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10 ex-EPL stars playing outside England now

Plenty of players have graced the English Premier League, arguably the globe’s most prestigious League. But is there life after leaving England’s top flight? Here are some of the notable ex-EPL stars now plying their trade in nondescript leagues.

1. Didier Drogba: (Phoenix Rising -USA)

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined United Soccer League outfit Phoenix Rising as both a player and part-owner last year and is still scoring absolute stunners in America. Drogba—a four-time Premier League champion and Champions League winner during his time at Stamford Bridge—has grand plans to take the Arizona outfit out of the American second tier and into Major League Soccer during his stay in the States. The 40-year-old scored twice against Tulsa Roughnecks in a 5-1 rout in May, and it included a  free-kick from only 40 yards out.

2. Samuel Eto’o (Konyaspor -Turkey)

A four-time Africa Player of the Year, former Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o now plays for struggling Turkish top-flight side Konyaspor whom he joined from rivals Antalyaspor on a two-and-a-half year deal in January. Three-time Champions League winner Eto’o moved to Antalyaspor in the summer of 2015 as the keystone of the club’s bid in the southern Mediterranean resort city to find national and even European success. But his stint turned briefly sour in October 2016 amid intense transfer rumours and a racism row that was hurriedly quashed by the club.

3. Emmanuel Adebayor: (Istanbul Basaksehir -Turkey)

Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor joined Turkish club Istanbul Basaksehir in January 2017 and extended the deal for another three years early this year. The 33-year-old scored six goals in 12 appearances after signing in January 2017, helping the club finish as runners-up in the Turkish League and was instrumental again as they finished second last season after scoring 15 league goals. The former Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham man moved to Turkey in 2017 after being in the cold for six months.

4. Robinho: (Sivasspor -Turkey)

Brazil striker Robinho signed for Turkish side Sivasspor in January, despite being sentenced to jail in Italy for rape. Robinho, 33, who maintains his innocence, was found guilty of taking part in the gang rape of a woman in Milan in 2013 and given a nine-year sentence in November. The ex-Manchester City, Real Madrid and AC Milan player was a free agent after leaving Atletico Mineiro in January. He won two La Liga titles with Real (2007 and 2008) before switching to City for a then club record fee of £32.5 million (Sh4.2 billion).

5. Demba Ba (Shanghai Shenhua -China)

Former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba re-joined Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua last month. The Senegalese striker first played for the Far East side in 2015 before leaving for Besiktas on loan and then moving onto fellow Turkish side Goztepe. But his journey has gone full circle as he made his return to the Shanghai club, and he was mobbed by fans as he landed. It was at the Chinese side back in 2016 when he suffered a horrific broken leg, which threatened to cut short his career.

6. Robbie Keane: (Atletico de Kolkata -India)

Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane signed for the 11th club of his career by teaming up with Teddy Sheringham at Indian Super League side Atletico de Kolkata last August. Sheringham manages the side which was founded only three years ago when the Indian Super League came into existence and Keane became the first foreign player to join. However, he has turned out to be an expensive flop, playing a total of 434 minutes having started four matches and lasted the entire game on three occasions. He has netted twice and spent more time on the sidelines than on the field.

7. Asamoah Gyan: (Kayserispor -Turkey)

Asamoah Gyan signed for Turkish club Kayserispor in June 2017 following the expiration of his contract at Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. The 32-year-old, who has 51 goals for Ghana, ended his six-year adventure in Asia after penning a two-year deal with the Anatolian Stars. The deal is believed to be worth €1.5 million (Sh150 million) euros annually. A statement on the club’s website read: “An agreement has been reached with world famous footballer Asamoah Gyan to join Kayserispor.”

8. Wes Brown (Kerala Blasters -India)

Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown travelled 5,142 miles to keep alive his love affair with football by signing for Indian Super League team Kerala Blasters last August. Longsight-born Brown’s new adventure sparked into life when the Blasters, whose major shareholder is Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, appointed former United coach Rene Meulensteen as manager in July 2017. Brown won five Premier League titles with United and two Champions League medals and moved to Sunderland in 2011 for five seasons.

9. Joe Cole: (Tampa Bay Rowdies -USA)

Cole, who is undertaking his UEFA A licence course, joined the Florida-based United Soccer League side Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2016. Now, after two seasons, he will balance his playing commitments as club captain with a coaching role. In May 2018, Tampa Bay hired former Wolves and Sheffield United defender Neill Collins as their head coach in what is the 34-year-old’s first role in management. The former defender is looking forward to working alongside three-time Premier League winner Cole.

10. Obafemi Martins (Shanghai Shenhua -China)

The former Inter Milan and Newcastle United forward joined Chinese Super League (CSL) club Shanghai Shenhua at the start of the 2016  season from Major League Soccer side Seattle Sounders. After a good start, the Nigeria international suffered a set back when he was ruled out of action for between six and seven months with a torn hamstring in April.  Martins sustained the injury against Kashima Antlers in an Asian Champions League match.

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