From Juan Mata to Cesc Fabregas, in this article of SportMob, we take a look at the best Spanish players in the history of the English Premier League.
The English Premier League continues to win the attention of fans to this day. The long and exciting feuds never cease, and the focus on the next game eventually transfers to the football round and then the season. If your favorite team doesn't do well, there's always a next one. Another important reason why we can see the great interest comes with another detail - the island's league boasts some of the most expensive footballers. In this article, we want to reveal the best Spanish players in Premier League history.
Spain is a true football country, the sport is very popular there and there are some great talents emerging from the country. On the other hand, Spain is also one of the most successful countries in football. They have won the World Cup once and the European Championship three times. Over the years, there have been many very good footballers from this European country.
Among the major European leagues, the Premier League is, without doubt, the one in which Spanish football has made the most impact. The first massive departures of Spanish players took place there and in recent years it has been the big English clubs, boasting great economic potential, that has brought the most of Spanish talent to the Premier League.
The Premier League continues to fight with the SpanishLa Liga
to be the best and for this, they have stars from Spain who decided to pack their suitcases to reinforce the top teams in England. From the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta to Santi Cazorla, David de Gea and David Silva, these are the best Spanish footballers in Premier League history.
When Simeone took over at Atlético de Madrid, Diego Costa was at the top level of his career. This allowed him to leave for 38 million in the summer of 2014 for Chelsea, the team he had knocked out in the Champions League semi-finals (0-0 and 1-3) and to work under famous Jose Mourinho. He was an absolute goalscorer in the English Premier League and scored 20, 12 and 20 goals in his three seasons there, for a total of 52 in just 89 games.
He didn't get to shine as much in the Champions League but he also contributed to Mourinho's team and then Conte's. He was one of the great goalscorers of the season. In the years he stayed inEngland
, he was one of the top scorers and won the Premiership in 2015 and 2017, as well as winning the Carabao Cup in 2015 when he arrived.
Despite a short stint in England before returning to Atlético de Madrid, his time in England was very good, the best of his career along with the 2013/14 season and he proved to be one of the
best Spanish players in premier league history
"A team with 11 Azpilicuetas could win theChampions League
". This was what Mourinho said regarding one of his right-hand men during his second spell asChelsea
manager. Coming out of the Osasuna youth academy, Azpilicueta recovered from a serious injury and after three years at Marseille signed for the Blues in the summer of 2012.
It was on January 2021 when against Manchester City he played his 400th game for the Blues, more than eight years after his arrival, thus proving himself as the
best Spanish players in Premier League era
. During this time he has won two Premier Leagues, 2 Europa Leagues, 1 Carabao Cup and 1 FA Cup and has been an essential player for all the coaches he has had (Di Matteo, Mourinho, Conte, Sarri, Lampard,...) for several reasons.
He is a professional, he is physically gifted, technically he is very well equipped and he can play in any position in defence (right back, left back, centre back, wing back...). He is 31 years old and still offers a spectacular level and is one of the most valued players by the Blues fans. A tireless all-rounder.
While in the summer of 2010 Silva leftValencia
for the Premier League, in 2011 Mata did the same. The Chelsea club paid millions of euros for the Spaniard, who in his first season there managed to win the Champions League in an epic final against Bayern Munich (1-1 and 5-4 on penalties). In the same summer, he would win the European Championship with the Spanish national team, with him scoring a goal in the final against Italy (4-0).
His two and a half seasons there saw him become an undisputed starter for the London side, before moving toManchester United
with a Europa League title in his bag (2-1 win over Benfica in 2013 final). He continued to add to his name and his trophy cabinet in Manchester in recent seasons.
With Mourinho in the 2016/17 season, the Red Devils won four titles, including the Europa League against Ajax (2-0). He has played 269 games in the Premier League, scoring exactly 50 goals and providing 68 assists. It looks like he still has a few more years left in him. Mata is undoubtedly one of the
top Spanish players in EPL history
The career of Arteta was far from being considered 'usual' for a Spanish player, especially given that Mikel started out playing at the beginning of the current century. Having left La Liga as a Barcelona youth player at the age of just 18, Arteta spent only a mere of his 16 seasons career in Spain, with Real Sociedad, where he struggled to make the grade.
Following short but successful spells at PSG and Rangers,Everton
appointed him as their midfield enforcer in January 2005. He spent six and a half seasons at Goodison Park where he left an unforgettable memory with 209 games played and 35 goals scored. He made the jump toArsenal
in 2011, where he stayed until he retired in 2016.
He made 150 appearances for the Gunners and scored 11 goals. He now manages them after serving as Guardiola's assistant at City. Loved by the fans, it is surprising, given the level he was at, that he had not been capped many times by the Spanish national team. Arteta is definitely one of the best Spanish players in premier league history.
The first goalkeeper in the list of best Spanish players in premier league history is David de Gea. Second only to Casillas, many believe De Gea is arguably the best Spanish goalkeeper of at least the last 20 years. He was Casillas' perfect replacement in the national team, as he was at Manchester United at the time. In 2010, the legendary Dutch goalkeeper Van Der Saar retired and Ferguson picked the then Atletico Madrid keeper to take his place.
They paid 25 million for him, who at the time was the most expensive goalkeeper in the history of football and on his way to becoming one of the
best Spanish players in premier league history
. It took him a while to adapt in his first season, but Sir Alex's faith in him was absolute (never better said, as it was blamed on a vision problem).
No one has been able to dispute his ten-year tenure at Old Trafford and he was voted goalkeeper of the decade in the English Premier League last season. He played at the end of Ferguson's great United and in total, he has played 434 games for the Red Devils and won 7 titles. Many consider him to be one of the
best ever Spanish Premier League stars
The next player in our list of best Spanish players in premier league history is Santi Cazorla. Having spent several years demonstrating his skills at Recreativo de Huelva,Villarreal
and Málaga, the English Premier League were tired of waiting. It was Arsenal who took a real magician of the ball in 2012 in exchange for a fee of 20 million euros, something that sounds crazy considering what a great player Cazorla is (still).
Cazorla impressed the English fans with his technique and skill and created one of the most 'ball-playing' attacks in England together with the likes of Ozil, Ramsey, Alexis and others. His injury problems began in 2015, and only that stopped his numbers in England (and in the national team) from being even more spectacular.
At first, his knee, followed by an infectious ankle injury that almost forced him to retire, sidelined him in the Premiership. Luckily for football, he was able to return to feel important again in 2018 on his comeback to Villarreal. In terms of his numbers in football, he made 180 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 29 goals and providing 45 assists. He will always be remembered as one of the
greatest Spanish players in Premier League history
The next footballer in the list of
best Spanish players in premier league history
is Torres. The great leap for Fernando Torres came in the summer of 2007, in which he became the most expensive Spanish player in history when he transferred from Atlético de Madrid to Liverpool in exchange for 38 million euros. He found a style of play at Anfield that fitted him to a tee, with pace, dribbling and verticality. In 2008 he won the Bronze Ball and, to top it all off, he scored the historic goal against Germany in the final of the European Championship (1-0).
His three and a half years at Liverpool saw the best Fernando Torres of all time, guiding the Reds to a league title over Ferguson and Cristiano's United and scoring 81 goals in his 142 appearances there. He became the most expensive Spaniard in history again in January 2011, moving to Chelsea. Curiously he played more games there and wasn't bad, although he was always much discussed and never reached Liverpool's level.
What was better for him was that at Stamford Bridge he won titles: 1 Champions League, 1 Europa League and an FA Cup before leaving for Milan in 2014. He made 344 appearances between the two clubs and scored 126 goals. He is the Spanish player with the most goals in the history of the Premier League, with 85 in that competition and one of the best Spanish players in premier league history.
The next player in our list of best Spanish players in premier league history is a Goalkeeper. By far, Pepe Reina is amongst the most important goalkeepers in Liverpool's history. As clear and straightforward as that. Back in 2005, the European champions signed him for 10 million euros from Villarreal in an attempt to replace Dudek in goal, who became a club legend that same year for saving the decisive penalty from Shevchenko in the final in Istanbul.
Impossible that things could have gone better for the Madrid-born player, who was the undisputed starter in Liverpool's goal from day one. His charismatic personality made him one of the biggest idols at Anfield and when he joined the club it coincided with his debut and his time in the Spanish national team, where he was an essential part for more than a decade both on and off the pitch. He made unforgettable saves in the 2006/07 Champions League semi-final shoot-out against Chelsea to advance to another final against Milan.
He has made the most European appearances in the club's history and with 20 clean sheets in 2005-06 and 2008-09 he holds the record in a single league for the Reds, which was matched by Alisson in 2020. In total, he played a combined 394 games in eight seasons there and won four titles. Many will remember him as one of the best Spanish footballers in Premier League history.
The next footballer in the list of best ever Spanish Premier League stars is definitely Xabi Alonso. Among the men who helped Liverpool's history the most to 'recover' was Xabi Alonso, who is one of the best Spanish players in Premier League era on our list. Benitez signed him for his 'Spanish' Reds in the summer of 2004 for a mere 16 million euros, and it was clear from day one that he was a different player. Together with Gerrard, he became lord and master of the team's midfield in the five seasons he was there.
During the first season, he was key in scoring the equaliser in the historic comeback against Milan that brought the club its fifth Champions League title (3-3 and 3-2 on penalties). With the Reds, he would go on to earn a place in the Spanish national team and become a world-class player, before joining Real Madrid in 2009 as a star for the 'Galacticos 2.0'.
After his departure, Liverpool went into a period of obscurity until the arrival of Klopp in 2016, with 2013/14 (and Luis Suárez leading the way) being the exception. He played a total of 210 games in his 5 years in England and added 1 FA Cup, 1 European Super Cup and 2 Community Shields to the Champions League, as well as Euro 2008 with the Spanish national team. He will be always remembered as one of the top Spanish players in EPL history.
The next in our list of top Spanish players in EPL history is Fabregas. It was a very complicated thing for Cesc to do: he first left Arsenal as an idol, in 2011, and he left Chelsea in the same way in 2018. The Catalan was a star at two rival teams in the same city, which is a difficult thing to see nowadays. Meanwhile, he had a somewhat turbulent 3-year spell atBarcelona
. He was more important at Arsenal, where he managed to emerge as one of the greatest Spanish players in Premier League history and which he joined at the age of 16 from the youth academy.
Since he was just 17 (just after the Invincibles' season) until he was 24 he played as the master of the Gunners' midfield and delighted an entire fan base at Arsenal. He nearly won the Champions League in 2006 but was defeated 1-2 in the final. When he returned to England, he won two league titles, one with Mourinho and the other with Conte, and was an essential player for both sides.
After playing more than 300 Premier League games and more than 500 between the two London clubs, he left for Monaco in January 2019, as one of the best ever Spanish Premier League stars. He won 8 titles in England as a player.
The next player in our list of best Spanish players in premier league history is David Silva. Many believe that one of the
best Spanish footballers in Premier League history
and probably the best one is David Silva. He was one of the signings with whomManchester City
began to build their 'first' super team, acquiring him from Valencia in 2010 for 30 million euros.
In the same transfer window, Citizens signed Sergio Agüero from the Atlético Madrid, the two best players in the club's history. Having spent 10 seasons at the Citizens, he has made 436 appearances, scored 77 goals and dished out 141 assists. He was the backbone that changed the club's history, beginning with the miraculous league win in 2012.
He won four in total in his 10 seasons there before moving back to his country and toReal Sociedad
this summer. During his spell in England, he lifted 13 titles there in addition to the Euro Cup he won with the national team in 2012. He is one of the best footballers ever to come out ofSpain
, and one of the best Spanish players in Premier League era.