Ten forgotten Prem stars who now play in obscure leagues – from Nani to Podolski

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  • Football can be a cruel business with players often ruthlessly sold or dropped to make way for new and exciting talent, leaving some former greats cast aside and forced to head elsewhere to prolong their career.

    While some will look to retire at the top, others just can’t get enough of football and look to play for as long as their bodies can physically manage. And that can often lead to former stars of yesteryear found playing in obscure leagues across the globe.

    And here at Daily Star Sport, we have compiled a list of ten players you may have forgotten from their Premier League glory days who are still enjoying their footballing careers elsewhere.

    Here are ten former Premier League stars who are still playing in obscure leagues.

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    1. Alexandre Song – Arta/Solar7

      Song joined Arsenal in 2006 and went on to become a mainstay in Arsene Wenger’s side before making the dream move to Barcelona in 2012. The Cameroon international returned to play at West Ham on loan between 2014 and 2016. After spells in Russia and Switzerland, he now plays in the Djibouti Premier League at 36.

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    2. Lukas Podolski – Gornik Zabrze

      Another former Gunner, Podolski arrived at Arsenal in 2012 to lead their post Robin van Persie attack. The 130-time Germany international scored 31 goals in three years, later playing for Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Japanese side Vissel Kobe. At 38, he plays in his birth country of Poland for Gornik Zabrze.

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    3. Papiss Cisse – Amiens

      The ex-Newcastle United hitman, Cisse scored one of the greatest ever Premier League goals at Stamford Bridge when he was at the peak of his powers in Tyneside. After leaving England in 2016, the Senegal international played in China and Turkey and currently plays in Ligue 2 for Amiens at 38.

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    4. Nani – Adana Demirspor

      Since leaving Manchester United in 2015, Nani has embarked on a journeyman career – taking him to Turkey, Portugal, Italy, America and Australia before he joined Turkish side Adana Demirspor in the summer with the four-time Premier League and Champions League winner still going strong at 36.

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    1. Morten Gamst Pedersen – Ranheim

      Still remembered for his wand of a left-foot, Pedersen spent nine years at Blackburn Rovers and incredibly is still playing at 42. The Norwegian played in Turkey before returning to his homeland where he won the league title at Rosenborg, Pedersen currently plays in the second tier for Ranheim.

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    2. Roque Santa Cruz – Libertad

      Signed by Manchester City in 2009 for £17.5million after scoring 19 goals in 37 games for Blackburn in the 2007/08 season, Santa Cruz flopped massively at City and after spells in Spain and Mexico, the ex-Bayern Munich youngster returned to Paraguay. In 2022 he suffered huge backlash from Olimpia fans after joining rivals Libertad – who he now plays for at 42.

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    3. Martin Skrtel – FK Hajskala Raztocno

      The Liverpool cult hero left Anfield in 2016 following eight years at the club where he’d later play for Fenerbahce and Atalanta before returning to his native Slovakia with Spartak Trnava. After retiring from professional football in 2022, he now plays for his local amateur side FK Hajskala Raztocno.

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    1. Salomon Kalou – Arta/Solar7

      A Premier League, four-time FA Cup and Champions League winner at Chelsea, Kalou played 254 games for the Blues between 2006 and 2012. Later playing for Lille, Hertha Berlin and Brazilian side Botafogo, the Ivorian is still playing at 38 with Song at Arta/Solar7 in Djibouti.

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    2. Milan Baros – FK Vigantice

      The Czech forward played for Liverpool, Aston Villa and Portsmouth in the Premier League and later joined Galatasaray. After five years in Turkey, Baros played for six clubs in seven years, retiring in 2020. But like Skrtel, Baros still plays for his local side FK Vigantice in the sixth tier at 42.

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    3. Hugo Rodallega – Sante Fe

      A hero among Wigan Athletic supporters after his late winner against Stoke City kept the Lactics up on the final day of the 2011/12 season. Rodallega also played at Fulham for three years before spells in Turkey and Brazil saw him return to his native Colombia in 2022, at 38 he’s still playing for top flight side Santa Fe.

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