5 players who left European football too soon

Chelsea v Swansea City - Premier League
Oscar left England for China in 2017
Ben Winfield

One thing we have really seen in recent years is the growing influence of China and the USA in football. More and more players are leaving Europe, particularly at the end of their careers, and earning massive wages in leagues which are far weaker than the ones they have left.

The USA was the first real location for players approaching the twilight of their career. David Beckham was the first high profile player to move to the States when he left Real Madrid to join LA Galaxy in 2007. He had a couple of short spells in Europe in the following years, but he really paved the way for players to move to America. 

In recent years, the likes of Frank Lampard, Thierry Henry and David Villa have all moved to the MLS, with varying levels of success. What we have seen though, over the last couple of years is the emergence of China as an option for players, with Chinese clubs offering extraordinary wages to players.

Because of the money on offer in China, we have seen a change in the type of players who have left European football. No longer is it just players approaching the end of their career who are looking for one last big pay day, it is players who we still think have a lot to offer, and are probably too good for the level of football played in those countries. 

Here are five players who perhaps left European football too early. 

#1 Yannick Carrasco 

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final
Carrasco scored in the 2016 Champions League final

Carrasco is one of the more recent players to leave Europe in favour of a move to China. The Belgian had an excellent time with Atletico Madrid, after initially making a name for himself in France with Monaco. The winger spent three seasons with Monaco and really made his mark in his final year at the Stade Louis II. He was a part of their impressive run in the Champions League, which included winning 3-1 at the Emirates against Arsenal, a game in which Carrasco netted.

This was enough to earn him a move to Atletico, in a deal worth £22 million. He enjoyed a successful spell in the Spanish capital, which included scoring in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in 2016. He has also become an important player in the Belgian squad and was part of the side that won the bronze medal at the World Cup this summer. He moved to China in February this year, joining Dalian Yifang, along with his Atletico teammate Nicolas Gaitan.

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Edited by Kishan Prasad
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