These lists are always difficult to make, but after careful research, we came up with a result. We are talking about football, and specifically about three players who could have done more in the .
There are some well-known players on this list, including a Golden ball winner – who will probably be the polemic pivot here, but I highly recommend you to read until the end!
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Club where he served in Italy: Roma and Parma
Individual awards: (2013-14)
Gervinho arrived in Italy from England and was soon considered one of the main African players in the Italian ‘Serie A’ championship.
Playing for Roma, he met Coach Rudi Garcia, who trained him at , and became one of the most important pieces of the capital’s team. Alongside Francesco Totti, he was the main player in the Roman offensive system during his career there. He even shared with the captain the wingman trophy in Serie A, with 10 assists.
Following a long career at Roma, Gervinho moved to Parma, where he’s been playing until nowadays. He’s been scoring his goals, but generally, he’s been really discrete after an initial boom.
We open this list with Gervinho because, despite his undeniable skills, he hasn’t won any trophies so far playing in Italy.
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Club where he served in Italy: Torino (1994-96)
Born Abedi Ayew, the attacking midfielder became Pele due to his great ability and physical resemblance with the Brazilian legend.
When he arrived at Torino, at the end of his career, Abedi Pele was already a well-known player: he had a UCL and three French Championships in his CV for Olympique Marseille, where he was an absolute legend.
Besides club trophies, he was also nominated three times as African Player of the Year.
He was already one of the greatest African players in history when he arrived in Torino, at almost 30 years old.
In 1994, Pele was hired by Torino who wanted to compete again at the top of the table, as at the beginning of that decade. The Ghanaian arrived to add a touch of genius to the squad, replacing the Uruguayan Enzo Francescoli, who was returning to .
Abedi Pele’s first season in Italy was very good on a personal level: he formed a good Torino team alongside Ruggiero Rizztelli and Andrea Silenzi, made 32 of 34 possible games in Serie A and scored 10 goals – half of them on teams that ended up relegated.
Torino was in the middle of the table, however, that year, they managed to win both games against Juventus, a feat – just remember that until today, almost 20 years later, Juve are undefeated against their rivals.
The following year, Pele played only 17 times and scored three goals, and could not prevent the team from being relegated to Serie B. As a result, he left the team for Munich 1860, the penultimate club in his career.
Pele was another huge deception in Italy. He arrived at Torino as maybe their greatest signings, but little could he do to avoid a miserable end for the Piedmont’s team.
Club where he served in Italy: AC Milan (1995-2000)
Titles: (1995-96 and 1998-99)
Individual awards: Best FIFA World Player (1995), Golden Ball (1995), African Player of the Year (1995), BBC Player of the Year (1995), Champions League Top Scorer (1994-95) and Listed FIFA 100.
The Liberian striker, one of the greatest African players in history, won some trophies with AC Milan, but it’s kind of a general consensus that he could have done more for the Rossoneri.
At personal level, however, George was bossing football at that time, as he was even the only player on his continent to have won either the Golden Ball from France Football magazine or the FIFA Best Player in the World award.
The two awards were given to Weah in 1995, when he was already at Milan and had one of his great seasons.
Weah was a typical African striker: fast, skilled, strong, daring and a good finisher – even in aerial balls. The Liberian, who arrived at Milan at the , was not as much of a scorer but he stood out for creating many spaces and destabilizing defenses for his teammates to take advantage of and also score.
He also stood out for scoring against Juventus, his favorite victim. In the first year at San Siro stadium, with the responsibility of replacing Ruud Gullit, he teamed up with Roberto Baggio and scored 11 goals.
For the next two years, Milan felt the departure of the coach Capello and went through a low period, but Weah kept on with his goal average and still scored this great goal against Verona, crossing the entire field and leaving seven opponents behind.
Weah still spent another season and a half in Milan, won a scudetto in Milan’s centenary year and headed to England in January 2000, ending his spell in Italy with .
We must admit that there were way worse names to insert here instead of Weah. However, given that he’s been the sole African player to ever win a golden ball, he should indeed have done more for AC Milan.
He won two Scudetti with them, but in none of them he was actually the most important player in the team. He was already 30, but still, it was expected more from him.
Following our arguments to form this list, what do you think of these players’ career in the Italian Serie A? Would you replace some of them? I know there are some way worse names than these ones, but remember the article is not about the biggest flops, but the players who could have delivered more than they actually did.