Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

20 losers of the football season

Rafael Benitez
Perhaps the most high-profile loser from the Premier League season has been Rafael Benitez. In the space of one season his Liverpool team have gone from title challengers to mid-table mediocrity. The season started poorly, and along the way included defeat to bottom of the league Portsmouth. Twice finalists under his stewardship, Benitez saw his team crash out of the Champions League at the group stage. Hopes of lifting the Europa League were dashed by Atletico Madrid. Meanwhile in the league, Benitez promised the fans that Liverpool would finish fourth. They didn't - and who knows when they will again.
Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov has now been at United for two season. The Bulgarian's slow start to life at Old Trafford could be blamed on the difficulty of moulding in with a title winning team. But come the new term, Berbatov had no such excuse. With the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, United's record signing was seen as crucial if the Red Devil's were to push for a fourth consecutive title. Yet a couple of flashes of brilliance aside, Berbatov has been useless, missing chance after chance and infuriating the fans with his languid displays. He's now quit international football to concentrate on United, but it might be too little too late.
Robbie Keane
It seemed that this season couldn't be stranger than the last for Robbie Keane, but it at least ran it close. After returning to Tottenham from Liverpool last season, the Spurs captain looked set to lead the side this term. Yet after falling down the pecking order, and then an ill-judged Christmas party (against the wishes of Harry Redknapp), he was sent off to Celtic on loan. Keane said he was delighted with the move, although that seemed hard to believe. While the Irishman was in Scotland finishing a poor second, Tottenham charged into the Champions League.

The domestic season is now at an end and it's been a rollercoaster of a year.

>>Click on the image to launch our guide.

We've already run through the winners of the season, but here we take a look at those at the other end of the spectrum.

Relegations, unfulfilled promises, off-field scandals and sheer bad luck have conspired to produce a number of failures. Here, we take a look at the 20 losers of the season.







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