English Premiership

OPINION: Top 10 greatest foreign players in Premier League history

2020-01-13 11:40
Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero (Getty Images)

Cape Town - After Sergio Aguero broke Thierry Henry's record for the most goals scored by a non-English player, Sport24 ranks the greatest foreign players in the Premier League era.

1. Thierry Henry

Henry scored a remarkable 175 goals in 258 appearances for Arsenal with his record as the best goal scorer by a foreign player only recently surpassed by Aguero. Henry though, was much more than just a goalscorer and was the first truly gifted athlete to grace the Premier League. Defenders simply couldn't live with Henry's combination of frightening pace and deadly finishing. He was the talisman of the great Arsene Wenger sides of the early 2000's including the legendary 'Invincible' side.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo was brought to the Premier League by Alex Ferguson as a raw but talented 17-year-old winger who transformed himself into arguably the greatest player to ever play the game. The Portuguese scored 31 goals in 34 games during the 2007/08 season to become only the second Premier League player to win the Ballon d'Or. The 34-year-old though left England for Real Madrid shortly after with English fans failing to witness the very best of a football great.

3. Eric Cantona

Bought from Leeds United for a mere £1.6 million, Cantona would go on to become the first foreign superstar and sparked Manchester United's era of dominance. Many of the foreign players wouldn't be on this list if it wasn't for the Frenchman who entertained the Premier League with his creativity, arrogance and ability. Culturally no other player can match the impact that Cantona has had on the English game.

4. Peter Schmeichel

Schmeichel was the greatest goalkeeper to ever play in the Premier League and possibly has the best argument of anyone on this list as to the best ever player in their position. He combined an imposing frame with being able to pull off amazing saves and could be seen as the biggest factor to Man United's Premier League dominance.

5. Sergio Aguero

Started scoring goals as soon as he arrived and simply hasn't stopped as he overtook Henry to become the highest goal scorer by a foreign player. A Manchester City legend who will go down as the club's greatest player with feats such as scoring the title-winning goal against QPR in stoppage time to clinch the club's first league title in 44 years.

6. Didier Drogba

Drogba transformed the way strikers played in the Premier League from playing two strike partners to becoming a one-man battering ram who single handedly destroyed defences. He inspired Jose Mourinho's title-winning Chelsea to league titles and later to the Champions League.

7. David Silva

Alongside Aguero probably Manchester City's greatest ever player where his magical displays in their midfield seeing him dubbed as 'Merlin' by his team-mates.

8. Dennis Bergkamp

For elegance no one matches Dennis Bergkamp and the Dutchman could have a one-man competition for greatest ever Premier League goals scored.

9. Gianfranco Zola

Zola was in 2003 voted as Chelsea's greatest ever player and inspired the Blues to two FA Cup titles. His trickery often left defenders embarrassed and scored some of the Premier League's greatest goals.

10. David Ginola

The charming Frenchman helped Newcastle go from an average side to title challengers with Ginola going on to become a legend to Geordie and Tottenham fans. He became the first player in Premier League history to be named FWA Footballer of the Year with a team to finish outside the top four, while at Spurs.

- Compiled by Baden Gillion


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Saturday, 18 January 2020
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur, Vicarage Road 14:30
Norwich City v AFC Bournemouth, Carrow Road 17:00
Arsenal v Sheffield United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Crystal Palace, Etihad Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v Everton, London Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Newcastle United v Chelsea, St. James' Park 19:30
Sunday, 19 January 2020
Burnley v Leicester City, Turf Moor 16:00
Liverpool v Manchester United, Anfield 18:30
Tuesday, 21 January 2020
Sheffield United v Manchester City, Bramall Lane 21:30
Everton v Newcastle United, Goodison Park 21:30
Crystal Palace v Southampton, Selhurst Park 21:30
Aston Villa v Watford, Villa Park 21:30
AFC Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vitality Stadium 21:30
Chelsea v Arsenal, Stamford Bridge 22:15
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

And the 2019/20 English Premiership champions will be ... ?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.