Football

Premier League: Top 10 Spanish players

Alonso & Fabregas starred in the Premier League (©GettyImages)
Alonso & Fabregas starred in the Premier League (©GettyImages).

Spain have produced some immensely technically gifted players over the years, none more so than over the past decade.

We look at the how the Spanish have influenced the Premier League, with a countdown of the best ten players to have played in England since the Premier League began in 1992.

10. Santi Cazorla

Many would be hoping to see Cazorla higher on the list, and in the future he probably will be, but as he is yet to complete a full season in the Premier League it was difficult to rank him higher.

His first season in England, though, has had some real flashes of brilliance; chipping in with 12 league goals which has actually been his best return for any of his clubs in his entire career.

Expect more from the creative attacking midfielder/winger as Arsenal hope to mount some sort of title challenge come next season.

9. Michu

Like Cazorla, as this is only his first season, it is hard to rank him higher on this list. It has been a stunning first season in the Premier League for Swansea’s Michu, scoring 17 league goals and earning a winner’s medal in the Capital One Cup.

Brought for a measly £2m, Michu has at times been unstoppable and it is no surprise he has been linked with some of England’s top clubs.

Yet to gain a Spanish cap, it is a wonder whether he ever will.

8. Pepe Reina

Liverpool’s number one custodian since 2005, Reina has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Premier League over the past eight or so years.

A full Spanish international as understudy to Iker Casillas, he has still managed to gain 26 caps and picked up winners' medals for two European Championships and one World Cup. He is also a three-time winner of the Premier League golden glove award.

Perhaps one of the best 'keepers to pull on a Liverpool shirt.

7. Jose Antonio Reyes

Signed from Sevilla for a club record fee, Reyes was only 20 when Arsenal brought him in the 2003/04 January transfer window.

A relative unknown to most, it didn’t take him long to change that. After playing two games, in which he scored an own goal, he announced himself to the whole of England when he netted twice against Chelsea in the FA Cup.

His best season came when Arsenal reached the Champions League final when he was pivotal in helping them defeat some of Europe’s elite, including Real Madrid. He eventually moved on to Real to bring an end to his short spell in England.

6. Mikel Arteta

Having played in Spain, France and Scotland, Mikel Arteta found his way to Everton where he enjoyed six seasons with the blue half of Merseyside.

Helping Everton to solidify their place in the top half of the Premier League and, in doing so, breaking the so-called top four. Unfortunately that was as far as Everton got in that competition that year.

Arteta eventually signed for Arsenal with the opportunity for regular Champions League football to difficult to turn down. Another never to have played for the Spain national side.

5. David Silva

Now in his third season with Manchester City, David Silva has become a vital cog in City’s starting eleven.

Taking to the Premier League with relative ease despite his small frame, City see Silva as their main creative outlet, tasked with laying on the goals for strikers Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, whilst also chipping in with his own.

This season has by no means been his best; however, he can already boast an FA Cup winners' medal and last season’s Premier League medal to his name. Despite his quality he has still found it difficult over the years to cement his place in the Spanish starting XI, yet still managing a haul of 70 odd caps, and two European Championships and one World Cup.

4. Juan Mata

A shining star for Chelsea this season, as he was last season, he has the most assists in the entire Premier League for 2012/13, proving his is one of the best creative midfielders in the league.

Mata is destined to get better and better for the team in blue as they still hold hopes of a double this season. Starting out at Real Madrid, Mata was farmed out to Valencia where he stayed for four very productive years, before he moved on to Chelsea where in his first season.

He won both the Champions League and FA Cup, and is also a World Cup winner and European Championship winner with Spain.

3. Fernando Torres

Had we just been talking about his time at Liverpool then no doubt about it Torres would be top of this list; however, we are not, and his time at Chelsea has demoted him down to third.

Whilst at Liverpool he was easily one of the best strikers in the world, as Liverpool were regulars in the Champions League and were challenging for the Premier League title. Rafael Benitez then left and Torres’ form started to stutter somewhat. Enter Chelsea, who bought the Spaniard for £50m in the January transfer window. However, he has only managed 14 league goals in 76 league games and has generally looked rather disappointing. He can, though, still boast of a Champions League winners' medal and an FA Cup medal during his time at Chelsea. 

2. Cesc Fabregas

In second, comes former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas: an integral player in an Arsenal side in the late 2000s, along with Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie.

Unfortunately for Cesc, his time came just after the Invincibles period and his career with Arsenal really started the season after that as he won an FA Cup medal, which was the only medal he actually won with the north London outfit.

Now at Barcelona, he still is a firm fan favourite with the Gunners, and if the opportunity was to arise Arsenal would take him back with the click of their fingers. The heartbeat of the Arsenal midfield for a while he fully deserves his place in the top two of the best Spaniard’s in the Premier League. 

1. Xabi Alonso

The cream of the crop when it comes to Spanish players in the Premier League, Xabi Alonso has everything a deep-lying playmaker needs.

His immense passing ability and creative eye for the game are two of his strongest traits, whilst also being adept at sweeping up and breaking up attacks. Alonso began his career at Real Sociedad where he spent five years in the first team before moving onto Liverpool. It was at Liverpool where his career really started to progress as he became a Champions League winner in his first season with the club, and winning an FA Cup in his second season. Since leaving for Real Madrid, Liverpool hasn’t quite been the same and has never been able to fill the void that has been left. Like the majority of this bunch he too has won two European Championships and one World Cup with Spain.

Whilst the above players all played somewhere around their prime, let’s not forget some of the players that joined towards the end of their careers, for example: Fernando Hierro at Botlon Wanderers, Gaizka Mendieta at Middlesbrough, Fernando Morientes of Liverpool, Michel Salgado at Blackburn and Diego Tristan with West Ham.

Gerard Pique is also worth a mention. The Barcelona and Spain defender starting his senior career at Manchester United, where he never quite broke into the first team. Luis Garcia, who spent three years with Liverpool was another that could well have made it on to this list.

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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