The English Premier League is one of the most followed and revered sporting competitions in the world. Millions of young boys watch their idols take to the pitch and dream of becoming half as good as them. And trust us, there have been some serious idols. Here are the best Premier League players in history.
25. Robert Pires
We’re back to the Invincibles with the last one on our list. Robert Pires was yet another French player to be on the Arsenal side when things were at their very best. Although he played for the team for just six years, most fans will tell you that he’s a true Arsenal legend.
Winning three FA Cups and two Premier League titles over those six years just seals the deal for us. He’s more than deserving of a place on our best Premier League players list.
24. Vincent Kompany
Mark Hughes signed Kompany from Hamburg back in 2008 and the Belgian quickly showed the British what he was made of. As the Captain of Manchester City, this center-half is an inspiration for other players around the world.
While many other of the squad seem to be in it for the money, Kompany has proven that this isn’t the case for him. He’s led the team to winning both domestic cups and two league titles. This guy is in it to ensure Manchester City are one of the best teams in the Premier League.
23. Andy Cole
This player moved around more than anyone on this list, which is truly saying something. Starting off in the Arsenal youth and then full team, he moved from pillar to post trying to find his calling.
When Manchester United bought him off Newcastle, it was as though he’d finally found his place. He quickly become the second highest goal scorer in the history of the Premier League, just behind Alan Shearer. After playing for a total of 13 times (some of which he was on loan to) he finally hung up his boots in 2008.
22. Gary Neville
While he may have been lacking skill when he first joined Man Utd, his pure determination is what powered him through 400 appearances with the side.
On the right wing he played perfectly with both Beckham and then Ronaldo, ensuring that they were a team not to be messed with. After retiring in 2011 he proved that his knowledge of the beautiful game was what saw him through, by becoming a football pundit on British TV.
21. David Beckham
Many people will probably be surprised not to see this guy higher up the list, but we think his personality overshadowed his performance. There’s no denying he’s a great footballer and more than worthy of a space in the top 25. Golden Balls played for Manchester United from 1992 until 2003, before leaving to join Real Madrid. His fame is what kept him alive in the hearts of the British, but sometimes he cared more about his hair then his performance on the pitch.
20. Tony Adams
A hero in every sense of the word. Back when footballers were all about staying loyal to their team, Tony Adams played for Arsenal for nearly 20 years.
Not only that, but he’d played for their youth team three years prior, as well! Adams was an absolutely incredible defender and ensured that Arsenal letting in very few goals at the peak of his career. Since retiring from football, he’s become a TV pundit and also managed three small teams over the years. Football will always be in his heart.
19. Yaya Toure
When Manchester City came into a bucket load of money, one of their first purchases was this midfielding powerhouse. Yaya Toure was sold by Barcelona at what appeared to be the peak of his career, much to a lot of people’s surprise. However, the Barcelona club’s loss was Manchester City’s gain as he’s gone on to prove himself a worthy purchase in the last five years. Over 140 games he’s scored 42 goals and put the fear into anyone who dare cross him. A very clever buy from the wealthy Man City side.
18. Luis Suarez
Love him or hate him, there’s no denying this player deserves to make it onto the list. Plus, if we didn’t include him then he’d probably try to bite a chunk out of us. He played for Liverpool between 2011 and 2014, scoring a total of 69 goals over 110 games. He seemed to border the line of being a genius player and totally mad. His controversies are probably what drove him to leave the English Premier League last year, to join Barcelona instead. There’s no denying his presence is missed by the Liverpool fans.
17. Rio Ferdinand
Yet another footballing legend who has gone on to become a pundit on British TV. Starting his career in 1996, Ferdinand played for West Ham and Leeds, before his £30 million transfer to Manchester United.
This could well have been something to do with his incredible performance for the English national team during the 2002 World Cup.
His defensive partnership with Vidic was almost unstoppable during the golden eras of Manchester United; with the 2008 Champions League title being the icing on the cake for fan and players.
16. Ashley Cole
Yet another player who probably isn’t one of the best liked in the world. Has that stopped him from performing like a pro, however? Most definitely not.
Ashley Cole is best known for his controversial move from Arsenal to Chelsea, and one that saw all involved fined heavily. Not that Jose Mourinho cared, as he told the press it was worth it. It definitely was, as the full-back proved his worth at the club and all of the controversy was forgotten. Until he cheated on his wife, Cheryl Cole…
15. Didier Drogba
When Jose Mourinho set out to create the best Chelsea team he possibly could, one of the first people he set his sights on was Drogba. After playing for various French teams over the years, this powerhouse was more than ready for a move to the English Premier League. Despite him leaving the club in 2012 and a brief stint in the 2014-15 season, he still remains the fourth highest goal scorer of all time for Chelsea. He now players as a striker for Montreal Impact, in Canada.
14. Wayne Rooney
Some people forget that Rooney used to play for Everton when he first started, as he only really came into his own at Manchester United. It was the incredible shot against Arsenal that got him noticed by Alex Ferguson, and ensured a £27 million deal to get him on side.
He’s now one of the highest paid players in the world and is the third highest goal scorer of all time for Manchester United; having knocked in a total of 233 goals. Unfortunately, he’s also the most red-carded player of all time for England, which doesn’t do him the world of good.
13. Peter Schmeichel
The greatest goalkeeper that ever lived, say some. And what a surprise, he was part of the Manchester United team.
The Great Dane played 252 games with Man Utd, before moving onto Aston Villa and then Manchester City.
Schmeichel has got an impressive five titles under his belt and a ton of cups to add to his trophy cupboard.
Despite desperate attempts to replace him over the years, Alex Ferguson has never found another goalkeeper like this Danish hero.
12. John Terry
Unfortunately for Terry, he has probably one of the most hated personalities in British football. The extramarital allegations and accusations of racism have ensured he’s not a favorite of even the Chelsea fans. However, there is no denying that he’s done a great service to the team. Joining in 1998, he’s been one of the strongest and most tenacious defenders the Premier League has ever seen. He’s also excelled himself playing for the England national team, as well. Shame everyone thinks he’s a pillock.
11. Steven Gerrard
Stevie Gerrard is hands down one of the best players in the Premier League, despite never getting his hands on a league title. Those who don’t support Liverpool thought that he was wasted in the team, but he was loyal through and through.
It was a sad day for fans when he left this year, after playing for them since 1998. However, he’s done what all great legends now do and moved to an American team. LA Galaxy to be precise. Liverpool may have lost their captain, but the fans will never forget the loyalty he showed them.
10. Frank Lampard
The first Chelsea player to make it onto our list. However, before his incredible time with the Blues, he played 148 games for West Ham. It wasn’t until signing for Chelsea that Lampard really came into his own, however. On average he would score a goal every three games with the team which made him their number one goal scorer, and catapulted them into the trophy cupboard. After leaving in 2014, after 13 years, he moved to Manchester City and then finally New York City this year FC.
9. Dennis Bergkamp
There definitely seems to be a pattern emerging when we get to players from the Arsenal team. Bergkamp was another Invincibles squad member, from the days when Arsene Wenger seemed to rule the world. This man was a complete legend in his own right. His competitive nature and his incredible style of play would leave the opposition in his dust. His goal against Leicester back in 1997 just reiterates why Dennis Bergkamp has made it so high on our list.
8. Eric Cantona
He was the leader of fashion trends and often the man you didn’t want to cross if he was angry.
Eric Cantona may have had a fascinating personality, but that isn’t what got him a spot on this list.
Alex Ferguson has often said that this man is the spark he needed to create his winning side, and he isn’t wrong.
The team were transformed from a side filled with fear and insecurities, into players with a real sense of certainty.
Even with a few mishaps and misdemeanors along the way, there’s no doubts that he deserves this place.
7. Patrick Viera
Yet another Arsenal footballer who was part of the legendary Invincibles side. While Roy Keane was an incredible midfielder for Manchester United, Patrick Viera was Arsenal’s saving grace. He was the heart, life and soul of one of the greatest teams Arsene Wenger ever managed.
Even 10 years on from him leaving for Manchester City, there’s no denying that the manager has found it almost impossible to replace Viera. It must be something to do with the French, when it comes to Arsenal…
6. Cristiano Ronaldo
He started his career in a Portuguese club before making his move to Manchester United in 2003. It was here that he began to cut his teeth and prove what he was really made of; before becoming an international superstar at Real Madrid. Playing for Man Utd for 6 years, Ronaldo managed to rack up a total of 84 goals over 196 games with the club. There’s no denying that many people regard him as the greatest football player of all time – if perhaps overshadowed slightly by Lionel Messi.
5. Paul Scholes
Another Manchester United player to grace our list. Hint: there’s going to be a few of those. Paul Scholes is sometimes seen as one of the quiet ones in the Premier League. He’s never really made a song and dance about his career, although he has every right to. He’s won 11 league titles and scored 107 goals for Man Utd, in a career that lasted 20 years. It’s been thought that Scholes is easily one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, and that it was a tragedy when he announced early retirement back in 2013.
4. Alan Shearer
As the record goal scorer for Newcastle United, Alan Shearer was the man of the moment back in the 90s. Not only did he win a league title with Blackburn before joining Newcastle, but he then became a hero for the England national team as well.
Scoring 148 goals for Newcastle and 112 for Blackburn Rovers, there’s no denying he has one of the best records on our list. He’s so well respected as a player still, that he is a football pundit on British TV.
3. Roy Keane
Most Manchester United fans will be able to tell you about the time Roy Keane came to their team. In what was a record-breaking deal of £3.75m back in 1993, everyone waited with bated breath to see what this ex-Nottingham Forest midfielder would offer. Luckily, they weren’t disappointed. He spent eight years as the captain of Manchester United, playing in a total of 326 games and scoring 33 goals. Unfortunately, his departure from the club was less than savory and it left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
2. Thierry Henry
The man, the legend. Thierry Henry is best known for his time at Arsenal, during their time as The Invincibles. He completely changed the way football should be played, mixing both athletic prowess with a beautifully artistic skill. Most Arsenal fans will admit that the team never felt the same after he left. Scoring 175 goals during his time with the Gooners, he was always topping the leaderboards for strikers. There’s no denying that Henry added some “Va-va-voom” to the beautiful game.
1. Ryan Giggs
This guy tops the list as being the best Premier League player in history. Why? He’s won more medals and trophies than any other player, making him the most decorated of all time. He has 13 titles and has appeared for Manchester United over 960 times! We think this makes him more than deserving of the accolade of best Premier League player in history. As a central midfielder he’s scored 109 goals and been part of countless others. As one of the longest serving players of Man Utd, he also wins points for being super loyal and not bailing like plenty of other footballers do nowadays.