Chelsea fans will be familiar with the name Franco di Santo following his short lived stint at Stamford Bridge between 2008 and 2010. He didn’t score a single goal in the 8 league games he had for the English club to ensure he had a terrible three-year spell.
Di Santo began his career at Chilean club Audax Italiano. In the 2006–07 season, he scored 26 goals in 76 matches, including one goal in six matches in the Copa Libertadores. Then, in 2007 he scored 12 in 17 matches for the club, including one goal in four matches in the Copa Sudamericana.
Due to his precocious and prolific performances, he was dubbed “the next Maradona”. Di Santo then earned a move to English Premier League side Chelsea on a four-and-a-half-year contract for a fee of £3.4 million and a first-team place following good form in the reserves.
After a season on loan at Blackburn Rovers, he moved to Wigan Athletic for £2 million in 2010, where he won the FA Cup in 2013. After totalling 14 goals in 122 Premier League matches, he was released following Wigan’s relegation to the Championship in 2013. He then moved to Werder Bremen in Germany, spending two seasons there, before making a controversial switch to rivals Schalke 04.
Di Santo soon joined Bremen’s rivals Schalke 04, signing a four-year contract, after triggering his release clause, believed to be €6 million. Two days later, Di Santo publicly apologized to Bremen fans for the controversial switch, and Bremen director Thomas Eichin said he was “anything but impressed” by the swiftness of Di Santo’s departure.
The striker soon got off the mark in his new club by scoring in a 5-0 win at MSV Duisburg in the first round of the DFB-Pokal in what was his debut match. He has gone on to net 8 more goals for the German side.