Players come and go, which is just a part of football. But some make it to the big time and get the opportunity to play in the most luxurious league on the planet, the Premier League. Many, however, disappear after a poor spell in the top-flight and we never seem to hear of them again. Here I am going to look at the strikers who have gone missing and who are now playing in the more obscure divisions around the globe.
The Dutch winger had a promising future when he made the switch from Ajax to Liverpool in 2007 for a fee of £14 million. However, things didn’t turn out as planned for Babel, with just 12 goals to his name in four years at Anfield, and in 2011 he moved to German club 1899 Hoffenheim on a two-year deal. He then got released in 2012 after 18 months with the Bundesliga side and six goals in 51 appearances. Babel looked to revive his career by returning to his boyhood club, Ajax. The forward helped the Amsterdam club to win their third consecutive domestic league title, but opted against renewing his contract and moved to Turkey, to play for Kasımpaşa.
He is now plying his trade in the United Arab Emirates Pro League for Al-Ain, but after a conflict with the club’s board has not featured since Christmas Day in 2015 even though he remains under contract until the summer of 2017.
The former France international made a name for himself with Chelsea, most notably in the 2009/10 campaign when the Blues won the Premier League title. Malouda finished that season with 15 goals and another 15 assists, but somehow never made it in the final-cut of the Team of the Season that year. Later, he found himself almost completely banished from the Chelsea first-team towards the end of the 2012/13 campaign and as a result left on a free transfer that summer to Turkish side Trabzonspor. After a lacklustre year with them, Malouda went back to his homeland to play for FC Metz – who had just been promoted to Ligue 1.
Despite making 30 appearances for them, he opted against renewing a deal with the French club and decided to sign for Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League who at the time were under the guidance of former World Cup winner Roberto Carlos. At the age of 36, Malouda is now plying his trade with Egyptian club Wadi Degla SC.
Another former Chelsea player but this time it’s in the form of Nicolas Anelka. He is known to be one of the greatest strikers to grace the Premier League but since leaving the Stamford Bridge club, the 37-year-old hasn’t done much worthy of a conversation starter.
Anelka played for some of the biggest teams in Europe prior to joining Chelsea in 2008, including; Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and two spells with Paris Saint-Germain. After dropping down the pecking order at Chelsea, the former France international joined Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on New Years’ Day in 2012. Didier Drogba joined Anelka at the club in that summer but the two would only have a six-month partnership as Anelka joined Serie A giants Juventus on a half-year loan deal. He only made two appearances for ‘The Old Lady’, contributing minimally to a league title.
The striker then expressed his desire to return to the Premier League, and then joined West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. After just a handful of games for the Baggies, Anelka controversially left the Midlands by announcing his departure on social media and went on to sign for Indian side Mumbai City in September 2014. Although he is now believed to be retired, Nicolas Anelka was player-manager for Mumbai in the 2015/16 campaign – who finished the season third bottom in his first season in charge.
Very much a flop at Manchester United during his two-year spell with the club, few people are likely to be interested in where he is currently plying his trade. However, if you are interested, you’ll be glad to know the World Cup 2010 Golden Ball winner is proving his ability at Peñarol in the forward’s native country of Uruguay.
Since leaving Old Trafford in 2004, Forlan has gone on to play for Villarreal, Atlético Madrid and Inter Milan, before joining Brazilian side Internacional in 2012. After that, he had a short spell in Japan playing for Cerezo Osaka. He only spent eighteen months in the J.League before going back to Uruguay last summer – scoring eight goals in 31 appearances for Peñarol in his first year with the club. However, last month he announced he’d be leaving the side.
Thank you very much for reading, and let me know whether I should do a second part to this.