Cantona, Zola, Henry…Top 10 foreign players in Premiership history

The FA Premier League is now in it’s 18th season and during that time a number of great foreign players have graced the English game. Footballers from abroad have strengthened the English Premiership tremendously and many have become legends at their respective Premiership teams. Many Premiership goals have been created, scored and saved by foreign players in the Premier League over the years and English football wouldn’t be so strong without them. Here is a look at the top ten foreign players to have played in the FA Premier League to date:

Ginola10: David Ginola – Ginola brought a new level of flair and skill to the Premier League when he signed for Newcastle in 1999. He later played for Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton, and made his name by single-handedly scoring spectacular Premiership goals. The Frenchman never managed to win a FA Premier League title during his time in England, but many Premiership fans will still remember him fondly.

Schmeichel9: Peter Schmeichel – The Great Dane became a rock for Manchester United in the 9 seasons he spent their. He helped United to 5 Premiership titles and became the most respected goalkeeper in the English game. Further spells at Aston Villa and Manchester City take his all time Premier League appearances to 350, and the Danish keeper even managed to score a Premiership goal in that time.

Nistelrooy8: Ruud van Nistelrooy – The Dutch striker to this day has one of the best scoring rates in the Premiership. Van Nistelrooy scored 95 Premiership goals in just 150 Premier League appearances during his 5 year spell with Manchester United. The Dutchman’s predatory instincts and eye for goal made him a goal threat in every FA Premier League match he played.

Vieira7: Patrick Vieira – The French defensive midfielder graced the FA Premier League with his presence for 9 seasons and has set the bar extremely high for future Premiership midfielders to reach. Vieira won the Premier League 3 times with Arsenal and remains one of Arsene Wenger’s most successful purchases to date, making 277 Premiership appearances for the Gunners and scoring 29 Premiership goals.

Di Canio6: Paolo Di Canio – The controversial Italian striker made his name in the Premier League for Sheffield Wednesday when he made his move to English football in 1997. Di Canio is remembered as much for his misdemeanours on the pitch as his incredibly skill which shouldn’t be forgotten. The Italian also scored one of the greatest ever Premiership goals, volleying home for West Ham against Wimbledon.

Ronaldo5: Cristiano Ronaldo – The Portuguese winger became a prolific scorer in the FA Premier League during his 6 year spell at Manchester United. Ronaldo racked up 84 Premiership goals in 196 Premiership appearances, and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for 4 straight years. He also helped United to 3 straight Premier League trophies before leaving last season.

Bergkamp4: Dennis Bergkamp – Bergkamp made the position behind the strikers his own during his time in the FA Premier League with Arsenal. His skill and tactical awareness helped make him a legend at Arsenal, featuring for them in 11 Premier League campaigns. He made over 300 Premiership appearances for Arsenal, and in 2007 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

Zola3: Gianfranco Zola – The little Italian forward came to the FA Premier League in 1996 when he signed for Chelsea and quickly became a cult figure at Stamford Bridge. The spent 7 Premier League campaigns at Chelsea, making 229 Premiership appearances and scoring 59 Premiership goals. Even though Chelsea never topped the Premier League table during that time, his skill as a player cannot be questioned.

Henry2: Thierry Henry – The French striker was a goal machine in the Premier League and currently sits 3rd on the all time list of the top Premiership goal scorers, hitting the back of the net for Arsenal 174 times in the Premier League. Arsenal won the Premiership twice during Henry’s 8 year spell at the club, and was a vital part of the Arsenal team that remained unbeaten throughout the 2003/04 Premiership season.

Cantona1: Eric Cantona – The talismanic French forward played in the FA Premier League for 6 seasons with 2 Premiership teams, Leeds and Manchester United. In 171 Premiership games ‘King Eric’ scored 73 Premiership goals and became a fans favourite for the Red Devils. Cantona helped United to top the Premiership Table in 4 of it’s first 5 years and established Man Utd as the top FA Premier League team.

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