Over the years, South America have always produced some absolute gems in the world of football. Some of these footballers showcased their skills in the Premier League. Let us have a look some of the best South American players in the Premier League history.
While making this list we have only considered their time in the Premier League, and not anywhere else. Here are the 10 best South American players in the Premier League history –
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10. Nolberto Solano
Solano became the first Peruvian in Premier League history when the midfielder signed for the Magpies in 1998 and would go onto make 182 appearances in six years at the club in his first spell.
He then joined Aston Villa and was Villa’s player of the season in 2005, before returning to St James’ Park for another two-year period and then completing a decade in the English top-tier with the Hammers.
His talents in football range from accurate crosses to accomplished dead-ball skills and he traditionally played either on the right side of midfield, or as a right back during his career.
9. Javier Mascherano
Mascherano signed for West Ham in summer of 2006. The move to West Ham was seen as surprising, with many of Europe’s top clubs having been linked with Mascherano all summer.
He then joined Liverpool in 2007 and the midfielder would show his class and temperament with three solid seasons at Liverpool before a £17.6m switch to Barcelona in 2010. He will always be remembered among the best South American players in the Premier League history.
8. Gus Poyet
Poyet joined Chelsea on a free transfer in June 1997. In his first season at the club, he helped them in winning the Cup Winners’ Cup.
The following year, he contributed 14 goals – making him the club’s second highest scorer – to help Chelsea finish third in the Premiership, including a crucial headed goal in 1–0 win against Leeds United. He also scored the winner for Chelsea in the 1998 UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid.
Poyet joined Tottenham Hotspur in May 2001 for around £2.2 million. He scored 14 goals in his debut season for Spurs and helped his team reach the League Cup final, but they lost 2–1 to Blackburn Rovers. His time at the club was blighted by injuries, and he again sustained ligament damage in August 2002, but still managed to score 23 goals in 98 games.
The attacking midfielder was an unlikely hero in the north-east but there was a mutual love between the player and the fans and during the Brazilan’s first spell at the Riverside, Juninho was reduced to tears when the club were relegated in 1997.
The Boro star was runner-up to Gianfranco Zola in the FWA Player of the Year that season, before moving to Atletico Madrid. Juninho returned twice to the club in 1999 and 2002 for one and two seasons respectively.
He was voted as the club’s best ever player in 2007. He said ”I will always support the club, what Middlesbrough did for me is unbelievable and I will always be very grateful. I just want to say thank you to the club for what they did for me.” He is definitely one of the best South American players in the Premier League history.
6. Alexis Sanchez
Sanchez joined Arsenal in 2014 for a transfer fee of £31.7 million. During his time at Arsenal Sanchez was very influential. However, since joining United, he hasn’t been in the best of form. But he has more than enough quality to change that anytime.
He is a quick, creative and hard-working player with an eye for goal, and is known in particular for his energy, skill and work-rate on the pitch. Sanchez is gifted with excellent technical ability, agility, flair and acceleration, which enables him to dribble past opponents with feints in one on one situations, create space, and either score goals himself or set-up his teammates.
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5. Gilberto Silva
Gilberto Silva was a truly class midfielder who was a key member of the Gunners’ famous ‘Invincibles’ team of the 2003/04 season alongside Patrick Vieira.
In his first five seasons with the club, he played 208 games and scored 23 goals. He scored Arsenal’s first competitive goal at the newly built Emirates Stadium. He was made vice-captain of Arsenal in 2006. Apart from the Premier League, he also won the FA cup twice in 2003 and 2005 with Arsenal.
4. Pablo Zabaleta
Zabaleta is one greatest right-backs ever to play in the Premier League. In the summer of 2008, Zabaleta joined Manchester City after rejecting an offer from Juventus. He stated upon joining that “the offer of Manchester City is impossible to reject.”
With Manchester City, Zabaleta has won all of English football’s major honours: the FA Cup in 2011, the Premier League in 2012 and 2014, and the Football League Cup in 2014 and 2016. He was voted Manchester City’s player of the season for 2012-2013 season.
After Manchester City, he joined West Ham in the summer of 2017. Even with his increasing age, he has not failed to give consistent performances for the Hammers.
3. Carlos Tevez
In 2006, Tevez joined West Ham United.He was a success at Upton Park , scoring the winning goal against future team United to keep the Irons in the Premier League in 2007.
Tevez then spent two years on-loan at Old Trafford, winning the Champions League and Premier League twice, before switching to rivals City and winning another league title and the FA Cup. He also won the Premier League golden boot for 2010-2011 season.
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2. Luis Suarez
Suarez may have had a controversial time at Anfield – racism fines and biting opponents to name a couple – but there is no doubting the Uruguayan’s ability in front of goal.
He joined Barcelona in 2011 from ajax for €26.5 million. In April 2014, he was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year. He also won the Premier League’s Golden Boot with 31 goals, and shared the European Golden Shoe with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Suárez creates goal scoring chances with his powerful shot, and “remarkable technical ability”. Known for his direct running towards goal, Suárez has a particular penchant for nutmegging opponents.
It was Suarez’s performance that brought Liverpool really close to their first Premier League title in the 2013-2014 season, however, they eventually finished runners-up to Manchester City.
1. Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is undoubtedly the greatest striker Manchester City ever had and also one of the best to ever play in the Premier League. He has been a revolution at Manchester City.
On the last day of his debut season with the club, Aguero scored a 94th-minute winner against Queens Park Rangers that earned City its first league title in 44 years. That moment would go down as the greatest moment in Premier League history.
He is Manchester City’s highest goalscorer of all time. He was voted Manchester City’s player of the season for 2011-2012 and 2014-2015 season. He also won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2014-2015 season.
Checkout: Greatest Premier League Players Ever