Seldom do players impress and dare to deceive as Ricardo Quaresma’s career has turned out. The Portuguese midfielder has had a mixed career of disappointments and glances of magic.
This week, The Gist looks into the career of Ricardo Quaresma, has it been a failure, or will he be remembered as a legend.
Ricardo Quaresma graduated from the Sporting Lisbon academy right around the time famed superstar and friend Cristiano Ronaldo broke through. Quaresma enjoyed a breakthrough two years at sporting, scoring eight times in 59 appearances. During his second season at the club he played a pivotal role in Sporting’s league and cup double. A poor showing by sporting the following season lead to speculation about Quaresma and thus the Lisbon club let him go for €6 million with Ronaldo heading to Manchester United.
After a good start to his career a young Quaresma then took a bad turn as his stay at Barcelona ended in the winger refusing to play aslong as Frank Rijkaard would be manager. Missing an apparent golden generation for Barca in which the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Lionel Messi, Gerrard Pique all graduated and became world stars, Quaresma headed back to Porto after Euro 2004. Barcelona were all too happy to acquiesce to his sale as they got Deco instead for €15 million.
Quaresma hit the ground running for Porto scoring in their 2004 UEFA Super Cup loss to Valencia He went top to score the winner in the 2004 Portuguese Super Cup against Benfica. Quaresma continued to grow amidst accusations of being too selfish, just as counterpart Cristiano Ronaldo faced during his formative years at Man Utd.
Quaresma grew into a European gem during his for year spell at Porto and at Euro 2008 resulting in him joining Inter Milan for $18 million. Despite shining in his first few games Quaresma found opportunities hard to come by under Mourinho who claimed Quaresma ought to improve his contribution to the team.
‘’ He is a great talent but the joy I have seeing Ibra work for and with the team I do not yet have with Quaresma. He will have to learn otherwise he won’t play, and I am sure he will become more tactically disciplined. He likes kicking the ball with the outside of his foot but if you ask me in a few months’ time we’ll be talking about a different Quaresma.’’
Quaresma struggled to fit Mourinho’s tactics and eventually joined Chelsea on loan. He claimed to have gotten his confidence back while at Chelsea but was later returned to Inter. He’s return to Inter was not fruitful as well. Overshadowed by Goran Pandev, the winger’s once bright career seemed to be fading away and in the summer of 2010, he decided to move to Turkish club Besiktas.
Quaresma’s career, however did not take a good turn, a few good performances in Besiktas’s Turkish cup run did little to cover for his bad habits as a spat with veteran striker Nihat only added impetus to his freefall from grace. A halftime spat with then Besiktas coach Carlos Carvahal after a first half romping by Spanish side Athletico Madrid led to the coach pledging never to play Quaresma for aslong as he was coach.
Quaresma allowed his ego to get ahead of him, he claimed to be the reason his Carvahal had gotten the Besiktas job and was indefinitely suspended by Besiktas.
Quaresma’s abysmal Besiktas stint ended in the winger opting to head to Dubai to play for UAE giants Al Ahli coached by former Watford coach Quique Sanches Flores.
His stay in Dubai resulted in a meager 2 goals in ten games as Quaresma was back on the road. This time back to Porto where he made his name.
The 31-year-old Quaresma looked reborn, he scored important goals against Eintracht Frankfurt and Napoli in the Europa League and in 2015, he hit two goals in ten minutes as an inspired Porto took a shock 3-1 first leg lead in the champions league quarter finals before being destroyed by 6 goals to 1 in the second leg.
It was clear that Quaresma had his mojo back, could he keep it going?
Quaresma decided to head out once again and rejoined Turkish side Besiktas. He vowed to win the league with the club of which he emerged successful. During Portugal’s recent Euro 2016 campaign, Quaresma played a starring role though coming off the bench. He scored Portugal’s winner against Croatia in the last sixteen and dispatched the last penalty in Portugal’s quarter final victory over Poland.
An important role that Quaresma played at the Euro’s that many missed was that he allowed Nani and Ronaldo more freedom by soaking up some of the pressure and spreading the dynamic of Portugal’s attack. He provided crosses and passes when called upon and shone through.
But the question still remains, will Quaresma be remembered as a legend or not?
Dubbed as the future of Portuguese football, Ricardo Quaresma’s career has been a topsy turvy, the winger has entertained, impressed, dazzled, disappointed and infuriated many with his lack of stability and temper. Whenever he seems to be on the rise he makes a wrong choice and takes two steps back. At the ripe age of 33 Quaresma is running out of time.
Quaresma’s accolades are by far team efforts rather than personally driven contribution. The only award to which he is individually attributed is the Biddone D’Oro, an Italian mock of the Ballon D’or which awards the worst performing player in the Serie A. (2008)
Apart from his first stint at Porto, Quaresma’s name has hardly been sung in a positive voice. Many will remember him for his frequent us of the ‘Rabona’ and the ‘Trivela’ but more importantly, it is clear that most will remember him for his failure to achieve his potential. While his fellow Sporting Academy graduate Cristiano Ronaldo has risen to immortality, Quaresma has begged to deceive. Clearly, Quaresma is no legend.
The Gist’s vote; 2 NOT
Final verdict: Not!
By Maxwell Ndhlovu
With special help from the embers of The Gist Official WhatsApp Group
@Webby Bukoko ‘’ Webby Costa’’