil's stand out performer throughout their triumphant World Cup campaign. Excitement grew around the North West when Kleberson's transfer to Manchester United was confirmed, amidst a rather strange agreement between Kleberson and his then sixteen-year-old fiancee.

For Brazil, Kleberson was immense and looked a World beater. But hampered by injuries at United, the Brazilian never lived up to his true potential. In Kleberson's two years at Old Trafford he only showed rare glimpses of his brilliance and headed for the exit door before he could make a name for himself.

Kleberson spent a two seasons in Turkey with Besiktas after leaving Old Trafford and currently plays in Brazil for Flemengo, who he joined in 2007 after leaving Turkey.

1. Diego Forlan
For the shear contrast in the player he was at United to the player he has become, Fergie's biggest flop has to be Uruguay's scoring sensation Diego Forlan.

When he arrived at Old Trafford in 2002 Diego Forlan was always set up to fail, competing for a place in the United side alongside a free-scoring Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Forlan never found his feet in the Premiership and it took him a woeful 27 appearances to open his goal scoring account for the Red Devils.

Forlan was sold to Villarreal in 2004 after leaving Old Trafford with a rather pathetic scoring return of 17 goals in 95 appearances.

However, the following season whilst playing with new club Villarreal, Forlan netted 25 goals in the league for the Yellow Submarines and claimed the European Golden Boot award, joint with Arsenal's Thierry Henry.

Forlan has since become one of the most sought after and predatory strikers on the planet, scoring regularly for Villareal, Atletico Madrid and with the Uruguay national side. In this summers World Cup Finals in South Africa Forlan received the Golden Ball accolade, which is gifted to the player of the tournament.

The Uruguayan is one of very few players to leave Old Trafford and prosper, something he didn't do under Ferguson's stewardship.

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