Title plus relegation
Football is a game of emotions, from the agony of failure to the ecstasy of glory. Every player in the world will want to minimise the former feeling and maximise the latter, but it’s often the case that footballers have a taste of both at some point in their careers.
In this slideshow, we reveal the eight current Premier League players who have both won the title and been relegated from the top tier of the English game.
A few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea brought Alonso back to the Premier League in summer 2016, with many English fans remembering his unremarkable spells at Sunderland and Bolton, where he suffered relegation in 2011-12.
Yet the Spaniard exceeded expectations in his first season at Stamford Bridge, excelling as a left wing-back as Chelsea won the title under Antonio Conte. He remains an important player for the Blues and looks far more likely to be involved in another championship triumph than another demotion to the Championship.
Begovic may have played just two Premier League matches when Chelsea won the title in 2016-17, but he received a medal due to a rule which recognises the importance of back-up goalkeepers. The Bosnian admitted he felt he didn’t deserve one, although he did acknowledge “to have one in your career is great”.
If that was a highlight of the shot-stopper’s Premier League career, relegation with Portsmouth in 2009-10 was a low. Begovic left the financially troubled south coasters midway through the campaign, but Pompey were already losing their battle to stay up when he joined Stoke.
Cahill was appointed Chelsea’s club captain when John Terry sought pastures new last summer, with the England international now one of the most experienced players in the Stamford Bridge dressing room. The centre-back has won two Premier League titles in west London, as well as the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup.
Chelsea signed Cahill from Bolton, for whom the Midlands-born stopper played 130 league games – including 19 when the Trotters were demoted in 2011-12, even if he did vacate the sinking ship in the middle of the season.
Carrick recently announced he will retire from the game at the end of the season; with Manchester United currently 16 points behind table-toppers Manchester City, the midfielder’s chances of adding a sixth Premier League winner’s medal to his collection are virtually nil.
The former England international has enjoyed a marvellous career at Old Trafford, but before he was regularly winning trophies under the management of Sir Alex Ferguson, Carrick endured the heartache of a shock relegation with West Ham in 2002-03.
It would be extremely harsh to pin Burnley’s relegation in 2014-15 on their loanee midfielder, who made just four substitute appearances totalling 65 minutes during a four-month stay at Turf Moor.
Chalobah was also a bit-part player when Chelsea claimed the championship crown under Antonio Conte in 2016-17, but his 10 league outings – nine of which came off the bench – ensured the Blues academy graduate received a winner’s medal before his summer switch to Watford.
The Stoke right-back is in danger of suffering a second relegation from the Premier League this term, having previously tumbled out of the division with West Ham in 2002-03.
Johnson, who has represented five clubs at the highest level of the English game, made more appearances for each of Portsmouth, Liverpool and Stoke than he did for Chelsea. It was in west London that the defender claimed his only Premier League winner’s medal, though, helping Jose Mourinho’s men top the pile in 2004-05.
Milner became the second youngster player in Premier League history when he made his Leeds debut in 2002, although he’s since been overtaken by a host of players including Aaron Lennon, Jack Wilshere and Izzy Brown. The local lad suffered the heartbreak of relegation with the Yorkshire outfit in 2003-04, before also briefly featuring in Newcastle’s demotion campaign of 2008-09.
There have also been plenty of positive moments for the versatile midfielder in the top flight, not least his contributions to Manchester City’s two league titles in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Simpson was on the books at Manchester United between 2005 and 2010, during which time Alex Ferguson’s side scooped three Premier League titles. The right-back played just three top-flight games for the Red Devils, though, with most of his time spent out on loan elsewhere.
Simpson later got his hands on a winner’s medal in 2015-16, when Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester stunned the world by finishing in first place. That triumph came the season after he’d made a single appearance for QPR during their relegation campaign.
After two-and-a-half campaigns at Wigan, Moses swapped the DW Stadium for Stamford Bridge in summer 2012. He did make one league appearance for the Latics in 2012-13 before making the move down south, which means he technically has a relegation on his CV after Roberto Martinez’s charges fell through the trapdoor that season.
It took a while for Moses to establish himself at Chelsea, but the Nigerian thrived after being converted into a wing-back when Antonio Conte’s men won the title in 2016-17.
Young is closing in on 150 Premier League appearances for Manchester United, but the winger-come-full-back will be disappointed that he’s only won a single league championship in almost seven full seasons at Old Trafford.
Young has done brilliantly to remain a key part of the United squad for so long, however, and he’s certainly come a long way since his early days at Watford. The Stevenage-born wide man was a key player for the Hornets in the first half of 2006-07, but he was forced to watch his first club’s relegation from afar after joining Aston Villa midway through that campaign.
Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).