As Luis Suarez packs his bags for Spain and learns to kiss a new badge I wonder if he has a nagging feeling at the back of mind that it might not be wise to leave the hallowed stage of Anfield.
Many world-class strikers have plied their trade on that turf, banging in goals and building world-class reputations that demand world-class transfer fees. But for some reason when they leave for supposed greener pastures things tend not go so well for them. Injuries, loss of form and even homesickness for the club they really love all add up to a curse that could strike Suarez and Barcelona. It’s a curse that sees many players return with tails between their legs and those that are not welcome back wishing we would have them once again. It’s a footballing curse up their with the best and one that I would not want to tempt.
So good luck Luis on your new adventure but just remember these names when things don’t seem to be going your way at the Camp Nou.
The original Welsh Wizard was simply a goal-scoring machine with Liverpool from 1980 through to 1987. During that time he bagged an amazing 139 league goals in 224 appearances guiding the red army to numerous titles along the way. His predatory instincts and eye for goal meant that clubs all around Europe were vying for his signature and when Italian giants Juventus made a British record bid of 3.2 million GBP the club cashed in and Rush was sent on to the next challenge of his career.
He lasted just one season in Serie A. The once prolific goal scorer found it difficult to settle, difficult to integrate and more importantly difficult to find the back of the net. With just eight goals in 29 appearances Ian Rush was put on the first plane back to Merseyside. Rush wrote a book entitled ‘My Italian Diary’ that chronicled his disastrous time abroad.
Affectionately known as ‘God’ by the Anfield faithful, Robbie Fowler, burst on the scene in 1993 with a goal in the League Cup away to Fulham. Fowler was an instinctive goal scorer who often produced the spectacular as well as being adept at popping up in the right place at the right time for the tap ins. After eight years in the first team and close to 150 goals ‘God’ was sold to Leeds Utd. But despite a promising start to his Elland Rd career injury meant that he only managed 14 goals in 30 league appearances over two years. From here he joined Manchester City where again goals were difficult to come by before he returned to Liverpool in 2006 a shell of the player he once was. Stints at Cardiff and in Australia where the curtain call on his playing career.
Owen took over the mantle of Liverpool’s star striker with departure of Robbie Fowler and quickly became a Liverpool legend. He single handedly won the 2001 FA Cup final against Arsenal with two late strikes after the reds had withheld an onslaught from the Gunners for nearly 80 minutes. A series of hamstring injuries threatened to hamper his career but it didn’t stop the mighty Real Madrid from signing him in 2004. It proved to be a wrong move for the England striker who quickly found himself on the bench while his former teammates were winning the Champions League. After just one year in Spain he was sold to Newcastle Utd where more injuries left him sidelined for the majority of four-year spell. His career then fizzled out with spells in Manchester Utd’s reserve team and with Stoke City.
Fernando Torres was bought by Liverpool for around 20 million GBP in 2007. His pace and power made him an instant hit and nearly took Liverpool to the League title in 2009.
But with Liverpool stumbling under their new American owners Torres seemed to lose interest in the club. Reports of feigning injuries and a lack of motivation in training meant that the reds would be forced to sell their new star to Chelsea in 2011 for 50 million GBP. And the less we say about his time at Stamford Bridge the better.
Will Suarez be added to the list?
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