Alberto Tarantini exchanged punches with a Birmingham City fan during his time at the club

World Cups have provided many players with the platform to announce themselves as a global superstar and earn a career-defining move on the back of a starring role on football’s grandest stage.

Over the years there have been some inspired signings made directly after the tournament has concluded, but even giants like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool have fallen into the trap of landing players following a handful of impressive performances for their countries.

Scouts will be keeping a close eye on players who star at the World Cup in Qatar next month, especially with the January transfer window opening not long after the final on December 18.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at 10 of the worst post-World Cup signings.  

Alberto Tarantini (Boca Juniors to Birmingham City, 1978)

We start off the list with a World Cup winner in 1978, who went on to have an explosive spell in England – which included a punch-up with one of his own fans.

In his native Argentina, combustible left-back Tarantini had a reputation for his hellraising behaviour – and after a pay dispute with Boca Juniors, he was left without a club in May 1978 

After an impressive World Cup for eventual winners Argentina on home soil in 1978, Tarantini made the switch to Birmingham City who had just finished 11th in the top-flight. 

Tottenham had also signed Argentine World Cup winners Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa that summer, and they went onto have lengthy spells in England.

However, after making just 23 starts and scoring one goal for the St Andrew’s side, Tarantini’s career in England was cut short when he went into the crowd and traded punches with one of his club’s own fans at a game.

He also flattened Manchester United’s Brian Greenhoff during a feisty on-pitch confrontation.

Tarantini earned 61 caps for Argentina but his spell in the West Midlands was over shadowed by ill-discipline.

He returned to Argentina in 1979 to play for Talleres de Cordoba. 

Alberto Tarantini exchanged punches with a Birmingham City fan during his time at the club

Alberto Tarantini exchanged punches with a Birmingham City fan during his time at the club

Ilie Dumitrescu (Steaua Bucharest to Tottenham, 1994) 

Dumitrescu was signed for £2.5million by Tottenham in the weeks following USA 94, after Romania’s excellent run in the tournament which saw them reach the quarter-finals.

Along with Darren Anderton, Nicky Barmby, Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sherringham, Dumitrescu was part of the ‘Famous Five’ frontline Ossie Ardiles fielded to begin the 1994-95 campaign.

Though he wasn’t the big name that fellow new signing Klinsmann was, he was highly regarded and the winger’s direct style did have the potential to offer some excitement. 

However, a bad run of form for Spurs saw manager Ardiles lose his job in October 1994. Dumitrescu fell out of favour with his replacement, Gerry Francis, and the Romanian was sent out on loan to Sevilla.

Dumitrescu returned to White Hart Lane for the 1995-96 campaign but his playing career was already in decline and he failed to make an impact, appearing in just eight Premier League games all season.

Dumitrescu struggled to be signed by West Ham in February 1996, where work permit problems threatened to derail his career in England. He made 10 appearances for the Hammers, and by July 1996, he left to join Club America.

Ilie Dumitrescu fell out of favour after Ossie Ardiles was sacked as Tottenham manager

Ilie Dumitrescu fell out of favour after Ossie Ardiles was sacked as Tottenham manager 

Robert Jarni (Real Betis to Real Madrid… via Coventry, 1998) 

While the rest of the players on this list struggled for form and failed to live up to their initial expectations, Jarni never made a single appearance for Coventry after his signing in 1998.    

Jarni impressed as part of the Croatia side that finished third in the 1998 World Cup in France – appearing in all seven games.

The then Coventry manager Gordon Strachan acted fast, so fast that he beat Real Madrid to his signature in a £2.6m deal. 

The only problem was, he never kicked a ball for Gordon Strachan’s side and was sold on to Real Madrid just one month later.

It wasn’t a complete disaster for Coventry though as they did make a profit on the player, with Madrid spending £3.4m on the player.

Still, Coventry perhaps got lucky as Jarni never established himself at Real Madrid, being mainly used as a substitute before being sold just a year later to Las Palmas. 

Robert Jarni (pictured with Clarence Seedorf) signed for Real Madrid just a month after joining Premier League side Coventry

Robert Jarni (pictured with Clarence Seedorf) signed for Real Madrid just a month after joining Premier League side Coventry

Denilson (Sao Paulo to Real Betis, 1998)

Denilson makes this list due to his price-tag being a world record fee at the time. 

After appearing in every game of the 1998 World Cup with Brazil, the Sao Paulo winger was one of the most exciting young players around.

Signed by Real Betis for a record-breaking fee of £21.5m, it was presumed Denilson was going to be a hit at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.

However, things did not turn out as planned with the huge price-tag perhaps playing a big part in his downturn in performance.

Denilson struggled to become a regular starter, and in his second season with Betis, the club were relegated into the Segunda Division.

The Brazilian returned to Flamengo on loan before returning to Betis in January 2001. The club were promoted back to LaLiga, but Denilson was still used more often as a substitute.

Despite this he still had a part to play for the Brazilian national team, receiving a winner’s medal at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Denilson spent seven years as a Betis player and made nearly 200 league appearances, but he never lived up to the promise he showed in 1998. 

Denilson was sparingly used at Real Betis who forked out a then-world record fee of £21.5m

Denilson was sparingly used at Real Betis who forked out a then-world record fee of £21.5m

El Hadji Diouf (Lens to Liverpool, 2002)

It might be two decades on, but the decision to sign El Hadji Diouf over Nicholas Anelka still rattles most Liverpool supporters.

Nicolas Anelka had impressed on loan at Anfield at the end of the 2001-02 season and wanted to make the move permanent from Paris Saint-Germain. 

Instead Gerard Houllier’s side announced the signing of Diouf, a day after he helped Senegal shock World Cup holders France with a 1-0 win on the opening day of the 2002 tournament. 

Diouf had been scouted ahead of the tournament, so his signing wasn’t purely based on his exploits in Japan and South Korea, but his performances gave reason for Reds fans to be excited. 

However, Diouf failed to endear himself to fans, with poor performances and a stint marred by several controversial incidents – most notably spitting at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup match. 

Handed the No 9 shirt, he scored just six goals in his first season and didn’t net even once in his second campaign – before he was sold to Bolton in 2004.  

Liverpool players of the time have regularly spoken negatively about Diouf’s ego, with Jamie Carragher saying the forward’s attitude ‘disgusted’ him.

Carragher also said of Diouf: ‘He has one of the worst strike rates of any forward in Liverpool history. He’s the only No 9 ever to go through a whole season without scoring, in fact he’s probably the only No 9 of any club to do that. He was always the last one to get picked in training.’

El Hadji Diouf proved an unpopular figure during his time at Liverpool after signing in 2002

Salif Diao (Sedan Ardennes to Liverpool, 2002)

Another Liverpool signing from Senegal after the African county’s impressive run to the quarter-finals at the 2002 World Cup.

Arriving alongside Diouf, his time at Liverpool was much less abrasive, but it was still ultimately fruitless.

Bought for £5m by Gerard Houllier, Diao was often played away from his favoured midfield role and in defence or full-back.

While he can’t be blamed for being played out of position, he still wasn’t near the level expected of a team that had just finished second in the Premier League a season prior.

When Rafael Benitez took over in 2004, the Spaniard did play Diao in his correct position but he made a number of mistakes that led to him being loaned out to Birmingham City in January 2005. 

He later had a loan spell at Portsmouth and spent six seasons at Stoke City where he made 106 appearances. 

Salif Diao also struggled during his time at Liverpool after impressing for Senegal in 2002

Salif Diao also struggled during his time at Liverpool after impressing for Senegal in 2002

Kleberson (Atletico Paranaense to Manchester United, 2003) 

He may not have put pen to paper with Manchester United until July 2003, but it was Kleberson’s performances at the 2002 World Cup that attracted the Old Trafford side. 

The Brazil midfielder was heralded by his national coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as the ‘driving force’ behind the side that lifted the trophy. 

Sir Alex Ferguson clearly agreed – he signed him from Atletico Paranaense the following year and he was presented as a United player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

‘One of the reasons we sold Juan Sebastian Veron was because we knew we were getting Kleberson – that shows how highly we regard his talent,’ Ferguson said at the time.

But this was one that Ferguson got wrong. Kleberson struggled to adapt to the English game and made just 20 appearances over two injury-hampered seasons before joining Besiktas in 2005.

Kleberson was unveiled by Manchester United alongside Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003

Kleberson was unveiled by Manchester United alongside Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2003

Kleberson helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup

He failed to find his feet in Manchester

He impressed for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup (L) but failed to find any form for United (R)

Andreas Isaksson (Rennes to Manchester City, 2006)

Isaksson was signed by Manchester City in August 2006, after making four appearances for Sweden during the World Cup. 

The Swedes had made it to the last 16 after progressing through a group also including England, before they were defeated by tournament hosts Germany. 

City were on the hunt for a new keeper after David James had departed for Portsmouth and in Isaksson, an international bought for £2m, the Blue side of Manchester appeared to find a bargain.

However, with injuries keeping him on the sidelines, the Swedish stopper did not make his first appearance for Stuart Pearce’s side until December when he replaced Nicky Weaver in the derby against Manchester United.

His next Premier League appearance came in February, and in total, he made just 14 appearances that season.  

In 2007-08, he was an ever-present for his country yet just a bench warmer at City with just five further top-flight outings.  

To add insult to injury, Isaksson’s last game in a City shirt was an 8-1 mauling at the hands of Middlesbrough on the final day of the season.

Andreas Isaksson spent most of his time at Manchester City as a bench-warmer

Asamoah Gyan (Rennes to Sunderland, 2010)

Gyan was one of the faces of the 2010 World Cup after his brilliant displays that helped Ghana reach the quarter-finals before his move to Sunderland. 

The striker hit the back of the net three times on Ghana’s run to the last-eight, though his penalty miss against Uruguay did cost them a place in the last four.

Sunderland weren’t put off though and broke the bank to sign him for a club-record £13m. 

Then-manager Steve Bruce had planned to pair Gyan up front with Darren Bent, but the latter was sold to Aston Villa in January when the partnership was in its infancy.

Gyan struggled at Sunderland and only spent one season there before a loan to Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates turned permanent in January 2012.

Asamoah Gyan spent just one season at Sunderland after his impressive 2010 World Cup

Asamoah Gyan spent just one season at Sunderland after his impressive 2010 World Cup

James Rodriguez (Monaco to Real Madrid, 2014)

James Rodriguez took the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by storm, claiming the Golden Boot with six goals.

He was seen as the next big star in football and his breathtaking goal against Uruguay where he controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed home from well outside the box, won the Puskas Award for goal of the year.

The Colombian had already been making waves around Europe even before the tournament having enjoyed a stellar first season in France with Monaco.

But the tournament in Brazil only enhanced his reputation and nobody would have seen him outscoring every player at the tournament.

This was a factor that proved to be key in convincing Real Madrid to splash out £60m on the attacking midfielder. 

Though Rodriguez scored an impressive 13 LaLiga goals in 29 appearances in his first season, the initial promise soured quickly with poor form and injuries leading to his downfall at the Bernabeu.

Still, teams continued to take a chance on Rodriguez, with the Colombian spending two years on loan at Bayern Munich and one year at Everton – which despite starting promisingly, quickly collapsed.

He is now playing at Olympiakos after a brief stint in Qatar for Al-Rayyan. 

James Rodriguez signed for Real Madrid in 2014 but failed to live on his promise from Brazil ’14

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