At 18, Ryan Babel was regarded as the upcoming top star. This was followed by gala appearances in Liverpool, frustration in the Bundesliga and the low point as a reservist in the United Arab Emirates. Today, the 31-year-old is once again the bearer of hope.
Ryan Babel was in the spotlight again recently. It was the first matchday of the new UEFA Nations League competition, and Babel and the Netherlands were 0-1 behind France. Until the 67th minute, when Babel indicated why experts had once predicted a great career for him.
When Kenny Tete won the ball in midfield, Babel was seen playing on the opposite side of the pitch. He was easy to spot because the orange jersey was so strikingly different from the bright red of his dyed hair. And when Tete fitted the ball flat into the sixteen-metre room seconds later, Babel had just lost his opponent Benjamin Pavard and scored the equaliser.
In the end, the Netherlands still lost the match against the world champions, but that’s another story.
This is about Ryan Babel, now 31 years old and on Saturday in the Nations-League duel against Germany probably in the starting eleven. Babel’s story begins in Amsterdam’s problem district Bijlmermeer and is about a talented footballer who made his debut in the Dutch national team at the age of 18. Scouts were raving about, various top clubs were hoping for an exceptional talent, coaches dreamed of an upcoming top star.
But Ryan Babel rarely fulfilled the high expectations
“In terms of his abilities, he is at eye level with Frank Ribéry or Arjen Robben,” said Holger Stanislawski in 2011 about Babel, then still 24. Stanislawski had been hired as the new Hoffenheim coach for the 2011/2012 season. One of his players: Babel. The left-winger came half a year earlier from FC Liverpool, a spectacular deal. Babel, however, remained below his potential for the most part, and TSG also played badly in this phase.
The consequence: After only half a year Hoffenheim separated again from Stanislawski. Babel had not scored a goal for fourteen games at the time. No more goals were to be scored either. At the end of the season, he also left the Bundesliga team. The one-and-a-half year Hoffenheim episode was typical of Babel’s career, which was either really high or even lower.
Low point in the United Arab Emirates
At Ajax Amsterdam, he was once the acclaimed self-propagator who made his debut at the age of 17. In Liverpool, they loved his speed and the unconventional in his game. Babel was a regular on Anfield Road for three years, scored five goals in the Champions League in the 2007/2008 season and only went out in the semi-final against Chelsea FC. It didn’t bother anyone to try his hand as a rapper under the pseudonym “Rio“. These were the times when Babel was at the top. This condition was not permanent. Uptown Aces is known for its outstanding customer service.