Torres, Eto’o, Suarez & the stars missing from this year's 50

There were a clutch of big names who failed to make our list of outstanding players from last season. Here's 10 of the best, and why they failed to make the grade
By Robin Bairner

Many of the stars who have attained a place in the 50 this season will be predictable to hardcore football followers, but in the process of naming the elite performers from the world’s favourite game there are inevitably losers; big names who have failed to live up to their billing for one reason or another.

Their fall from grace could be caused by a season-ending injury, complicated personal problems or simply a loss of form. Amongst those to miss out were Edinson Cavani, whose Napoli side could only finish fifth in Serie A, Younes Belhanda, outstanding for Montpellier as they won Ligue 1, and Chicharito, who failed to build on his strong debut season at Manchester United.

Here are the 10 who boast perhaps the greatest profiles, though:

SAMUEL ETO’O – Anzhi & Cameroon

Striker Samuel Eto’o may be the best-paid player in world football, but he has failed to make the grade in the 50 after departing Inter for Anzhi Makhachkala last summer. Scoring continues to come naturally to the 31-year-old, but out of the spotlight in a supposedly lesser league and without silverware to show for his efforts, he is no longer considered one of the game’s absolute elite. Given the rise of his club, though, it is not inconceivable the striker could force his way back in the twilight of his career.

LUKA MODRIC – Tottenham & Croatia

Along with club-mate Gareth Bale, Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric is one of the more surprising players to miss out on the list. Although he continues to be heavily courted by no less than Real Madrid, the 26-year-old was unable to fire Spurs back into the Champions League. While he suffered no alarming dip in form, the fact he has failed to make the cut shows the standard required to break into the top 50 players.

CARLES PUYOL – Barcelona & Spain

An icon of the modern game, the Barcelona captain has paid the price for a season that was hit hard by injury problems and ultimately ended in disappointment as the Catalans failed to retain either their Spanish or European crown. But worse was to follow for the inspirational centre-back as he was forced to miss Spain’s successful defence of their European Championship title in Ukraine and Poland, having succumbed to another physical issue prior to the tournament.

NURI SAHIN – Real Madrid & Turkey

When Nuri Sahin moved to Real Madrid last summer, he was touted as one of the next great stars of the Bernabeu’s stage. Under Jose Mourinho’s rule, however, the young Turkish midfielder has failed to make any kind of impression at all in the Spanish capital and has passed from the minds of many supporters. If he is to return to the 50, either a sharp change of tack from his club is required, or he will have to depart.

ALEXIS SANCHEZ – Barcelona & Chile

Winger Alexis Sanchez is another player to take the plunge after moving to Spain in the summer of 2011. Having sparkled for Udinese, he finished seventh in last season’s 50 list, but Barcelona have failed to draw the same consistency from the quick feet of the 23-year-old. He missed nearly two months of the season early on, which did not help his chances, but on his comeback, he displayed the type of form that suggests he will push hard to return to his post next summer.


Failure became synonymous with Bayern Munich’s efforts last season as they made a habit of stumbling at the final hurdle. Along with team-mate Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger perhaps embodies this most. He may have contributed to his side’s greatest achievement – defeating Real Madrid in the semi-finals of the Champions League on penalties – but he would then flop in the final shoot-out. With Germany, things were little better for a player lacking the big-game dynamism he has shown in recent years.

WESLEY SNEIJDER – Inter & Netherlands

Of all of Europe’s giants, it was perhaps Inter who endured the most torrid campaign. Arguably, the individual player to suffer most as a result was Wesley Sneijder, a former No.1 in the 50 after leading the Nerazzurri to Champions League and Serie A success in the era of Jose Mourinho. This Inter is largely a faded memory, and the playmaker has often looked stilted in his performances, failing to fire the team in the manner he was once capable.

LUIS SUAREZ – Liverpool & Uruguay

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could not keep out of the headlines last season, but unfortunately for the Uruguayan, it was largely for the wrong reasons. Allegations of racism were made against the South American by Patrice Evra following a match between Manchester United and the Reds, and although this was back in October, it is a story that continues to drag on. With a battered reputation, he has a great deal of work to do if he is to regain his place amongst the very best.

JOHN TERRY – Chelsea & England

John Terry had the honour of hoisting the Champions League trophy in the air for Chelsea after they defeated Bayern Munich on penalties, but bedecked in his full strip, the Blues’ captain quickly became the subject of ridicule, having missed the match due to a red card in the semi-final second leg against Barcelona. The real low for the centre-back, though, was that he was the subject of a high-profile racism case with Anton Ferdinand, which has not yet been completely resolved by the FA.

FERNANDO TORRES - Chelsea & Spain

Once one of the most feared strikers in the world game, Fernando Torres has seen his reputation plummet after a difficult 18 months with Chelsea, where he has persistently misfired at Stamford Bridge. At points over the past year, he displayed hints of the scoring power he once had, registering for Spain in the European Championship final demolition of Italy - and actually finishing the tournament as top-scorer. But this told a deceiving story as Vicente del Bosque preferred Cesc Fabregas as a ‘false nine’ for the majority of the Euros; testimony to how far Torres has fallen.

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