Between Gary Neville’s dismal spell in the Valencia dug-out and Tony Adams’ training ground disco dancing at Granada, it’s fair to say that the recent history of Englishmen in Spain is less than encouraging.
Whilst a great many Spaniards have brought their dazzling skills to the English game in recent years (many of whom, in the shape of David Silva, Juan Mata and Cesc Fabregas, still lighting it up for the Premier League’s leading teams every week), the exchange programme between the two countries has largely been one-way traffic.
Only 19 English players have played in La Liga (and remember, unlike we here in England, the Spaniards were playing long before 1992). What’s more, many of them only lasted a season, with a handful managing just a few games before coming back home with their tails between their legs.
There was, however, the odd success story: a maverick English player, who overcame all the odds and became a star in the Med. OK, there’s like five success stories, but still.
Woodgate managed nine games for Real Madrid - more than some - but with comical own goals and red cards, he essentially had a net negative effect on the team. Image source: Twitter
Former Elche man I'Anson is still on the books at Valencia so could add to his two La Liga appearances - but for now he's very much at the foot of the list. Image source: Twitter
Collymore may divide opinion among radio listeners, but not at Oviedo. Everyone agreed he was rubbish. Image source: Twitter
The 1930s defender only managed one game for Real Sociedad, where he was also manager - but in doing so became the oldest ever La Liga player at 48. Image source: Twitter
Just the four appearances at Draper during his loan spell at Vallecano in 2000 (although he did score a goal, to be fair). Image source: Twitter
Former Arsenal man Meade didn't make an impression during his brief spell on loan at Betis in the late 80s. Image source: Twitter
Like Lowe, Green was around for a short while in the 1930s. We don't know much else, if truth be told.
Image source: Twitter
A typical Englishman abroad season followed Barnes' 1982 move to Betis: he couldn't settle, and quickly came back home. Image source: Twitter
An all-action midfielder, Heath was a big part of Everton's success in the mid-80s - but struggled at Espanyol. Image source: Twitter
Pennant was a surprise signing for Real Zaragoza in 2009 and, inevitably, he is remembered there mainly for his lack of professionalism. Image source: Twitter
Whilst injury-hit Sammy Lee saw his career take a nose-dive after leaving Liverpool, his brief spell at Osasuna wasn't a complete disaster. Image source: Twitter
One-cap England midfielder Richardson was part of the British influx at Sociedad in the early 90s, but only lasted one season.
Image source: Twitter
There's a lot of debate about whether Owen was a success at the Bernebeu, but 18 goals from 15 starts isn't too shabby. Image source: Twitter
The mercurial Atkinson couldn't settle at Sociedad, but had a solid goals record during his season in Spain. Image source: Twitter
The best English player you've never heard of, industrious Samways became a key part of Las Palmas' early 2000s midfield. Image source: Twitter
The winger enjoyed a couple of years at Real after joining for West Brom - including an appearance in the European Cup final against Clough's Forest. Image source: Twitter
United, he had a steady four years in Real colours - and won the title under Capello in his final season. Image source: Twitter
Macca didn't have the star appeal of Becks, but became a fan favourite at the Bernebeu, where he won the Champions League twice. Image source: Twitter
Everyone's favourite MOTD host had an impressive goals record at Barca before Cruyff decided he was a winger. Image source: Twitter
SEE ALSO: Freddie Kanoute: From Premier League mediocrity to Sevilla’s foreign star
With a rich and varied club career, a prolific international goalscoring record, the lead role on BBC’s flagship football show and the best Piers Morgan Twitter put-downs around, it’s little wonder that Gary Lineker is one of the most beloved figures in all of English football. The striker was one of the only English players to have made a mark at a European giant
, and many of the current crop would do well to follow his lead. Just, err, don’t mention that
incident at the 1990 World Cup.