The Premier League has been home to plenty of global superstars over the years, but some of them have struggled to replicate the same form elsewhere in Europe.
Harry Kane has become the latest Premier League star to leave for Europe after officially signing for Bayern Munich from Tottenham.
We’ve picked out seven Premier League superstars that struggled to live up to the hype after making a much-hyped move to a European club.
While the Belgian playmaker was in the Premier League, no defender could get near him. His nimble footwork and low centre of gravity made him an absolute nightmare for opposition players to pick up.
He carried Chelsea to two Premier League titles and richly deserved his blockbuster move to Real Madrid in 2019. Unfortunately, that was where things went drastically downhill.
Hazard struggled to stay injury-free while in Spain and he soon fell behind Vinicius Junior in the pecking order. He ultimately had his contract terminated and is now considering retirement.
A return of just seven goals and 12 assists is a shocking return for a club-record €100million fee.
Barcelona seemed like the perfect club for Coutinho at the time, but the Brazilian playmaker struggled to reach the same highs he managed while in England.
Replacing Andres Iniesta was a near impossible task and it wasn’t long until Coutinho faded into the background at Camp Nou. In the end, he racked up over 100 appearances for Barcelona but ultimately struggled to justify his lofty price tag and returned to the Premier League with Aston Villa at a considerable loss.
Flashback to Coutinho embarrassing Barcelona while on loan at Bayern 🙈pic.twitter.com/STBfVKL0H2
— GOAL (@goal) October 21, 2020
The English forward was a phenomenon back in his pomp for Liverpool. With 158 goals, six trophies and a Ballon d’Or in the bag while at Anfield, Owen’s blockbuster move to Real Madrid made so much sense at the time.
Owen lasted just one season in Spain before making a premature return to the Premier League. He did score a respectable 16 goals in his solitary Real Madrid campaign but ultimately didn’t live up to the hype.
“We were on a pre-season tour in America and my agent phoned me while I was in my room with Carragher, who got wind of what we were talking about,” Owen recalled in an interview with FourFourTwo.
“I put down the phone and he said, ‘Pfft, don’t go. They’ve got Raul, Ronaldo and Fernando Morientes – you won’t get a game.’”
He did get a game but ultimately failed to leave any kind of legacy in the Spanish capital.
Liverpool fans were devastated to lose Mane in the summer of 2022 after several prolific seasons with the Reds. With Robert Lewandowski leaving Bayern Munich at the time, Mane’s move to Germany did make sense on paper, but things weren’t as smooth sailing in real life.
The 31-year-old found himself in and out of the starting line up and he struggled to produce much consistency. He even came to blows with his teammate Leroy Sane after a bust-up in the Champions League.
After just one campaign in Germany, Mane has left for Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t know what went wrong [at Bayern],” Jurgen Klopp told reporters.
“When he left us, he left us on a high in really good shape, world class player. New environment, new expectations maybe. I didn’t speak to Sadio about it.”
Undoubtedly one of the best defenders the Premier League has ever seen, Vidic was one of a kind. However, the Manchester United legend struggled to live up to expectations while in Italy.
By the time Vidic moved to Inter Milan, he was past the peak of his powers and injuries had started to catch up with him. He only managed 28 appearances with the Nerazzurri and had his contract terminated by mutual consent partway through his second season.
After a calamitous debut for Real Madrid, the move was destined to fail.
Hleb was a star of the Gunners post-Invincibles era and he had plenty of notable moments in the Premier League as he racked up over 100 appearances for the club.
However, his post-Arsenal career didn’t quite have the same shine to it. He struggled to adapt to life in Barcelona and it wasn’t long until he was packing his bags once again.
“It was totally my fault [for not succeeding at Barcelona], not Guardiola’s,” Hleb told Spanish newspaper Marca.
“He did everything possible to help me quickly adapt to the country and the group, and to learn the language. I myself behaved like a fool. The group was very good. I made a couple of mistakes, but I have good memories from all the clubs.”