Football

Ramires completed a £25 million move to China this week.

Ramires won’t be alone - 11 former Premier League stars playing in China

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Having won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Champions League and Europa League during his six-year stay at Stamford Bridge, it’s fair to say that Brazilian midfielder Ramires has pretty much seen and done it all at Chelsea.

So when Chinese side Jiangsu Suning came calling with a deal worth some £25 million to the London club, you can perhaps see why the player nicknamed 'The Blue Kenyan' decided to embark on another footballing adventure.

But while the Chinese Super League remains something of an unknown quantity among English football fans, there are more familiar faces playing in the Far East than many would have initially assumed.

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Here are 11 former Premier League names to have made a similar career move as Ramires.

1. Gervinho – Hebei China Fortune

The Ivorian spent two years with Arsenal, scoring nine goals in 46 Premier League outings for the Gunners, before reuniting with former Lille boss Rudi Garcia at AS Roma. Gervinho moved to China this week following the Frenchman’s dismissal.

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2. Sven-Goran Eriksson – Shanghai SIPG

England’s former manager and a gun-for-hire in recent years, with stints at Leicester and Manchester City to his name, Eriksson was at Guangzhou R&F prior to his appointment at Shanghai SIPG in November 2014.

3. Mohamed Sissoko – Shanghai Shenhua

A favourite of then Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, Sissoko played 84 games for the Reds, scoring one goal, before moving on to Juventus and later Paris Saint-Germain. Still only 31, the midfielder is in Shanghai after a slow couple of years.

Reading's Brynjar Gunnarsson (R) compete

4. Li Tie - Hebei China Fortune

Brought to Everton in 2002 as part of a deal brokered by sponsors Kejian, Li played over 30 league games for the Toffees but failed to live up to his status as one of China’s best players. Retired in 2011 and now a budding manager.

5. Demba Ba – Shanghai Shenhua

Still a favourite among Newcastle United fans and with stints at West Ham and Chelsea to his name, Ba surprised many by leaving Besiktas for a big-money move to China last summer despite reported Premier League interest. He's since scored 12 goals in 16 games.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-CHELSEA

6. Dan Petrescu – Jiangsu Sainty

As a player, Petrescu is best remembered for his five-year stint with Chelsea, though he also turned out for Southampton and Bradford. Now a manager, he arrived in China after quitting ASA Targu Mures after just one game in charge to take over at Jiangsu.

7. Paulinho – Guangzhou Evergrande

Brought to Brazil by Luis Felipe Scolari after an ineffective spell with Tottenham, Paulinho has already scored five goals in 22 games and won the AFC Champions League and Chinese Super League in his first season.

Tottenham Hotspur v AEL Limassol FC - UEFA Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round: Second Leg

8. Zheng Zhi - Guangzhou Evergrande

Another Chinese star once tipped for big things, Charlton fans best remember Zheng for scoring on his first Premier League start against Newcastle. He made 12 top-flight appearances before moving on to Celtic and then back to China in 2010, where he has played for Guangzhou ever since.

9. Asamoah Gyan - Shanghai SIPG

Despite enjoying a solid season-and-a-half with Sunderland, the lure of a move to the Middle East with Al-Ain, where Gyan quadrupled his salary, was too good to turn down. Now earning even more money in China, where he has already bagged 10 in 15 games.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League

10. Luis Felipe Scolari - Guangzhou Evergrande

Having followed up his disastrous stint as Chelsea manager with an even worse second spell as Brazil manager (with a few jobs in between), Scolari opted to take the money and run with a move to China where he has already won the Chinese Super League and AFC Champions League.

11. Tim Cahill - Shanghai Shenhua

Australia’s finest and an Everton legend to boot, Cahill swapped New York for Shanghai in early 2015 and has rarely looked back, with the 36-year-old bagging 12 goals in 32 games for his new Chinese employers already.

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