Six star players whose careers include forgotten Premier League spells - Pique, Boateng, Alberto…

The Premier League has always been able to attract the cream of foreign talent, but while some thrived, others' stays haven't been quite so memorable.

The likes of Thierry Henry, Eden Hazard and Sergio Aguero will be forever remembered for their iconic stints in the Premier League. However, not all foreign imports have made their marks on the English game. In fact, some barely even registered, before going on and forge impressive careers on the continent.

Planet Sport digs out six world-class players whose Premier League stays were best forgotten and, in some cases, have been.

Jerome Boateng - Manchester City

Big things were expected of Boateng when he made the switch to Manchester City from Hamburg in 2010 for a fee of £10.5million, with Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong having previously trodden the same path.

Things didn't get off to a great start when the defender tore a tendon in his knee on international duty with Germany, which was then aggravated after a collision with a drinks trolley on the flight home.

Jerome Boateng Man City Sep10

After a month of recovery, Boateng made his debut in a 1-0 victory over Chelsea but would only go on to represent the blue side of Manchester 24 times in total, and predominantly at right-back.

Frustrated by his lack of minutes and being played out of position, he made the switch to Bayern Munich a year later in order to enhance his international prospects.

It was a move that paid off as he was a key component in the heart of Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning defence.

Not that he left England empty-handed, going home with an FA Cup winner's medal. Don't remember him in the final? No wonder. He didn't even make the matchday squad but received a medal having made three previous appearances in the competition.

After spending ten seasons with Bayern, Boateng signed a two-year deal with Lyon in 2021.

Alexandre Pato - Chelsea

Alexandre Pato Chelsea Feb16

Once hailed as the heir to the Ronaldo throne (the original, not CR7), Pato never quite reached the heights of his Brazilian counterpart.

After making a name for himself in the red and black of AC Milan, with 63 goals in 150 games, Pato made an ill-fated move to the Premier League in 2016.

Chelsea picked the striker up on loan in the January but Pato had to wait until the April to make an appearance.

After winning and then subsequently converting a penalty on his debut in a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa, Blues fans hoped he could rekindle his form from several years prior. Instead, Pato only made one more appearance against Swansea before returning to his parent club Corinthians.

Since his brief English sojourn, Pato has turned out for Villarreal and Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian. Still only 32, he is currently in MLS with Orlando City.

Ricardo Quaresma - Chelsea

Ricardo Quaresma Chelsea Feb09

The tricky Portuguese winger, known for his signature 'travela' made a brief appearance in English football in 2009.

Much like Pato, Quaresma signed on loan for Chelsea and only spent six months at Stamford Bridge, failing to make any sort of impact.

Just five goalless appearances meant Quaresma was shipped back to Inter Milan and quickly forgotten.

Perhaps, Chelsea should have put more store by Quaresma's 'Golden Bin' award while at Inter, awarded to the worst Serie A player of the season.

The Portuguese's time at Inter was also short-lived. He joined Besiktas in 2010 where he racked up 227 appearances, 38 goals and 78 assists in two separate spells for the Turkish side. Quaresma is still going strong at 38 years old and is currently turning out for Vitoria Guimaraes in his home country.

Gerard Pique - Manchester United

Gerard Pique Barcelona May17

The Premier League has been the stomping ground for many legendary defenders, but one who failed to make an impact was World Cup winner Gerard Pique.

After choosing to sign a professional contract with Manchester United ahead of his boyhood club Barcelona, Pique made his debut against Crewe Alexandra in the League Cup, a far cry from the level of opposition that he would come to face later in his career.

After a loan spell with Zaragoza, Pique had high hopes of breaking into the first team. However, despite spending four years in Manchester, Pique made just 23 appearances.

A calamitous error to gift Bolton all three points marked the beginning of the end. It crushed all faith Sir Alex Ferguson had in the Spaniard, with the United boss deciding Pique wasn't suited to the physicality of the Premier League.

He went on to flourish back in the bosom of Barcelona, going on to become one of the most decorated players in history. He picked up 30 major trophies with the Catalan club, leaving United fans speculating as to what he might have achieved at Old Trafford if he hadn't been bullied out of English football by Bolton.

Borja Valero - West Brom

Borja Valero West Brom May09

Valero has built a solid reputation in Italy and Spain while being almost unheard of in England.

The former Mallorca man possessed all the traits of a creative Spanish midfielder, so Baggies fans were rightly excited when West Brom smashed their transfer record to bring the playmaker to the West Midlands for £4.7million.

However, that made the reality all the more crushing as Valero failed to score in 30 league appearances as West Brom finished smack bang at the bottom of the Premier League in 2009.

Valero felt the Championship was below his level so saw out the final two years of his contract on loan in Spain with former club Mallorca and then Villarreal, before joining the latter permanently in 2011.

The Spaniard has since found most success with Inter and Fiorentina, and currently plays in the sixth tier of Italian football despite previously announcing his retirement in June 2021.

Luis Alberto - Liverpool

Luis Alberto Liverpool Jan14

Liverpool fans will be shocked to see Luis Alberto shine at Lazio in recent years after a forgettable spell in Merseyside almost ten years ago.

Liverpool splashed close to £7million on the young prospect in 2013, which makes you wonder why he was never given a start for the club by Brendan Rodgers.

Competing for gametime with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, the midfielder clocked up just 135 minutes during his short stint.

Alberto has stated that he "wasted" a year of his career at Anfield, with the Spaniard moving on loan to Deportivo La Coruna for the final year of his Liverpool contract.

Since moving to Lazio in 2016, Alberto has established himself as an elite playmaker, assisting for 45 goals in the Serie A in total.

At just 29, there is still time for a Premier League return for Alberto while he is still in the prime of his career. However, it probably won't be at Leicester.

READ MORE: Karim Benzema, Gianfranco Zola, Teddy Sheringham and other players who peaked in their 30s

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