As is the case in football, careers can sometimes take an unexpected turn.
Over the years, a number of individuals have exceeded all expectations while others have failed to deliver the career expected from them.
Injuries have often played their part in players being unable to fulfil their potential, while on other occasions a professional attitude has proved to be a key component missing.
Indeed, there’s a long list of household names who were expected to shine – but ultimately they failed to live up to theirhype.
Here, Mirror Sport takes a look at 10 players who perhaps didn’t fulfil their potential…
1. Freddy Adu
Freddy Adu signed a professional contract for D.C United at the age of 14 and became the youngest ever player to score in the MLS at the start of his first season with the American club.
Described as ‘the next Pele’, Adu had a trial at Manchester United in 2006 and appeared destined for great things.
Moves to Real Salt Lake and Benfica followed, though the Ghanaian forward failed to stay at any club for a prolonged period of time and is now plying his trade in the third tier of Sweden.
2. Ravel Morrison
A player Sir Alex Ferguson regarded as the ‘most talented’ player to emerge from Manchester United’s academy.
Flashes of brilliance have been a theme with Morrison, though possessing the correct attitude is a quality the midfielder has lacked.
Spells in Mexico, Sweden and the Netherlands typifies the unorthodox route the former United man has since taken.
3. Michael Johnson
A series of unfortunate injury setbacks coupled with mental health struggles saw Michael Johnson call time on his career at the age of 24.
Johnson only featured a total of 37 times in the league for Manchester City before his release in 2012 and never returned to football.
Former City teammate Dietmar Hamann described him as an ‘outstanding’ midfielder that reminded him of Michael Ballack.
4. Anthony Le Tallec
Part of France’s Under-17 World Cup winning squad of 2001, Liverpool were impressed and took a gamble on Anthony Le Tallec.
The striker never hit the heights expected of him during his time at Anfield and scored one goal for the club in 32 appearances.
Le Tellec has since spent the majority of his career playing in the top two tiers of French football.
5. John Bostock
At the age of 14, John Bostock was offered a 10-year contract at Barcelona.
Such was Barcelona’s interest, a signed poster from Bostock’s favourite player Ronaldinho was sent to his home address.
A whole host of top European clubs were chasing his signature, though Bostock decided to remain at Crystal Palace before later signing for Tottenham Hotspur- where he became the youngest ever player to represent the club at 16 years and 295 days old.
The 29-year-old midfielder has represented a number of clubs throughout his career, with stints in Belgium and Turkey. He has recently signed for League One side Doncaster Rovers.
6. Giovani dos Santos
A product of Barcelona’s academy, Giovani dos Santos was tipped for greatness from a young age.
Dos Santos was an Under-17s World Cup winner with Mexico in 2005, which saw him receive the ‘Silver Ball’- awarded to the second-best player of the tournament.
The 31-year-old only spent one season in Barcelona’s first-team before leaving for Tottenham Hotspur in 2008.
He now plays for Club America in his home country.
When Keirrison joined Barcelona for €14million in 2009, the five-year contract he signed made clear that the Brazilian forward was viewed as a player with an integral part to play in the club’s long-term future.
But Keirrison failed to play a single first-team game for the La Liga side, and was instead loaned out to five clubs over a five-year period.
He later returned to Brazil, the league he first made a name for himself in.
8. Alexandre Pato
Currently a free agent, Alexandre Pato was once one of football’s brightest talents.
It was at AC Milan where the Brazilian striker rose to prominence, but his career slowly moved in the wrong direction.
Injuries certainly played their part in Pato’s decline, with the striker unable to stay fit and featured on a consistent basis.
Likened to Lionel Messi during his Barcelona days, the two players certainly saw their career paths take a different direction.
Bojan made his debut for the La Liga giants aged 17 years and 19 days, breaking Messi’s record of the youngest player to feature for the club.
But while Messi has spent his playing career breaking record after record at the highest level, Bojan never reached his true potential when representing the likes of Stoke City and Montreal Impact.
10 . Federico Macheda
A debut goal for Manchester United which sent the Red Devils on their way to the Premier League title was quite the introduction from Federico Macheda in 2009.
The Italian attacker would not become a first-tram regular under Sir Alex Ferguson, however, as he was sent out on loan to the likes of QPR and Doncaster Rovers.
Macheda currently plays for Greek side Panathinaikos.