Ronaldo, Rooney, Henry, Salah: Premier League's 30 greatest players ranked

The Premier League trophy

The Premier League has been blessed with a plethora of world-class players over the years.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard and Eric Cantona are just a few of the legendary names that have featured in England’s top tier since 1992.

But who is the greatest player in Premier League history?

We’ve attempted to name the 30 greatest players to have played on English shores in the last 30 years.

It’s a very tough task and we apologise in advance if you disagree with some of the rankings…

30. Petr Cech

Cech was a brilliant servant for Chelsea and also enjoyed success at Arsenal. He isn’t the highest ranked goalkeeper on our list, though…

29. Cesc Fabregas

An elegant midfielder, Fabregas was superb for both Arsenal and Chelsea. He won two Premier League titles with the latter.

28. David Silva

Silva was the definition of a magician. He recorded 93 assists in the Premier League, this sixth most in history.

27. Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk was one of the best defenders in the Premier League with Southampton. He has become one of the best defenders in Premier League history with Liverpool.

Virgil van Dijk in action for Liverpool
LEIPZIG, GERMANY – JULY 21: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool looks on during the pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2022 in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

26. Andy Cole

Cole scored 187 Premier League goals. Only two players have scored more.

25. Eden Hazard

Hazard arrived at Chelsea with a lofty reputation and he showed why there was such a battle for his signature. He won two Premier League titles with Chelsea and won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award in 2015.

24. Vincent Kompany

One of the best captains in Premier League history. Kompany guided Man City to four Premier League titles.

23. Nemanja Vidic

Vidic and Rio Ferdinand formed a truly fearsome partnership at the back for Man United.

Nemanja Vidic in action for Man United
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on December 15, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

22. Peter Schmeichel

The greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history. The Dane won five Premier League titles with Man United and went on to feature for Aston Villa and Man City.

21. David Beckham

Beckham doesn’t quite get the credit he deserves. The best set-piece taker in Premier League history.

20. Kevin De Bruyne

De Bruyne has done and continues to do remarkable things on the football pitch for City. Still just 31 years old, De Bruyne could move up the list even further.

19. Harry Kane

Kane would be further up the list had he won the Premier League. Kane, just 28, is currently 76 goals away from becoming the highest goal scorer in Premier League history.

Harry Kane in action for Tottenham
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 06: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur applauds the crowd afer the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on August 6, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

18. Didier Drogba

Drogba was an absolute nightmare to play against. He had everything a top striker needs and always turned up in the big games.

17. Mohamed Salah

At the time of writing, Salah has scored 121 goals in 194 Premier League games. An incredible tally for a winger.

16. Ashley Cole

Cole is the greatest left-back in Premier League history and it’s not even close.

15. Dennis Bergkamp

Has there been a more technically gifted player in Premier League history than Bergkamp? We don’t think so.

Dennis Bergkamp in action for Arsenal
6 Apr 2002: Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal runs with the ball during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur played at Highbury, in London. Arsenal won the match 2-1. DIGITAL IMAGE. \ Mandatory Credit: Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

14. Sergio Aguero

A truly lethal striker. Aguero scored 184 Premier League goals in 275 games for Man City.

13. Rio Ferdinand

Ferdinand was a Rolls-Royce of a defender. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year on six occasions.

12. John Terry

Terry was a truly combative defender who gave absolutely everything to win when on the pitch.

11. Roy Keane

Keane won the Premier League seven times with Manchester United.

Roy Keane in action for Man United
12 Aug 2001: Roy Keane of Manchester United shows his disappointment in losing during the One 2 One FA Charity Shield between Liverpool and Manchester United at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Mandatory Credit: Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT

10. Patrick Vieira

Vieira’s battles with Keane are etched in Premier League history. We’ve just given him the nod over his great rival, but it really is close.

9. Paul Scholes

Scholes didn’t get the credit he deserved during his playing days. It’s only after he retired that people started to recognise how much of a genius he was.

8. Frank Lampard

Lampard put up extraordinary numbers season after season. His tally of 177 Premier League goals is just ridiculous for a midfielder.

7. Steven Gerrard

Gerrard had no weaknesses to his game. He could easily have gone elsewhere and won plenty more trophies but he stayed loyal to Liverpool. It’s just a shame he never won the Premier League title.

Steven Gerrard in action for Liverpool
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring his team’s second goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Birmingham City at Anfield on November 9, 2009 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

6. Eric Cantona

Cantona’s time in the Premier League wasn’t long, but boy did he make his mark. He won four Premier League titles in five seasons with United. A true maverick.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo became one of the best players in the world during his first spell at Man United. He returned in his late 30s and showed he was still one of the world’s best.

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4. Ryan Giggs

Giggs’ longevity may never be matched. He played 963 times for Man United and helped them to 34 trophies.

3. Alan Shearer

Shearer is the Premier League’s highest goal scorer, having hit the back of the net 260 times. His record may come under threat from Kane in the next few years.

Alan Shearer in action for Newcastle
NOTTINGHAM – JULY 31: Alan Shearer of Newcastle United in action during the pre-season friendly between Nottingham Forest and Newcastle United match played at the City Ground, Nottingham, England on July 31, 2002. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

2. Wayne Rooney

Rooney was an animal when he burst onto the scene with Everton at the age of just 16. A move to Man United followed and he became one of the greatest players in the club’s history. Another who perhaps doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

1. Thierry Henry

There are few that will argue against Henry being the greatest player in Premier League history. He scored 175 league goals for Arsenal in 258 games and played a pivotal role in their invincible season in 2003/04.

Steven Gerrard vs Paul Scholes vs Frank Lampard quiz

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Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes and Frank Lampard

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