Ricardo Quaresma: When Egos Take Over

In Ricardo Quaresma, football has seen a player who is near-impossible to decipher. A man who seemingly cares only for himself, and his best interests alone. Arrogance is the 29-year old’s middle name, and wherever he may ply his trade, there is inevitably a rift with his club’s hierarchy. Once touted for global stardom, now laughed off as an enormous flop by football fans worldwide, Quaresma has had a bitter-sweet taste of everything the cruel world has on offer.

After establishing a name for himself at Sporting CP of Portugal as a teen, the flair-loving winger was soon being kept under the watchful eye by some of Europe’s most elite clubs. But the big move Quaresma earned was not the right one for him, as only time could prove.  He made the transition to the big leagues too prematurely, scurrying on over to Catalonia to join Rijkaard and co. at the tender age of 19. He was part of an unorthodox 3-year loan deal, in which Fabio Rochemback went the other way. His 1 year at the Camp Nou was an unfruitful one to say the least, scoring only one goal in 22 appearances in the league campaign. Injuries hampered his time there, so bad luck played a part. Quaresma also made the public aware of his refusal to operate under his Dutch manager at Barcelona, Frank Rijkaard. This short-lived stint in Spain proved to be a turning point in a career which once looked certain to catapult him to international eminence. This was, in a sense, the beginning of the end for the precocious trickster.

After moving to Porto following a poor show of form in Spain, Quaresma quickly became a favourite at the Estadio Do Dragao, claiming a regular spot in the Portuguese side’s starting XI. His performances for Porto merited those of a world-class calibre player, and he won the Primeira Liga player of the year in 2006. This new lease of life for the midfielder, or so it seemed, subsequently meant that Europe’s top clubs were once again in pursuit of the on-and-off enigmatic genius.

What was abundantly clear about  Quaresma was the fact that he never seemed to learn from his previous mistakes or misdemeanours. As a youngster, people play-down your mistakes or your poor attitude and write them off, as there is a huge learning curve which is often mastered by football’s greats. Some things such as wine, or Andrea Pirlo, get better with age. Others don’t. Unfortunately for Quaresma, his case turned out to be the latter. When young, you tend to be contemptuous and naive. His work-ethic has also been abysmal for the most part of his career. This mindset of Quaresma’s has never changed, one of the most prevalent reasons for his astronomical fall from grace.

There is almost nothing more aesthetically pleasing in football than witnessing a sumptuous trivela courtesy of the Portuguese man. When he pulls them off and sets up a goal, or even scores himself, they are mesmerising and a joy to watch.  One of the most difficult techniques in football to master, only a select few top footballers can regularly pull off the appeasing outside-of-the-boot strike with relative ease. Wesley Sneijder and Luis Suarez spring to mind, joining Quaresma in the mastering of this circumscribed technique. His rabonas are also jaw-dropping when done correctly, and he possesses all the skills needed to be a top winger, he just didn’t implement these skills effectively on the pitch consistently.

Watch a compilation of his best trivelas below. Awe-inspiring.

The egotistical maniac is known to many as a journeyman. He has endured spells at some of the world’s top sides, all too often being a mere passenger as those around him succeed without his aid. During his time at Inter, he was a shadow of the man he had been for Porto, never cementing a place in Mourinho’s Champions League winning XI. Mourinho shipped him Quaresma out to London, where Chelsea took him on a 6 month loan. He was destined for failure from the beginning of that venture, and when he failed to apprehend any sort of form, The Special One had lost all faith in him.

The controversial winger’s latest exploits have seen him shipped out of Turkey, moving overseas to Dubai club Al Ahly. His mildly successful reign at Besiktas was marred by a couple of behavioural incidents, two in particular, which created a worldwide media frenzy. It’s safe to say that he ended his stay in Turkey in a rather unorthodox style. The Portuguese winger reportedly exposed his genitals to a woman working at the club’s training facilities and then urinated on the team’s outfitter and equipment handler. His next incident was almost more outrageous than the last one. After being told he would be withdrawn by Besiktas’ manager Carlos Carvalhal in the dressing room at half-time in the Europa League tie versus Athletic Bilbao, he launched a stinging attack on his manager. He proceeded to lose his cool, throwing water bottles around the changing room, infuriated at the manager’s decision. Then came the verbals. Quaresma was alleged to have said to Carvalhal ” I brought you here, you just think of yourself. If I was not here, you would not be here. You cannot remove me from the match because you’re nothing.” Following the incident with Carvalhal the club suspended Quaresma. What a touching way to say goodbye to the only European club willing to pay for your provocative services.

Once a player that showed so much promise, now a player who cannot abide by the simplistic promises he draws on his contract. Many ponder the case of Ricardo Quaresma, and what could’ve, would’ve and should’ve been.

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