Since its inception in 1992, the English Premier League has been known as the home of the best imports (sometimes at the detriment of the English national team). With so many quality imports gracing the Premier League over the last three decades, we asked the question, who are the 11 best ever foreign players in the Premier League?
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano spent six seasons in the Premier League with Manchester United and in such a short space of time became one of the greatest ever players. Unfortunately for the Premier League he left before he hit his very peak but he still managed 84 goals in 194 games for United in the Premier League. He also won 3 Premier League titles in 6 years under Sir Alex Ferguson.
2. Thierry Henry
The Premier Leagues top foreign goal scorer is the former Arsenal forward who has to be one of the best signings ever at £10.5million from Juventus in 1999. He won 2 Premier League titles and was part of the invincibles team of 2003/2004 that went a whole season unbeaten. Scored a total of 174 goals in 254 games for Arsenal.
3. Eric Cantona
One of the most gifted Premier League strikers but also one of the most controversial and none more so than the Kung Fu Kick that banned him from football for 9 months. The Frenchman played for Leeds United in the Premier League before making a move to Manchester United to become one of their most iconic players. He scored 64 Premier League goals for Manchester United in 143 games and collected 4 Premier League winners medals.
4. Gianfranco Zola
One of Chelsea’s all-time greats and possibly their all time prior to the Roman Abrahmovic era begun in 2003. At a mere £4.5million, the Italian spent 7 enjoyable years at Chelsea and his back heel flick against Norwich City is one of the most memorable goals of the Premier League. He won several domestic cups at Chelsea and the FWA Footballer of the year award.
5. Dennis Bergkamp
The Dutchman was well known in Europe before his move to Arsenal but his career in the Premier League were his most successful years and made him one of the most talented forwards. He spent 9 years at Arsenal, winning 3 Premier League medals and like Thierry Henry, was also part of the invincibles team. He won the FWA and PFA footballer of the year award in 1998 and also made the PFA team of the year.
6. Peter Schmeichel
Only one of two goalkeepers to make the top 11. Peter Schmeichel represented three different Premier League clubs: Manchester United, Manchester City and Aston Villa. Not only being known in the Premier League as one of the greatest goalkeepers, but part of a prestigious few goalkeepers to score in the Premier League! The Danish goalkeeper made 292 Premier League appearances for Manchester United, winning 5 Premier League titles in the process and the illustrious treble in 1999 that included the UEFA Champions League.
7. Didier Drogba
Drogba’s most iconic moment for Chelsea was his ‘final’ kick for the club in 2012 when he scored the winning penalty in the UEFA Champions League final. He scored 100 Premier League goals for Chelsea and has just returned to the club after two years away in China and Turkey. Won the Premier League golden boot twice and the Premier League trophy three times.
8. Luis Suarez
Despite spending just a mere three years in England, Suarez demonstrated extremely high levels of performance in his latter season at Liverpool. He scored 31 goals in 33 games in his final season which helped contribute to Liverpool’s second place finish and return to the Champions League. That season earned him PFA and FWA footballer of the year awards, Premier League player of the season, Premier League golden boot and was named in the PFA team of the year.
9. Ruud Van Nistelrooy
One of the most prolific goal scorers in the Premier League was former Manchester United forward, Ruud Van Nistelrooy. He amassed 95 goals in just 150 Premier League games for Manchester United. In the 2002/2003 season, his 25 goals helped Manchester United lift the trophy whilst he was named Premier League player of the season and finished as the golden boot winner.
10. Petr Cech
One of only three players in the list to still be playing in the Premier League to date. The Chelsea goalkeeper has been the ever present no.1 at Stamford Bridge since 2004 but has recently been relegated to the bench. The 32 year old still has plenty of football left in him and it seems likely that his future will lie elsewhere. The Czech has won 3 Premier League titles and also won the Premier League golden glove three times.
11. Cesc Fabregas
Another Chelsea player to make the list is former Arsenal maestro, Fabregas. He made his Premier League debut at just 17 years old for Arsenal and became an influential part of their midfield for a number of years before going back to Barcelona. His passing has provided a number of assists for Arsenal and is now representing Chelsea where his creative mindedness helped the Blues to the 2015 Premier League title.
Do you agree with our list of the 11 best ever foreign players in the Premier League?
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