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. However, seem to 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 playing in the more obscure divisions on 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 moved to German club 1899 Hoffenheim on a two-year deal. He then got released by them in 2012 after 18 months with the Bundesliga side after six goals in 51 appearances. Ryan Babel looked to revive his career by returning to his boyhood club, Ajax. The forward helped the Amsterdam club to win their 3rd 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 but remains under contract until the summer of 2017.
The former French international made a name for himself with Chelsea, most notably in the 2009/10 campaign when The Blues won the title. Malouda finished that season with 15 goals and another 15 assists, and somehow never made it in the final-cut of the Team of the Season that year. 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, Florent 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, and at the time were managed under the guidance of former World Cup winner Roberto Carlos. At the age of 36, Florent 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 anything 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 being relatively down the pecking order at Chelsea, the former France international joined Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on New Years’ Day in 2012. Dider Drogba joined Anelka at the club in that summer but the two would only have a six-month partnership as Nicolas joined Serie A giants Juventus on a half-year loan deal. He only made two appearances for ‘The Old Lady’, minimally helping them to a league title.
The striker expressed his desire to return to the Premier League, and did so after joining West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer. With just a handful of games for The Baggies, Anelka controversially left the Midlands, by announcing his departure on social media, and signed 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 in his two-year time with the club, Diego Forlan is a striker who plenty of people don’t really want to know where he’s playing nowadays. You’ll be glad to know the World Cup 2010 Golden Ball winner is serving 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, Atletico 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 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.