Following the news that the Montreal Impact have transferred Ballou Tabla to Spanish giant FC Barcelona on Thursday, we decided to take a look back at some of the other transfers of MLS players to Europe in the league's history. For the purposes of this list, we're considering players who were transferred abroad with a fee.
Freddy Adu: Real Salt Lake to Benfica (2007)
Freddy Adu made 11 appearances for Benfica | AFP
Adu's transfer to the Portuguese giants, for a reported $2 million, seemed to be the natural next step in the young star's career. But he had only a handful of appearances there, before heading on loan to another storied club, AS Monaco, followed by other teams in Portugal, Greece and Turkey. Since then, Adu has been a journeyman, and even returned to MLS, to play for the Philadelphia Union from 2011-12. Most recently, the 28-year-old was spotted on trial at new USL team Las Vegas Lights.
Jozy Altidore: New York Red Bulls to Villarreal (2008)
Altidore made history in 2008, as his $10 million deal to La Liga stalwarts Villarreal broke MLS records for transfers to Europe, and set a bar that would not be matched for some time. But like Adu, Altidore struggled in his initial stint across the Atlantic, dealing with injury and a loan spell to the Segunda Division, then heading to England to play for Hull City and Turkey for Bursaspor, all on loan.
Eventually Altidore found traction, heading to AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands in 2011 and leading his team in scoring before another big money move to Sunderland. After his move back to England didn't work out, he was involved in a swap deal with Toronto FC for Jermain Defoe in 2015, and the rest is history, as he helped TFC to a historic treble in 2017.
DaMarcus Beasley: Chicago Fire to PSV Eindhoven (2004)
Beasley helped kickstart the era of Americans getting moves to Europe in the MLS age, with his move to the Dutch power in 2004 for a reported $2.5 million. And his move was largely successful, as he was a regular contributor to PSV, winning a league title and playing in a Champions League semifinal with them, before a loan stint in England with a pre-moneybags Manchester City in 2006-07.
In 2007, he signed with Scottish superclub Rangers and enjoyed success there, too, before an ill-fated move to Bundesliga side Hannover in 2010 stalled his career. But Beasley's trailblazing career didn't end there, as he made a surprise move to Mexico to play for Puebla in 2011, and then returned to MLS in 2014 to play for the Houston Dynamo, where he remains today.
Clint Dempsey: New England Revolution to Fulham (2007)
Dempsey scored 50 goals for Fulham | Action Images
Dempsey enjoyed one of the most productive spells abroad for an MLS transfer, joining then-Premier League side Fulham in 2007 on a reported $4 million deal and remaining until 2012. While the Texan struggled at times to make his mark with a series of managers as the London-based club battled relegation, he always played his way into the coach's plans, and his run with the Cottagers was capped off with an audacious goal against Juventus as Fulham made a run all the way to the 2010 Europa League final. Dempsey then transferred to fellow London side Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, before returning to MLS in 2013 with the Seattle Sounders, and helping them win their first Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup titles.
Tim Howard: MetroStars to Manchester United (2003)
Howard's move to Man United, for a reported $4 million in 2003, was obviously a big deal, with perhaps the biggest club in the world actively looking for a new No. 1. But although he had stints as the starter under Sir Alex Ferguson and even won an FA Cup with the Red Devils, Howard really settled in England with Everton, where he moved in 2006, and where he was the starter for nearly a decade, before returning to MLS with the Colorado Rapids in 2016.
Brian McBride: Columbus Crew to Fulham (2004)
Brian McBride scored 33 goals for Fulham | AFP
McBride's time with Fulham has been somewhat obscured in the United States by Dempsey's run with the same club, but McBride remains one of the most beloved figures in Fulham lore. After two loan stints in England with Preston North End and Everton, the ex-Crew striker showed he could hack it in England, and he moved to London for a reported $1.5 million. While the Cottagers never won a title with McBride, he became captain of the team and is perhaps most fondly remembered for scoring several crucial goals down the home stretch of the 2006-07 season to keep Fulham in the Premier League. In 2008, McBride returned to MLS, joining hometown club Chicago Fire, and retired in 2010.
Matt Miazga: New York Red Bulls to Chelsea (2016)
The Red Bulls Homegrown defender made a huge switch following the 2015 season, moving to Premier League giant Chelsea on a $5 million deal. Miazga received his debut in his first season there, but playing time was limited overall and he moved on loan to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem starting in the 2016-17 season, and continuing to the present. With Vitesse, the 22-year-old won the Dutch Cup last season and has been a regular starter in the 2017-18 campaign.
Fredy Montero: Seattle Sounders to Sporting CP (2013)
Montero played in 51 games for Sporting | Reuters/Action Images
The first young star of the Sounders, Montero got his long-awaited move to Europe, first on loan in 2013 to Portuguese giants Sporting CP on a reported $1.2 million deal, before being permanently transferred in the next transfer window for an additional $1.55 million reported fee. Montero saw regular action for the Lisbon side, winning a domestic cup there, but transferred to China in 2016. It has since come full circle, however, as Montero returned to MLS last season, with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, before signing a new deal this offseason to return to Sporting once more.
DeAndre Yedlin: Seattle Sounders to Tottenham Hotspur (2014)
Another young Sounders star, Yedlin was the team's first academy product to come through and play for the first team, and after featuring for the US national team in the 2014 World Cup, his star was truly on the rise. Yedlin was transferred to Spurs in 2014, joining the London outfit after the season, and was subsequently sent on loan to Sunderland. From there, he was transferred to the Black Cats' rival Newcastle United in 2016, and has become a regular for the Toon under Rafa Benitez in the English Championship and Premier League.
Giancarlo Gonzalez: Columbus Crew to Palermo (2014)
Gonzalez only played 17 matches in MLS but Columbus were able to maximize the center back's value after some standout performances in the World Cup. Gonzalez came to Columbus prior to the 2014 season from Valerenga and showed well with Crew SC but his play in Brazil led to him being sold to Serie A club Palermo for a club-record fee. He has since moved within Serie A to Bologna where he is playing with former Montreal midfielder Blerim Dzemail.