8 ex-England stars who made their fortune aboard – from Keegan to Hargreaves

The majority of England internationals have spent most if not all of their playing careers on home shores, with the exception of a select few players.

Of Gareth Southgate's current England squad, just two players are not currently playing in England with Jude Bellingham and Tammy Abraham playing for Borussia Dortmund and Roma, respectively.

However, several former England internationals enjoyed great success playing abroad during their careers, with some even better known for playing outside of the UK.

These include Kevin Keegan, Owen Hargreaves and David Beckham, who all forged strong careers in Europe while also playing for the Three Lions.

So, here are eight former England stars who made their fortune by playing abroad.

Kevin Keegan

Back in 1977, England striker Keegan left European champions Liverpool to move to Hamburg for just over £1million, almost doubling the German transfer record at the time.

He went on to win the Ballon d'Or twice during his three seasons in the Bundesliga and Hamburg won the league title during his second campaign with the club.

Overall, Keegan made 113 appearances for the club, scoring 40 goals in the process, before returning to England when he signed for Southampton in 1980.

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Owen Hargreaves

Canadian-born midfielder Hargreaves had yet to play in England when he made his Three Lions debut in 2001, having moved to Bayern Munich in 1997 from Calgary Foothills.

Hargreaves spent a decade in Germany, winning four league titles and three German Cups with Bayern before he moved to Manchester United in 2007.

He would win another Champions League with United as well as three Premier League titles before a spell at Manchester City.

However, it was in Germany where Hargreaves spent most of his playing days, making 218 of his 261 career club appearances for Bayern.

Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker twice signed for clubs abroad during his playing career, but is more well known for his three years with Barcelona than his two in Japan with Nagoya Grampus.

The striker moved from Everton to the Spanish giants in 1986 fresh off of scoring 30 league goals and six at the World Cup to scoop two golden boot awards.

Lineker won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the Copa del Rey during his time with Barca and formed part of a British frontline that also included Mark Hughes and Steve Archibald.

In 129 appearances for Barca, Lineker scored 48 goals and is still beloved by the clubs fans, having gone on to appear in the club's TV advert with sponsors Qatar Airways in 2013.

Steve McManaman

One of the most successful Englishmen abroad, Steve McManaman spent four years in Spain playing for Real Madrid between 1999 and 2003.

McManaman moved to the club from Liverpool and went on to win the Champions League in his first season with the Spanish giants, scoring in the final against Valencia.

Two league titles followed in the next three years, as did a second Champions League triumph in 2002 before he returned to England to sign for Manchester City in 2003.

Overall, McManaman made 158 appearances for Los Blancos during his time with the club and weighed in with 14 goals from right midfield.

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Ray Wilkins

That AC Milan held a poignant pre-match tribute to Ray Wilkins following his death in April 2018, shows how fondly remembered the midfielder is in the Italian city.


Wilkins moved to Italy in 1984 for £1.5million, leaving Manchester United after five years with the Red Devils.

Although he did not win any trophies with Milan, his performances in three years in Italy earned him the adoration of the club's passionate supporters.

Wilkins played over 100 times for the Rossoneri before he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1987, with Queens Park Rangers the only club he made more appearances for in his career.

Chris Waddle

At the age of 29, Chris Waddle departed Tottenham Hotspur to move to the south of France and sign for Marseille.

The England playmaker would go on to spend three years with the French giants, during which time the club won the league title every season and reached the European Cup final in 1991.

Waddle weighed in with 27 goals and 36 assists across his 137 appearances for Marseille and it is with the French giants that he is arguably most well-known as a player.

David Beckham

It is often forgotten that Beckham won six Premier League titles during his career, such is his affiliation with playing abroad.

After a reported falling out with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Beckham became the latest Galactico to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2003 for £34million.

He won one league title during his time in Spain, where he made 159 appearances for Los Blancos before becoming the face of the MLS in 2007 when he moved to LA Galaxy.

Beckham went on to win two league titles in the USA before spells back in Europe with AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the French title during his final season as a player.

David Platt

Former Arsenal midfielder David Platt's is best remembered by England fans for his last minute volley against Belgium at Italia '90.

His performances during that World Cup ultimately earned him a move to Italy a year later in 1991 as he joined Bari from Aston Villa.

He then went on to play for both Juventus and Sampdoria during the 1990s, where he won the UEFA Cup and Coppa Italia, respectively.

Across his four years in Italy, Platt made a total of 135 appearances, scoring 40 goals from attacking midfield.

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