Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov has said no English based players have been successful in Spain. One former Liverpool star in particular can argue that point.
Rather than being an attack on English football and the quality of players from the Premier League, Stoichkov’s rant in Marca seems to be more aimed at the value in paying what could turn out to be €100 million for a player who has had one prolific season in Premier League football.
The former striker and winger has accused Bale of disrespecting his Tottenham Hotspur teammates and has attacked the idea that Bale is worth a world record fee.
“Bale is disrespecting his Tottenham teammates by not showing up for training. No player from England has ever been a success in Spanish football. If Bale is worth €100 million, I'd have been priceless,” said the Bulgarian.
That got us to thinking whether there have been a few players who have made the switch from England to Spain who have ultimately gone on to have a successful career overseas.
The name which instantly springs to mind is former Tottenham Hotspur star Gary Lineker who had a spell with Barcelona, before he joined Spurs, between 1986 and 1989 where he scored 42 goals in 103 games for the club, which is a record that most modern centre forwards in any European league would kill for.
He made himself a Barcelona legend by scoring a hat-trick against Real Madrid in a 3-2 win.
Former Liverpool front man John Aldridge had a brief spell in Spanish football with Real Sociedad between 1989 and 1991. He moved there after scoring 50 goals in 83 games for Liverpool and maintained a ratio close to one in two for his Spanish employers, which included 16 goals in his first season.
One of the more modern players is Beckham and his spell with Real Madrid can definitely be considered a success. Beckham went to Spain after Sir Alex Ferguson decided to move him on from Manchester United.
He won two pieces of silverware during his time with the club; The Spanish Super Cup in 2003 and the La Liga title in the 2006/2007 season. He scored 13 goals in 116 appearances for the club.
When Steve McManaman was at his very best he was unplayable and that seems to be the reason Real Madrid invested in him for a four year spell between 1999 and 2003 where he scored just eight goals in just under 100 appearances for the club.
McManaman won eight pieces of silverware during his time with the club including two La Liga titles but more significantly two Champions League titles.
What do you think? Should Owen, Woodgate, Cunningham or anyone else be on the list?
image: © Jan S0L0