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Up until the transfers of Archilbald, Hughes and Lineker to Barcelona, the thought of British and Irish players upping sticks and moving to Spain was virtually unheard of. There's been more players who have transferred over to clubs in La Liga than you first think, so here's our list of British and Irish players who have played in Spain...

  • 2007 David Vaughan - Crewe to Real Sociedad
  • 2007 Gifton Noel Williams - Burnley to Real Murcia
  • 2004 Ian Harte - Leeds Utd to Levante
  • 2004 Michael Owen - Liverpool to Real Madrid
  • 2004 Jonathan Woodgate - Newcastle Utd to Real Madrid
  • 2003 David Beckham - Man Utd to Real Madrid
  • 2001 Stan Collymore - Bradford City to Real Oviedo Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond reluctantly agreed to let Collymore transfer to Real Oviedo for nothing to help reduce the wage bill at the financially crippled Yorkshire club. Collymore agreed an 18 month contract with Oviedo and he was hailed as a hero in the northern city - some 2000 fans turning up at the airport to greet him. However, the goodwill didn't last long - just 5 weeks and 3 games into his Spanish career Collymore decided to quit football for good, aged only 30.
  • 2000 Mark Draper - Aston Villa to Rayo Vallecano
  • 1990 Steve Archibald - Hibernian to RCD Espanol
  • 1990 Dalian Atkinson - Sheffield Wednesday to Real Sociedad After the success of John Aldridge at the Basque club, Real Sociedad decided to have another go with a striker from the English league and plumped for Sheffield Wednesday's talented powerhouse Dalian Atkinson. Whilst Aldridge was a goal poacher of in the classic mould of schoolyard goalhanger, Atkinson was capable of anything from electric 40 yard runs and rocket shots, to hilarious miscues.
  • 1990 Kevin Richardson - Arsenal to Real Sociedad
  • 1989 John Aldridge - Liverpool to Real Sociedad
  • 1987 Michael Robinson - QPR to Osasuna
  • 1987 Sammy Lee - QPR to Osasuna
  • 1986 Gary Lineker - Everton to Barcelona
  • 1986 Mark Hughes - Man Utd to Barcelona
  • 1984 Steve Archibald - Spurs to Barcelona
  • 1983 Gerry Armstring - Watford to Real Mallorca Armstrong's impressive performances in the 1982 in Spain, scoring the winner in Northern Ireland's famous victory over hosts Spain in Valencia, earned him a move to Real Mallorca the following season. Armstrong had 2 seasons with the Barralets, scoring 8 goals and receiving plenty of abuse from opposition fans who remembered his goal in Valencia. Armstrong is now a regular La Liga commentator and pundit on Sky.