Thirty-two games without a win: Rudy Gestede and sport’s great rotten streaks – The Guardian

Middlesbrough’s new signing, Rudy Gestede, may have only played one match for his new team, but he has already set an unwanted record in the Premier League. The Benin forward now has the league’s longest winless streak – managing 32 games without victory. (He last won when Aston Villa beat Bournemouth 1-0 in August 2015.) But Gestede isn’t the only sportsperson to be ruing such a grim streak …

Jack Rodwell

Last weekend also saw an unwanted tally for the Sunderland midfielder. Since he joined the club in 2014, Rodwell is yet to win a game in which he has started – Sunderland’s defeat to Stoke on Saturday took this winless streak to 35 games in all competitions.

Jack Rodwell of Sunderland misses a chance against Stoke City, 14 January.

Jack Rodwell of Sunderland misses a chance against Stoke City, 14 January. Photograph: Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Andy Murray

Sir Andy has reached the final of the Australian open five times since 2010. If he gets there again this year, it would be his third final in a row. Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl managed the same feat, losing in the final of the 1982, 83 and 84 US Open. The good omen? Lendl won the next three in a row.

Robert Dee

The British tennis player lost his first 54 professional matches in a row without winning a single set. He couldn’t even win in the legal court – in 2010, he took legal action against the Daily Telegraph for calling him the “world’s worst” tennis player. He lost.

Franziska van Almsick

The German swimmer won her first four medals aged 14 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. But she holds the bittersweet record of most Olympic medals that aren’t gold: over four successive Olympic games, she won four silver and six bronze medals.

Olympic swimmer Franziska van Almsick has narrowly missed out on gold.

Olympic swimmer Franziska van Almsick has narrowly missed out on gold. Photograph: Reuters

Merlene Ottey

A veteran of seven Olympic Games but with no Olympic golds to her name, the sprinter won three silver and six bronze medals between 1980 and 2004. The “Bronze Queen” lost in the 1996 100m final by five-thousandths of a second, and the 200m by 12-hundredths of a second.

Gareth Bale

Bale failed to win in his first 24 appearances for Tottenham. But he finally broke his duck in 2009 two years after signing – only for the “Spurs flop” to soon be linked with a cut-price deal to Birmingham City. Things worked out alright. By 2013, he became the most expensive player in the world when he signed for Real Madrid. There’s hope yet for Gestede and Rodwell.

Michael Ballack (plus Bernd Schneider, Oliver Neuville and Carsten Ramelow)

German footballer Ballack was part of Bayer Leverkusen’s “treble horror” season in 2002, when the team squandered a five-point lead in the Bundesliga with three games remaining, then lost the German Cup and Champions League finals in the same week, earning the team the nickname Neverkusen. For added schadenfreude, Ballack, AKA Mr Runner Up, was booked in the 2002 World Cup semi final against South Korea so missed the final against Brazil. The other three played. And lost … natürlich.

Michael Ballack, AKA Mr Runner Up.

Michael Ballack, AKA Mr Runner Up. Photograph: Andreas Rentz/Bongarts/Getty Images


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