English Premiership

OPINION: Top 10 greatest foreign players in Premier League history

Sergio Aguero (Getty Images)
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