5 British Players Who Have Succeeded Abroad

The Premier League is awash with money these days and so the incentive for British players in their prime to try their luck with a club in Europe doesn't really exist.

The exception to that of course is if a giant such as Barcelona, Real Madrid or perhaps Bayern Munich come along with wages matching what a player could get in England, and the promise of competing in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Although there haven't historically been a lot of British players who have gone overseas and made much of an impact, the following are five who enjoyed great success:

1.) John Charles - Juventus

The big Welshman John Charles joined Italy's Juventus in 1957 from Leeds United for a then British record £65,000. He went on to enjoy five brilliant seasons in Turin, scoring 108 goals in 155 matches and impressing all with his fast, powerful and yet sporting style of play. Christened Il Gigante Buono (The Gentle Giant) by Juve's adoring fans, his partnership with Omar Sívori and Giampiero Boniperti devastated defenses and led the club to three league championships and two Italian cups.

2.) Kevin Keegan - Hamburger SV

After winning virtually every major prize in club football with Liverpool, England international Kevin Keegan decided he needed a new challenge in 1977 and opted to ask the Merseysiders for a move to West German side Hamburger SV. A fee of £500,000 was agreed between the two clubs a few days before he helped Liverpool to victory in the 1977 European Cup Final. Despite a tough start to his time in Hamburg, he would go on to win back to back European Footballer of the year awards in 1978 and 1979. Keegan also helped the club to a Bundesliga title in 1978-1979 and to a place in the final of the 1980 European Cup where they would be lose to Nottingham Forest. He would leave for Southampton in the summer of 1980.

3.) Gary Lineker - Barcelona

Current BBC Match of the Day host Gary Lineker won the Golden Boot at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico for England and after a terrific goal scoring record at first Leicester and then Everton he was highly coveted by the biggest clubs across Europe. Eventually joining Barcelona for £2.8 million and he did not disappoint. Lineker bagged 21 goals in his first season in Catalonia, including a brilliant hat-trick against archrivals Real Madrid. Despite a lack of silverware in his first season at the club, he would help Barcelona win the Copa del Rey in 1988 and the European Cup Winner's Cup in 1989 before leaving for Tottenham.

4.) Chris Waddle - Olympique de Marseille

The exciting England winger and terrifically mulleted Chris Waddle joined French club Olympique de Marseille from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £4.5 million in 1989. A Marseille legend to this day, Waddle helped the club win three consecutive league titles during his three years in France.

5.) Gareth Bale - Real Madrid

After five seasons at Tottenham, where he had progressively improved to the point where he could arguably be called the most lethal attacking player in the Premier League, Real Madrid scooped up Welsh international Gareth Bale for a world record fee of €100.8 million in the summer of 2013. Despite being plagued by injuries in his first few months in Madrid, Bale helped Real win the Copa del Rey with a sensational winning goal against Barcelona with five minutes to go. A month later he scored in extra time against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Final to put Los Blancos up 2-1 on their way to an eventual 4-1 victory. The following season he scored in yet another final as Madrid went on to beat San Lorenzo 2-0 in the FIFA Club World Cup Final, and then this past season he helped his club to yet another Champions League title.



  1. Another player worthy of mention is Gerry Hitchens, who played 9 seasons in Serie A for Inter, Torino, Atalanta and Cagliari between 1961 and 1969, scoring 59 goals in 205 appearances.

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