Year in Review: Must try harder

It’s not all trophies and glamour in the world of sport, as the fame, fortune and pressure of professional sport can occasionally prove too much for some.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the sports world’s underperforming stars who will need to show a significant improvement in the coming year.

Nick Kyrgios

The abrasive Aussie continued to rub people up the wrong way in 2016, pulling out of the Olympics in June following a spat with the Australian Olympic Committee. Things then came to a head at the Shanghai Masters in October when Kyrgios deliberately tanked a match, at one point even asking the umpire to “call time” so he could go home.

He later apologised, but it was too much for tennis’ top brass. The ATP fined the 21-year old and banned him for eight weeks, although the ban was later reduced to three weeks after he agreed to seek professional help. Not the greatest way to end the year.

The year 2017 presents Kyrgios with a fresh opportunity to knuckle down and put his undoubted talent to better effect – let’s hope he takes it.

Sam Allardyce

The positive was he left with a 100 percent record.

2016 should have been the best year of Big Sam’s life. After years of club management with the likes of Bolton, West Ham and Newcastle, he finally bagged his dream job when he became England manager in July. It didn’t last long though – one match to be precise – after he got caught up in a newspaper sting that saw him allegedly offer advice on how to get around FA rules on player transfers. Allardyce got the boot after just 67 days and was replaced by Gareth Southgate.

It remains to be seen whether Allardyce will get a chance to manage at the top of the game again, but the football world is a forgiving place – so don’t rule it out. Things can only get better in the new year as far as Big Sam is concerned!

Manchester United

Finishing fifth in the Premier League – a whopping 15 points behind surprise winners Leicester City is just not good enough for a club so used to success like Manchester United. Add to that a group stage Champions League exit and a Europa League loss at the hands of arch enemies Liverpool and you have a pretty disappointing season for the Red Devils.

The FA Cup may have been won, but that was not enough to keep Louis van Gaal his job.

“Do you think this will help?”

Cue the arrival of Jose Mourinho and a plethora of expensive players including world-record signing Paul Pogba (£89 million), but things have yet to significantly improve. The Old Trafford faithful still long for the exciting attacking play of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, and the new year would be a great time for United to start producing it again.

Bayern Munich

Another year, another Bundesliga title for the German powerhouse. But the now-departed Pep Guardiola failed to capture the most coveted prize – the Champions League. A disappointing exit in the semifinals at the hands of Atletico Madrid meant that the Spaniard ended his three-year reign in Germany without claiming the trophy that he was brought in to win.

Under his successor Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern seem to be stuck in autopilot, big-name players look out of form and performances have not been up to scratch – by Bayern standards anyway. Ancelotti will certainly need to engineer an improvement when Die Roten get back into action following the winter break.

Jose Mourinho

“Special no more?”

After returning to a fanfare of positive publicity following his sacking from Chelsea a season earlier, Jose Mourinho has so far failed to create the spark that the Old Trafford hierarchy were hoping for following the uninspiring reins of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

The high-profile arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and several other big-money signings and their failure to gel have lead some to speculate that the self-styled ‘Special One’ has lost his touch. Given what happened toward the end of his time at Chelsea and so far at Old Trafford, Mourinho definitely has a lot to prove over the next 12 months.

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