10 Great Players Who Flopped In The Premier League And 10 Who Flopped In La Liga

La Liga and the Premier League have been widely considered as the top two leagues for the past decade due to the quality players as well as style of play. There was a time when Serie A ruled the footballing world, but the 2000s ushered in a new era with EPL and La Liga surpassing it in popularity, as well as overall quality. By now, most fans should be aware that each top league tends to be unique - which means that not all players are necessarily suited to play in various leagues.

Some find it easy to adjust due to their talent while others go on to disappoint in their new venture. The style of play in La Liga suits slower players much more than EPL - where players are expected to keep up with the fast pace. Some would argue that the former allows players who rely on their technical ability to flourish, while the latter is best suited for those happen to be athletes first and foremost.

All the listed players were considered to be great at some point, and had been expected to keep up their form upon their transfer from one league to another. But as readers will come to learn, even the best players out there struggle to adjust at times - as we dig into the various reasons behind their underwhelming stints elsewhere. With today's list, we look at 10 great players who flopped in La Liga and 10 who flopped in EPL:

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Premier League: Hernan Crespo

via readchelsea.com

Hernan Crespo was one of the best strikers of his generation who set Serie A on fire for a number of years while playing for Parma, Lazio and then Inter Milan. But he also had a five year stint with Chelsea beginning in 2003 that didn't go as smoothly as the club had hoped.

While Crespo was far from disastrous like some of the names listed here, he didn't live up to expectations either as he failed to replicate that same consistent form that he had in prior years.

He ended up leaving the team since he felt homesick and wanted a return to Italy where he had played football since his younger days.

19 La Liga: Denilson

via espn.com

In 1998, Denilson became the most expensive player in the world when Real Betis bought him for a record breaking fee at the time. His time in Sao Paulo as well as play for Brazil made him one of the hottest prospects in the world - and Betis attempted to move into a new level with their shocking signing. Unfortunately for them, Denilson turned out to be one of the biggest flops in La Liga history - and while he always displayed flashes of brilliance - he never proved himself to be a great player overall and certainly not worthy of his fee.

18 Premier League: Angel Di Maria

via mirror.co.uk

Prior to his move to Manchester United, rumors claimed that Angel Di Maria was more interested in joining Paris Saint-Germain. And while he got his wish following a very brief stint in EPL, Di Maria didn't exactly have the best of times while suiting up for Manchester United. There were several problems that made him a flop in the league, including his fit on the squad as well as inconsistency through the season. The fact that he didn't speak the language and Manchester United were coming off a disappointing season only increased the pressure - which didn't work out in Di Maria's favor at all.

17 La Liga: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

via youtube.com

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been a dominant force in Serie A prior to his move to Barcelona with two successful stints with Juventus and Inter Milan.

While his Barcelona journey got off to a great start as he scored in the first five matches, Zlatan eventually went on a slump that worsened when his relationship with Pep Guardiola took a turn for the worse.

Following some disputes between the two that Zlatan warm the bench, he ended up leaving the team to return to Italy as he joined AC Milan. Some may argue that his EPL stint was also a failure, but at least it was age and injuries that didn't allow him to be quite as successful.

16 Premier League: Deco

via goal.com

As a member of Porto and then later on Barcelona, Deco solidified himself as one of the best midfielders in the world. By the time he made it to EPL, he was already showing signs of decline, so it is no surprise that Deco didn't set the world on fire as his prime years had been behind him. His two years with Chelsea didn't exactly tarnish his legacy by any means, but it's safe to say that EPL fans never got to see Deco at his best despite his all around contributions to the team.

15 La Liga: Walter Samuel

via sportskeeda.com

To this day, some fans still find it hard to believe that Walter Samuel failed to succeed at Real Madrid. When he made the move in 2004, he had earned a reputation as one of the best centre backs in the games thanks to his performances with Roma. Following a season that was full of disappointment for him, Samuel returned to Italy by joining Inter Milan - as Real Madrid lost out on €10 million within one year. Upon his return to Italy, Samuel found his great form once again as he went on to instrumental in Inter's many trophies over the next few years.

14 Premier League: Juan Sebastian Veron

via theindependent.com

These days, fans are quick to describe a player as world class but there was a time when it was only reserved for the best. For many years, Juan Sebastian Veron was one of the better midfielders in the world thanks to his impressive form in Serie A - back when it was the best league in the world.

His move to Manchester United didn't turn out to be quite as remarkable as Veron struggled to adapt to the much faster EPL.

Additionally, he didn't fit United's tactics at the time - which led to some underwhelming performances from him.

13 La Liga: Thierry Henry

via goal.com

When it comes to Thierry Henry, no one could deny that he was one of the best strikers in the world for nearly a decade. By the time he turned 30 years old, he was beginning to slow down as a player and yet Barcelona didn't mind taking the risk. From being considered the best striker in EPL to an underwhelming performer, Henry's reputation changed quite fast during his time in Barcelona. Thankfully for him, he did have the age excuse to justify his reputation as a flop in La Liga. And while he was far from dominant by the time he got to Barcelona, Henry still made some positive contributions on the field.

12 Premier League: Radamel Falcao

via sportskeeda.com

Radamel Falcao had always dreamed of playing for Real Madrid, but unfortunately for him, injuries made it increasingly difficult for him to return to elite level. During his time in Atletico Madrid and Monaco, Falcao proved himself to be one of the best strikers in the world - earning him a move to Manchester United for a season.

Despite question marks regarding his health, the club was still willing to take a chance on him although Falcao was clearly no longer the same player. To his defense, Manchester United didn't exactly have a lot of faith in him either - which meant that Falcao wasn't necessarily put in a position to succeed.

11 La Liga: Fabio Cannavaro

via pinterest.com

As the winner of the 2006 Ballon d'Or, expectations were high for Fabio Cannavaro who had just moved to Real Madrid. For the past 14 years, he had only played in Serie A with successful stints in Parma, Inter Milan and later on Juventus.

Although he was already in his 30s upon his move to Madrid, fans were expecting him to replicate that very same form - which Cannavaro failed to do.

He wasn't disastrous by any means, but certainly failed to live up to the hype surrounding him following his outstanding showing at the 2006 World Cup. It is likely that Cannavaro would have had a better transition if he had moved to La Liga at a younger age.

10 Premier League: Bastian Schweinsteiger

via goal.com

When Bastian Schweinsteiger looks back on his career, it is very likely that he will regret his move to Manchester United in 2015. After having spent his entire career with Bayern Munich - where he had some remarkable achievements - many fans believe he tarnished his legacy with his surprising move. He wasn't in the greatest shape throughout his time with Manchester United, nor was he able to adjust to the pace of the league - especially since he was already showing signs of decline by then. Once his forgettable stint with Manchester finally came to an end, Schweinsteiger moved on to Chicago Fire - where he will likely be able to successfully extend his career.

9 La Liga: Rustu Recber

via goal.com

Some fans may have not heard the name Rustu Recber in a while since he has been away from the limelight for a while.

Considered to be the best goalkeeper of the 2002 World Cup - thanks to brilliant performances that helped Turkey to the third place - Recber was instantly on the radar of all top teams in Europe.

He had been playing for Fenerbahce for a decade prior to his move to Barcelona. And while his pre-season campaign was on track to have him featured as the starting goalkeeper, a sudden injury put him on the sidelines. Receber took great offense to it - especially once the manager claimed that his lack of Spanish was another reason behind his decision. Recber would only make four appearances for Barcelona prior to his exit from the team.

8 Premier League: Fernando Morientes

via sportskeeda.com

There was immense hype regarding Fernando Morientes' arrival to Liverpool in 2005 since he happened to be the club's biggest signing in years. After one season in which he only scored 8 goals in 41 appearances, Morientes went back to La Liga by joining Valencia. He previously rose to fame thanks to his many great years in Real Madrid, which is why not many fans expected him to fail in EPL the way he did. But it was evident from the jump that Morientes lacked the confidence he once had, resulting in a very forgettable stint with Liverpool.

7 La Liga: Michael Owen

via goal.com

In his younger years, Michael Owen became one of the most accomplished players in history thanks to his quick rise to the top, including a 2001 Ballon d'Or award. Following months of rumors surrounding his future with Liverpool, Owen finally made the jump to Real Madrid in 2014 - where he would only play one season before his return to EPL. Considering that Madrid already had Ronaldo, Raul and Morientes up front, Owen's move was already being questioned by the media. And since he failed to set the world on fire, he was immediately dubbed as a flop by fans.

6 Premier League: Diego Forlan

via pinterest.com

While he was certainly a hyped prospect, Diego Forlan ended up being a late bloomer after all. He moved to his first European club in Manchester United in 2002, as Forlan failed to impress for the next two years.

While he certainly had moments of brilliance, he was still very inconsistent at the time and had some horrendous misses that Manchester fans haven't forgotten to this day.

Thankfully for him, he was able to turn his career around as soon as he left the club with two brilliant stints in La Liga - becoming the Forlan that we all know and love.

5 La Liga: Antonio Cassano

via youtube.com

Antonio Cassano was certainly good enough to have played for Real Madrid, but he was far from mature enough to make any impact with the club. In recent interviews, he hasn't shied away from admitting his regret about moving away from Roma to join Madrid. During his stint with the club, Cassano was out of the shape for most of the time and ended up just warming the bench. It has always been his attitude that held him back from reaching his potential, as he had formed one of the deadliest duos of all time with Francesco Totti for Roma.

4 Premier League: Davor Suker

Phil Cole /Allsport

Coming off a very strong campaign at the 1998 World Cup and many successful years at Real Madrid, Arsenal fans were rightfully excited about the addition of Davor Suker to their already stacked attack in 1999. But he would only play one season with the club, which was deemed as a disappointment by media and fans alike.

It was clear that Suker was past his prime and not the same player from just a year prior, at the World Cup.

A combination of injuries and age affected Suker's ability to succeed in EPL, as he went on to have another short stint with West Ham United.

3 La Liga: Kaka

via bleacherreport.com

Kaka is another player who went from earning the Ballon D'Or in 2007 to being dubbed as a flop soon afterwards. Throughout the years, Kaka put on some incredible performances for AC Milan - helping the team in being one of Europe's elite clubs during that period. His 2009 transfer to Real Madrid made great sense on paper - especially since he was also being joined by Cristiano Ronaldo - but injuries took their toll on Kaka who missed plenty of time with Madrid. And by the time he returned to full fitness, his place had already been taken by Ozil - ended his stint in complete disappointment.

2 Premier League: Andriy Shevchenko

via goal.com

For many years, Andriy Shevchenko was one of the most clinical strikers in the world who shone for both AC Milan and Ukraine. But considering that he was already losing some of his pace by the time he moved to Chelsea in 2006, it probably wasn't the wisest transfer to begin a new venture in a league where pace is extremely important.

While the majority of fans consider him to be one of the best strikers of his generation, he has earned a reputation as a flop among Chelsea fans.

With only 9 goals in his 48 appearances for the club, it's safe to say that Shevchenko couldn't repeat his past performances in EPL.

1 La Liga: Cesc Fabregas

via tribuna.com

During his stint with Arsenal, Cesc Fabregas had managed to gain the attention of fans through his brilliant play and consistency, so there was plenty of excitement when Barcelona made a deal to sign him - although some fans were rightfully skeptical about the move. As it turned out, those fans were right since Fabregas' tenure ended up being severely underwhelming as he failed to fit in Barcelona's system and would go on to spend a lot of time warming the bench. It was clear that his time in Barcelona wouldn't last long after a disappointing three year stint, and he would return to the EPL by joining Chelsea.

More in Soccer