The English Premier League attracts some of the biggest names in world football due to the competitiveness of the league and the financial benefits of playing in England. We took a deep dive into the history books to find the 100 Best Ever Premier League Players since its inception in 1992.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, 2004-2009)
Rated as one of the greatest ever footballers and is still continuing to break all sorts of goal scoring records for Real Madrid. Scored 84 goals in 196 games for United and created his own unique way of striking the ball that created swerve and dip with incredible power. A joy to watch with his array of tricks and flicks, a true fans favourite.
2. Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 1999-2007)
The French centre forward was relatively unheard of when plucked from Juventus but under the management of Arsene Wenger he went on to become the all-time leading goal scorer in the Premier League on 175 goals in 258 games. He was a very quick striker who had the ability to score all sorts of goals.
3. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United, 1990-2014)
He is the most decorated player of the Premier League. Won the Premier League an incredible 13 times and amassed 960 appearances in all competitions for United. A raw 17 year old with pace in abundance torturing opposition right backs eventually turned into a central midfielder able to dictate proceedings from the middle with his passing ability.
4. Eric Cantona (Leeds United 1992, Manchester United 1992-1997)
Sir Alex Ferguson gave the controversial Frenchman the chance to make a name for himself at Old Trafford as their rivals Leeds United believed he was too much trouble despite scoring 6 goals in 13 games at Elland Road. His charisma and presence on the pitch was hugely influential to the class of ’92 and was part of the first title winning side of Sir Alex Ferguson in 1992.
5. Paul Gascoigne (Middlesbrough 1998-2000, Everton 2000-2002)
Unfortunately ‘Gazza’ didn’t play in the Premier League at the peak of his career but came back to England in 1992 after a stint abroad. He had huge potential and had off the field problems not prohibited him, could’ve been the best ever player to have played in the Premier League.
6. Gianfranco Zola (Chelsea, 1996-2003)
The pint sized Italian was extremely creative and was a little magician in the attacking third. Will always be remembered for that crafty flick from a corner against Norwich City. He was a fans favourite at Chelsea and helped the London based club become a recognised force in the Premier League long before the Roman Abrahmovic era took them to new heights.
7. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal, 1995-2006)
One of the most feared centre forwards in the Premier League was Arsenal’s Dutchman. His brutality upfront and craft with the ball were a perfect combination and has scored memorable goals, notably against Leicester City and Newcastle United which will always be in the montage of great Premier League goals.
8. Patrick Vieira (Arsenal 1996-2005, Manchester City 2010-2011)
A true warrior for Arsenal which is a trait that has never been replaced. His motivation to win was his biggest characteristic and was literally fearless of anything. A leader in midfield and was a huge personality in the dressing room and part of the Invincibles team of 2003.
9. Roy Keane (Nottingham Forest 1992-1993, Manchester United 1993-2005)
A very similar player in terms of Patrick Vieira for Arsenal. A leader and an extremely motivated individual to win at everything he does. He signed from Nottingham Forest for a British transfer record fee of £3.75million but Manchester United got 12 very successful years out of the Irish midfielder.
10. Wayne Rooney (Everton 2002-2003, Manchester United 2004-Present)
The current Manchester United and England captain was signed for £27million as a teenager but has more than justified the substantial fee with his goal scoring and titles won at Old Trafford. He’s well on course to break both goal scoring records for his club and country, both set by Sir Bobby Charlton and is a worthy player to achieve this feat.
11. Paul Scholes (Manchester United, 1993-2013)
One of the best goal scoring midfielders the world has seen. He won 11 league titles at Manchester United and scored over 100 Premier League goals in 499 appearances. Scholes made things tick in the centre of the park for Sir Alex Ferguson and his range of passing has been described as one of the greatest ever.
12. Frank Lampard (West Ham 1995-2001, Chelsea 2001-2014, Manchester City 2014-Present)
Lampard enjoyed his best years at Chelsea where he was well known for his late surges into the penalty box to chip in with goal after goal. He left Chelsea in the summer of 2014 as the club’s all-time top goal scorer and he is a midfielder! Manchester City are now benefitting from his wealth of experience and his goal scoring prowess.
13. Eden Hazard (Chelsea, 2012-Present)
The Belgian winger is a player that gets fans on the edge of their seats. A delight to watch, his pace and trickery with the ball make him a constant thorn in the opposition defence and unlike other wingers, almost always delivers an end product. Signed for £32million from French side, Lille, Jose Mourinho has taken Hazard to a new level.
14. Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers 1992-1996, Newcastle United 1996-2006)
A typical old fashioned No.9 centre forward that hasn’t ever been seen to represent the national shirt since. Was prolific for Blackburn Rovers in the season he won his only Premier League title but would’ve won a hatful more if he opted to move to Manchester United instead of Newcastle United. A strong forward in the air and scored every type of goal from sumptuous volleys to headers in the 6 yard box.
15. Yaya Toure (Manchester City, 2010-Present)
The Ivorian is a dominant figure for Manchester City in midfield. It is always highlighted that Toure’s absence hits City very hard and they often miss his power from the centre of the park. His ability to carry the ball from one end of the pitch to another is a credit to his stamina and power and also has a knack of scoring set pieces. Not many can stop Yaya when he decides to go on one of his runs forward and even in his 30’s is still a Premier League force.
16. Didier Drogba (Chelsea, 2004-2012, 2014-2015)
Another powerhouse of the Premier League is Chelsea’s centre forward who’s last ever goal in his first stint at the club sealed the 2012 Champions League trophy. He is now back at the club under the manager he served so devotedly in his initial few years. He is a defenders nightmare as his sheer brutality and strength enabled him to brush aside defenders and his style of play suited the Premier League perfectly.
17. Luka Modric (Tottenham, 2008-2012)
A playmaker of the highest order, the Croatian midfielder was never out of place in the middle of the action despite being 5’9. His ability on the ball and awareness of everything around him made him a sought after player and it wasn’t surprising that Real Madrid snapped him up from Tottenham. Was severely underrated in his first season at Tottenham but helped establish them into the European positions of the Premier League.
18. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City, 2011-Present)
Silva’s City colleague can boast probably the most memorable ever Premier League moment. His injury time goal against QPR sealed Manchester City’s first ever Premier League title on the last day of the season. You couldn’t write a script for what occurred that day but the Argentine hit man has one of the best goal scoring ratios in the Premier League.
19. David Silva (Manchester City, 2010-Present)
Another player of very similar ilk to Luka Modric, David Silva arrived from Valencia and his fluidity on the ball has unlocked a number of defences in his time at the Etihad. His low centre of gravity is a fundamental part of his game and the ball seems like it sticks to his foot like glue. Manchester City fans will be wondering how Barcelona haven’t acquired his services given his style of play suits the Catalans down to a tee but he has won 2 Premier League titles with City.
20. Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal, 2014-Present)
One of the latest arrivals to deputise in the Premier League is Arsenal’s Chilean winger. He has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and his pace has proven too much to handle for some players. Many Barcelona fans were disappointed at his departure from the Nou Camp as many believed he still had a lot to give but Arsenal are now benefitting from Barcelona’s loss.
21. NemanjaVidic (Manchester United, 2006-2014)
22. Rio Ferdinand (West Ham United 1996-2000, Leeds United 2000-2002, Manchester United 2002-2014, QPR 2014-Present)
23. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, 1998-Present)
24. Luis Suarez (Liverpool, 2011-2014)
25. Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United 1991-1999, Aston Villa 2001-2002, Manchester City 2002-2003)
26. Ashley Cole (Arsenal 1998-2006, Chelsea 2006-2014)
27. Gareth Bale (Southampton (Tottenham 2007-2013)
28. Tony Adams (Arsenal 1983-2002)
29. David Beckham (Manchester United (1992-2003)
30. Andy Cole (Arsenal 1989-1992, Newcastle United 1993-1995, Manchester United 1995-2001, Blackburn Rovers 2001-2004, Fulham 2004-2005, Manchester City 2005-2006, Portsmouth 2006-2007, Sunderland 2007-2008)
31. Gary Neville (Manchester United 1992-2011)
32. JaapStam (Manchester United 1998-2001)
33. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City 2008-Present)
34. Robert Pires (Arsenal 2000-2006, Aston Villa 2010-2011)
35. Robbie Fowler (Liverpool 1993-2001, Leeds United 2001-2003, Manchester City 2003-2006, Liverpool 2007)
36. Michael Owen (Liverpool 1996-2004, Newcastle United 2005-2009, Manchester United 2009-2012, Stoke City 2012-2013)
37. Les Ferdinand (QPR 1992-1995, Newcastle United 1995-1997, Tottenham 1997-2003, West Ham 2003, Leicester City 2003-2004, Bolton Wanderers 2004-2005)
38. Jamie Carragher (Liverpool 1996-2013)
39. Robin Van Persie (Arsenal 2004-2012, Manchester United 2012-Present
40. Claude Makelele (Chelsea 2003-2008)
41. Marc Overmars (Arsenal 1997-2000)
42. Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Manchester United 2001-2006)
43. Gary Speed (Leeds United 1992-1996, Everton 1996-1998, Newcastle United 1998-2004, Bolton Wanderers 2004-2008)
44. Arjen Robben (Chelsea 2004-2007)
45. Mesut Ozil (Arsenal 2013-Present)
46. Ledley King (Tottenham 1999-2012)
47. David Seaman (Arsenal 1992-2003, Manchester City 2003-2004)
48. Matt Le Tissier (Southampton 1992-2002)
49. Ian Wright (Arsenal 1992-1998, West Ham 1998-1999)
50. Ashley Cole (Arsenal 1998-2006, Chelsea 2006-2014)
51. CescFabregas (Arsenal 2003-2011, Chelsea 2014-Present)
52. Teddy Sheringham (Tottenham 1992-1997, Manchester United 1997-2001, Tottenham 2001-2003, Portsmouth 2003-2004, West Ham 2004-2007)
53. Xabi Alonso (Liverpool 2004-2009)
54. Patrice Evra (Manchester United 2006-2014)
55. Edwin Van Der Sar (Fulham 2001-2005, Manchester United (2005-2011)
56. Mark Hughes (Manchester United 1992-1995, Chelsea 1995-1998, Southampton 1998-2000, Everton 2000, Blackburn Rovers 2000-2002)
57. Dwight Yorke (Aston Villa 1992-1998, Manchester United 1998-2002, Blackburn Rovers 2002-2004, Birmingham City 2004-2005, Sunderland 2007-2009)
58. Denis Irwin (Manchester United 1992-2002, Wolves 2003-2004)
59. Fernando Torres (Liverpool 2007-2011, Chelsea 2011-2015)
60. Sol Campbell (Tottenham 1992-2001, Arsenal 2001-2006, Portsmouth 2006-2009, Arsenal 2010, Newcastle United 2010-2011)
61. Lee Dixon (Arsenal 1992-2002)
62. Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal 1997-2000, Chelsea 2001-2004)
63. Carlos Tevez (West Ham 2006-2007, Manchester United 2007-2009, Manchester City 2009-2013)
64. Joe Hart (Manchester City 2006-Present)
65. Sami Hyypia (Liverpool 1999-2009)
66. Gus Poyet (Chelsea 1997-2001, Tottenham 2001-2004)
67. JurgenKlinsmann (Tottenham 1994-1995)
68. Michael Ballack (Chelsea 2006-2010)
69. Marcel Desailly (Chelsea 1998-2004)
70. Paolo Di Canio (Sheffield Wednesday 1997-1999, West Ham 1999-2003, Charlton Athletic 2003-2004)
71. Paul Ince (Manchester United 1992-1995, Liverpool 1997-1999, Middlesbrough 1999-2002, Wolves 2003-2004)
72. Steve Bruce (Manchester United 1992-1996)
73. Petr Cech (Chelsea 2004-Present)
74. David Ginola (Newcastle United 1995-1997, Tottenham 1997-2000, Aston Villa 2000-2002, Everton 2002)
75. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United 1996-2007)
76. Jermaine Defoe (West Ham 1999-2004, Tottenham 2004-2008, Portsmouth 2008-2009, Tottenham 2009-2014, Sunderland 2015-Present)
77. Gary Pallister (Manchester United 1992-1998, Middlesbrough 1998-2001)
78. Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal 1997-1999, Liverpool 2001-2002, Manchester City 2002-2005, Bolton 2006-2008, Chelsea 2008-2012, West Brom 2013-2014)
79. Kanu (Arsenal 1999-2004, West Brom 2004-2006, Portsmouth 2006-2010)
80. Steve McManaman (Liverpool 1992-1999,, Manchester City 2003-2005)
81. Peter Beardsley (Everton 1992-1993, Newcastle United 1993-1997, Bolton 1997-1998, Manchester City 1998)
82. Tim Cahill (Everton 2004-2012)
83. Thomas Gravesen (Everton 2000-2005, 2007-2008)
84. Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea 2004-2010)
85. David Batty (Leeds United 1992-1993, Blackburn Rovers 1993-1996, Newcastle United 1996-1998, Leeds United 1998-2004)
86. Michael Carrick (West Ham 1999-2004, Tottenham 2004-2006, Manchester United 2006-Present)
87. Juan Mata (Chelsea 2011-2014, Manchester United 2014-Present)
88. John Barnes (Liverpool 1992-1997, Newcastle United 1997-1999, Charlton 1999-2000)
89. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (Leeds United 1997-1999, Chelsea 2000-2004, Middlesbrough 2004-2006, Charlton 2006-2007)
90. BranislavIvanovic(Chelsea 2008-Present)
91. Martin Keown (Everton 1992-1993, Arsenal 1993-2004, Leicester City 2004-2005)
92. Graeme Le Saux (Chelsea 1992-1993, Blackburn Rovers 1993-1997, Chelsea 1997-2003, Southampton 2005-2007)
93. David James (Liverpool 1992-1999, Aston Villa 1999-2001, West Ham 2001-2004, Manchester City 2004-2006, Portsmouth 2006-2010)
94. Roberto Di Matteo (Chelsea 1996-2002)
95. Harry Kane (Tottenham2009-Present)
96. Robbie Keane (Coventry 1999-2000, Leeds United 2000-2003, Tottenham 2003-2008, Liverpool 2008-2009, Tottenham 2009-2011, West Ham 2011, Aston Villa 2012)
97. Jay JayOkocha (Bolton 2002-2006)
98. Kevin Phillips (Sunderland 1999-2003, Southampton 2003-2005, Aston Villa 2005-2006, Birmingham City 2009-2011, Crystal Palace 2013-2014)
99. Freddie Ljungberg (Arsenal 1998-2007, West Ham 2007-2008)
100. Lucas Radebe (Leeds United 1994-2005)
Do you agree with our list of the 100 Best Ever Premier League Players?
Was Emile Heskey robbed of a spot? What other players did we miss? Let us know in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.