Michael Johnson, once touted as a future England captain at Manchester City and the subject of interest from Liverpool, has been paid off from his contract by the club.

City have finally run out of patience with a player who has gained more pounds than appearances over the last three years. He was offered a severance package from his £40,000-a-week contract before Christmas, according to the Guardian, and the news has now become public after a bloated picture emerged of the midfielder on Monday night.

michael johnson

Who are ya? A bloated Michael Johnson spotted out recently in Manchester

Considered the long-term heir to Steven Gerrard, Liverpool bid £10m for Johnson five-and-a-half-years ago, but his dream start at City has descended into a nightmare.

Bloated, sporting an unflattering stubble and rough, Johnson's plight is the unfortunate story of a player who has over-indulged in the excesses football has to offer.

Last year, Johnson's Mercedes hit another car before crashing into a wall and he was arrested. He was fined £5,500 for two drink-driving offences.

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  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Derby County - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson celebrates his goal with team mates

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Derby County - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson celebrates his goal with team mates

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Derby County - City of Manchester Stadium

    Derby County's Tyrone Mears is tackled by Manchester City's Michael Johnson as team mate Javier Garrido runs behind

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Middlesbrough - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's goalscorer Blumer Elano celebrates with team mate Michael Johnson (6) after scoring the second goal

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Middlesbrough - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's goalscorer Blumer Elano celebrates with team mate Michael Johnson (6) after scoring the second goal

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Aston Villa - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Javier Garrido (r) and Michael Johnson (l) celebrate after the final whistle

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Manchester City - Stamford Bridge

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v Fulham - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson (front) and Fulham's Jimmy Bullard battle for the ball

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Liverpool v Manchester City - Anfield

    Liverpool's Fernando Torres controls the ball, under pressure from Manchester City's Michael Johnson.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Liverpool v Manchester City - Anfield

    Liverpool's Fernando Torres controls the ball, under pressure from Manchester City's Michael Johnson (right) and Richard Dunne.

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - City Of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Midtjylland v Manchester City - UEFA Cup Qualifying

    HERNING, DENMARK - AUGUST 28: Michael Johnson of Manchester city passes the ball during the UEFA Cup 2nd qualifying round second leg match between Midtjylland and Manchester City at the SAS Arena on August 28, 2008 in Herning, Denmark. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Sunderland v Manchester City - Stadium Of Light

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Second Round - Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City - Withdean Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Pre-Season Friendly - Manchester City v AC Milan - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Watford v Manchester City - Vicarage Road

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson and Watford's Alhassan Bangura (left) battle for the ball

  • Johnson arrest

    File photo dated 28/9/2009 of Manchester City's Michael Johnson who has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving after an early-morning car crash.

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Manchester City v Aston Villa - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson warms up.

  • Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Manchester City v Aston Villa - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City (centre)

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Fourth Round - Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Fourth Round - Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Fourth Round - Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Fourth Round - Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Carling Cup - Fourth Round - Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson (2nd right) celebrates with his team mates after scoring the fifth goal

  • Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - Carling Cup 4th Round

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Michael Johnson of Manchester City during the Carling Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City and Scunthorpe United at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 28, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City's English midfielder Mic

    Manchester City's English midfielder Michael Johnson (R) vies with Scunthorpe United's English forward Paul Hayes during their Carling Cup fourth round football match in Manchester, north-west England on October 28, 2009. AFP PHOTO/ANDREW YATES. FOR EDITORIAL USE Additional licence required for any commercial/promotional use or use on TV or internet (except identical online version of newspaper) of Premier League/Football League photos. Tel DataCo +44 207 2981656. Do not alter/modify photo (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - Carling Cup 4th Round

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Michael Johnson of Manchester City during the Carling Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City and Scunthorpe United at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 28, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - Carling Cup 4th Round

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Michael Johnson of Manchester City beats Sam Togwell of Scunthorpe United during the Carling Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City and Scunthorpe United at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 28, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Manchester City v Scunthorpe United - Carling Cup 4th Round

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 28: Michael Johnson of Manchester City beats Sam Togwell of Scunthorpe United during the Carling Cup 4th Round match between Manchester City and Scunthorpe United at the City of Manchester Stadium on October 28, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Arsenal v Manchester City - Emirates Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson (r) and Arsenal's Alexander Hleb (l) battle for the ball

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Arsenal v Manchester City - Emirates Stadium

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson celebrates setting up their equaliser with team mate Joey Barton

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Manchester City v Charlton Athletic - The City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City (r) and Alexandre Song Billong, Charlton Athletic battle for the ball

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Manchester City v Charlton Athletic - The City of Manchester Stadium

    (L-R) Charlton Athletic's Alexandre Song Billong, Luke Young and Manchester City's Michael Johnson battle for the ball

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Fulham v Manchester City - Craven Cottage

    Fulham's Wayne Routledge (left) and Manchester City's Michael Johnson battle for the ball.

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Youth Cup - Final - Second Leg - Manchester City v Liverpool - City of Manchester Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Manchester City v Manchester United - The City of Manchester Stadium

    Manchester United's Michael Carrick and Manchester City's Michael Johnson battle for the ball

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Watford v Manchester City - Vicarage Road Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Watford v Manchester City - Vicarage Road Stadium

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Friendly - Shrewsbury Town v Manchester City - New Meadow

    Michael Johnson, Manchester City

  • Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Ham United v Manchester City - Upton Park

    Manchester City's Michael Johnson (l) and West Ham United's Bobby Zamora (r) battle for the ball

  • Manchester City Christmas Party - Manchester

    MICHAEL JOHNSON during Manchester City's fancy dress christmas party at Piccolono's in Manchester

Johnson has not played for City since an October 2009 League Cup tie against Scunthorpe United, but the warning signs had already arisen that summer.

michael johnson

Johnson's embarrassing team photo

City eventually pulled his official team photo picture off the website, so embarrassed were they by the result.


Surreal Football
I can't be the only one who thinks Michael Johnson looks better now than he used to.


Typical City
Johnson was one of those players who could make a five yard pass look class.

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  • Inter Milan's Brazilian striker Ronaldo Nazario ki

    RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: Inter Milan's Brazilian striker Ronaldo Nazario kicks the ball 10 March 2002 during a promotional demonstration match of 'futvolley,' a blend of soccer and volleyball, on the sands of the Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ronaldo, who had been sidelined with a muscle injury since 23 December, was given the green light 09 March to play in Brazil's World Cup 2002 warm up against Yugoslavia. Ronaldo will travel to Italy later 10 March. AFP PHOTO / ANTONIO SCORZA (Photo credit should read ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Brazilian former football star Ronaldo d

    Brazilian former football star Ronaldo drives the ball during a charity football match organized by former Brazilian national team player Zico, at Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 28, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Nelson ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - FA Carling Premiership - West Ham United v Southampton

    Neil Ruddock of West Ham United salutes the crowd on his return from injury

  • Celebrity Big Brother Launch - London

    Neil "Razor" Ruddock arriving at the launch of Celebrity Big Brother 2013, Elstree Studios, Borehamwood.

  • Diego Maradona

  • Diego Maradona

  • John Barnes

  • John Barnes

  • Steve Bruce

  • Steve Bruce

  • David Platt

  • David Platt

  • Kenny Sansom

  • Kenny Sansom

  • Jan Molby

  • Jan Molby

  • Soccer - Premier League - Manchester United v Everton - Old Trafford

    NEVILLE SOUTHALL, EVERTON GOALKEEPER

  • Soccer - Carling Premier League ... Everton v Newcastle United

    Neville Southall, Everton

  • Matthew Le Tissier

    Southampton's Matthew Le Tissier during the game

  • Matthew Le Tissier

    Matthew Le Tissier