Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry: Who is the Premier League's greatest ever?


The Premier League's greatest ever player is a debate that's never getting settled. 

Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry are the top flight's most prolific overseas goalscorers, but Alan Shearer surpassed them all with 260 goals. 

Wayne Rooney, who announced his retirement earlier this week, also has to be in the reckoning, while English football has also been graced with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Eric Cantona. 

Then there are Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who hauled in winners medals' into the double digits under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.  

It's difficult to judge by what metrics greatness can truly be decided, but admirably, FourFourTwo have done their best to give it a go.

They've ranked 100 of the best Premier League players of all time and by and large, there can be few complaints. 

100. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

99. Emmanuel Petit 

98. Mark Schwarzer

97. Philippe Coutinho 

96. David James

95. Leighton Baines

94. Jordan Henderson 


93. Shay Given

92. Trent Alexander-Arnold 

91. Juninho 

90. Chris Sutton

89. Jamie Carragher 

88. Steve McManaman

87. Gary Pallister

86. Brad Friedel 


85. Peter Crouch

84. Alisson Becker

83. Gareth Barry 

82. Robbie Keane 

81. Riyad Mahrez

80. Freddie Ljungberg

Let's take a look at 100-80. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker haven't been playing in the Premier League for all that long, but it's testament to what they've already achieved at Liverpool, winning the title and both making serious cases for being the division's best in their position currently.

Robbie Keane and Gareth Barry were both seriously underrated and Solskjaer deserves a mention for being the ultimate super-sub. 

79. Tim Cahill 

78. Emile Heskey

77. Michael Essien 

76. Kevin Phillips 

75. Gary Speed 

74. Ian Wright

73. Patrice Evra

72. Sami Hyypia

71. David de Gea 


70. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

69. Carlos Tevez

68. Roberto Firmino

67. Les Ferdinand

66. Dimitar Berbatov

65. Matt Le Tissier

64. David Seaman

63. Dion Dublin 

62. Fernando Torres

61. James Milner

60. Romelu Lukaku 

In the top 80-60, there are a handful of players who feel they might deserve a higher placing. Dimitar Berbatov was right up there for technique. The Bulgarian's touch was absolutely effortless.

Fernando Torres is arguably brought down a notch by his spell at Chelsea, but it's great to see Romelu Lukaku in the mix. The striker often didn't get the credit he deserved, but he did score 113 goals in 252 games. 

59. Gareth Bale 

58. Jermain Defoe

57. Paolo Di Canio

56. David Ginola

55. Jay-Jay Okocha


54. Gary Neville 

53. Jamie Vardy

52. Claude Makelele 

51. Raheem Sterling

50. Denis Irwin

49. Teddy Sheringham 

48. Michael Owen

47. Robbie Fowler

46. Jaap Stam

45. Robert Pires

44. Yaya Toure


43. Cesc Fabregas

42. Sadio Mane 

41. Luis Suarez

40. Xabi Alonso

We've just a few qualms here. Gary Neville was one of the Premier League's greatest right-backs and he finds himself behind quite a few strikers, probably courtesy of his position. Likewise, it's always going to be tough for a player of Makelele's nature to overtake those who are asked to score goals. 

Gareth Bale might have ranked higher had some of his best years not come at Real Madrid after leaving Tottenham in 2013, but Jermain Defoe is rightly given the nod for his 91 goals at White Hart Lane. 

39. Robin van Persie

38. Sol Campbell 

37. Michael Carrick

36. Nicolas Anelka

35. Ruud van Nistelrooy 

34. Tony Adams

33. Gianfranco Zola

32. Harry Kane 

31. David Silva

30. Edwin van der Sar

29. David Beckham

28. N'Golo Kante


27. Dwight Yorke

26. Andy Cole 

25. Eden Hazard

24. Didier Drogba 

23. Virgil van Dijk 

22. Kevin De Bruyne 

21. Nemanja Vidic

Harry Kane isn't finished yet and he still has Shearer's record in his sights. For now, he's ranked as the 32nd best behind some real legends. Michael Carrick is another to fall into the criminally underrated category, but there is no mistaking Vidic and De Bruyne's quality as they edge near the top spots.

The Serbian defender was considered by some to be the Premier League's greatest centre-back and De Bruyne possesses vision like no other. And now to the top 20... 

20. Peter Schmeichel 

19. Vincent Kompany 

18. Dennis Bergkamp


17. Petr Cech

16. Mohamed Salah

15. Sergio Aguero

14. Ashley Cole 

13. Rio Ferdinand 

12. John Terry

11. Ryan Giggs

10. Patrick Vieira

9. Roy Keane 

8. Steven Gerrard


7. Paul Scholes

6. Frank Lampard 

5. Eric Cantona

4. Wayne Rooney 

3. Alan Shearer 

2. Cristiano Ronaldo 

1. Thierry Henry 

Ronaldo can reasonably stake his claim as one of the greatest ever to do it, but so much of that is because of what he achieved in Madrid.

Henry's placing as the Premier League's greatest ever is justified, spearheading Arsenal's Invincibles and scoring 175 goals in 258 appearances. Had he not quit north London for Barcelona, there would be even less of a debate.

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