In what seems like a sea of different leagues and different divisions in the world of futbol, the English Premier League has forged an iron reputation in terms of futbol quality. It’s become one of the most watched leagues in the entire world, therefore attracting the brightest stars in the sport. Throughout its history, we’ve seen some of the greatest players pass through the likes of the league’s top clubs. Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, the list goes on and on. If you can be a star in the English Premier League, then you can probably play soccer anywhere in the world.
There are, however, world class players that have never had the honor of strapping their boots for an English Club. The original footballing league in England was founded in 1888, but the current format of the League was only inaugurated in 1992. Since then, the Premier League has enjoyed seeing its fan zone expand worldwide, making the EPL the most watched league in the entire world.
Here are some players who never made a turn for the “Prem”. Some bounced from team to team while some stayed with their respective clubs for their entire careers. But one thing is certain, all of these players would have been a threat in the Premier League.
18 Xavi Hernandez
Xavi Hernandez is an important piece of the ultimate Barcelona team that was so powerful in the beginning of the 21st century. He was with the club from 1991, starting in the youth league, until 2015, where Xavi left the club to join Al Saad. At 35 years old, it doesn’t seem likely that Xavi will ever play in the Premier League, and that’s too bad. Considered the ultimate playmaker, Xavi was a wizard on the pitch, playing most of his career with the likes of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.
17 Francesco Totti
16 Carlos Puyol
15 Luis Figo
14 Alessando Del Piero
13 Andres Iniesta
12 Gianluigi Buffon
Is there any name more famous in Italian football history that Gianluigi Buffon? Sure, the keeper has never played in the Premier League, but he’s actually never played for any other league other than the Italian one. He’s been the netminder for Juventus since 2001, and at 37 years old, he won’t be leaving anytime soon. He bleeds the white and black of Juventus, and even stayed with the club when they were relegated in 2006. That loyalty was greatly appreciated by the club, who have him as his keeper to this day.
11 Paolo Maldini
10 Roberto Carlos
9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Ronaldinho Gaucho is perhaps one of the most famous Brazilian footballers to ever play soccer. His dazzling skill, his scoring ability, and that famous smile of his have cemented his reputation into the soccer hall of fame. He’s played for a very large array of clubs, but it was his time in Barcelona between 2003-2008 that dazzled millions around the world, where we earned himself the FIFA Ballon D’Or two years running in 2004-05.
7 Franz Beckenbauer
Time to talk about my favourite player ever, the one some people call “The Phenomenon” but I call the real Ronaldo (sorry I’m a Messi fan thick and thin). Ronaldo was a great strike – the best striker even – to ever play football. His first big Club was PSV for two seasons, where some bigger clubs quickly took notice of the young lad making waves in Holland. He quickly moved to Barcelona, where he scored an astounding 34 goals in 37 appearances. From there on to Madrid, to play for the historic Galacticos. He announced his retirement in 2011 having never played for an English Club.
5 Zinedine Zidane
4 Johan Cruyff
3 Diego Maradona
1 Lionel Messi
At just 28 years old, Messi is already widely believed to be the best futbol player to ever play the game. He’s won a record four golden boot awards and is in the heart of the race for his fifth. Joining Barcelona’s youth academy La Massia at age 14, Messi has been with the club since and has become their most storied player in their long history, shattering all records at an incredible pace.
Messi and Barcelona have a long history, and its created a bond between Messi and his family and the entire club. If Messi were to move, as unlikely as it would be, it may never be the Premier League. Sorry EPL fans, the only time you’ll see Messi at Stamford Bridge will be for a Champions League matchup.
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