The 50 greatest Premier League players ever have been ranked

There are so many names that come to mind when you think of the greatest Premier League players of all-time.

Ryan Giggs was a key player for Man United for the best part of 23 seasons and is the Premier League’s most decorated player.

Alan Shearer is also in the conversation given he netted a record 260 goals in the competition.

And you could also make arguments for Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney or Thierry Henry being the greatest the Premier League has ever seen.

FourFourTwo have decided to give their opinion on debate by listing the 100 greatest players in Premier League history. 

It’s important to note that they’ve based their list on their impact, which is a combination of their ability, status and the moments they gave us over the years. 

We’ve listed their top 50 below:

50. Denis Irwin

One of the greatest full-backs to play in the Premier League. Irwin helped Man United to seven Premier League titles.

49. Teddy Sheringham

Sheringham won the Golden Boot in the Premier League’s inaugural season. He scored 146 Premier League goals across spells for Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Man United, Portsmouth and West Ham.

48. Michael Owen

Owen possessed frightening speed and finishing ability as a youngster. Injuries curtailed his career but he still finished with 150 Premier League goals.

47. Robbie Fowler

Fowler netted 120 Premier League goals during spells for Liverpool, Leeds and Man City.

46. Jaap Stam

Stam helped Man United to the league title in each of his three seasons with the club.

45. Robert Pires

Pires was a big part of an Arsenal team that won the Premier League in 2002 and 2004.

44. Yaya Toure

Toure was unstoppable for Man City at his best. His performances in the 2013/14 season, where he scored 20 Premier League goals, were incredible.

43. Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old for Arsenal and went on to win two Premier League titles for Chelsea.

42. Sadio Mane

Mane has been incredible for both Southampton and Liverpool. At 27 years old, he still has more time to go further up this list.

41. Luis Suarez

Suarez only played in English football for three-and-a-half seasons, but he was lethal during that time. His 31 goals in 2013/14 so nearly led Liverpool to the title.

40. Xabi Alonso

Alonso became a world-class player at Liverpool where he displayed his passing ability and vision to the world.

39. Robin Van Persie

After eight successful seasons at Arsenal, Van Persie moved to Man United in 2012 and almost single-handedly won them the title in his first season.

38. Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell was a rock at the back as Arsenal were crowned Invincibles in 2004.

37. Michael Carrick

Underrated by some, Carrick helped United to 17 trophies from 2006-2017.

36. Nicholas Anelka

Anelka enjoyed great success at Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Bolton and Chelsea.

35. Ruud van Nistelrooy

Van Nistelrooy was devastating in front of goal and netted 150 times in 2019 games for Man United.

34. Tony Adams

One of the best defenders of his generation, Adams captained Arsenal to Premier League titles in 1998 and 2001.

33. Gianfranco Zola

Zola was a magician for Chelsea. He joined the Blues at 30 years old but still went down as one fo the best players in their history.

32. Harry Kane

Having netted 136 Premier League goals so far, Kane has a good chance of breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 260.

31. David Silva

Silva is arguably Man City’s greatest ever player and sits seventh on the all-time Premier League assists table.

30. Edwin van der Sar

Behind Peter Schmeichel, Van der Sar is arguably the second best goalkeeper in Premier League history.

29. David Beckham

No Premier League player has been able to cross the ball or has been as deadly from set-pieces as Beckham.

28. N’Golo Kante

Kante was influential as Leicester and Chelsea won Premier League titles in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

27. Dwight Yorke

Yorke and Andy Cole formed a brilliant partnership up top for Manchester United during the late 90s.

26. Andy Cole

Cole has netted the third-most Premier League goals of all-time with 187.

25. Eden Hazard

Hazard helped Chelsea to two Premier League titles and left Chelsea in 2019 as one of the best players in the world.

24. Didier Drogba

Pace, strength, good in the air and devastating in front of goal, Drogba had all the traits needed to be a world-class striker.

23. Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk is now in the debate for the best Premier League defender of all-time. He might win back-to-back Player of the Season awards.

22. Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has been incredible since joining Man City and is now the best midfielder in the world.

21. Nemanja Vidic

Vidic was colossal at the back during his nine season stint with Man United.

20. Peter Schmeichel

Schmeichel is the only goalkeeper to have won the Premier League Player of the Season award.

19. Vincent Kompany

Kompany lifted the title on four occasions for Man City.

18. Dennis Bergkamp

What a genius. Thierry Henry thrived having Bergkamp as his strike partner.

17. Petr Cech

Cech established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world during his 11 season spell at Chelsea.

16. Mohamed Salah

Forget Salah’s disastrous time at Chelsea, he’s been unbelievable since joining Liverpool. The Egyptian winger is in with a chance of winning the Premier League golden boot for the third straight season.

15. Sergio Aguero

Aguero has scored 180 Premier League goals in 258 games and boasts the best goals-to-games ratio in the league’s history.

14. Ashley Cole

Quite simply, Cole is the best full-back the Premier League has ever seen.

13. Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand had pace, strength and was good in the air. His ability with the ball at his feet was also a great trait of his.

12. John Terry

Terry wasn’t blessed with lightening pace but he made up for that with brilliant positioning and the sheer will to win.

11. Ryan Giggs

Now this is surprising. Giggs made 672 league appearances for United and is the most decorated player in Premier League history. We expected him to be slightly higher…

10. Patrick Vieira

Vieira was one of the most complete players the Premier League has ever seen and lifted the title as Arsenal were crowned Invincibles in 2004.

9. Roy Keane

Vieira shared many battles with Keane but FourFourTwo ranked the Irishman just ahead on this list. He is one of the greatest captains in Man United’s history.

8. Steven Gerrard

Gerrard was captain fantastic for Liverpool during his career. He surely would have been higher on the list had he been able to win a Premier League title with his boyhood club.

7. Paul Scholes

Scholes wasn’t brilliant in defence and wasn’t the best at tackling but his passing range was something special.

6. Frank Lampard

Lampard netted an incredible 177 Premier League goals. That’s a total that will likely never be beaten by a midfielder.

5. Eric Cantona

Cantona could do some quite extraordinary things with the ball. Unfortunately he retired early at the age of 30.

4. Wayne Rooney

It was obvious Rooney was going to be a great in English football after bursting onto the scene at Everton. He’s one of only two players to have scored over 200 Premier League goals.

3. Alan Shearer

The greatest goalscorer in Premier League history having netted 260 times. That record will stand for at least a few more years.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Had he stayed in the Premier League a few years longer, it’s likely that Ronaldo would have gone down as the greatest in the league’s history.

1. Thierry Henry

Henry won the Premier League Golden Boot four times and won the Player of the Season twice. He’s deserving of topping the list.

There’s a few interesting sub narratives in their list.

There is, and always will be a massive debate in who is better out of Lampard, Scholes and Gerrard, but FourFourTwo think that the former was the greatest of the three.

They also think that Keane was greater than Vieira and that Terry was greater than Ferdinand.

The second highest rated current player was Salah, who is surprisingly ranked 16th.

The Egyptian has had two-and-a-half brilliant seasons in the Premier League but to put him above the likes of Bergkamp and Drogba seems a bit extreme, especially when he has never won a Premier League title.

However, it can be said that he could easily crack the top 10 should he continue his form.

At 27 years old, he still has his best years ahead of him. And, if he continues to score goals at this rate from the wing, he could even go down as the greatest player the Premier League has ever seen.

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