Worst footballer unveilings of all time

Sun 25 April 2021 | 19:29

How would it feel to start off your new job with a disastrous presentation? Yes, exactly! That is how these players felt when all eyes were on them after they signed for a new club. Here are some of the best examples of worst player unveilings in football history.

In English football and specially the Premier League, one might be forgiven if they forget that teams once used to unveil their new signings at their home grounds with hundreds and even thousands of fans gathering to see their new arrival for the first time. But that is in fact the tradition in football and we are thankful to leagues such as Spain’s La Liga to keep the tradition going and not giving in to the modern methods of unveiling a player using a studio or such.

While the main reason we love these player unveilings at stadiums is obviously getting a first look at the new arrival and enjoying a number of tricks pulled off by the superstar, there are also memorable and quite unforgettable moments where the said footballer faces the worst time of his life and ruins the whole show by not being able to pull off the simplest of tricks. There are also those weirdly unique moments where footballers appear at the stadium in the most awkward way possible.

“They are professionals.” “They need to know how to keep their calm in front of the crowd.” “How are they messing this up?” These are only some of the sentences and questions that might occur in one’s mind when they see a world-class player botch their unveiling in the stupidest way possible. This tragedy is not particularly for the less known players and can even happen to those who may have made the headlines for their whopping transfer fees and so on.

Every footballer who has experienced such a moment would say that their presentation is definitely one of the

worst footballer unveilings of all time

, but the ones we have picked surely top theirs in all aspects as they deserve to have their own category of statues in the football halls of fame for the worst unveilings football has ever seen.

Worst player unveilings in football history

We know that you too are also excited to read about the items on our list and reminisce about some of the more famous ones that surely many of you have already heard of. Here are some of the

worst footballer unveilings of all time

that we just couldn’t let go of without mentioning.

Douglas Pereira – Barcelona

Remember Douglas Pereira? Wait! Pereira played for


? Yes that’s right! Even though it hasn’t been very long since the Catalan giants signed the Brazilian right-back from Sao Paulo for €4 million in 2014, few might even remember there was even such a deal.

Of course his presentation wasn’t all that bad in the beginning, as the right-back kept his cool for most part and kept his unveiling simple with only a number of simple keepy-uppies. But still, the disaster hit the poor man when even keeping his keepy-uppies going proved too hard for him after doing only a number of them in succession.

The now 30-year-old footballer experienced one of the

worst player unveilings in football history

and did not get to enjoy much football at Barcelona as he only made a total of eight appearances for Blaugrana, spending the rest of his contract on loan at several other clubs including Sporting Gijon, Benfica and Sivasspor. Douglas now plays for Turkish side


, whom he joined in 2019 on a free transfer upon the expiration of his contract.

But perhaps the lack of luck that he had during his unveiling at Camp Nou stayed with him along the way, as even Besiktas seem unwilling to make use of their signing due to all the heavy injuries the footballer has gone through. At least he didn’t get to experience the horror of botching up an unveiling once again at Besiktas.

Bryan Robson – Middlesbrough

Erm, how can we explain this in simple terms? Was it bad or was it absolutely glorious and magnificent to watch? We honestly can’t decide. So that is why we give you the option of choosing for yourself as we only include this one on the list of

worst footballer unveilings of all time

just for the sake of it.

Bryan Robson made the headlines when signed for


as a player/manager instead of choosing to act as one of the two instead. Some of the younger audiences might not be much familiar with the player/manager role but they used to be more of these signings around than we might want to admit. Just like us, who could not decide on where to stand in regards to this strange unveiling, Middlesbrough directors were certainly unsure about how to do the unveiling as well.

You might ask how come? Well, the newly signed player/manager had quite a particular look when he stepped onto the pitch. Robson had single-handedly created an avant-garde fashion line with the ultimate look for a person in his role, which was smart on top and casual on the bottom. The now 64-year-old former footballer was wearing a suit, a formal shirt and a tie on his top-half and football shorts and socks on his bottom-half to complete the attire the club were going for.

It might be considered as one of the worst unveilings football has ever seen for many as the look alone might hurt their eyes. But for some of us out there the attire is too hilarious to be bad, as one might wonder what was actually going on inside their heads to do such a thing?

Of course Bryan Robson himself is a true football legend aside from the weird unveiling. Having played for clubs such as

West Bromwich Albion


Manchester United

and Middlesbrough, he made a total of 742 appearances throughout his career as a player, scoring an impressive 149 goals in the process.

Paolo di Canio – Sheffield Wednesday

While this one might not have been considered as one of the

worst unveilings football has ever seen

back in the days, it will certainly be considered as one of the worst and most offensive stereotypical presentations that one could think of. While di Canio was not offended by this presentation, it would definitely offend some of the viewers out there today. So at least thankfully it did not happened lately.

The former center-forward was already a seasoned footballer upon his arrival at

Sheffield Wednesday

on a free transfer, having played for some of the best clubs in the world, such as Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and even

AC Milan

, after which he joined Celtic for €2 million in 1996 and later moved to the English club in 1997. Even though the versatile footballer had somewhat of a decent spell at the club and managed to make a total of 41 appearances in total, it was his unveiling at Sheffield’s home stadium that made the headlines for how ridiculous it was.

In one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time, di Canio was given a pizza to bite having joined his fellow Italian star Benito Carbone. So the club had two Italian stars playing for them, and they thought “Well? How do we unveil our new Italian signing?” The club simple could not have come up with a more ridiculous way to unveil their new arrival as they bought the two footballers a single pizza to bite together.

But the sheer stereotypical thought was not the main reason many thought this was a bad idea, as the reason for the unveiling making it to the headlines was how cheaply the presentation was handled. Instead of getting a renowned chef to cook a decent pizza for the two Italian star at least, they got them an awkward looking €3 ham and mushroom pizza from Asda, which was even not cooked by the way. It has certainly earned its place on the list of worst footballer unveilings of all time.

Roberto Soldado – Villarreal

As a prolific striker who had begun his journey as a Real Madrid Castilla product, Roberto Soldado gained quite a prominence and made a name for himself on the international stage by playing for clubs such as

Real Madrid

, Getafe, Valencia and


. The Spanish center-forward was absolutely lethal in front of goal during his time at Valencia, when he got to score an impressive 82 goals and provide 15 assists in a total of 141 appearances for the Spanish side.

His impressive performance earned him a big money move to the Premier League side Tottenham, who signed the Spaniard for €30 million back in 2013. But the magic of the old Soldado had already started to wear down, as was apparent from his days at Tottenham, where he only got to score 16 goals in 76 appearances for the English club. He was obviously dropping in form and was not the same striker he used to be during his days at Valencia.

This matter, however, did not stop Villarreal from having their shot at the center-forward as they signed him from Tottenham in 2015 for half the amount the Premier League club had initially paid for him. This risky move gave us one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time as fans could clearly see that the club’s risky move was not going to pay off anywhere near as well as they had hoped for.

The center-forward came onto the pitch and was given a ball or two to kick onto the lower-tier of the club’s home stadium Estadio de la Ceramica. However, Soldado showed everyone how poor his form was as he could not make the shot, sending the ball to the upper-tier stands instead of sending it directly to the fans. He was given another ball to try again, but oh boy was it a disaster! He once again failed at doing the one thing that center-forwards are expected to do, which is shooting the ball properly.

It must have been obvious to everyone that the club’s new signing was not going to be much of a threat in front of the goal, with the speculations about his rusty form being proven correct as the Spaniard only managed to score 12 goals in his 55 appearances. At least he did get to provide 19 assists during the process as well, which was certainly more than once could have expected from the striker.

Theo Hernandez – Real Madrid

Signing for one of the biggest and most decorated clubs in football history is certainly a big thing. Add it to the fact that Theo Hernandez had just signed for Real Madrid arriving from their archrivals

Atletico Madrid

and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet, awkward and intense unveiling, ready to blow up in any player’s face at any time.

Such an unfortunate thing happened to the club’s former left-back Theo Hernandez, who had just joined Los Blancos from the city rivals Atletico. The left-back signed for the Royals of Madrid for €24 million in 2017, and fans had already started to doubt his abilities even before seeing him on the pitch. Real Madrid fans are infamous for their short tempered behavior which comes from the fact that they do expect a lot from their signings, having signed the Galacticos of each era since the early 2000s.

The sheer pressure coming off such an expectation alone could crumble a young player in front of the crowd, which is exactly what happened as we got to witness one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time. While a left-back is not necessarily expected to be that good of a trickster, they must least be able to do a number of keepy-uppies as they are in fact professional footballers.

But the Spaniard did not manage to succeed in his task as he only got to make a few touches before sending the ball into the air, trying his best to continue his awkward and ugly keepy-uppy. The result was clear. We were seeing one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time and the player himself knew how deep in trouble he was with the fans. At least he did not cry in front of everyone and calmly picked up the ball to save us from the disastrous show he was putting on for the crowd.

Hernandez now plays for AC Milan having joined the Italian club for €21.5 million after a number of disappointing seasons at Real Madrid. Wonder why he didn’t succeed at the Spanish club…

Martin Braithwaite – Barcelona

You must have known that we were building up to this one. The transfer controversy alone was enough to put Martin Braithwaite on the list of worst footballer unveilings of all time. But all the talk around his sudden move to Barcelona is certainly not the reason we decided to include him on the list. Having played for clubs such as Middlesbrough, Toulouse and

CD Leganes

, few could have imagined that the Danish striker would one day make it to the top of the world of football by joining Barcelona for reportedly €18 million in 2020.

But that is exactly what happened as Barcelona activated their emergency purchase option, which was allowed by the La Liga officials, and got the man they wanted. Of course the footballer the managed and the board wanted was not necessarily the person that the fans would have liked to see wear the Barcelona shirt.

That is why Martin Braithwaite did not feel welcome at his new club from the very beginning, with many doubting their then president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s decision-making, which even led to all the controversy around Lionel Messi wanting to leave his one and only club. Braithwate’s unveiling was certainly one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time as he attempted a couple of rainbow flicks, only to be humiliated in front of the club’s supporters. The epic fail of his flicks has been how his career at the Spanish giants has been going so far as well.

Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona

How did we get here? How did clubs get to believe that paying more than a whopping €135 million for a mere untested teenager, who couldn’t even do a couple of tricks, was a good idea? With the shocking news of


departing for

Paris Saint-Germain

, Barcelona officials were left with quite a big void to fill and a pocket full of money thanks to the Brazilian’s world record-breaking transfer to the French side.

With all the money being transferred to the club’s accounts over a night, their panic-buying phase soon followed as they splashed all the €222 million plus an added amount from their own savings to sign Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, both of whom proved to be mere flops at the club.

But while Coutinho did get to have a fine unveiling, Dembele gave us one of the worst footballer unveilings of all time as he botched most of his tricks and flicks as Barcelona fans were left with an inexperienced winger who obviously couldn’t handle the pressure. He has since spent most of his time off the pitch with several injuries keeping him sidelined for months every season.




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source: SportMob