Football is a funny sport. Rarely do we see superstars maintain their level throughout their career, with many players facing highs, lows and everything in between.
Sometimes, players and clubs are simply not good matches, but there are also examples of players just needing that elusive chance to prove themselves. Regardless, a change of club can be the right answer.
Here are seven players who revived their careers after being cast aside by their club.
Mohamed Salah’s career started off like so many others. He was a hot prospect after breaking through at Basel, but a switch to Chelsea in 2014 just didn’t work out. He had shown flashes of excitement, but rarely had fans off their seats.
He joined Roma on loan in 2015 and impressed enough to earn himself a permanent move a year later. In total, he managed 34 goals and 22 assists in 83 appearances, which sounds like a reborn career, right? Well, we’re just getting started.
That time with Roma led to a move to Liverpool in 2017, where Salah has erupted. He helped turn Liverpool into European champions and he finished fifth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or. How’s that for a career revival?
Kevin De Bruyne
Yet another example of a player reinventing themselves after leaving Chelsea, Kevin De Bruyne‘s career risked stalling after his spell at Stamford Bridge came to an abrupt end in 2014.
An £18m move to Wolfsburg proved to be the spark De Bruyne needed, as the Belgian took the opportunity to prove to the world that he was the elite creator many felt he had the potential to become. He bagged 20 goals and 37 assists in just two seasons, before landing in Manchester City.
De Bruyne is now one of the Premier League‘s elite talents, and his disappointing spell with Chelsea is well and truly behind him.
What’s most interesting about Esteban Cambiasso’s career is that he had to revive himself after leaving Real Madrid on two separate occasions.
Part of Los Blancos’ academy, Cambiasso was allowed to return to Argentina in 1998 after struggling to prove himself, but four years in senior football convinced Real to bring him back. However, he couldn’t hold down a permanent spot in the team, starting just nine games in his final season, and was ultimately released in 2004.
One of the hottest attacking prospects around in 1997, Nicolas Anelka lived up to that billing after joining Arsenal. He earned a £22.3m move to Real Madrid two years later, but that’s when things came unstuck.
The Frenchman managed just seven goals in 33 appearances and was quickly discarded, but he soon rebuilt his reputation back with PSG.
Anelka then went on to represent the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, scoring a total of 208 goals before retiring in 2015.
Things began well but quickly fell away, and by the time 2019 arrived, many fans were keen to see the back of him as they felt he had nothing to offer anymore.
It turned out that all he needed was a dietary change, and Inter were the ones to give him that. Lukaku has been back to his dominant best under Antonio Conte and is proving all his doubters wrong.
Edin Džeko burst on to the scene with Wolfsburg in 2007, firing the team to an unlikely Bundesliga title in 2009 and earning himself a move to Manchester City soon after. He won two league titles in England, but rarely looked like an elite talent.
A loan to Roma saved the day, with Džeko eventually finding the kind of form which had him in the conversation for Europe’s top marksman. He fired home 29 goals in his second season at the club, which was nearly double his best numbers with City.
He was on the Ballon d’Or shortlist in 2017 and continues to score an abundance of goals for Roma, which is why he is still regularly linked with blockbuster moves back to England.
Manchester City spent a long time pursuing a 21-year-old Jérôme Boateng, and they eventually got their man in 2010. However, almost as soon as he arrived at the club, it became clear that City didn’t know what to do with him.
Against his wishes, Boateng spent plenty of time as a right-back, and he eventually pushed for a move to Bayern Munich as he wanted to join a club who would play him in his preferred central role. In hindsight, that was a good shout.
A core part of one of the most dominant sides in Bundesliga history, Boateng has already lifted seven league titles and the 2012/13 Champions League, and he’s still got time to add to that.
This article is brought to you by Final Fantasy® VII: Remake. Check out the trailer below: