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

Sergei Rebrov
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Jozy Altidore

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Altidore is the success he’s had at international level. Altidore’s first regrettable Premier League spell came in the 2009/10 season, when he joined Hull on loan from Villarreal. He scored just once in 28 top-flight games – but could be forgiven, as he was only a teenager in a poor side at the time.

When he signed for Sunderland for £6.5m in July 2013, though, after a prolific spell at AZ in the Netherlands (39 goals in 67 Eredivisie games), a lot more was expected of him. Again, he managed just one league net-rippler in 42 appearances, and swiftly swapped places with Jermain Defoe a year-and-a-half later.

Altidore has scored 41 goals for the United States in 110 caps, making him the their third-highest scorer ever, and has found his level in MLS, where the 29-year-old still plies his trade with the Canadian side. Forty-seven goals in 90 league games suggests it's probably best he stays put. 

Juan Sebastian Veron

Veron was already a superstar when Manchester United signed him from Lazio in 2001 (which is probably why he cost the club £28.1m – a British transfer record at the time). He'd played club football in his native Argentina, Brazil and for two different Italian clubs – and been a full international for five years.

Things weren't so successful for him in England, though. The midfielder spent two seasons at Old Trafford – playing 51 league games and netting seven times – but rarely looked like the player Alex Ferguson thought he was signing, despite the Scot's vociferous protestations

Chelsea took a chance on him for a cut-price £15m, but his spell at Stamford Bridge was even less successful. He played just seven times in the Premier League for the Blues and was loaned out to both Inter and first club Estudiantes during his time in west London. 

Considering he'd shone in Serie A and earned 73 caps in a fine international career for Argentina (including a 2010 resurgence under Diego Maradona), it was a surprise. Veron is now the chairman of Estudiantes, for whom he briefly came out of retirement in 2017 after fulfilling a promise to return if the club sold enough executive boxes.

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Radamel Falcao

Radamel Falcao’s scoring record throughout his career – both at club and international level – has been nothing short of phenomenal. El Tigre has netted regularly in the top divisions in Argentina, Portugal, Spain and France. He’s also Colombia’s all-time top-scorer with 33 goals in 83 caps – but he simply couldn’t cut it during two separate loan spells in the Premier League.

Falcao joined Manchester United from Monaco in 2014, costing the Red Devils £6m and some eye-watering wages despite only joining on loan. After an injury-ravaged season at Monaco he managed a meagre four goals in 26 league appearances.

United didn’t want to make the deal permanent, but Chelsea took him on loan in the hope that he might rediscover his touch. Falcao didn't; in fact his record was even worse, with just one goal in 10 league games.

Now 33, he’s still at Monaco and still scoring regularly despite their struggles. 


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