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Misfiring Falcao and five other forward flops to have fallen from grace

Football fans must cast their minds back all the way to early 2014 to remember when once formidable forward Radamel Falcao struck fear into defences across the continent.

The hitman was a celebrated goal hero for former clubs Atletico Madrid, Monaco and Porto, as well as for country Colombia, before a cruciate knee injury and operation put paid to his potency. Now a figure of fun, Falcao cuts a frustrated figure far from the previously fearsome player lauded for his lethal instincts.

Currently toiling at Chelsea, who are 7/1 with Coral to win the Premier League, Falcao embarrassingly skied several golden opportunities as he was handed a first start in blue last time out, earning cheers and jeers from minnows Walsall’s home support.

So, after the formerly prolific poacher’s poor display, Coral experts put our heads together to come up with five other once fantastic forwards who have similarly fallen so suddenly from grace…

Michael Owen
BRITAIN SOCCER PREMIER LEAGUE

Once the wonderboy of England, Owen’s career path took a dramatic plunge after the attacker left boyhood club Liverpool, for whom he had heroically hit 158 in 297 appearances.

An ill-advised switch to Spain, where he fell out of favour with giants Real Madrid, began the downward curve. Owen’s subsequent transfer to Newcastle United turned sour, as the striker’s stint at St James’ Park was plagued by injuries.

Having eventually exited Tyneside on a Bosman, Englishman Owen slunk off into the sunset following poor returns for Manchester United (6/1 to lift the Premier League) and Stoke City, scoring just once in nine for the latter, to become an arguably unpopular pundit.

Alexandre Pato
Copa America Brazil
Now back in country of birth Brazil, striker Pato, on-loan to Sao Paulo from parent club Corinthians, was once the hottest young prospect in Europe.

At just 26, it may seem churlish to suggest the once hailed prodigy, whose nickname translates rather tamely to ‘Duck’, is already washed up. Yet, after initially dazzling with his dangerous potential at AC Milan, the Samba Boy fell by the wayside after his six year stint at the club was disrupted by injuries.

Due to his substantial fee, passionate fans at Corinthians did not take well to Pato, who appeared to crumble under the pressure and came under heavy criticism for missing chances. Despite being linked to the Premier League, no club has of yet taken a punt on the former Milan marksman.

Robinho
Soccer - Robinho Filer
Another Brazilian features here, as Robinho memorably rocked-up at Manchester City (although is rather hilariously rumoured to have mistaken them for Manchester United, after also initially appearing to have signed for Chelsea) from Real Madrid for around £33m and heaps of expectation.

However, the South American attacker did not seem to take to life in the Northwest well, with a poor second season seeing the superstar shipped off.

Unremarkable stints at Santos and Milan followed, and the once-feted the forward is now toiling at Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande.

Andriy Shevchenko
Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Derby - Stamford Bridge
Chelsea have a penchant for signing big-name strikers past their best, and Shevchenko is perhaps the most memorable of all the Stamford Bridge side’s forward flops.

Arriving from AC Milan as the illustrious club’s second all-time top scorer, Chelsea’s then British record fee of £30.8m for the frontman looked well spent. Just nine goals in two Premier League terms, as Shevchenko sadly looked off pace, was a memorable waste of money and the legendary striker never scaled his previous heights again.

Fernando Torres
Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Chelsea v Atletico Madrid - Stamford Bridge
Back to the Blues, Torres tormented defences for hometown club Atletico Madrid and then Liverpool, before flopping spectacularly for Chelsea after a reported £50m move.

Injury niggles saw the Spaniard’s instinctive finishing and confidence dramatically desert him, though he stuck it out for four seasons, scoring just 20 league strikes. A loan spell at Milan failed to restore his former ferociousness, though once terrifying Torres has found a home again as a squad player back with Atleti.