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HomeFive of the BestFive of the best - British players to play abroad (Part one)

Five of the best – British players to play abroad (Part one)

So many times we hear that British players should go abroad to develop their game, just like so many foreigners have come here and have enriched the Premier League.

Here, we look at five of the best British players to have done just that.

David Beckham

Having won everything there was to win in England, as well as conquering Europe with Manchester United, David Beckham left Old Trafford and became the latest Galactico at Real Madrid.

During his four seasons in Spain, Beckham scored 20 goals in 155 appearances and also bagged himself a La Liga winners medal.

He made the surprise move across the pond to play for MLS side LA Galaxy, where he would spend a further six years. During his time in America, he was loaned out in the off-season, returning to Europe to maintain his fitness, having two loan spells at Italian giants AC Milan.

He would return to Europe one final time, joining PSG on a short term deal, where he reportedly gave all his wages to charity.

In total, Beckham actually played over 45% of his total appearances for foreign clubs, and must go down as one of the greatest Brits abroad.

Gareth Bale

Another one of Madrid’s Galactico’s now, and that is, of course, Gareth Bale, and having become the Worlds most expensive player back in 2013, he must go down as one of Britains biggest exports.

Having started his career at Southampton, the Welshman moved to Tottenham in 2007 where he was initially utilised as a left-back. However, it was during his spell at White Hart Lane that Bale’s reputation began to grow, becoming an integral part to Harry Redknapps’s side.

His performances attracted the attention of some of the worlds biggest clubs, but it was Los Blancos who won the race to his signature, agreeing an £86 million deal.

Since then, despite a series of injuries, he has scored over 75 goals in over 170 appearances for the club, and has picked up an impressive collection of medals. To date, he has won one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey, and an amazing three Champions League winners medals.

Gary Lineker

Some of the younger readers of our website may think that Gary Lineker is the Leicester supporter on Match of the Day with the rubbish jokes. The older among us remember Gary Lineker as a sublime footballer and excellent goalscorer.

Starting his career at Leicester, he moved to Everton in 1985 where he was nothing short of prolific, scoring 38 goals in 52 games for the Toffees.

That form attracted the attention of Spanish giants Barcelona, and he completed a £2.8 million to the Nou Camp after just one year at Goodison Park.

During his time in Spain, he won the Copa del Rey and European Cup Winners Cup during his three year stint, scoring 52 goals in 137 appearances for the Blaugrana.

He returned to England in 1989, spending three years at Tottenham, as well as going on to become England’s leading record scorer, a record that stood until 2017, when Wayne Rooney finally eclipsed his 49 goals.

Mark Hughes

While Mark Hughes is often thought of for his days at Manchester United, the Welshman’s spell abroad can often be forgotten.

Having scored 47 goals for United in three seasons, Hughes was snapped up by Barcelona for £2 million in the summer of 1986 by Terry Venables, in the hope of forming a formidable partnership with the aforementioned Lineker.

However, while the Englishman thrived, Hughes struggled, scoring just five goals.

He was subsequently loaned out to Bayern Munich where he recaptured his form, before being re-signed by Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in 1988.

Paul Gascoigne

And last but by no means least is the mercurial talent that is Paul Gascoigne. While Gazza may be remembered for his problems and antics off of the pitch, let’s not forget the magic he produced on it.

While he will be mainly remembered for his time in both England and Scotland, with Newcastle, Tottenham and Rangers, we musn’t forget his spell in Serie A.

He moved to Italian side Lazio in 1992 for £5.5m having missed the entire 1991/92 season through injury.

So much was the public interest in Gazza, that his Lazio debut against Genoa was televised in Britain. He went on to make 47 appearances for the Italian side, scoring six goals, before returning to Britain to join Rangers where he would score 39 goals in 104 games for the Gers.


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