Five superstars who have barely played this season

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • Updated: 5 Oct 2022 22:33 BST
  • 4 min read
FT Desk Updated: 5 Oct 2022 22:33 BST 4 min read
Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United, 2022/23

Even when he’s not playing, Cristiano Ronaldo remains the most talked about player in world football.

In 2022-23 he has been hitting the headlines due to the fact that he has been on the bench for much of the campaign.

He is not the only superstar, though, who is barely getting any playing time this term.

We take a look at five big stars who haven’t played much this season around Europe.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)

Cristiano Ronaldo issued a transfer request back in July, demanding to join a Champions League club who could challenge for major trophies.

Despite his agent Jorge Mendes offering him around to numerous clubs around Europe, Ronaldo did not receive a concrete offer and stayed at Man Utd.

He will certainly be offered around again in January, but that is more because he has barely played so far this season.

He has started from the bench for the last five Premier League matches, beginning only one league game all season so far. He has scored just one goal in all competitions, a penalty in the Europa League. Things hit a new low when he did not see a minute of the 6-3 Manchester Derby thrashing at the weekend.

Casemiro (Man Utd)

Manchester United made the signing of a top-class central midfielder their summer priority and had initially targeted Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona.

Casemiro Man Utd 2022-23

When that deal wasn’t possible they instead turned to Real Madrid legend Casemiro, who they paid over €70m for.

However, so far the Brazilian has barely kicked a ball. He is yet to make a single Premier League start, only appearing four times as a substitute for a total of 82 minutes. His only start was in the Europa League.

He has just one start in all competitions, that being in the Europa League.

Todo Fichajes reports that the 30-year-old has told his close circle that he regrets leaving Madrid.

Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

Eden Hazard has been an unmitigated disaster since joining Real Madrid in a €100m deal in 2019.

Arriving overweight for pre-season laid down a marker for a troubled first three and a bit seasons. A talisman who often carried his Chelsea team to success is now being brought along for the ride, with injuries and poor discipline to blame.

Eden Hazard, Real Madrid, 2021/22

Since arriving at Real, the once unplayable Belgian has had more injuries than goal contributions. Madrid have been desperate to get rid of him for the last couple of years but there are no takers.

This season he has just one start and three substitute appearances.

Gerard Pique (Barcelona)

Gerard Pique will go down as one of the greatest players in the history of Barcelona, having made 610 appearances over 15 seasons, winning every major honour in the game.

But Pique is now 35 and well past his best. He is on a big wage and Barcelona desperately tried to offload him in the summer.

Gerard Pique Barcelona 2022-23

This season Pique has made just two La Liga appearances and come on twice as a substitute in the Champions League.

He is one of a number of big-name Barca stars who have barely played this season, including Jordi Alba, Franck Kessie and Memphis Depay.

Paul Pogba (Juventus)

Perhaps it is a little unfair that Paul Pogba is on this list as he certainly would be playing plenty for Juventus, if he were fit.

But therein lies the problem with the Pogba of the last few years – he is always injured.

Paul Pogba, Juventus

Since his free transfer move back to Juventus from Manchester United this summer, Pogba has not played a single match. In fact, he made just one appearance in pre-season and then damaged his meniscus, which eventually required an operation.

By time he is back, which could even be in 2023, Pogba will have missed around 100 games through injury in three years.