Brexit XI: The Best Players to Have Triggered Article 50 and Left European Football in Recent Years

With the UK set to trigger Article 50 on Wednesday to begin the process of leaving the European Union, we look at who made a similar decision in the world of football. There's no doubt that the European leagues are the best in the world, yet that hasn't stopped a whole host of world class players from picking up sticks and leaving the continent. Here is the Brexit XI; a Starting XI of Players Who Left Europe... Alternative option: Thomas Sorensen After 12 great years in between the sticks for...

GK - Tim Howard

Alternative option: Thomas Sorensen

After 12 great years in between the sticks for Everton, which followed a less successful three year stint with Manchester United, Howard left the Premier League to return home to the United States last summer. 

The 112-capped goalkeeper is now the number one at the Colorado Rapids in the MLS and is still a beast at the grand old age of 38.

RB - Laurent Ciman

Alternative option: David Edgar

The 31-year-old Belgian opted to join the MLS two years ago and the Montreal Impact defender has done well across the Atlantic; picking up the MLS Defender of the Year award in his first season, as well as being a two-time All-Star. 

His performances have meant that he remains involved in the Red Devils' national team, with whom he has 17 caps.

CB - Ricardo Carvalho

Alternative option: Jelle Van Damme

The legendary centre-back is now on the books with Shanghai SIPG, meeting up with compatriot Andres Villas-Boas who manages the Chinese Super League club. 

The 38-year-old Portuguese international, who was part of the squad that clinched the 2016 Euros, is enjoying the twilight to what was a spectacular career in Europe. 

LB - Ashley Cole

Alternative option: John Arne Riise

After failing to hold down a first team spot at Roma, Ashley Cole did what all players who are 'past it' do, and moved to the MLS where he can maintain his status as a 'legend.' 

The former England international is still probably the best full back in Premier League history and won it all during his time at Chelsea.

RM - Axel Witsel

Alternative options: Eran Zahavi, Gervinho and Oscar

A hugely talented midfielder, Axel Witsel rejected the option of finally moving to one of Europe's top five leagues when he signed for Tianjin Quanjian in January, as part of a multi million pound move from Zenit Saint Petersburg. 

At just 28-years-old the Belgian international still has time to make a return to more competitive football though. 

CM - Andrea Pirlo

Alternative options: Kaka, Hernanes and Ramires

One of the best midfielders to grace the game, Andrea Pirlo left Juventus after four hugely successful seasons to join the project at New York City last summer. 

The Italian legend amassed 116 caps for the Azzurri, with whom he won the World Cup, as well as countless club and individual achievements during his career in Europe. 

CM - Steven Gerrard

Alternative options: Frank Lampard, Tim Cahill and Paulinho

In the age old Gerrard vs Lampard debate, the Liverpool legend edges it taking his place alongside Pirlo in the central midfield of this Brexit XI. 

Stevie G ended a 17 year career on Merseyside at the end of 2014/15 season, spending a single year on the West Coast of the United States before officially hanging up his boots. 

LM - Ezequiel Lavezzi

Alternative options: Giovani dos Santos and Florent Malouda

Despite picking up a serious injury last year, which ended his season in the Chinese Super League, Lavezzi just about pips dos Santos (of LA Galaxy in the MLS) and Florent Malouda (of Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League). 

The Argentinian international swapped PSG for Herbei China Fortune in February 2016, where he reportedly earns £10m a year. 

FW - Hulk

Alternative options: Didier Drogba and Sebastian Giovinco

The first component of a Chinese Super League front three is Brazilian striker Hulk, who arrived at Shanghai SIPG from Zenit Saint Petersburg in June 2016 for a whopping €55.8m. 

The former Porto man is set to earn €20m a year, which one would assume is the explanation for the 30-year-old's move to the league. 

FW - Graziano Pelle

Alternative options: Clint Dempsey and Odion Ighalo

This transfer came completely out of the blue with the Italian frontman doing a good job with Southampton, prior to his acquisition by Shandong Luneng for £12m in July 2016. 

The 31-year-old had just had an impressive Euro 2016, where he emerged as Italy's leading man, scoring twice in the tournament. 

FW - Carlos Tevez

Alternative options: Diego Forlan and Papiss Cisse

Completing the team is Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez. It seemed that the Argentinian would end his career with boyhood club Boca Juniors when he made his own Brexit from Juventus in 2015. 

However, a $41m a year deal from Shanghai Shenhua, (making the former Premier League hitman the highest paid player in the world) was too good to turn down! 

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