There are many Football late Bloomers. But some of them only had a good personal stat and never won Trophies. This piece highlights the Best Football late Bloomers who actually won trophies.
Some top footballers in the world were less successful in the early years of their professional football career. However, the later years of their careers brought them much success.
Players who make up this non – exhaustive list are recognized in the various clubs they played for as one of the greatest. Others left a great impression on their national team and in football.
The list has Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich players. It features record holders at the Fifa World cup, Uefa champions league, Italian Serie a, English premier league, Spanish La Liga, and various national teams.
As stated earlier, this is a ‘non – exhaustive’ list. It however features great footballers.
Puyol rose through Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy. He was promoted to the first team in 1999 by Louis Van Gaal at age 21. However, Puyol failed to win a single trophy with the team until he turned 27 years.
Thereafter, he won an amazing 20+ trophies before he resigned at age 36.
His first major trophy arrived in the 2004/05 season when Barcelona won the Spanish league. Actually, he achieved more success in the 2005/06 season when he led the Barcelona team to both domestic and European success.
Overall, Puyol led the Barcelona team that won 14 trophies in 4 seasons under Pep Guardiola. The team that many refer to as one of the greatest ever in club football.
Furthermore, Puyol was instrumental in Spain’s remarkable European Championship and World Cup triumph. He featured at the center back position alongside Gerrard Pique – who is one of the Best 3 Defenders in Football history.
Puyol bettered this achievement when he led Barcelona to a treble of trophies (League, Copa del Rey, and Champions League) in the 2008/2009 season.
All in all, Puyol won a total of 25 Trophies in his career – including the World Cup (1) and the Champions League (3). Knowing that he won his first trophy at the age of 27 is a clear indication that he is one of the Late Football Bloomers who won trophies.
Drogba too is amongst the Late Football Bloomers who won trophies. But today, his name is mentioned amongst the Most Decorated African Footballers ever.
Didier Drogba started his professional career with Le Mans in France (1999). He also represented Guingamp and Marseille in France. However, he won his first major Trophy (The Premier League Title) after he signed for Chelsea.
Just like Puyol, Drogba was already 27 when he won his first major trophy.
The seasons after, Drogba won more League titles, football League Cups, the FA Cups, FA Community Shield, and the UEFA Champions League trophy.
In addition, he won the African footballer of the year award (2) and the BBC African footballer of the year.
In 2012, Drogba won Chelsea’s greatest ever player award, and in 2013, he won the Golden foot. When Drogba retired from professional football, he had over 15 trophies.
Although Drogba is one of the great players who never won AFCON, he is one of the most successful or best late Bloomers in Football history.
Ian Wright is an Arsenal and Crystal Palace legend but failed to win a major trophy until he turned 28 years. Hence he joins the list of Football Late Bloomers Who Won Major Trophies.
Wright was born in 1963 and made his professional debut in 1985 ( about 22 years old) with Crystal Palace.
Although he won the Full Members’ Cup: 1990–91 with Crystal Palace, Wright’s major trophy came at Arsenal. His major trophies arrived in the 1992/93 season. He won the Fa Cup and the Football league cup trophies in 1993 at about 30 years old.
Wright won further trophies with Arsenal ( English premier league, Fa Cup, and European Cup Winners’ Cup) and West Ham United ( Uefa Intertoto Cup) before his retirement from football.
Wright is amongst English Football Hall of Fame: 2005 and was voted as Crystal Palace player of the century after his retirement.
Klose’s is one of the greatest footballers to feature in the Fifa World cup. No one in the history of the tournament (16 goals) has more Goals than Klose. In addition, He is Germany’s all-time top scorer.
Klose is one of the Best Football Late Bloomers Who Won Major Trophies
However, it must be mentioned that Klose did not have so much as success when he was younger.
Let’s take a quick journey through Klose’s early days.
The great German Striker was born on the 9th of June 1978. He made his professional debut at the age of 20 at Hamburg in the 1998/99 season.
It took him 8 years before he won his first major trophy as a professional while playing for Werder Bremen. The Dfb-Pokal trophy of 2006 opened the way for the inflow of more trophies.
After his move from Werder Bremen to Bayern Munich in 2007, Klose won the German league (2), Dfb-Pokal (2), Dfb-LigaPokal, amongst others. Arguably, the icing on the cake was his 2014 world cup win with the German National team.
At the 2014 World Cup, Klose surpassed the record held by the Brazilian Ronaldo as the player with the most goals in the history of the tournament. Also, he is the German National team’s all-time top scorer.
The great Luca Toni is also one of the Football Late Bloomers who won major trophies. The Italian is currently amongst the top 5 highest scoring Italian players of all time.
Luca Toni was born in 1977 and made his professional debut at Modena in 1994 at age 17. Toni then represented 6 other Italian clubs between 1996 and 2003 but failed to win a single trophy.
In 2004, Toni won the Serie B title with Palermo but his first major trophy arrived in 2006 at age 29. Toni was part of the Italian National team that won the 2006 Fifa World cup trophy.
At age 30, he won his first major trophy at club level. He won the German Dfb-LigaPokal with Bayern Munich of Germany in 2007. He also won the league and the Dfb-Pokal the same season.
These are few examples of the best Football Late Bloomers Who Won Major Trophies.
What do you think could be the reason for their ‘late success’? Were they at the wrong club at the wrong moment?
Share your thoughts in the comment box.