How well do British players do when they go abroad?

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Football News

Brits abroad aren't the most popular tourists, especially in mainland Spain - just ask Gareth Bale if you don't believe me.

The Welshman is enduring a tough time at Real Madrid at the moment, despite scoring winning goals in the Copa del Rey and Champions League final's in his debut season. As you are well aware, though, the Madrid fans are possibly football's toughest critics.

So if Gareth Bale is supposedly struggling at Real Madrid with 30 goals in 57 starts, what does that say about other Brits who've ventured away from the Premier League. These lot had mixed fortunes from their time away from home.


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Jonathan Woodgate

No-one has made a debut quite as spectacular as Jonathan Woodgate - unfortunately for the ex-Middlesbrough man - it was for all the wrong reasons. He scored an own goal and was sent off on his first outing for Real Madrid; sadly that was a marker for the majority of his Real Madrid career.

Although Woodgate was a highly rated defender at the time when Real Madrid purchased him, the move still came as a bit of a shock. Not to the degree of Thomas Gravesen's move to the Spanish capital, but not too far off.

Woodgate was notoriously injury prone and didn't quite fit the glamourous profile of a Real Madrid player around the Galactico era. As many predicted, his time in Spain didn't go as well as he would have hoped.

Joey Barton

When your most famous moment for a team is speaking in a strange, fictitious foreign accent, it's a sign that your move wasn't a huge success. Though to be fair to Barton, his time in Marseille wasn't a complete failure: he started most games and was one of Marseille's better players in the one season he was in France.

His season-long loan was successful, but unfortunately for Barton, not to the extent that Marseille were desperate to sign him the following season. They made a feeble attempt to sign him from QPR, but eventually gave up in their pursuit of the English midfielder - maybe his accent just wasn't quite convincing enough.

Paul Lambert

You may know Paul Lambert from his relatively mundane career as a manager but believe it or not, the ex-Aston Villa manager was a decent player in his time. He was the first Scottish player to win the Champions League when he lifted the trophy for Borussia Dortmund in 1997.

In the final against Juventus, he managed to man mark a French bloke named Zinedine Zidane out of the game, and even got an assist. Unlike his time at Villa, Lambert decided to end his time in Germany on a high note - he moved back to Scotland to join Celtic not long after his victory in Europe.

Steve McManaman

If you were to ask Real Madrid fans to name the starting line up of their 1998 Champions League winning side, McManaman would probably be one of the names they forget to mention. He even scored a spectacular volley in a 3-0 victory over Valencia, not that it helps his longevity in the memory of Real Madrid folklore.

His time at Real Madrid was a mixed one: he won several trophies including two Champions Leagues, but he never really cemented a place in the side. Despite not contributing too much to some of the trophies on his CV, he can still say he won the Champions League with a foreign side - how many other Englishman can make the same claim?

Ian Rush

For some reason, Ian Rush didn't quite cut it at Juventus. Actually, the reasons why are quite obvious; Rush couldn't get the hang of the language barrier, prompting the infamous quote that Italy, "Was like living in a foreign country." He's adamant that comment was meant as a joke. No, we're not sure we believe him either.

Injury troubles and a failure to adapt to the different culture ultimately plagued Rush's time in Italy, which is a shame considering his undoubted talent. He cut his losses and returned back to Liverpool, which seemed to suit everybody.

Gareth Bale is doing alright

Compared to most Brits who have moved to mainland Europe, Bale is doing remarkably well in Madrid. He's scoring goals, getting assists and he's even managed to accept that he's in a foreign country. Give him a few more years, his time in Spain could be the benchmark for future Brits who make the brave trip to warmer climates and demanding locals. Ultimately, no matter how disliked he is among Madrid supporters, at least he didn't score an own goal on his debut.

Why do you not think more British players have been brave enough to make a trip abroad? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Gareth Bale
Joey Barton
Serie A
Steve McManaman
La Liga
Jonathan Woodgate
Ian Rush
Real Madrid
Borussia Dortmund

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