Following his loan signing at Bayern Munich, 27-year-old Philippe Coutinho is about to accomplish something rarely achieved even by the very best in the sport, by entering into his fourth of the big five leagues in Europe.
UEFA’s Association club coefficients ranks Spain highest, followed by England and Italy, with Germany and France. This list considers some of those who have played in at least four of The Big Five, so unfortunately footballers such as Dani Alves, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo (currently) narrowly miss out.
Only two players have so far played in the Top Five leagues across Europe: Christian Poulsen and Florin Raducioiu, the latter the only footballer to score in each.
The Brazilian started generating interest while at Internazionale, before being snapped up by Liverpool for the frankly miniscule sum of £8.5million. Trophyless at Anfield, five years later Coutinho was on the move to the Nou Camp, and became the third-most expensive transfer of all time. The time in Spain wasn’t completely satisfactory for either party - though he and Barca picked up two La Liga titles during that spell - and Coutinho has now moved to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
As a fundamental part of the Manchester United team of the late 1990s, David Beckham won everything possible at top-club level. Beckham left Manchester United in 2003 to become a Real Madrid Galactico. After four years in the Spanish capital, the former England skipper upped sticks and moved to the west coast of the USA, to play with Los Angeles Galaxy. This featured off-season loan spells at AC Milan, before culminating his career at Paris Saint-Germain. Impressively, he has won league titles at each club on the continent, aside from in Italy.
Following a not too dissimilar trajectory to that of Becks, The Lion caught the attention of Juventus after excelling in both his homeland Sweden (wtih Malmo) and at Ajax, starting a long non-continuous association with the Italian Serie A; Ibrahimovic would also play at both Inter and AC Milan.
In between the nerazzurri and the rossoneri, Zlatan had a short, none-too-fondly-remembered spell at Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, a manager who Ibrahimovic isn’t shy at displaying his resentment for.
While his half-bother Jerome can claim a World Cup, KPB can brag about the more colourful passport stamp collection. Impressively, Kevin has played for at least two clubs in every league, including Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth in the Premier League. The midfielder had two spells at Milan and has recently joined Fiorentina, following a year - gobsmackingly - at Barcelona. He can claim four Bundesliga clubs on his resume; Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt.