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The Premier League's biggest pre-season departures

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<b>William Gallas: released by Arsenal</b><br />
Sulky old William Gallas has been on British shores since 2001, when he joined Chelsea not long before they were taken over by Roman Abramovic. He eventually moved to Arsenal after five successful seasons at the Blues. He was made captain, then lost the job after shooting his mouth off one too many times. Despite his prickliness, though, he's been one of the Premier League's best and most fearless defenders

<b>William Gallas: released by Arsenal</b><br /> Sulky old William Gallas has been on British shores since 2001, when he joined Chelsea not long before they were taken over by Roman Abramovic. He eventually moved to Arsenal after five successful seasons at the Blues. He was made captain, then lost the job after shooting his mouth off one too many times. Despite his prickliness, though, he's been one of the Premier League's best and most fearless defenders

&lt;b&gt;Michael Ballack: Chelsea to Bayer Leverkusen&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
He might be nearly 34, but ex-German captain Michael Ballack still has lots left in the tank. He joined Chelsea in 2006 and made over 100 appearances for them, scoring 17 goals. Perhaps he was a little short of his legendary best, but he still won three FA Cups, a League Cup and the League here. He's now returning home, to play for former team Leverkusen

<b>Michael Ballack: Chelsea to Bayer Leverkusen</b><br /> He might be nearly 34, but ex-German captain Michael Ballack still has lots left in the tank. He joined Chelsea in 2006 and made over 100 appearances for them, scoring 17 goals. Perhaps he was a little short of his legendary best, but he still won three FA Cups, a League Cup and the League here. He's now returning home, to play for former team Leverkusen

&lt;b&gt;Ricardo Carvalho: Chelsea to Madrid&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt; 
Portuguese titan Carvalho arrived with Jose Mourinho in 2004, and has now elected to follow his old friend and mentor to Spain for one last shot at the big time with Real Madrid. Chelsea undoubtedly eked his best years out of him, and he was a rock at the heart of one of the meanest defences of the last decade. And if you needed convincing, £6.7m is a lot for a man of 32

<b>Ricardo Carvalho: Chelsea to Madrid</b><br /> Portuguese titan Carvalho arrived with Jose Mourinho in 2004, and has now elected to follow his old friend and mentor to Spain for one last shot at the big time with Real Madrid. Chelsea undoubtedly eked his best years out of him, and he was a rock at the heart of one of the meanest defences of the last decade. And if you needed convincing, £6.7m is a lot for a man of 32

&lt;b&gt;Mario Melchiot: Wigan Athletic to Umm Salal&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
Melchiot is another mainstay of the English top flight in the '00s. He was never a glamour player, and he didn't light pitches up for the big names, but he still palyed in nearly 300 games in this country, first for pre-wealth Chelsea, then Birmingham City and latterly Wigan. A year in France convinced him of his love for Britain, and aside from starting his career at Ajax, he's played all his football here. Now, though, he's in Qatar for a last payday which no-one would begrudge him

<b>Mario Melchiot: Wigan Athletic to Umm Salal</b><br /> Melchiot is another mainstay of the English top flight in the '00s. He was never a glamour player, and he didn't light pitches up for the big names, but he still palyed in nearly 300 games in this country, first for pre-wealth Chelsea, then Birmingham City and latterly Wigan. A year in France convinced him of his love for Britain, and aside from starting his career at Ajax, he's played all his football here. Now, though, he's in Qatar for a last payday which no-one would begrudge him

&lt;b&gt;Franck Quedrue: Birmingham City to Panionios&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
Ever the journeyman, French defender Franck Queudrue has been a popular figure at all three of the Premiership clubs where he has played. He's gone to Greece now, but his spells at Middlesborough, Fulham and Birmingham lasted nearly ten years, all told. He even liked his adopted country enough to consider naturalising to get a game for the national team, but in the end it came to nothing

<b>Franck Quedrue: Birmingham City to Panionios</b><br /> Ever the journeyman, French defender Franck Queudrue has been a popular figure at all three of the Premiership clubs where he has played. He's gone to Greece now, but his spells at Middlesborough, Fulham and Birmingham lasted nearly ten years, all told. He even liked his adopted country enough to consider naturalising to get a game for the national team, but in the end it came to nothing

&lt;b&gt;Eduardo: Arsenal to Shakhtar Donetsk&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
A lot of Arsenal fans will be sad to see Eduardo go; he always gave his all for the club, and if it weren't for the career-threatening leg-break he suffered in 2008, he might have had a shot at legend-status. He did manage to return, but he was never quite the same player who had set the Croation league alight with Dinamo Zagreb. Now he moves back east, to Ukrainian giants Shakhtar for £6m, where he will be hoping to get his career back on track

<b>Eduardo: Arsenal to Shakhtar Donetsk</b><br /> A lot of Arsenal fans will be sad to see Eduardo go; he always gave his all for the club, and if it weren't for the career-threatening leg-break he suffered in 2008, he might have had a shot at legend-status. He did manage to return, but he was never quite the same player who had set the Croation league alight with Dinamo Zagreb. Now he moves back east, to Ukrainian giants Shakhtar for £6m, where he will be hoping to get his career back on track

&lt;b&gt;Deco: Chelsea to Fluminense&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
Deco came to England with a big reputation as a footballer, and while he perhaps never quite replicated the exquisite form he showed for Porto and Barcelona, he was still a stellar import. He's now returning to the country of his birth - Brazil - to join Fluminense

<b>Deco: Chelsea to Fluminense</b><br /> Deco came to England with a big reputation as a footballer, and while he perhaps never quite replicated the exquisite form he showed for Porto and Barcelona, he was still a stellar import. He's now returning to the country of his birth - Brazil - to join Fluminense

&lt;b&gt;Al Bangura: Blackpool to Mersin ?dmanyurdu&lt;/b&gt;
The Sierra Leone midfielder is not one of the bigger names on this list, but there's a special reason it's sad to see the ex-Watford man leave Blackpool. Bangura, a fan favourite at Vicarage Road, was at the centre of an Asylum case as a youth. He'd established himself in the Watford team by then, having arrived in the UK via a traffiker who wanted to use him as a rent boy. Protests staged by Watford fans - and those of other teams, notably Plymouth Argyle - swayed a Home Office panel, who let him stay. He's now gone to Turkey

<b>Al Bangura: Blackpool to Mersin ?dmanyurdu</b> The Sierra Leone midfielder is not one of the bigger names on this list, but there's a special reason it's sad to see the ex-Watford man leave Blackpool. Bangura, a fan favourite at Vicarage Road, was at the centre of an Asylum case as a youth. He'd established himself in the Watford team by then, having arrived in the UK via a traffiker who wanted to use him as a rent boy. Protests staged by Watford fans - and those of other teams, notably Plymouth Argyle - swayed a Home Office panel, who let him stay. He's now gone to Turkey

&lt;b&gt;Albert Riera: Liverpool to Olympiacos&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
Occasional Spain international Albert Riera arrived at Liverpool in 2008 with a good reputation amidst a certain degree of hope on the part of increasingly beleagered Liverpool fans. He leaves with barely a fanfare, another big Benitez signing which didn't really pay off. That said, he played two decent seasons' worth of football for the Reds, who have made around a £3m loss on him, as he moves to Greece for £5m

<b>Albert Riera: Liverpool to Olympiacos</b><br /> Occasional Spain international Albert Riera arrived at Liverpool in 2008 with a good reputation amidst a certain degree of hope on the part of increasingly beleagered Liverpool fans. He leaves with barely a fanfare, another big Benitez signing which didn't really pay off. That said, he played two decent seasons' worth of football for the Reds, who have made around a £3m loss on him, as he moves to Greece for £5m

&lt;b&gt;Nicky Butt: retired at Newcastle&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
Nicky Butt, the unfashionable ex-England and Man Utd midfielder, retired at the end of last season at the age of 35, having helped Newcastle win the Championship and return to the top flight. Never particularly heralded, except by his coaches and once, bizarrely, Pele, Butt quietly got on with his job in his teams' engine rooms, a quiet, effective presence for Uniteds Newcastle and Manchester, with a stint at Birmingham on the side. He played 39 times for England, you know

<b>Nicky Butt: retired at Newcastle</b><br /> Nicky Butt, the unfashionable ex-England and Man Utd midfielder, retired at the end of last season at the age of 35, having helped Newcastle win the Championship and return to the top flight. Never particularly heralded, except by his coaches and once, bizarrely, Pele, Butt quietly got on with his job in his teams' engine rooms, a quiet, effective presence for Uniteds Newcastle and Manchester, with a stint at Birmingham on the side. He played 39 times for England, you know

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<b>William Gallas: released by Arsenal</b><br /> Sulky old William Gallas has been on British shores since 2001, when he joined Chelsea not long before they were taken over by Roman Abramovic. He eventually moved to Arsenal after five successful seasons at the Blues. He was made captain, then lost the job after shooting his mouth off one too many times. Despite his prickliness, though, he's been one of the Premier League's best and most fearless defenders

For every big summer signing that arrives at a top flight English club to a big fanfare, there's a player who leaves.

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Some players leave with the thanks of their clubs and fans, while some slink off in the night, forgotten, ignored or reviled. The Premiership has lost one or two big names in time for the start of the coming season, and these have left alongside a few more '00s stalwarts, moving abroad as age catches up with them.



In the following gallery, we take a look at some of these departures. Who will you miss the most? Who are you glad to see the back of? As ever, tell us in the comments below.

Source: Independent

Belfast Telegraph


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