Many of the world’s top footballers come to the Premier League to prove their worth. Over the years, numerous world-class players have successfully established themselves in England’s top flight, but that isn’t always the case.
The Premier League is considered by many to be the top league in world football, and many football fans will dismiss a player’s achievements if they have failed to ever grace English soil. So naturally, for a large number of footballers, England is the dream destination.
But there have been plenty of players, including elite level talents, who have failed to prove their worth in the league, and the dream destination has quickly become a nightmare.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at nine world-class players named by the Daily Star that failed to live up to the reputation they had established elsewhere after joining the Premier League.
There’s no denying Higuain is a world-class striker, his spells at Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus were filled with goals. In the 2015/16 season, the Argentinian netted an incredible 36 goals in 35 Serie A appearances for Napoli.
Then-Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri brought the striker to the Premier League on a loan deal from Juventus after previously managing the forward at Napoli. But his short stint in the Premier League was ultimately a failure, with a disappointing return of just five goals in the 14 league appearances he made for the Blues.
Angel di Maria
Manchester United forked out £60m to bring the Argentinian winger Di Maria to Old Trafford, and fans were thrilled after he got straight down to business. He won United’s Goal and Player of the Month award in September, but unfortunately, the winger failed to build on his successful first month.
The Argentine managed 14 goal contributions in 27 league appearances, but after falling out with then-manager Louis Van Gaal, he was shipped off after just one season. Despite his short time at the club, Di Maria has gone down in history as one of the club’s most hated players amongst fans.
Falcao had two stints in the Premier League, one at Manchester United and one at Chelsea. Unfortunately for the forward, neither of them were successful ventures. Falcao has scored 300 goals in his career, but just five of those were bagged during his two spells in England.
Despite netting just four times in 26 league appearances for United, he somehow managed to do even worse for Chelsea. After injuries limited him to just ten league games for the Blues, he left the capital with only a single goal to his name.
Maicon was hailed as one of the best right-back’s in the world during his time at Inter Milan, but it was a totally different story after the player signed for Manchester City.
After finding himself below Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards in the pecking order, the defender was limited to just nine league appearances for the season. By the time he left for Roma on a free transfer, he had less than 800 minutes for City under his belt.
Following the trend of South Americans appearing on this list, Forlan also had an unsuccessful spell at Manchester United early in his career. Despite going on to net over 200 career goals at the likes of Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, the forward failed to find his feet in England.
His poor return of just ten league goals in 63 appearances for the Red Devils meant the Uruguayan would eventually be sold to Villarreal, with United making a £7m loss in the process.
Arsenal fans were excited at the prospect of Suker joining them from Real Madrid, and rightly so. The Croatian had just won the Champions League and La Liga with Los Blancos, and picked up the Golden Boot in the 1998 World Cup.
But the truth was that the forward was past his prime, and his record of just eight goals in 22 Premier League appearances proved that. After just one season with Arsenal, he joined West Ham on a free transfer. But after another poor season with just two goals in 12 league appearances for the Hammers, Suker left for the Bundesliga.
Schweinsteiger was one of Germany’s best midfielders of his generation, and his Bayern Munich career was a testament to that. The eight-time German champion and World Cup winner had Manchester United fans thrilled after he completed a transfer to the club in 2015.
But once again, it was a case of a player simply being past his best. Schweinsteiger failed to get to grips with the pace of the league, and the introduction of manager Jose Mourinho made things even worse for the German. After less than two years and just 18 league appearances, the midfielder moved to the MLS on a free transfer.
Shevchenko is still second on the list of AC Milan’s all-time top scorers with an incredible 175 goals, despite retiring a decade ago. But after joining Chelsea for around £40m in 2006, the forward failed to live up to his large price tag.
After 47 league appearances in which the Ukrainian scored just nine times, he was loaned back to his former club. After a disappointing loan spell back at Milan the forward was eventually sold to Dynamo Kyiv in 2009.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Veron was expected to be a Premier League great upon his arrival at Old Trafford in 2001. The midfielder had shown off his talents in Italy at Sampdoria, Parma and Lazio before signing for Manchester United for a fee totalling £38m.
The Argentinian failed to adapt to the speed of the Premier League and after two disappointing seasons was sold to Chelsea for around £20m. Veron spent even less time at Chelsea, managing just one season with the Blues before he was shipped off back to Italy on loan. After his loan spell with Inter Milan, the midfielder was permanently sold to the Argentinian side, Estudiantes.