Some big names arrived in Italy in the summer of 2008. On the coaching side of things, arguably the joint-best club coach in the world, and certainly the most controversial and entertaining, Jose Mourinho, took charge of Inter. Meanwhile, on the playing side, Milan and Inter spent big money respectively on Barcelona's Ronaldinho and Porto's Ricardo Quaresma. Like many of the other expensive purchases, neither of these took Serie A by storm.
Any coach, player or president will try and put a positive spin on their bad buys, but when they can't even get in the team, fail to live up to their price tag, don't fit into the tactical setup or even end up lasting less than a season, it's time for one and all to hold their hands up.
But they don't - so Goal.com will do it for them.
10) Julio Baptista (Roma) – Despite scoring eight Serie A goals, including the winner in the derby, it cannot be underestimated just how costly Baptista has been to Roma’s season. Painfully inconsistent, Baptista has had his excellent moments, including a couple of wonder-goals, but these have been rare. ‘The Beast’ almost single-handedly cost the Giallorossi qualification into the quarter finals of the Champions League by missing a sitter against Arsenal.
9) Juan Pablo Carrizo (Lazio) – Carrizo was supposed to join Lazio at the start of the 2007/08 season, but passport problems meant that the move was delayed for a whole year. The 24-year-old would have done well during this period to hone his goalkeeping skills, as his time between the sticks in Rome has been full or errors. The Argentine No.1 has lost his first team place to Nestor Muslera, and will need to improve immensely if he is to win it back. Carrizo looks like a vampire, and just like the mythological creatures he hates crosses.
8) Bruno Fornaroli (Sampdoria) – Promised to be the ‘Uruguayan Pippo Inzaghi’ when he arrived in Genoa from Nacional Montevideo. Emphatically failed to live up to this tag, and it soon became clear that he was not ready for Serie A. The 21-year-old made just five Serie A appearances, scoring no goals, and was loaned out to San Lorenzo at the end of January. The player who has replaced him at the Stadio Ferraris, Giampaolo Pazzini, has been a revelation.
7) Christian Vieri (Atalanta) – The Atalanta board should have listened to their supporters, who desperately tried to prevent this free transfer from going through. The 35-year-old has spent the season either injured, counting his rolls of belly fat, out-of-form, resembling Russell Crowe, or repeatedly abused by Atalanta tifosi. With just nine appearances and two goals, it was decided earlier this month to rescind Vieri’s contract.
6) Sergio Almiron (Fiorentina) – When you take on loan a player who is famous for being one of Alessio Secco’s worst buys, do not expect Diego Maradona or Pele. Almiron has made just 12 league appearances, seven of them starts, and he has been over-run in almost every game he has appeared in. With Riccardo Montolivo also disappointing, Felipe Melo has almost single-handedly held the Viola midfield together. Almiron will return to Turin this summer, but not for long.
5) Andriy Shevchenko (Milan) – It is signings like this that lead to Serie A being tagged as a ‘retirement home’. Shevchenko had proven conclusively during two seasons at Chelsea that he was a shadow of the once world-beating Golden Ball winner. It did not take Milan long to realise that it was a mistake loaning the Ukrainian, who has made just two league starts, failing to hit the back of the net. Unlikely to make his move permanent, it is now three years since Shevchenko last scored in Serie A.
4) Simone Loria (Roma) – The worst defender in the whole of Italy, and possibly Europe, this term. Loria made so many high-profile gaffes in the early part of the season that there could almost be a Christmas bloopers video just on him. Has basically been frozen out of the squad since the turn of the year, but one wonders what possessed Roma to relinquish a very promising young midfielder in Daniele Galloppa as part of the Loria deal. Brings back memories of Inter swapping Fabio Cannavaro for Fabian Carini.
3) Amantino Mancini (Inter) – Quaresma has taken most of the flack in the blue-and-black half of Milan, but, in truth, Mancini has been just as much of a catastrophe. While Roma’s transfer campaign was very poor, one good piece of business was offloading the Brazilian, who was clearly on the wane physically. Mancini has made 16 Serie A appearances, just nine of them starts, scoring no goals. One of the reasons why Mourinho’s favoured 4-3-3 formation was scrapped was because of the sub-standard Mancini and Quaresma. The ex-Venezia man will surely be offloaded at the end of this season.
2) Christian Poulsen (Juventus) – Was there anyone who seriously believed that Poulsen would be a success? The Juventus hierarchy had spent the first half of 2008 promising a world class centre midfielder to bring the Scudetto back to Piedmont. It was no surprise that supporters felt betrayed when Poulsen was unveiled. Fans launched angry protests and erected a huge banner that read: “Ridiculous, you’ve signed another rubbish player.” The Dane has certainly matched this description – nervous, wasteful in possession, and making very few of the no-nonsense tackles he was supposedly infamous for.
1) Ricardo Quaresma (Inter) – Will go down as one of the most expensive flops in the history of Italian football. Signed from Porto for just under €20m after a summer-long soap saga, it soon became apparent that Jose Mourinho had made a big mistake. Spent the majority of games hiding away like a bullied schoolchild, when Quaresma did receive the ball, he lost it virtually every time. His confidence shot to pieces, he was loaned out to Chelsea in January where he has continued to disappoint. Luiz Felipe Scolari’s decision to call him was perhaps the final sign that the Gene Hackman-lookalike had lost the plot at Stamford Bridge. He was sacked not long after.
What are your views on this topic? Who do you believe was the worst transfer flop of the season in Serie A? Goal.com wants to know what YOU think
Carlo Garganese, Goal.com