The stars waving goodbye to the Premier League this summer 


The end of the season often brings with it a few farewells. Some fond, others not so much.  

Sunday saw a number of club icons across the Premier League bring the curtain down on their time in England, with title winners, Champions League winners and club captain’s among them. 

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the biggest names waving goodbye to England’s top flight ahead of the summer’s transfer window… 

Fernandinho (Manchester City)

Fernandinho got his fairytale ending to life at Manchester City… just. 

The club captain was hooked at half-time on the final day, during his final appearance for the club, as Pep Guardiola searched desperately for the solution to come from behind against Aston Villa.  

The Brazilian has established himself as a firm cult hero at the Etihad since arriving at the club from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013. 

After 383 appearances in all competitions and five Premier League titles, the 37-year-old has decided it is time to return to his native home to end his career. 

His initial announcement had caught Guardiola off guard, revealing his decision when asked about his future at a Champions League press conference ahead of their Real Madrid clash. 

No one at City would begrudge him his wish to complete his career at home, given his stellar service for the past nine seasons.  

Fernandinho is hoisted into the air by his team-mates following his final Man City appearance

Edinson Cavani (Manchester United)

One of the best finishers in the business suffered an ignominious end at Old Trafford.

His first season with Manchester United was hugely promising, his 17 goals in 39 appearances convincing the club to hold on to the Uruguyan for another year.

However, much like United’s overall performance this season, the 35-year-old was a huge disappointment. 

Much of his issues owed to injuries, with his season beset by knocks, tendon issues and groin problems. But even when he did get on the pitch, his lethal spark in front of goal appeared to have eluded him.

He managed to get on the scoresheet just twice this season, and his frustration got the better of him in the end, his last act as a United player appearing to be swearing at fans as he clambered on to the team bus following their 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.  

Edinson Cavani suffered a frustrating end to his time at Manchester United and is set to leave

Edinson Cavani suffered a frustrating end to his time at Manchester United and is set to leave

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Where to start?  

One of the most heralded arrivals in Premier League history, the return of Paul Pogba to Manchester United, never lived up to its billing. 

The most expensive transfer in world football at the time when he arrived in 2016, the French international showcased glimpses of his brilliance, and can point to a handful of genuinely world class performances in red, but his consistency was always a major issue. Just ask Roy Keane and Graeme Souness.

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Frustrations were intensified as he excelled with his country, lifting the World Cup in 2018 having played a key role in the triumph of Didier Deschamps’ side. 

Often Pogba would talk of his desire to leave United, but somehow he was always tempted back into the club to prolong the agony for another year or so. 

Finally, after 226 appearances, and precious little to show for them other than one Europa League and one Carabao Cup trophy, he is set to depart United, and England, this summer.

It is a move that looks to be best for both parties.  

Paul Pogba is set to leave Manchester United this summer after a six-year stay at Old Trafford

Paul Pogba is set to leave Manchester United this summer after a six-year stay at Old Trafford

Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Antonio Rudiger’s departure from Chelsea certainly does not have the feel of one that has been mutually agreed.

Antonio Rudiger spoke exclusively to Sportsmail about the reasons surrounding his Chelsea departure

Antonio Rudiger spoke exclusively to Sportsmail about the reasons surrounding his Chelsea departure

The German centre back has been a commanding presence at the back for Thomas Tuchel’s side this season, with the 29-year-old one of the club’s top performers this term. 

His decision to end his five-year stay at Stamford Bridge largely boils down to his frustration over stalled talks with the club – an issue that intensified following the sanctions put in place against owner Roman Abramovich.   

Speaking to Sportsmail’s Matt Barlow about his impending departure, Rudiger said: ‘My decision came to the point, to be honest, in March. 

‘The sanctions was something nobody saw coming. It is easy to blame it on that, too easy. For me, there was a gap between August and January, and that made me think “what’s going on”.

‘I didn’t want to wait until June to sort out my future because it’s been almost a year of uncertainty.’ 

With a Champions League winners medal in his possession, as well as a Europa League, Super Cup, Club World Cup and FA Cup success to his name, Rudiger will head to Spain to join Real Madrid this summer.  

Divock Origi (Liverpool)

He may not have been the first name on the team-sheet, but the importance of Divock Origi to Liverpool’s recent history cannot be overstated.

The Belgian striker cemented himself in Anfield folklore with a host of important goals, most notable the all-important fourth goal in that incredible Champions League semi-final comeback against Barcelona in 2019. 

There was also a goal in the final as Jurgen Klopp’s side lifted the trophy. There have been Merseyside Derby winners and efforts that kept his side in the title hunt in season’s past.

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Now destined for Milan this summer, Origi was afforded a proper send off on Sunday, one fans would insist was fully deserved. 

Divock Origi earned cult hero status at Liverpool with some memorable goals for the club

Divock Origi earned cult hero status at Liverpool with some memorable goals for the club

Andreas Christensen (Chelsea)

While Chelsea supporters are likely to lament the departure of Antonio Rudiger, the same cannot be said for Andreas Chirstensen. 

Having being forced to patient after coming through the ranks at Stamford Bridge, the Denmark international looked set for a stellar career in west London after impressing during his loan spells at Borussia Monchengladbach.  

Unfortunately, it hasn’t panned out as planned, with creaky displays punctuated by unexplained absences. Of late, stomach issues have forced the 26-year-old to pull out of matchday squads and have seen him ask to be replaced.

It all came to a head earlier this month when he requested to be left out of the FA Cup final squad the morning of the Wembley showdown with Liverpool. 

It is a sorry end to his Chelsea career, but there will be genuine hope within the ranks at the club that things can pick up for Christensen when he joins Barcelona next month. 

Andreas Christensen's time at Chelsea has come to an end as he prepares to join Barcelona

Andreas Christensen’s time at Chelsea has come to an end as he prepares to join Barcelona

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)

A signing that promised much when he joined for a club record £53million in 2017, Alexandre Lacazette should be looked at with some fondness by Gunners fans.

Until this season, there was a strong consistency up top from the Frenchman, something that the club has rarely enjoyed of late, with the striker reaching double figures in the previous four campaigns. 

His performances in helping Arsenal reach the 2019 Europa League final are perhaps his standout contribution, but their failure against Chelsea in the final mirrors his reputation as a nearly man, a quality striker who just could not drag the club to the next level it so desired to occupy. 

Still unsure of his next club, no offer of a 12-month extension has been forthcoming at the Emirates, and with links to Juventus, Atletico Madrid and his former club Lyon, it appears we have seen the last of the Frenchman in the Premier League. 

Alexandre Lacazette looks to have played his final game for Arsenal with his contract up

Alexandre Lacazette looks to have played his final game for Arsenal with his contract up

Juan Mata (Manchester United)

Juan Mata’s contribution to the Premier League goes far beyond his stint at Manchester United.

Arriving initially at Chelsea, the Spaniard was one of the top flight’s best talents when he swapped Valencia for Stamford Bridge in 2011.

It is incredible to think that the 34-year-old has never won a league title in his career, not with United, nor Chelsea nor Valencia. 

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That is maybe something he will be looking to put right after winning everything else during his time in England – a Champions League, a Europa League, two FA Cups and a League Cup. He’s even lifted the World Cup and European Championship, too.

It’s been reported that he has offers from several clubs back home in Spain, but a chance to experience football in another country could yet tempt Mata. One thing is for certain though – his Premier League story has reached its conclusion.  

Juan Mata was afforded a farewell appearance at Old Trafford and Selhurst Park by United

Juan Mata was afforded a farewell appearance at Old Trafford and Selhurst Park by United

Nemanja Matic (Manchester United)

Another who swapped blue for red, Nemanja Matic confirmed his desire to quit United via social media last month. 

The Serbian described it as ‘an honour and a privilege’ to have played at Old Trafford, the 33-year-old having arrived from Chelsea in 2017. 

While Fulham have been credited with attempting to keep him in the Premier League, it appears that Matic has his heart set on further afield.  

Fluent in Portuguese following his time with Benfica, he has hinted at a possible move to Brazil with Flamengo. All will become clearer in the weeks ahead.  

Nemanja Matic revealed he would be leaving United at the end of the season on social media

Nemanja Matic revealed he would be leaving United at the end of the season on social media

Mark Noble (West Ham)

In this day and age, the existence of a one-club man is becoming rarer and rarer.

Mark Noble was one such character, coming through as a boy at West Ham and captaining the club in the Premier League.

It was a genuinely emotional occasion for all on the penultimate Sunday of the season as ‘Mr West Ham’ said his goodbyes to fans at the London Stadium following the Hammers’ 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

After 22 years and more than 540 first-team appearances, Noble insists that no amount of cajolling will prompt him to change his mind this summer, and that he is ready to take part in the game from the other side of the touchline. 

He will step away from the club for six months to spend time with his family, after which the club say there is a role waiting for him. What it exactly entails remains to be seen.  

Mark Noble could not hold back the tears after his farewell appearance at the London Stadium

Mark Noble could not hold back the tears after his farewell appearance at the London Stadium



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