9 players who couldn't hack the culture shock in a new league
6. Seth Burkett (Sorriso)
The former non-league player trained in 50-degree heat on a diet of rice and peas
Thanks to a fortuitous meeting with a Brazilian agent, Burkett, who was rejected by Northampton and Peterborough as a youngster, became the first British player to play professionally in the home of Pele, Zico and Ronaldo. He joined Esporte Clube Sorriso, ranked 264th out of Brazil’s 770-plus professional teams, and trained in 50-degree heat on a diet of rice and peas.
“It was a massive culture shock," he conceded. "I enjoyed more creature comforts playing non-League for Stamford. In terms of hygiene and cleanliness, it was horrific - a real eye-opener.” Burkett only received 15 minutes' playing time for the first team before his visa expired, but he later wrote a book about his South American adventure.
7. Hernan Crespo (Chelsea)
The Argentine striker had more problems with the household bills than his £17m price tag
Crespo joined Chelsea in August 2003, becoming the club's 11th signing of the summer as Claudio Ranieri splashed the cash provided by new owner Roman Abramovich. But the Argentine striker had more problems with the household bills than his £17m price tag.
"It was a problem for me to sign a contract for a house," Crespo explained. "It was even a problem trying to use my phone because I couldn't explain what I wanted. If the electricity bill came, it was a problem as well. There was no one to tell me whether to live near Chelsea or the training ground."
The former Inter man was sent out on loan after a disappointing first season at Stamford Bridge, but returned under Jose Mourinho to help the Blues win a second successive Premier League title in 2005/06.
8. Andrea Ranocchia (Hull)
The Italian struggled with the customs of his new country and dearly missed his home comforts
Ranocchia joined Hull on loan in January and went on to form a promising partnership with Harry McGuire in the centre of defence as the Tigers made a late surge for safety. The Italian struggled with the customs of his new country, though, and dearly missed his home comforts.
“On the first day alone I went into the wrong way down two crossings," he said. "I've already scraped the rims on my car wheels on the pavements. I really miss pasta, too.” Not a fan of the humble Yorkshire pudding, then.
9. Brian Laudrup (Milan/Fiorentina/Chelsea)
In 1994, Walter Smith drove Laudrup to a hotel in Loch Lomond to try and convince the Denmark international that Rangers was the place to be. He didn't have to bother.
“I spoke to Walter and said, 'before you read anything in the papers I've just had an offer from Barcelona and I've turned it down'," Laudrup recalled. "He didn't say anything for a minute and then he said, 'So you'd prefer to play Falkirk on a Tuesday night?' I said, 'Yeah, I love it' and he laughed and shook my hand." During the next four years the Dane became a legend, helping the club to nine league titles in a row.
Later at Milan, Laudrup won the European Cup and Serie A, yet he “never felt part of that team”. At Fiorentina, he noted that foreign payers were blamed when things went wrong. London was also an adventure he regretted. After signing for Chelsea in 1998, the midfielder tried to get out of the contract.
Rangers was truly his spiritual home: “I was happy in Scotland on the park and my family and I were very happy off it."