Ranked! The 10 best South American players in Premier League history

Manchester City captain Fernandinho
(Image credit: Getty)

Who are the best South Americans in Premier League history? World Cups and European football used to be the only outlets for English-based football fans to see some Latin American stars, and the first decade or more of the Premier League didn't see much in the way of Brazilians, Argentinians or Chileans.

Now, as the English top tier has become a global phenomenon, you're much more likely to see the continent represented on Match of the Day.

That means that this list is dominated by players from the last 10 years or so...

10. Antonio Valencia, Ecuador (Wigan, Manchester United)

Antonio Valencia Manchester United

(Image credit: Getty)

You’d be hard pushed to find a more serious-looking player in modern Premier League history; but Antonio Valencia must have loved it here; over 13 years, the Ecuadorian made 325 appearances, still a record for a South American player.

Having spent three seasons with Wigan, the winger turned right-back joined Manchester United in 2009 and went on to win two titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.

9. Javier Mascherano, Argentina (West Ham, Liverpool)

After joining West Ham alongside compatriot Carlos Tevez in arguably the most controversial deal in Premier League history then featuring just five times for the Hammers, Javier Mascherano eventually got going with Liverpool.

The Argentine enforcer became a firm favourite among the Anfield faithful (who serenaded him with an adaptation of ‘Seven Nation Army’) and scored his only league goal for the Reds in the Merseyside derby.

8. Ederson, Brazil (Manchester City)

Known more for pinpoint passing than spectacular shot-stopping, Ederson might be the least goalkeeper-like custodian the Premier League has ever seen (he’s a decent penalty taker too, according to Pep Guardiola).

But when called upon, the almost impossibly composed Brazilian has barely put a glove wrong for Manchester City – helping them to three titles in four seasons since signing from Benfica.

7. Roberto Firmino, Brazil (Liverpool)

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino

(Image credit: Getty)

“I’m pretty sure when he finishes playing, people will write books about the way he interpreted the false nine position,” Jurgen Klopp said of Roberto Firmino.

A key member of the 2019-20 title-winning side, Liverpool’s superbly selfless, sparkly-toothed centre-forward has bagged 71 league goals in seven years with the Reds – and is the only Brazilian to score multiple Premier League hat-tricks.

6. Alexis Sanchez, Chile (Arsenal and Manchester United)

Chile’s greatest player of all time, Alexis Sanchez arrived at Arsenal in 2014 and would go on to average almost a goal every other game — finding the net 24 times in 2016-17 to finish as third-top scorer.

And it is his dazzling displays for the Gunners which earn him sixth spot on this list; his subsequent spell at Manchester United could hardly have contrasted more starkly.

5. Alisson Becker, Brazil (Liverpool)

He may not quite match Ederson on the scale of outward cucumber-coolness, but Alisson is an equally elite proponent of the sweeper-keeper position.

And, unlike the man he is currently edging out as Brazil’s first choice between the sticks, he has scored a goal – that remarkable headed winner at West Brom which crucially kept Liverpool on course for Champions League qualification.  

4. Carlos Tevez, Argentina (West Ham, Manchester United, Manchester City)

Carlos Tevez Manchester City

(Image credit: Getty)

Carlos Tevez’s final West Ham goal defeated Manchester United and relegated Sheffield United – who were so incensed about the striker’s third-party ownership that they launched a protest led by local legend Sean Bean.

Anyway… Tevez then won two titles with the Red Devils – before further making his mark on the Premier League with their arch-rivals City, sharing the Golden Boot with Dimitar Berbatov in 2010/11.

3. Fernandinho, Brazil (Manchester City)

Manchester City skipper Fernandinho is on his way this summer, but the no-nonsense midfield lynchpin will leave the Etihad Stadium as a legend (and the most-booked Brazilian in Premier League history).

A veteran of four title-winning campaigns under two different managers, the 36-year-old will hope to go out on a high by adding a fifth – before they build the statue.

2. Luis Suarez, Uruguay (Liverpool)

Suarez’s 2013/14 haul of 31 goals remains the highest not to include a penalty in a 38-match Premier League season; it scooped him the Golden Boot and European Golden Shoe.

The Uruguay star, though only here for two-and-a-half years, will go down as one of the most spectacular goalscorers English football has ever seen – but he also left behind a legacy tainted by unsavoury incidents.

1. Sergio Aguero, Argentina (Manchester City)

Sergio Aguero Manchester City

(Image credit: Getty)


You know exactly where you were for the most iconic goal – the most iconic moment – in the history of the Premier League.

But while the strike which clinched City’s first title in 44 years will forever be remembered as Sergio Aguero’s most notable, it was just one of 184 in the competition for the prolific Argentine; no overseas player has notched more.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...