Top 10 South Americans to grace the Premier League

Published on 27 August 2023 at 21:32

Across its 31 year tenure at the tip of the English footballing pyramid, the Premier League has offered a home to foreign imports from across the world and seen them flourish into superstars. 


With the likes of Thierry Henry, Nemanja Vidic and Denis Berkgamp just three of the countless iconic names who have come from afar to bless fans up and down the country with their immense talent.


But there is one continent yet to be mentioned with a knack for producing generational talents: South America. 


So today, we're going to take a look into the ten greatest South Americans to ever play in the Premier League.


For this article we will be looking strictly at these players achievement whilst on English shores.


So, let's get into it.


10 - Juninho Paulista (Middlesbrough)



The only player on this list to have ever been relegated from the Premier League, Juninho Paulista was a mercurially talented Brazilian playmaker who's three stints in the English top flight made him a cult hero in Teesside.


Originally signing from São Paulo for a fee in the region of £5 million, the 2002 World Cup winner would go on to provide several magical moments in the North East.


Winner of the 1996/97 Premier League Player of the Season, despite featuring for a relegated side, Juninho was truly exceptional in his first spell at the club; and whilst he was less successful on his two returns, the Brazilian was prominent in the Boro side which lifted the 2003/04 Carling Cup, the only trophy in the club's history.


With dazzling feet, a quick change of direction and a lovable personality. Juninho was not only a hero on Teesside, but a Premier League great. It's tenth spot for 'The Little Fella'.


9 - Antonio Valencia (Manchester United and Wigan)



Featuring 325 times across a 13 year spell in the North West of England, Ecuadorian winger come full back Antonio Valencia is one of the most consistent players on this list.


Winner of two Premier League titles during his time at Manchester United, Valencia debuted in England with Wigan Athletic after joining from Spanish side Villarreal, the Ecuadorian would go on to become one of the key figures of the post-Ferguson era in the red half of Manchester until his departure in 2019.


An exciting player on his day and one who served well for years at one of the biggest clubs in world football, he ranks ninth on this list.


8 - Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)


Next up, it's the 'Bobby Dazzler' Roberto Firmino, a man who took the term "pressing forward" to new heights during his time on Merseyside.


Part of an infamous front three during Liverpool's Premier League glory years, Firmino joined from Hoffenheim in 2015 and would eventually partner with Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah to create one of the most lethal attacking lines in Premier League years.


A key figure in the season which ended the Red's 30 year wait for a league title Firmino was exceptional on Merseyside and a true fan favourite across his eight years in England.


He takes eighth spot on our list.


7 - Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal and Manchester United)


The first player in our list to play in London, Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez spent a majestic four years at Arsenal where he claimed the golden boot in the 2016/17 season with 24 strikes.


Sanchez was the man for Arsenal in Wenger's final years, a true talismanic figure that frightened defences up and down the country.


Based off his Arsenal career alone, Sanchez could rank higher on this list but his highly disappointing spell at Manchester United ruined the 34 year old's Premier League reputation almost completely. 


A wickedly technical goalscoring wide-man who spearheaded a top four side for many years before an ill-fated move away. Sanchez takes seventh here.


6 - Alisson Becker (Liverpool)


The only goalkeeper on this list, Liverpool's Alisson Becker is one of two elite level Brazilian goalies in competition for this spot; and whilst his compatriot Ederson has the passing range of a central midfielder, Alisson has arguably been the best all-round goalkeeper in the world for the last four seasons.


Almost impossible to beat in one-on-one situations and a domineering presence at the back, Alisson was also key in Liverpool's title challenges and eventual win in 2020.


A crucial figure in one of the great Premier League sides, Alisson has been immense at the back for years and continues to put up incredible shot-stopping numbers.


He's sixth on this list for a reason.


5 - Fernandinho (Manchester City)


In at number five is ex-Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho who silently held together an exceptional side for years with little praise.


An exceptional ball winning midfielder and the king of the tactical foul, Fernandinho won eleven major honours during his time in England. His consistent, disciplined displays allowed the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne to flourish into some of the greatest creative midfielders the league has ever seen.


A multiple league winner in Ukraine who quietly became the lynchpin of a Manchester City side which became all conquering in the English game. 

He deservedly sits at fifth spot.


4 - Carlos Tevez (West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City)


What to say about Carlos Tevez? 'El Apache' spent eight years in the Premier League and across that time became an incredibly divisive player.


The Argentine originally joined the Premier League in controversial fashion in 2006 from Brazilian side Corinthians and would go on to score seven goals in order to save West Ham from relegation.


Following this he spent two years on loan at Manchester United winning back-to-back Premier League titles before rejecting their contract offer in favour of a permanent switch to rivals Manchester City.


It was there that he would win another league title before eventually sailing off to Italian shores as a modern legend of the Premier League.


A truly controversial figure but his 84 Premier League strikes place him deservedly in fourth.


3 - Phillipe Coutinho (Liverpool and Aston Villa)


The most expensive January signing of all time, Aston Villa's Phillipe Coutinho is the first entry into our top three.


The Brazilian spent five seasons at Liverpool before his £142 million move to Barcelona in January 2018, and in that time became the heartbeat of an impressive and ambitious outfit.


Coutinho had a penchant for the spectacular and would often find the top corner from range. Able to dribble through challenges due to his low centre of gravity, the Brazilian's 87 goal contributions make him one of the most lethal Brazilian's to ever grace the Premier League.


Whilst he now finds himself as a spare part for Unai Emery's Aston Villa side, Coutinho's time at Liverpool catapulted him to stardom and made him one of the most dangerous creative players in the world at the time.


He's third for a reason.


2 - Luis Suarez (Liverpool)


The man with the greatest individual goalscoring season in Premier League history (excluding a certain Norwegian of course) Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez is undoubtedly one of the best strikers to ever ply his trade in the Premier League.


Steering clear of his scandalous actions, on a pure footballing basis Suarez was a genius, scoring arguably the greatest hat trick of all time against Norwich in 2012.


Equalling a now broken goalscoring record in the Premier League, Suarez's natural ability was such that it seemed he could score anytime, from anywhere no matter who stood in his way.


Whilst he never achieved the Premier League title his incredible time in England deserved, he does take second place here 


1 - Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)


But undoubtedly first on our list of the top ten South Americans to play in the Premier League has to be former Manchester City forward and scorer of the most iconic Premier League goal of all time *cue Martin Tyler*, Sergio Agüero.


Fifth on the all-time Premier League goalscoring list and highest scoring foreign Premier League player, Agüero was a goal machine at Manchester City. What's more is his 184 strikes come in just 275 appearances, giving him an incredible strike rate of a goal every 149 minutes across his Premier League career.


Top scorer in the 2014/15 season and a five-time English champion, Sergio Agüero was consistently one of the world's top marksmen across the 2010s and it is that consistent excellence that puts Agüero comfortably top of this list.


That concludes our list of the top South Americans to feature in the Premier League. But what we now want to know is did we miss anyone out? Let us know by leaving a comment or by going to our socials below.


And make sure to check out our last top ten where we looked at the top ten most expensive transfers in Premier League history.



Ben Watts

Add comment


There are no comments yet.