So, who is the best player of the Premier League era?
If you were to ask a random group of football fans, chances are you’d hear the names of the usual suspects, including Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Alan Shearer, Roy Keane, Dennis Bergkamp etc.
Back in 2012, to mark the Premier League’s 20th anniversary, Giggs was named the best player in the league’s history.
Nobody had any qualms over that decision. Giggs had won the Premier League 12 times at that point and then added one more winners’ medal to his collection in 2013 before finally hanging up his boots a year later.
But what about the best overseas player of the Premier League era?
Martin Samuel explains why he's left out Thierry Henry
The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel has ranked his top five foreign stars since the Premier League was formed in 1992 and, incredibly, there’s no place for the player many consider to be the greatest player in the league’s history.
“I might as well tell you now. Thierry Henry is not in my list,” Samuel explains. “I know. I'm pretty angry about it, too. I'm thinking of writing myself a strongly-worded letter on the subject right now. What was I thinking? Well, I know what I was thinking. At least hear me out.
“Were the Premier League's top five foreign players based on aesthetic qualities alone, Henry would walk it. He epitomises the beautiful game. He is not missing because there were flaws or failures, I am not about to pick holes in the career of one of the finest footballers of the modern era.
“But here is why he is absent. This list needs a deciding factor. There is too much talent, too much greatness to make it just about the player alone. This is the clincher: I want revolutionaries. I want players who were the pioneers; who changed the culture at their club; who made such a difference here the game wasn't the same again.
“And Henry wasn't there for the first stage of Arsene Wenger's transformation of Arsenal. He wasn't around for the Double in 1997-98, when Wenger became the first foreign coach to win an English league title. Henry joined when Arsenal were already a force. And, yes, he made them even stronger, even smarter, even better to watch.
“Yes, he was an Invincible. But so were others who were there for the whole ride. So I've gone with one of them. I feel guilty about Luis Suarez, too. He nearly won the league on his own. But that is the criteria: those who changed the game, not just the 90 minutes. And there is a fairly obvious place to start.”
Reaction on Twitter to the Daily Mail's list
Samuel’s explanation seems to have fallen on deaf ears, however, with many Twitter users expressing their disbelief at the decision to exclude the mercurial French star who lit up England’s top division during the early-to-mid 2000s.
Check out the reaction on Twitter here…
Martin Samuel's top five foreign stars of the PL era
Samuel’s top five foreign stars of the Premier League era is as follows….
5. Eric Cantona
4. Sergio Aguero
3. N’Golo Kante
2. Dennis Bergkamp
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
What do you make of the list? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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