Premier League: Five of the best foreign imports since 1992
The Premier League has been graced with some extraordinary talent over the years. Since 1992, there has been a certain allure attached to England’s top-flight division, and foreign stars have arrived in their droves desperate to showcase their skills.
Trying to whittle down a shortlist has proved an almost unenviable task, as there are so many creditable candidates. However, we have highlighted five of the best foreign imports that left an indelible impact on the Premier League.
1. Thierry Henry
There are few players in the Premier League that have transcended our game in the way Thierry Henry did. While at Arsenal, Henry was breathtakingly brilliant. Allied with his lethal finishing, the Frenchman had a certain va va voom as the French would say, and he constantly befuddled defenders with his searing pace (just ask Jamie Carragher!).
Henry also habitually curried favor in the bet exchange, and he won the Golden Boot a record four times while with the Gunners. The Frenchman made football fun, and he was the one player that opposing fans wanted on their side.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Although Cristiano Ronaldo arrived as a wide-eyed teenager in 2003, the Portuguese superstar cemented his place in Premier League folklore. Initially, he seemed to be a bit of an exhibitionist, and he had a penchant for trying too many stepovers.
However, once he settled down, he was a Messiah-like figure at Manchester United, and evoked memories of a certain George Best. 84 goals in 196 appearances for the Red Devils, as well as three Premier League titles underlined his influence at Old Trafford.
3. Didier Drogba
One of the greatest Africans to strut his stuff in the Premier League, Didier Drogba’s imposing fame made him such a handful to deal with. He could shrug off defenders, and aside from his natural aerial ability, he held the ball up so well.
He was the ace card in Chelsea’s pack, and he has become the benchmark for every Blues striker to be measured by. At times, he was unplayable, and he always relished facing Arsenal, scoring 13 times against them in all competitions during his spell in west London.
4. Dennis Bergkamp
He may well have been known as the ‘non-flying Dutchman’ for his fear of travelling by aircraft, but on the pitch, Dennis Bergkamp had ice in his veins. Bergkamp was an artist on the pitch, and he had everything in his locker from long-range passes to mesmerizing goals.
Bergkamp’s legacy endures, and it only seems apt that the Gunners erected a statue of him outside the Emirates. And if you have a few minutes to spare, it is well worth watching his hat-trick against Leicester in 1997, with the third strike the pick of the goals.
5. Peter Schmeichel
It would seem somewhat mystifying to have a list without including Peter Schmeichel! The Great Dane was a bargain when he joined from Brøndby for £505,000 in July 1991, but he is probably the best goalkeeper Manchester United have ever had.
He boasted incredible reflexes, and he pulled off heroics that seemed scarcely believable. Whether it was thwarting efforts from distance or denying strikers from point-blank range, Schmeichel was always a safe pair of hands. And who could forget his role in United’s 1998/99 treble-winning campaign.