The Premier League has witnessed some of the greatest players to ever play the beautiful game. Sometimes though we don’t choose our favourites based on the skill, but for other reasons.
Here is a list of 29 Premier League players, of whom some went on to become global superstars and others have faded into insignificance after being cult heroes, while a few are remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Would English Premier League betting be altered if your club signed one of these players? Check out the list below and decide for yourself.
1. Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez was a player of immense ability and also a hard worker, who was happy to chase down the ball to help the team. During his time at West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City in the Premier League he managed to save a club from relegation, win the Premier League three times, and the Champions League and FA Cup once.
His attitude was questioned at times and his contractual situation with MSI perhaps marred his time in the Premier League, but there is no doubt that the Argentine striker was a fantastic asset to the teams he played for.
2. David James
Despite having played for five teams in the Premier League, David James’ list of honours is short, very short in fact. His only trophies being won at Liverpool and Portsmouth as he won the football League Cup in 1995 and the FA Cup in 2008 respectively.
James has made the fourth-most appearances in the Premier League with 572 – only Ryan Giggs, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard having made more appearances than the former England international.
3. Paul Scholes
Lauded by players and managers alike, Paul Scholes is considered to be one of the best central midfielders of his generation. He spent his entire playing career at Manchester United, winning 11 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups and 2 Champions Leagues.
Known for his ability to deliver a perfect pass from anywhere on the field to any distance, Scholes has often been known as one of the few English players who was able to control a game and dictate the flow; something that is since missing in the England national team.
4. Ruud van Nistelrooy
One of the greatest goalscorers of all time, Ruud van Nistelrooy was never known for being particularly skilful on the ball, but he certainly had an eye for goal.
The flying Dutchman scored 150 goals in 219 games for Manchester United with his highest-scoring season seeing him score 44 goals in 52 games back in the 2002/03 season.
5. Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero scored arguably the most famous goal in Premier League history when he won the Premier League for Manchester City over arch-rivals Manchester United with his dramatic 95th minute winner versus Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the 2011-12 season.
A prolific goalscorer, the Argentine has scored 124 goals in his 185 league matches to date for the Citizens and is the highest-scoring non-European in Premier League history.
6. Roy Keane
A true leader, Roy Keane captained Manchester United from 1997 until 2005. Known for being a highly-aggressive player, getting on his bad side could result in a career-ending injury, as Alf-Inge Haaland found out in 2001.
His rivalry with then Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira is legendary, with their confrontation in the tunnel at Highbury in 2005 being one of the most notable moments in his career.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the greatest player to have ever played football, with his list of club and individual honours in stark contrast to that of David James earlier in this article.
The Portuguese superstar collected three Premier League winners’ medals, a Champions League and an FA Cup before he left Manchester United for Real Madrid in what was, at the time, a world record transfer fee. Since then he’s gone on to win La Liga twice and the Champions League a further three times with Real Madrid, as well as setting numerous goalscoring records.
8. Matthew Taylor
The versatile left-sided player, Matthew Taylor, is perhaps best known for his time at Portsmouth, where he scored some spectacular goals for the Hampshire club.
Unfortunately for Taylor he moved to Bolton Wanderers in the January before Portsmouth went on to win the FA Cup in 2008 but did win the BBC’s Goal of the Month for October 2005 with a fantastic strike away to Sunderland.
9. Kevin Phillips
Not as prolific a goalscorer as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Kevin Phillips is nevertheless a great goal scorer. He proved his ability during his time at Sunderland and Southampton in the Premier League and West Brom, Birmingham City and Blackpool in the Championship.
He barely got given a chance in the England national team having only won eight caps, and unfortunately for Kevin, he never managed to score in any of those brief appearances.
10. Luka Modric
One of the most technically gifted players to grace the Premier League; Luka Modric played for Tottenham Hotspur between 2008 and 2012 and was generally the main creative output for the club, albeit playing with Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart at times.
In his role as a creative playmaker, he would use his supreme passing ability to pick out players in any position on the pitch. His ability to use both feet and pass with the outside of the boot have helped him in being considered one of the best playmakers in the game.
11. David Beckham
Not necessarily a player with the most mobility, David Beckham made up for that with a phenomenal right foot. Some of the free kicks he scored were simply amazing, with his free kick against Greece securing automatic qualification for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Beckham won the Premier League six times, the FA Cup twice and the 1999 Champions League all whilst playing for Manchester United. In the Champions League final, he delivered the corners from which United’s two last gasp goals were scored, seeing them win 2-1 against Bayern Munich.
12. Alan Shearer
It’s difficult to have a list like this without the Premier League’s all-time top scorer on it. Alan Shearer amassed 260 Premier League goals during his career at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
He also holds the record for the most number of Premier League hat-tricks, with 11 and although th Newcastle United legend never won a single trophy during his 10 year career with the Toon, he did manage to win the Premier League on his third season with Blackburn Rovers.
13. Peter Schmeichel
The Great Dane will be known as one of the best goalkeepers to have ever played in the Premier League and although he played for three Premier League clubs, he is best known for his eight-year stint at Manchester United.
A physically imposing goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel was also known for being able to pitch in with scoring goals. He scored 11 goals during his career and won the famous treble with Manchester United in the 1998/99 season where both Schmeichel and the club won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
14. Hermann Hreidarsson
Hermann Hreidarsson holds the record for the most Premier League relegations with five and has been relegated with every Premier League team he has played for, a joint-record with Nathan Blake.
He was part of the Portsmouth squad that lifted the FA Cup in 2008 and also part of the same squad that was relegated from the Premier League in the 2009/10 season.
15. Gianfranco Zola
Gianfranco Zola joined Chelsea in November 1996 from Italian club Parma. In his first season in Serie A for Napoli, the young Italian striker was understudy to Argentine legend Diego Maradona as the club won the 1989/90 Serie A title.
Although he never won the Premier League or Champions League during his time at Stamford Bridge, he is known for producing some real moments of magic with the ball at his feet. He became the first player to win the FWA Player of the Year award without having played a full season.
16. Frank Lampard
The English midfielder is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and was an ever-present in both the Chelsea and England starting line-ups. He helped Chelsea to win 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups and the Champions League.
He has the third-highest number of appearances in the Premier League with 609, the majority of those being in a Chelsea shirt. Only Ryan Giggs and Gareth Barry have made more appearances.
17. Nemanja Vidic
He may just be one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s best ever signings, Serbian centre-back Nemanja Vidic joined Manchester United for around £7 million back in late 2005 and although he initially struggled, he would become on the best centre-backs in the world.
He formed a great partnership with Rio Ferdinand and went on to win 5 Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League.
18. Teddy Sheringham
Teddy Sheringham has played for five different teams in the Premier League and while he may not have been the most prolific of strikers, he has become a legendary Premier League striker.
One of his most famous moments came during his time at Manchester United when he scored a last gasp equaliser against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 1999. He assisted the winner mere seconds later as his header was converted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to win an historic treble for the Red Devils.
19. Marc Overmars
He may have only stayed in the Premier League for three seasons having joined Arsenal from Ajax in 1997 but in his first season with the club he managed to win the League and Cup double.
He was perfectly suited to the pace of the Premier League and although he only won two trophies in his time at Arsenal, he was highly regarded by the fans and back in 2008 was voted as the 12th best Arsenal player.
20. Juergen Klinsmann
He arrived at Tottenham back in 1994 as a very unpopular figure as he was part of the West Germany team that knocked England out of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy, but it wouldn’t take long for Juergen Klinsmann to win the Spurs fans over.
Known for diving, Klinsmann would win over the English by scoring on his debut against Sheffield Wednesday and mocking himself by diving to celebrate the goal.
21. Claude Makelele
A true holding midfielder, Claude Makelele prior to his move to Chelsea was an underrated player, especially during his time at Real Madrid. His defensive ability allowed many of his Chelsea teammates, including Frank Lampard and Joe Cole to show off their attacking skills.
He won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup during his time at Chelsea, while he also helped the Blues to reach the final of the 2007/08 Champions League, where the club lost to Manchester United in a penalty shoot-out.
22. David Seaman
Signed for a then British goalkeeper record of £1.3 million in 1990, David Seaman would have one of the greatest careers a British goalkeeper has ever experienced when he joined Arsenal from Queens Park Rangers.
He helped the Gunners win three First Division titles, two of which were in the Premier League era. He also won four FA Cups and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in North London. He made 75 appearances for England with one of the most memorable being in the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals when he was caught off his line by Ronaldinho, who scored a free-kick to win the match for Brazil.
23. Dwight Yorke
Dwight Yorke originally established himself in the Premier League at Aston Villa before making a move to Manchester United the summer before the famous treble-winning season. He struck up a memorable partnership with Andrew Cole that would be reformed in 2002 when Yorke joined Blackburn Rovers mere months after Cole had moved to Ewood Park.
Yorke is known to have fallen out with managers and he also managed to fall out with Villa fans, not only because of the circumstances behind his move to Manchester United, but also because he later went on to join arch-rivals Birmingham City.
24. Yaya Toure
The Ivorian midfielder joined Manchester City from Barcelona back in 2010 for a reported £24 million and quickly became a key member of the Sky Blues’ midfield. A strong player with a good passing ability he has been a key player in City’s two Premier League winning sides.
Although he is no longer as important as he once was in the City team, he can still make a good contribution to the squad during their long seasons and his experience is invaluable.
25. Shay Given
Shay Given is best known for being the goalkeeper at Newcastle United and has the 21st highest number of appearances in the Premier League with 451. He helped Newcastle win the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006 and following his move to Manchester City, helped them to win the 2010/11 FA Cup.
He is the second most capped player for the Republic of Ireland, having represented his country 134 times in his career.
26. Alan Smith
Having come up through the Leeds United youth system, Alan Smith became a hometown hero at the club. However, that would all change in the summer of 2004. Leeds were facing financial ruin and this forced the club to sell some of their best players, with Smith being one of those. The only issue was that the club would only accept an offer from their arch-rivals Manchester United as they offered the transfer fee up front.
Smith joined United and was labelled a ‘Judas’ by Leeds fans. His career at Old Trafford wasn’t plain sailing though as the striker broke his leg in his second season with the club and was out for nearly 9 months. His career was blighted with injuries and had it not been for these, it may have looked far different.
27. Peter Crouch
Standing at 6’ 7” tall, Peter Crouch doesn’t look like he was born to play football. However, despite his tall, slender frame, his ability on the ball is surprisingly good. His best season in the Premier League came while playing for Liverpool when he scored 18 goals in 49 appearances.
He had previously scored 19 goals in 39 appearances in the Championship during his first spell at Portsmouth.
28. Sylvain Distin
The French centre-back holds the record for the most Premier League appearances by an outfield player from outside of the UK. He amassed these appearances during spells at Newcastle United, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Everton and Bournemouth.
His only major honour was won during his spell at Portsmouth where he was part of the 2007/08 FA Cup winning squad.
29. Darren Fletcher
Darren Fletcher began his career at Manchester United back in 1995 and would stay at the club for nearly 20 years until he was allowed to leave for West Brom in February 2015.
Known for being a true professional, Fletcher has been part of five Premier League winning squads at Manchester United, as well as having won the FA Cup and 2008 Champions League with the club. Fighting his way back to full fitness from ulcerative colitis has to be one of the main reasons to admire the Scottish midfielder.