The 12 Greatest South Americans In Premier League History
With Sergio Aguero having become Manchester City’s greatest goal scorer of all time, it got us wondering about how his fellow South Americans have performed in the Premier League. There have been some great players from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and more to grace these shores, but which has been the best. With plenty to choose from, here are the top 12 best South American players to grace the English top flight in the modern era.
12. Gabriel Heinze
The no nonsense full-back was not at Manchester United for long but he quickly earned himself a cult following and had no small success at Old Trafford despite the brevity of his stint there. He made 83 appearances for the Red Devils over three seasons, although the middle of the three was ruined through injury. He won the Player of the Season in his first campaign and was captain by the end of the third. It was a shame Heinze left the league then, but his stay was very enjoyable. If brief, and saw him win the Premier League and the League Cup.
11. David Luiz
The enigmatic Brazilian could still have a lot more in his Premier League locker, but he has already achieved an awful lot in his two stints with Chelsea. At times something of a laughing stock during his first spell with Chelsea, but it is easy to forget that Luiz won the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup during those first four seasons. After two years at PSG he returned and has added the Premier League title to his trophy cabinet. He is nearing 200 appearances for the Blues and looks likely to go down as one of their most successful players in history.
10. Nolberto Solano
There is an awful lot of love for the Peruvian up in the north east of England as he has become something of a Newcastle legend, at least of the Premier League era. The winger turned up at St James’ Park in 1998 from Boca Junios with most not knowing much about him, but he quickly made an impression, appearing 38 times and scoring six times in his debut season. He was an incredible workhorse for the Magpies, making 40 or more appearances in four separate seasons, with his most being 52. Including spells with West Ham and Aston Villa, he finished with a record of 425 games and 63 goals in English football which is some return for a man that first cost Newcastle under £2.5m and was his first countryman to grace the Premier League.
The diminutive Brazilian was the star of an exciting Middlesbrough team that were attempting to be the North Yorkshire Galacticos and failing quite badly. Despite the experiment of bringing in a host of star names to play alongside the likes of Curtis Fleming and Phil Stamp not working, Juninho’s presence was memorable. He came second in the FWA Player of the Season award in 1997 and returned to Boro in 2002, winning the League Cup in 2004. He will forever be a hero at the Riverside and be remembered fondly by English football fans across the country.
8. Gustavo Poyet
A thoroughly elegant and impressive midfield presence throughout his time at Chelsea and Tottenham, Gus Poyet was one of the most sought-after Premier League players during his pomp in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He scored 54 goals in the Premier League, which is a cracking return from midfield and he lifted the FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Cup Winners Cup with Chelsea for his efforts. He nearly added the League Cup to that haul, but lost in the final with Spurs in 2002 after scoring 14 times in his debut season.
7. Philippe Coutinho
It was something of a surprise when Liverpool were able to pick up Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan for just £8.5m in 2012 and it duly proved to be an absolute bargain of a signing. The tricky Brazilian has gone on to be the star of the show at Anfield numerous times, steadily increasing his influence and his goal tally throughout his stay with the club. Capable of absolute genius in terms of passing and spectacular goals, he might not have long left with Liverpool but the fans on Merseyside should enjoy him while his time at the club lasts.