Over the last 31 seasons, the Premier League has been the home of some of the greatest footballers of all time.
From early Premier League years heroes like Eric Cantona, to Ballon d’Or winners like Cristiano Ronaldo, and modern day greats like Mohamed Salah, English football fans have been treated to watching true footballing icons week in, week out over the last three decades.
But who is the greatest Premier League player of all time?
Well, that’s what we’re hear to decide.
Over the next week, 90min will be ranking the top 50 Premier League players of all time – starting with 50-41…
Premier League club: Tottenham Hotspur
One half of the most potent attacking partnership in Premier League history, Son Heung-min has been utterly outstanding throughout the eight years he’s been at Tottenham Hotspur.
Although seen by many as the Robin to Harry Kane’s Batman for most of his time in north London, Son has been a superstar in his own right at the Lilywhites. The South Korean forward has won a Premier League Golden Boot, a Premier League Goal of the Season award and made the PFA Premier League team of the Year over the last few years.
Now Tottenham’s captain and leading man after Kane’s departure, Son is still one of the very best players in the league despite being the ‘wrong side’ of 30.
Premier League clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Everton
Without doubt the most beautiful man on this list, David Ginola was also a pretty damn good footballer in his day too.
His PFA Players’ Player of the Year award is proof of that.
As is the quite ridiculous goal he scored against Barnsley in 1999.
And the one he scored against Manchester United in 1996.
And the one he scored against Manchester City in 2000.
Premier League clubs: Arsenal, West Ham United
Ian Wright is one of the best natural goalscorers in Premier League history.
Arsenal’s second highest goalscorer of all time (more on the top one later in the series), Wright managed a very impressive 113 goals in the Premier League – despite only playing seven of his 17 seasons as a pro in the division. He’d be a lot higher in this list if his time at Crystal Palace and his career best first season at Arsenal were in the Premier League and not in the then-named First Division.
He’s also a pretty good pundit.
Premier League clubs: Manchester United, Fulham
The first goalkeeper in the list, Edwin van der Sar is widely regarded as one of the greatest number ones in the division’s history.
Van der Sar is the oldest player to ever win the Premier League – he won it four times in total – and he holds the Guinness world record for longest period without conceding a single goal, going an astonishing 1311 minutes without seeing his net bulge while at Man Utd.
Premier League club: Southampton
Position: Attacking midfielder
Way before he went down the conspiracy theories rabbit hole and started selling CBD gummies (code Tiss40 for 40% off at checkout apparently), Matt Le Tissier was one of the most gifted footballers we’d ever seen in the Premier League.
The creative midfielder scored 100 Premier League goals during his time at Southampton – 90% of which were scored after he flicked the ball over two opposition players’ heads – to keep them in the top flight almost single-handedly throughout his career.
His brace against Newcastle United in 1993 is perhaps the best summation of how good a footballer he was.
He’s Xavi Hernandez’s favourite footballer of all time for good reason.
Premier League clubs: Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham United
The fact that Teddy Sheringham played his first top flight game of football in 1988 and was still playing top flight football 19 years later at the age of 40 in 2007 tells you all you really need to know about the former England international.
The outrageously gifted deep-lying forward was a key player at every Premier League club he turned out for – even when he was well into his 30s. To this day he remains the oldest player to ever win the PFA Player of the Year award, winning it age 35 in 2001.
Premier League club: Leicester City
The poster boy of the greatest underdog story in Premier League history.
Jamie Vardy enjoyed a remarkable rise from non-league footballer to Premier League champion between 2010 and 2016, and he proved that his 24 goal title-winning season wasn’t a one-off after that.
In total, Vardy went on to score 136 goals in the English top flight – which is more than Dwight Yorke, Nicolas Anelka, Steven Gerrard and Ian Wright managed.
Premier League clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea
In the few years prior to his dream move to Barcelona, despite the likes of Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes plying their trade in the Premier League, Cesc Fabregas was widely regarded as the best midfielder in the division – particularly during his 15 goal 2009/10 campaign.
When he returned from a three year stint at Barca, he picked up where he left off from, bagging a remarkable 18 assists in a single Premier League season and winning two titles with Chelsea.
Premier League clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Newcastle United
Look away now Tottenham fans, we’re about to praise that player you all hate.
Sol Campbell is one of the greatest centre backs England has ever produced. Throughout his time at Tottenham and Arsenal in particular, Campbell was remarkably good. He was so good, in fact, that he was named in the PFA Team of the Year on three occasions and won two Premier League titles (with Arsenal…obviously).
Premier League clubs: Southampton, Liverpool
A lot of people thought Liverpool overpaid when they forked out £36m to sign Sadio Mane from Southampton.
90 Premier League goals, a Golden Boot, four PFA Team of the Year nods and a first league title in three decades later, and it’s fair to see that ‘a lot of people’ were very, very wrong about Mane.
The wide forward was an utter joy to watch in Jurgen Klopp’s thoroughly successful Reds team.
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