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Brits starring abroad: Bellingham and Kane adding to success story

One of the biggest talking points in football over the last couple of months has been the impact top England players have had after moving to some of the biggest clubs in Europe.

Jude Bellingham is still 20, but he continues to grow into one of the best midfielders in the world and has had a huge impact at Real Madrid after joining from Borussia Dortmund over the summer.

The former Birmingham City star leads the Spanish goalscoring charts with ten goals and has netted in all three of his Champions League appearances this term, leaving him just 3/1 to win the 2024 Ballon d’Or.

Meanwhile, in Germany, England captain Harry Kane has had a dream move to the Bundesliga, scoring 15 goals in his first ten league games for Bayern Munich.

The former Tottenham striker has already scored three hat-tricks, including one in the 4-0 win at Dortmund at the weekend, and he is 6/1 to land the Ballon d’Or next year.

Here are some more British footballers who made a huge impression after moving to play in Europe.

John Charles - Juventus

John Charles, perhaps the greatest Welsh player ever, was a pioneer when it came to British footballers playing in Europe.

The Gentle Giant was equally adept at playing as a centre-half or as a centre-forward and, having finished the 1956-57 season as the top goalscorer in the First Division for Leeds United, he moved to Italy to play for Juventus.

While with the Turin outfit he won three Scudettos and two Coppa Italias and scored 108 goals in 155 appearances for the Old Lady before returning to Leeds in 1962.

Kevin Keegan - Hamburg

Kevin Keegan had been the star of the Liverpool team that won the European Cup for the first time in 1977, but the win over Borussia Monchengladbach in Rome proved to be his last game for the Reds before he took the plunge and joined Bundesliga outfit Hamburg.

The transfer fee of £500,000 was double the German record, but the rewards came as Keegan helped his new club to the German title in the 1978-79 season, when he was voted European Footballer of the Year for the second consecutive season.

However, he could not lead them to European Cup glory as they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in the 1980 final in Madrid and he left for Southampton in 1982.

Chris Waddle - Marseille

Two years after his Diamond Lights singing partner Glenn Hoddle moved from Tottenham to Monaco, Chris Waddle made his own move from N17 to LIgue 1 when he joined Marseille.

The mulleted winger was a huge hit, helping OM to three successive titles and the 1991 European Cup final, when they lost a drab final against Red Star Belgrade on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.

He would join Sheffield Wednesday in 1992 and was voted second behind Jean-Pierre Papin in the Marseille player of the century award to mark the club’s centenary.

David Platt - Bari, Juventus, Sampdoria

David Platt announced himself on the international stage when he scored England’s last-gasp winner against Belgium at Italia 90 and the former Aston Villa midfielder was to have a fine career playing in Serie A.

He had an excellent first season at Bari, scoring 11 goals in 29 appearances before heading to Juventus, where he helped the Old Lady win the Uefa Cup.

After a solitary season in Turin, he played for two campaigns at Sampdoria under Sven-Goran Eriksson, where he collected a Coppa Italia winner’s medal.

Paul Lambert - Borussia Dortmund

Paul Lambert got his chance in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund in 1996 after a successful trial following his departure from Motherwell under the terms of the Bosman ruling.

It turned out to be a memorable short stay at a club which had won the previous two German titles.

They were unable to keep pace with Bayern domestically, but embarked on a memorable European adventure as they reached the Champions League final after beating Manchester United in the semi-finals.

They faced Juventus in the final and Lambert kept Zinedine Zidane in check, while setting up Karl-Heinz Riedle up for the opening goal in a 3-1 win.

He was given a hero’s send-off the following November when he returned to Scotland to play for Celtic.

Steve McManaman - Real Madrid

Steve McManaman was another player who moved to Europe under a Bosman, leaving Liverpool in 1999 for Real Madrid, where the Englishman enjoyed great success.

He won the Spanish league title twice and two Champions Leagues in his four seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, reaching the semi-finals of Europe’s premier competition in each of his four seasons with Los Blancos.

The highlight of his stay was scoring a volley in the 2000 final against Valencia in Paris, when he became the first English player to win the competition with a foreign club.

He was also a member of the team who beat Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgow two years later in a game remembered mostly for Zinedine Zidane’s spectacular volley.

Gareth Bale - Real Madrid

Real Madrid spent a world record fee of £85m to take Tottenham’s Gareth Bale to the Spanish capital and it proved to be money well spent on the Welshman.

He won the first of his five Champions League titles with Madrid in his first season, scoring in the 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid and took a successful penalty in the shootout in a repeat of that final two years later.

The highlight of his three other wins was the overhead kick he scored against Liverpool in Kyiv in 2018 after coming on as a substitute. He also scored a free-kick in that game which Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius allowed to slip through his fingers.

He also celebrated three La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey during his time with Real.


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