Premier League cult hero unrecognisable with short hair and beard after becoming sporting director at Spanish minnows

SOME stars become an instant hit when they move to the Premier League.

And this forward certainly shone brightly when he graced these shores a decade ago.

INSTAGRAM / @LALIGAThis Prem icon looks totally different these days[/caption]

Clean shaven and sporting long, brown hair – he oozed class during his brief stint at the top.

Injuries curtailed his progress, but his impact will never be forgotten.

He has even been dubbed a “legend” by current Prem top scorer Erling Haaland, who idolised him as a kid.

The Norwegian even used to tag himself as this cult hero on Instagram.

He now looks completely different to his heyday, wearing short, cropped hair and stubble aged 36.

This star’s story started in atypical fashion, with boyhood club Real Oviedo in the Spanish lower leagues.

Aged 21, the 6ft 1in ace moved to the Spanish second tier with Celta Vigo.

After four seasons at Celta a transfer to LaLiga beckoned, with Rayo Vallecano taking a punt on him.

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It paid off hugely, as he bagged 15 goals in his debut top tier campaign.

His form would earn him his move to the Premier League, with a £2million transfer to Swansea subsequently going down in folklore.

A Prem legend was truly born during the 2012-13 campaign.

And no one will ever forget Michu.

His time in the Premier League got off to the perfect start, as he scored twice and assisted Scott Sinclair in a 5-0 rout of QPR.

He would go on to net 22 goals in all competitions during an unforgettable debut season in Wales.

Fans in England still love him too, with one writing on social media: “Streets won’t forget Michu.”

A Swansea fan added: “The best.”

His second campaign at the Liberty Stadium was unfortunately hampered by injuries, in a sign of what was to come.

Having helped the Swans win the League Cup in 2013, however, he was able to play in the Europa League for them – scoring four times during his side’s run.

Michu earned one Spain cap during his Swansea love affair, starting a World Cup qualifier against Belarus.

All good things come to an end, however, and he was on the move in the summer of 2014.

He joined Napoli, initially on loan – but was able to make just six appearances for them as his ankle injuries stacked up.

Michu would return to Swansea, but had his contract cancelled in November 2015.

He subsequently joined Spanish amateurs Burgos, before returning to Oviedo for one final season the following summer.

In July 2017 he announced his retirement aged just 31 due to his persistent ankle issues.

‘CHRONIC PAIN’

He has stayed involved in football ever since, due to his love and passion for the game.

Following retirement Michu initially returned to Langreo, where his brother was head coach, as director of football.

He then became technical secretary at Oviedo in 2019, before taking on a sporting director role at Burgos.

Speaking about his injuries to the Telegraph last year, Michu harrowingly explained: “I have chronic pain that I have to live with.

“There is no more treatment. I’ve had several operations, I don’t want to take any more pills and I don’t want to take much more medication.”

AFPMichu banged goals in during his time at Swansea[/caption]

EPAFans regularly got to see Michu’s iconic celebration[/caption]

Getty Images – GettyThe forward earned one Spain cap[/caption]

Getty Images – GettyMichu played just six times for Napoli[/caption]

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