Best Players in the English Premier League History

By Woodland Soccer Team •  Updated: 08/09/22 •  14 min read

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The English Premier League has had incredible players over the years. The players gained popularity across the globe for their playing skills and the records they set up. These players have helped their teams win trophies, while others put their team’s name on the map for the world to acknowledge.

29. David James

David James played as a goalkeeper. He is fifth on the all-time Premier League appearances, having played 572 matches. He is the best penalty saver in the history of the Premier League. He is the second on the all-time Premier League clean sheets list and holds the Premier League record for most penalties saved in a season (13).

David James won two major trophies during his time in the League, a FA Cup and a Football League Cup.

28. César Azpilicueta

César Azpilicueta joined Chelsea in 2012. He has won nine trophies in his ten years at the club. The skipper has made over 450 appearances and is seventh on their all-time at this writing.

César Azpilicueta has great defending abilities and playing as a wing-back, he creates chances for the forwards as he has excellent crossing skills.

27. Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand played as a striker in the Premier League. He is eleventh on the all-time top scorer list with 149 goals. He is remembered for his goal-scoring abilities as he was a clinical finisher.

Les Ferdinand had notable spells with Queens Park Rangers, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, and Bolton Wanderers.

26. Michael Owen

Michael Owen played for Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Stoke City. He was the second-youngest player to win the Ballon d’Or at 22 years and four days old. He has 150 goals in the Premier League.

Michael Owen is mainly remembered for his time at Liverpool, scoring 158 goals in 297 matches. He is considered one of Liverpool’s greatest players.

25. Cesc Fàbregas

Cesc Fàbregas started his Arsenal career in the 2004-2005 season. He went on to break several of the club’s records. He was part of the invincible team and won the Premier League and the FA Cup the following season before heading to Barcelona.

Cesc Fàbregas later returned to England, but he was at Chelsea this time. He continued where he left off regarding his record-breaking. He is remembered for his passing skills and for creating chances for his teammates. He is second in the all-time assist with 111. He won two Premier League titles at Chelsea, an FA Cup, and a League Cup.

24. Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel played as a goalkeeper for Manchester United, Aston Villa, and Manchester City in England. He is recognized for his eight years at Manchester United. He captained the team that won the treble in the 1998-1999 season. During his time at United, he won ten major trophies.

Peter Schmeichel has 128 clean sheets ranking eleventh in the all-time clean sheets. He was indicted to the England Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He is considered one of the greatest players at Manchester United.

23. Tony Adams

Tony Adams played as a center-back at Arsenal in his career. He is considered one of the greatest players by the Arsenal fans and was included in the Football League 100 Legends. He had excellent defensive skills.

Tony Adams captained a title-winning team for three consecutive decades. They won four Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, one UEFA Cup, and two Community Shields.

22. Dennis Bergkamp

Arsenal fans nicknamed Dennis Bergkamp the “Non-flying Dutchman” due to his fear of flying. He was part of the 2004 invisible team that won the Premier League.

Dennis Bergkamp has been indicted in the English Football Hall of Fame and the Premier League Hall of Fame. He scored 192 goals for Arsenal and won seven trophies.

Dennis Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle in 2002 was voted the best Premier League goal of all time in the League’s 25-year history. He is considered one of Arsenal’s greatest players.

21. David Beckham

David Beckham played for Manchester United for eight years, winning nine major trophies. He was known for his crosses and free-kick techniques.

David Beckham created scoring opportunities having 80 assists ranking tenth in the all-time assists. He was part of the team that won a treble in the 1998-1999 season.

20. Edwin Van Der Sar

Edwin van der Sar is considered one of the best goalkeepers. He joined Manchester United from Fulham in 2005. He is remembered mainly for his time at Manchester United, where he won major trophies.

Edwin van der Sar holds the season’s record of not conceding a league goal in 1311 minutes. He did this in the 2008-09 season.

Edwin van der Sar is the oldest player to win a Premier League title at 40 years and 205 days. He has 132 clean sheets in the Premier League.

19. Nemanja Vidić

Nemanja Vidić played at the center-back position and is best known for his time at Manchester United. He is considered one of the best defenders of his generation. He had excellent defensive skills and was an aerial threat inside the box.

Nemanja Vidić is among the four players who have won the Premier League Player of the Season award twice. He captained Manchester United for four seasons.

During his eight-year spell at Manchester United, he won three consecutive Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League, one FIFA Club World Cup, and three League Cup medals.

18. Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes played as a midfielder for Manchester United. He spent the whole of his career at the club. He is regarded as one of the best midfielders of his generation and one of the greatest Manchester United players of all time. He is recognized for his aggression in the midfield.

Paul Scholes won 25 trophies at United, including 11 Premier Leagues and 2 UEFA Champions League titles. He scored 107 goals in the Premier League.

17. Harry Kane

Harry Kane is a striker who plays for Tottenham Hotspur. He is regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation.

Harry Kane is recognized for his prolific goal-scoring record and ability to link play and involve his teammates.

16. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard played as a midfielder for Liverpool. He is considered one of the best midfielders of his generation. He is remembered for his midfield work rate and ability to score long shots.

During his time at Liverpool, he won two FA Cups, three League cups, and one UEFA Champions League. He was not able to win the Premier League trophy in his career. He scored 120 goals in the Premier League.

Steven Gerrard has won individual awards such as Footballer of the Year in 2009. He was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.

15. Patrick Vieira

Patrick Viera played as a midfielder in his football career. He played for Arsenal in the Premier League. He is considered one of the best midfielders of his generation. He is mainly remembered for his time at Arsenal. He had excellent defensive skills and could link the defenders to the attackers.

Patrick Viera captained the invincible team that went unbeaten. He won four FA Cups and three Premier League titles during his nine-year spell with the club.

14. Roy Keane

Roy Keane played as a midfielder for Manchester United. He is considered one of the best midfielders of his generation. He appeared on the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. He had excellent defensive skills as he could recover the ball in midfield and distribute it to his teammates.

Roy Keane captained Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005. He attained 17 major trophies during his 12 years with the club

Roy Keane was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.

13. Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand played as a center-back in his football career. He is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time. He is considered one of the best players of his generation. He had great defensive skills.

Rio Ferdinand played for Manchester United, Westham, and Bournemouth and finished his football career at Queens Park Rangers.

Rio Ferdinand joined Manchester United from Leeds in July 2002, breaking the transfer record fee then. In United, he won six Premier Leagues and 14 major trophies.

12. John Terry

John Terry played as a center-back. He is considered one of the best center-backs of his generation. He started his senior career at Chelsea and retired at Aston Villa. He had excellent defensive skills and was an aerial threat during set-pieces.

John Terry won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005 and was named UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 20005, 2008, and 2009. He is the most successful Chelsea captain during his 19 years at Chelsea. He is the top-scoring defender at Chelsea during the writing of this article.

John Terry won five Premier Leagues titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one UEFA Europa League, and one UEFA Champions League title.

11. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard played as a midfielder. He is regarded as one of Chelsea’s greatest players and one of his generation’s best midfielders. He holds the record for the most goals scored by a midfielder in the Premier League, standing at 177.

Frank Lampard holds the record for the most goals scored from outside the box.

Frank Lampard is currently Chelsea’s leading goal scorer. He is currently fourth on the all-time assist list with 102. During his time at Chelsea, he won three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, two Football League Cups, one UEFA Champions League, and one UEFA Europa League.

Frank Lampard was named in the Chelsea Team of the Decade and was voted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

10. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne plays as a midfielder. He is regarded as one of the best players currently in the world and his generation. He is one of the best ball distributors the League has ever had. He has excellent passing skills.

Kevin De Bruyne joined Manchester City from Wolfsburg for a club-record at the time. During this writing, he has won four Premier League titles, five League Cups, and one FA Cup.

Kevin De Bruyne has been awarded Player of the Season twice.

9. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah plays as a forward. He joined Liverpool from AS Roma. He is considered one of the best players in the world and among the greatest players in Africa.

Mohamed Salah holds the record for the most goals scored in a season (32). During this writing, he has won one UEFA Champions League, one Premier League title, one FA Cup, and one League Cup.

Mohamed Salah has won two PFA Players of the Year, Premier League Player of the season, the Premier League Playmaker of the Season, and three Premier League Golden Boots during the writing of this article.

8. Petr Čech

Petr Čech played as a goalkeeper. He is considered one of the greatest goalkeepers in history and one of the best players of his generation.

Petr Čech played for both Chelsea and Arsenal. He is mainly remembered for his time at Chelsea. Petr Čech has won four Premier League titles, five FA Cups, one UEFA Champions League, one UEFA Europa League, and three League Cups.

Petr Čech holds the record for clean sheets in the Premier League at 202. He has won the Premier League Golden Glove a joint-record four times. He has the third-most clean sheets since 2000 among all goalkeepers.

7. Andy Cole

Andy Cole played as a striker. He was a clinical finisher. He is mainly remembered for his time at Manchester United. During his six years with Manchester United, he won eight major trophies, including the Treble of the Premier League, FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League.

Andy Cole played for several Premier League teams such as Arsenal, Manchester City, and Bristol City. He is currently third on the all-time goal scorers list.

6. Sergio Agüero

Sergio Agüero played as a striker. He is considered one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players to play in the Premier League.

Sergio Agüero joined Manchester City from Atletico Madrid. He is the club’s all-time top goal scorer and holds the record for the most hat-tricks in the Premier League with twelve. During his ten years with Manchester City, he won five Premier League titles, six EFL Cups, and one FA Cup.

Sergio Agüero has won the Premier League Golden Boot twice. He is currently fourth in the all-time Premier League goal scorers with 184

goal scorers list.

5. Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs played as a winger. He played for Manchester United in his entire professional career. He is considered one of the greatest players for Manchester United and his generation. He displayed great passing and dribbling abilities.

Ryan Giggs currently holds the record for the most assists in the Premier League at 162. He is one of the most decorated footballers of all time. During his 23 years with Manchester United, he has won 13 Premier League titles, the most won by any player, four FA Cups, the Football League Cups, two UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and nine FA Community Shields.

Ryan Giggs was the first player to win two consecutive PFA Young Player of the Year. He won the PFA Player of the year in 2009. He was elected into the PFA Team of the Century in 2007, the Premier League Team of the Decade in 2003, and the FA Cup Team of the Century.

4. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney spent much of his career playing as a forward. He is considered one of the greatest players to play in the Premier League and among the best players for Manchester United.

Wayne Rooney joined Manchester United from Everton. During his time with Manchester United, he has won 16 major trophies. He is Manchester United’s leading goal scorer with 253 goals and is currently the second all-time goal scorer with 208 goals in the Premier League.

Wayne Rooney is third in the all-time assists, with 102 in the Premier League. He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards for the 2009-2010 season.

3. Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry played as a striker. He is considered one of the greatest strikers of all time and one of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League. He won the FWA Footballer of the Year three times and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice.

Thierry Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus. He is Arsenal’s leading goal scorer. He won two FA Cups and two Premier League titles during his time with the club and was part of the invincible team.

Thierry Henry scored a total of 175 goals in the Premier League, seventh in the all-time goal-scoring list, 74 assists twelfth in the all-time assists list. He won the Premier League Golden Boot a record of four times.

Thierry Henry was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.

2. Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played as a striker. He is considered one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the greatest players in Premier League history. He is the leading goal scorer in the Premier League with 260 goals.

Alan Shearer was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players in 2004. He has won the PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year.

Alan Shearer has won the Premier League title once and two FA Cups. He is Newcastle’s leading goal scorer. He was among the first two players to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2021.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo plays as a striker. During his early career, he used to play as a winger. He is regarded as one of the greatest players in history and considered one of the best players of his generation. He is regarded as the best as he displays exceptional goal-scoring abilities and great dribbling abilities.

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

During his time with the club, he won three consecutive Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League, and the FIFA World Cup. He won his first Ballon d’Or while still with Manchester United.

Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in 2009. He later returned to Manchester United in 2021

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