Name: Juan Sebastian Veron
Position: Central Midfield
Then: Veron first caught the attention of the European elite during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. His standout performances for Argentina saw him named as one of the finest talents in world football. It wasn’t long before he was snapped up, and, just months later, he signed for Italian side, Parma for a fee of around £15 million. Just a season later, Lazio decided to open the chequebook and sign the talented playmaker for £18 million. With excellent vision, a strong tenacious style and eye for goal, Veron quickly became the driving force in a star studded Lazio side. Despite his successes on the pitch, the Argentine was attracting the wrong sort of attention off it. As the 1999/2000 approached its end, Veron faced charges of passport forgery – something he had used to avoid the non- EU quota. It would be the start of a downward spiral for the player.
Now: Veron recently retired from the professional game after a season with his boyhood side, Estudiantes. To say he’s had a mixed career would be putting it lightly. After the passport controversy dried up, Veron was snapped up by Manchester United for a fee of around £30 million. He was expected to drive the club to Champions League victory. However, for some reason, he struggled to adapt to the English game and, at times, his overall game was comical. After two largely miserable years with the club, fellow Premier League side Chelsea took a £15 million gamble on the former-star turn. Again though, Veron struggled – making only seven appearances during a three-year period with the club. In the late 2000’s, he escaped from his European nightmare and rekindled his love affair with South America. His sparkling renaissance at boyhood side Estudiantes saw him named “South American Footballer of the Year” on two separate occasions. However, his European fall from grace will remain as one of the biggest mysteries in footballing history.