11 great international players who couldn't hack it in the Premier League

Sergei Rebrov
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Bryan Ruiz

Ruiz is a Costa Rican icon with 120 caps to his name and 25 international goals. He is his country’s current captain and his performances have generally been thrilling everywhere he’s played – Costa Rica, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal. Apart from England, that is.

Ruiz joined Premier League club Fulham for an undisclosed fee in August 2011. He played in 68 Premier League games but only managed to find the net eight times, and was loaned to PSV in January 2014 after finding playing time hard to come by at Craven Cottage. Eventually he was sold to Sporting in July 2015.

Ruiz did score this beauty, but one chip didn't fill up Fulham

Aged 33, he's now of Santos in Brazil – but remains an integral part of the Costa Rican national side as their highly experienced captain.

Tomas Brolin

Brolin is one of the worst Premier League imports since its inception – which is pretty strange, because he was actually a brilliant player who was fantastic at international level and one of the finest players in the world between 1990 and 1994.

The Swede burst onto the world scene as an 18-year-old, scoring against Brazil at the 1990 World Cup – duly earning himself a move to Serie A with Parma – and going on to score 27 goals in 47 caps for his country. He starred at the 1994 World Cup as Sweden got to the semi-finals – and yet his spells at both Leeds and Crystal Palace were abysmal.

Brolin also scored this at Euro 92... the swine

Leeds signed Brolin for £4.5 million in 1995, but he piled on the weight, fell out with George Graham and couldn’t cope with the demands of England's top flight. He scored just four times in 20 Premier League appearances and was shipped out on loan twice – to FC Zurich and back to Parma – before being released on a free transfer. Brolin then signed for Palace, where he failed to score at all in 13 top-flight appearances.

He retired in 1998 after one memorable appearance – as a goalkeeper – back in Sweden for hometown club Hudiksvalls ABK.

BIG INTERVIEW Tomas Brolin – "I was bullied at Leeds, but I don't regret joining them"

Roque Junior

We arrive at the only World Cup winner on this list – and he comes in the form of Brazil’s Roque Junior. The big centre-back played every minute of the 2002 World Cup Final victory over Germany, and signed for Leeds on a year-long loan from Milan in September 2003 having won the Champions League with the Italian side only four months earlier.

Naturally, his arrival was greeted warmly by the Leeds faithful – but if only his performances warranted it. Junior was sent off on his debut against Birmingham and Leeds conceded a shocking 19 goals in his five Premier League appearances.

Unsurprisingly, the relegated Whites didn’t make his loan permanent and the Brazilian went back to Milan, where he was quickly shipped out on loan again to Siena. He became a bit of a journeyman and retired in 2010 after a brief spell in his home nation with Ituano FC.

Jon Dahl Tomasson

Not many people had heard of the 20-year-old Tomasson when he signed for Newcastle in 1997, but the Dane had already enjoyed three increasingly prolific seasons in the Netherlands with Heerenveen, the club for whom he scored 37 goals in 78 Eredivisie appearances.

He'd made his debut for Denmark four months before his £2.2m arrival in England, and seemed a highly promising prospect. Tomasson ultimately turned out to be just that – but he didn't show it during his time in the Premier League. In his one season at St. James’ Park, the young striker scored just three goals in 23 top-flight appearances and was sold to Feyenoord.

Tomasson went on to make his mark in Italy with Milan – where he won the 2002/03 Champions League – in Germany with Stuttgart, and in Spain with Villarreal. He earned 112 international caps and scored 52 international goals, making him the joint top-scorer and third most-capped player in Denmark’s history. He has since embarked on a coaching career and is currently his national team’s assistant manager.