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The best Premier League players of all time - ranked: 10-1




From Ballon d'Or winners, Golden Shoe winners to players hailed as "Messiahs", it's fair to say that some pretty damn talented footballers have plied their trade in the Premier League throughout the years.

And below, are the ten most talented of the lot.

After ranking the 50th to 11th best players in the league's history, we're finally at the business end of our 'best Premier League players of all time': the top ten.

Thanks to some help from team over on the 90min YouTube channel, here's the our top ten players in Premier League history.

10. Eric Cantona

A Man Utd legend
A Man Utd legend / Etsuo Hara / Contributor
  • Premier League clubs: Leeds United and Manchester United
  • Position: Forward

"When Eric came, he was the messiah. He transformed us," is what Sir Alex Ferguson said when asked to describe Eric Cantona's impact at Manchester United.

That one quote from the greatest manager of all time tells you all you need to know about just how good Cantona was.

His confidence - which any man willing to pop a collar on a football jersey needs to have - and astonishing knack to rise to the occasion time and time again paved the way for Manchester United's two decades of dominance in the Premier League.

A true icon of the English game.

9. Dennis Bergkamp

An astonishing footballer
An astonishing footballer / Stu Forster / Staff
  • Premier League club: Arsenal
  • Position: Forward

August 27, 1997. Approximately 21:45. Filbert Street, Leicester.

David Platt lofts a ball over the top of Leicester City's defence and on to the outstretched right foot of Dennis Bergkamp. After deftly tapping the ball up to himself with his first right-footed touch, the Dutch star uses his second to delicately flick past Matt Elliott with his left, before curling into the top corner of the net.

If you've seen this goal, you'll know exactly why Bergkamp is one of the top ten greatest players in Premier League history.

8. Frank Lampard

A goalscorer from midfield
A goalscorer from midfield / ADRIAN DENNIS / Staff
  • Premier League clubs: Chelsea and Manchester City
  • Position: Midfielder

While Bergkamp was a player you had to watch to understand his brilliance, Frank Lampard's greatness can be understood via cold hard numbers.

Chelsea's all-time top goalscorer, Lampard is the highest scoring midfielder in Premier League history (177) thanks to the ten (yes, ten) seasons in which he hit double figures.

Lamps also bagged the fourth most assists in the division's history too (102).

All of those goals and assists helped Chelsea to three Premier League titles and himself to one PFA Player of the Year award and two PFA Team of the Year nods.

The numbers don't lie: Lampard was truly outstanding.

7. Roy Keane

When he first joined Man Utd
When he first joined Man Utd / Mike Hewitt / Staff
  • Premier League clubs: Nottingham Forest and Manchester United
  • Position: Midfielder

His "old man shouts at cloud" TV persona has fed into the belief that Roy Keane was little more than a typical hard man during his playing days.

And yeah, he was a bit of a hard nut - as his seven red cards in the Premier League attests - but that's not all he was.

At the peak of his powers, Keane was actually one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world, and you would regularly see him burst from midfield to drill the ball into the bottom corner in his pomp.

The Irish international was the driving force at the heart of the greatest Manchester United team of all time, leading the Red Devils to seven league titles during his storied career.

6. Mohamed Salah

Salah is one of the best around right now
Salah is one of the best around right now / Visionhaus / Contributor
  • Premier League clubs: Chelsea and Liverpool
  • Position: Wide forward

It's rather remarkable that, despite still being in the prime of his career, Mohamed Salah has already done enough to be considered the sixth best player in Premier League history.

But that's how remarkable a footballer Salah is.

Having flopped at Chelsea, Salah returned from a stint in Serie A with Fiorentina and AS Roma as a completely different footballer. The wide forward returned as an elite, almost unstoppable, marksman with an astonishing ability to cut in from the right flank and bend the ball into the top left corner at will.

And while that sounds like an exaggeration, the 'Egyptian King' has three Premier League Golden Boots to his name which proves it's not.

Along with scoring goals, Salah has also been able to tee up his teammates consistently too. In his six full seasons at the club he's averaged a quite incredible 34 goal contributions per campaign.

5. Kevin De Bruyne

KDB is outstanding
KDB is outstanding / Visionhaus / Contributor
  • Premier League clubs: Chelsea and Manchester City
  • Position: Midfielder

During an era which has seen previously unheard of amounts of money and talent come into the English game, it says quite a lot that Kevin De Bruyne has been the undisputed best footballer in the country for such an extended period of time.

The Belgian superstar has been Man City's key man during the club's most trophy-laden period, becoming one of just three players to ever win back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards as his club lifted five league titles.

Expect him to win quite a few more titles before he hangs up his boots too.

4. Alan Shearer

The PL's greatest ever goalscorer
The PL's greatest ever goalscorer / Alex Livesey / Staff
  • Premier League clubs: Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United
  • Position: Forward

There's one stat which has defined Alan Shearer's legacy:

He is the all-time top goalscorer in Premier League History.

His 260 goals for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United are rightfully the stuff of legend at this point, as is the season in which he scored 34 goals and bagged 13 assists to guide the former to a remarkable league title triumph.

3. Wayne Rooney

An all-rounder
An all-rounder / PAUL ELLIS / Contributor
  • Premier League clubs: Everton and Manchester United
  • Position: Forward

It says a lot about Wayne Rooney's talent that, after he hung up his boots as both Man Utd and England's all-time top scorer, there was an air of "what could've been?" about his career.

When he burst onto the scene with a stunning goal against Arsenal, it was abundantly clear that Rooney was going to be a generationally good footballer. And, despite not guiding England's 'golden generation' to a World Cup as he was expected to, one can't deny that Rooney achieved an astonishing amount during his playing days.

Rooney was a model of consistency during his time in the Premier League, reaching double figure goals in a record number of seasons (12).

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

One of the greatest ever
One of the greatest ever / Laurence Griffiths / Staff
  • Premier League club: Manchester United
  • Position: Forward

If we were making a list of the greatest players to have ever played in the Premier League, then Crisitiano Ronaldo would undoubtedly be top of the list. As literally the top goalscorer in footballing history, CR7 is rightfully considered to be one of the GOATs of the game.

Although he achieved that 'one of the GOATs' status thanks to his outrageous tenure at Real Madrid in which he won four Ballons d'Or, Ronaldo did also manage to collect a shiny gold ball during his time at Manchester United too.

He did so in 2008 after ascending from a pretty damn good Premier League Footballer to the best player in the world. During that 2007/08 campaign - in which he scored 31 goals - Ronaldo played Football to a level we simply had never seen in England's top flight before or since.

1. Thierry Henry

The Premier League GOAT
The Premier League GOAT / Shaun Botterill / Staff
  • Premier League club: Arsenal
  • Position: Forward

Ronaldo is the 'greatest player to ever play in the Premier League', but Thierry Henry is the 'greatest Premier League player of all time'.

The syntax matters there because, although Ronaldo had the better career overall, one can't debate that in the Premier League, Henry was the best.

Watching Henry glide past hapless defenders to score stunning goal after stunning goal week in, week out throughout the late 90s and early 00s was a formative experience for many football fans. Henry was proof that genuinely magical things could happen on a football pitch because, every time you stuck on Match of the Day on BBC or The Premiership on ITV, he was doing something you didn't even think was possible with a ball.

The Arsenal legend cemented his name in English footballing folklore with five straight 20-goal seasons, four Golden Boots, two European Golden Shoes and ability to guide his team to an unprecedented unbeaten title-winning season.