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Arguably one of the most competitive and entertaining leagues in the world.

The Barclays Premier League attracts some of the world’s biggest and best players with the offer of huge financial rewards.

Forgotten foreign Premier League players: Volume 2To date, the Premier League has welcomed 1,612 foreign footballers from over 100 countries including Oman and even the Seychelles but not all of them turn out to be a resounding success. We have seen on countless occasions a “world class” player, highly regarded on the continent move to a Premier League club only to pack their bags and leave shortly after. Why is this?

There could be a number of reasons as to why this happens but if you factor in the change of climate, lack of a winter break and bouts of homesickness you could be left with a very unhappy player who is out of form and desperate to go home.

Could it be down to the “shop window” effect of a major tournament such as a World Cup, a European Championships or an African Nations Cup? With the eyes of the world upon them, a handful of great performances from a player on a stage like this can make a Premier League club’s chairman reach for the cheque book. The player arrives into a media circus touted as the club’s next big thing, only to make a hasty return back to easier, less competitive leagues after a handful of uninspiring appearances. A bad experience for the player but a lucrative one nonetheless.

It is a risk many are willing to take. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Some players come to the English Premier League for a last hurrah – one final opportunity to test themselves in one of the toughest leagues in the world. Money is no longer the driving factor for these players as they have made millions over the course of their careers. They are just seeking a final challenge and the chance to get their hands on an English trophy.

We have compiled a list which not only includes foreign players that you could genuinely say added value to their clubs but also those that didn’t live up to expectations on the pitch and returned home with their tail between their legs.

Let’s take a look at the second part (of three) in the series.

Bernard Lama

Arriving at West Ham United at the start 1998 on a short term deal after a ban from PSG for consumption of cannabis, Lama impressed enough for West Ham to offer him a permanent contract.

Unfortunately for West Ham, after France won the 1998 World Cup in which Lama was a squad member he returned to PSG.

12 Premier League appearances, 0 goals

Winston Bogarde

Signing for Chelsea after success across Europe with Ajax, Milan and Barcelona, Bogarde’s time at the club is mostly remembered for his refusal to leave the club even though he wasn’t getting selected to play.

Reportedly earning £40,000 a week, Bogarde honoured his contract to the letter and turned up to training every day and played for both the reserve and youth teams. Once his contract expired, Bogarde retired from playing.

9 Premier League appearances, 0 goals

Michael Reiziger

Arriving at Middlesbrough in 2004 after a seven year spell at Barcelona, Reiziger’s time at the club was ravaged by injuries and poor form.

Unable to replicate the form he showed at Barcelona, Reiziger ended up returning to Holland with PSV after making only 22 Premier League appearances over two seasons.

22 Premier League appearances, 1 goal

George Weah

Former World Player of the year and 90’s footballing superstar George Weah arrived at Chelsea in 2000 on loan from AC Milan.

At 33 he was arguably past his best but he revitalised a Chelsea team struggling to find the net with a goal on his debut against Tottenham Hotspur.

Adored by the Chelsea fans, the love affair ended at the end of the season after he helped them to win the 2000 FA Cup.

18 Premier League appearances, 4 goals

Pierluigi Casiraghi

The Italian striker arrived at Chelsea in 1998 for £5.4 million with high hopes but was desperately unfortunate to sustain a cruciate ligament in only his 10th appearance for the club.

After 10 operations over the course of the next four years Casiraghi was forced to retire from playing.

10 Premier League appearances, 1 goal

Didier Deschamps

One of the most decorated players in the game, Deschamps moved to Chelsea in 1999 on a free transfer from Juventus.

Although many, including Deschamps’, thought his playing style didn’t suit the English game, his Chelsea team still managed a fifth place finish and the FA Cup in 2001 in his only season at the club.

27 Premier League appearances, 0 goals

Marco Materazzi

Long before he gained notoriety for winding up Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup Final, Marco Materazzi played in the Premier League for Everton during the 1998-99 season.

His one season at Goodison will mostly be remembered for his poor discipline although he did show the odd glimpse of class with a magnificent free kick against Middlesbrough.

27 Premier League appearances, 1 goal

More ‘Forgotten foreign Premier League players’ in the series
Volume 1 .. Volume 3

Originally published at premierleagueheroes.com

Post written by Premier League Heroes
Blog: premierleagueheroes.com, Twitter: @PLHeroes

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