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10 players we wished had played in the Premier League (but didn't)

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5. Ronaldo

How could you not? 

It's impossible to make any original observations about Ronaldo, because he spent his career being lathered with superlatives and the case for wanting to have watched him more closely is obvious. For as a long as the game is played, there will be a fascination with extreme physical attributes and, with the possible exception of George Weah, nobody has blended pace and power with Ronaldo's level of technical ability in quite such an overwhelming way. 

He was a force of nature and, while the clips of such moment perhaps haven't aged quite as well as anticipated, there were times – especially during his Barcelona years – when Ronaldo seemed to be playing the game in a way which had never been seen before. 

Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy... no Premier League forward has ever compared to him. What could he have done to English football? The answer, most likely, is that he would have burned it to the ground.

6. Dejan Savićević

In 1991, the Red Star Belgrade team that had beaten Marseille on penalties in the European Cup final travelled to Old Trafford to contest UEFA's Super Cup with Manchester United. It was a game watched by barely 20,000 supporters, and one which United would win 1-0, but anybody who watched it will remember Dejan Savićević ahead of everything else – including Sir Alex Ferguson, who would recall being mesmerised by the "sensational" Yugoslav in his autobiography. 

It doesn't really do his performance justice, but some ropey footage from that game can been seen in the video below (2.30 onwards). Watch what he does to Paul Ince...

Most memorable is Savićević's lob over Andoni Zubizarreta in the 1994 Champions League Final but, wonderful as it was, over time it's been allowed to define him to a new generation. He was one of the most elegant, elusive dribblers the game has ever seen, but also immensely strong on the ball... and above all, dynamic. 

Savićević magic at 2:45 

Gifted left-footed players weren't rare in England, but they typically had flaws: their expression would come at the cost of consistency, or vice versa. As successful as Savićević's time in Milan was, it's natural to wonder whether Fabio Capello subdued his creative spirit and, consequently, to imagine how he might have glowed in a more offensive league under a less guarded tactician. Adding him to Kevin Keegan's Newcastle team, for instance, would likely have created a spectacular multiplying effect and impact on English football which would still survive to this day.  

7. Paolo Montero

"When I get on a football pitch, my only desire is to win. I'm not thinking about being a role model for my sons or for the fans watching me. I don't think it's true to say that you are disloyal to football if you feign an injury, or tug a shirt or do something else to win the game, as winning games is the purpose of football."

Montero, in conversation with The Guardian's John Carlin in 2003. 

"Montero would have been loathed by 19 rival clubs in England, but the twentieth would have been building statues in his honour."

People only remember the Uruguayan's bad side. Not unreasonably, because a record 16 red cards in Serie A during stints with Atalanta and Juventus attests to just how much "bad" there was and, equally, a quick Google of some of his Copa America "highlights" will make your eyes water.

Nevertheless, Montero was so honest about the way he played that there was almost a heroism to his aggression. He certainly took liberties on the pitch, but it's difficult not to admire his 'ends justifying the means' attitude towards football. In fact, it's not dissimilar to a supporter's outlook: a fan doesn't care how a game is won, only that it is. Montero would have been loathed by 19 rival clubs in England, but the 20th would have been building statues in his honour.