The Premier League was formed in 1992 and ever since has developed into the best league in the world. Some of the greatest players have come to these shores to grace our top flight, and the best of British are staying put.
In the eight years before the turn of the century many quality players helped take it to the next level, and here we count down the top 20.
20. David Ginola
1990s – The French winger arrived in England in the summer of 1995 when Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan snapped him up from PSG for £2.5 million. His Gallic flair on the left wing was an instrumental element in the Magpies’ quest for the 1995/96 championship which ultimately ended in disaster. After two seasons in Toon he signed for Tottenham and continued to make an impression, winning the League Cup in 1999.
2000s – Spells at Aston Villa and Everton followed before Ginola hung up his boots in 2002. He then moved in acting on both sides of the Channel and now runs his own vineyard.
19. Matt Le Tissier
1990s – A Southampton legend, Le Tissier played for the Saints since 1986 and was a goalscoring force from midfield. He netted 30 times in the league in 1993/94, including the Goal of the Season against Blackburn, and would continue to score wondergoals during his time at the Dell. He won eight caps for England but was controversially omitted from the 1998 World Cup squad by Glenn Hoddle.
2000s – Le Tiss’s career would finally have a fairytale ending when he scored the final goal at the Dell in a win against Arsenal, which would be his 100th Premier League goal. He is now a regular on Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday.
18. Tony Adams
1990s – The Arsenal captain guided his side to a domestic cup double in 1992/93 and was then made England skipper during Euro 96. After battling alcoholism the centre back returned to a Gunners side managed by Arsene Wenger and went on to guide his team to a league and cup double in 1997/98, capped by scoring a sensational goal against Everton to clinch his first Premier League winners medal.
2000s – He became the first player to captain his side to a league and cup double in three different decades in 2001/02 before retiring at the end of that season. He later would go into management with Wycombe and Portsmouth.
17. Paul Scholes
1990s – The ginger assassin made his debut back in 1994/95 for Manchester United, coming into the side as part of Fergie’s Fledglings who won the double a season later. Two more championships would follow before the start of the new century, but he would miss United’s greatest ever moment when suspension cost him a place in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in 1999 during their Treble year.
2000s – Scholes picked up five more titles during the next decade and continues to hold down a regular place in the United side. He also finally picked up a Champions League medal in 2007/08 when the Red Devils beat Chelsea in the final.
16. Michael Owen
1990s – The nippy striker scored on his debut against Wimbledon in 1997 and went on to pick up the PFA Young Player of the Year award the next season as he finished joint top scorer. This earned him a call-up to the England squad for the 1998 World Cup where he scored a fantastic goal against Argentina as the Three Lions were knocked out. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year and another Golden Boot would follow in the next 12 months.
2000s – Owen would be a key player as Liverpool went on to pick up five trophies in 2001 but moved to Real Madrid in 2004 for a season. An £18 million transfer to Newcastle followed but his time there was punctuated by injuries. He signed for Manchester United in the summer on a free transfer.
15. Roy Keane
1990s – After starting at Nottingham Forest but suffering relegation in the first Premier League season, the Irish central midfielder signed for Manchester United for a record £3.25 million. He would play a part in the club’s next four league titles and would also win three FA Cups, but like Scholes would miss the Champions League final in 1999 through suspension. He would captain the side during this period following Eric Cantona’s retirement.
2000s – Three more Premier League titles would follow before Keane fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson and moved to Celtic before retiring. He also walked out of Ireland’s 2002 World Cup squad, and after managing Sunderland is now in charge of Ipswich Town.
14. David Seaman
1990s – Having started the decade with QPR, he moved to Arsenal a few months later and won the First Division in his first full season. After guiding the Gunners to a Cup Winners Cup victory in 1995, the shot-stopper was a key member of the England side that nearly won Euro 96. Seaman would then go on to win the double in 1997/98 before playing in the 1998 World Cup finals.
2000s – Following a UEFA Cup final defeat in 2000, Seaman would win another double in 2002/03 and after another FA Cup the season after he moved to Manchester City, before retiring in 2004.
13. Ian Wright
1990s – The striker burst onto the scene with two goals in the 1990 FA Cup final against Manchester United with Crystal Palace, but the Eagles would lose the replay. He moved to Arsenal in 1991 and won the Golden Boot in his first season. FA, League and Cup Winners Cup winners’ medals would be won before the Gunners won the double in 1997/98, however he wasn’t selected for the FA Cup final and moved to West Ham United that summer.
2000s – Spells with Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley followed before he retired and moved into television and radio presenting, as well as punditry. He currently presents “Live At Studio Five” every weekday on Channel Five.
12. Teddy Sheringham
1990s – Sheringham was at Millwall when Nottingham Forest signed him in 1991, staying for a season before joining Tottenham. Whilst at Spurs would score 76 goals in 166 league games and form a formidable partnership with Alan Shearer with England during Euro 96. He moved to Manchester United in 1997 and would go on to win the treble in 1999, scoring the first of the Red Devils’ two stoppage time goals in the Champions League final.
2000s – After retaining the Premier League in 2000/01, Sheringham was named PFA Player of the Year and returned to Tottenham for a couple of seasons. He played for Portsmouth, West Ham and Colchester before retiring last season.
11. David Beckham
1990s – The world’s most famous player made his league debut for Manchester United in 1995/96, having spent time on loan at Preston North End. He finished his first season with league and FA Cup winners medals, before scoring from inside his own half against Wimbledon on the opening day of 1996/97, a season in which United would retain the title. After being sent off against Argentina the 1998 World Cup, the midfielder bounced back and won the treble the following season.
2000s – He would win another two Premier League titles and be handed the England captaincy before moving to Real Madrid in 2003. After winning La Liga in 2007 he joined LA Galaxy, and is currently in his second loan spell at AC Milan.
10. Gianfranco Zola
1990s – One of the best overseas imports this country has ever seen, Zola began the decade in his native Italy, playing for Napoli and Parma before signing for Chelsea in 1996. He made such an impact that he was named FWA Player of the Year in his first season and helped the Blues to the FA Cup. The little midfielder would add a League Cup, Cup Winners Cup and Super Cup medal to his haul before helping Chelsea into the Champions League for the first time.
2000s – Zola would then be part of the last side that won the FA Cup at the old Wembley, and was voted Chelsea’s best ever player before returning to Italy with Cagliari. Upon retirement he is currently manager at West Ham United.
9. Les Ferdinand
1990s – Sir Les’ Premier League career started with QPR where he averaged nearly a goal every other game before signing for Newcastle United in 1995. His goals forced the Magpies up the table before they were pipped to the title by Manchester United, but he finished top goalscorer and scooped the PFA Player of the Year. After another runners-up finish where he scored over 50 goals combined with Alan Shearer, he left Toon for Tottenham and won the League Cup in 1999.
2000s – After scoring the 10,000 Premier League goal in 2001 he had spells with West Ham, Leicester and Bolton and became the first player to score with six different teams in the league. He is now a coach at Tottenham.
8. Dennis Bergkamp
1990s – Having begun his career with Ajax, Bergkamp arrived at Highbury in 1995 after two seasons with Inter Milan ]where he won the UEFA Cup. He formed a lethal partnership with Ian Wright and later Nicolas Anelka as the Gunners went from being a mid-table side to double winners in 1997/98. He reached the World Cup semi-final with Holland the following summer, having previously won the Golden Boot with the Dutch national side during Euro 92.
2000s – After finding another strike partner in Thierry Henry, the duo fired Arsenal to another double in 2001/02 and the Dutchman would win both trophies one more time before ending his career following Arsenal’s 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona.
7. Dwight Yorke
1990s – The Trinidad and Tobago finisher was spotted by Aston Villa during a pre-season tour of the Caribbean, and after signing for the Villains would go on to score 73 league goals for them and win the 1993 and 1996 League Cups. He then moved to Manchester United in 1998 and formed a telepathic partnership with Andy Cole, and their goals helped United to the league, FA Cup and Champions League.
2000s – After another Premier League title in 2000/01, Yorke moved to Blackburn in 2002 but after falling out with Rovers boss Graeme Souness he had spells at Birmingham, Sydney FC and Sunderland where he won the Championship in 2007 before retiring last season.
6. Andy Cole
1990s – The explosive centre forward burst onto the scene when after struggling with Arsenal, Fulham and Bristol City, he joined Kevin Keegan’s revolution at Newcastle in 1993. After helping the Magpies to the Division One title, he then won the Premier League Golden Boot in his first season, before a shocking transfer to Manchester United in 1995. Three league titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League followed as the Cole and Yorke partnership became legendary.
2000s – Despite one final league title, Cole started to collect clubs, playing for Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Sunderland, Burnley and Nottingham Forest. He is now a coach at Huddersfield Town.
5. Robbie Fowler
1990s – After coming through the Liverpool youth side, the striker netted five goals on his debut in a League Cup tie and continued to bang them in for the Reds for the next seven years. He finished top scorer in his first season, and then won the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1994/95, which included the fastest Premier League hat-trick, netting three in 4 minutes 33 seconds. He played in Euro 96 and had scored nearly 120 league goals for the Reds by the start of the 21st century.
2000s – After winning the FA, League, UEFA and Super Cups with Liverpool in 2001, he moved to Leeds United for £11 million, before spells with Manchester City, a return to Liverpool, Cardiff and Blackburn. He now plays for North Queensland Fury in the Australian A League.
4. Ryan Giggs
1990s – The most decorated footballer in football history, the Welsh winger made his debut for Manchester United in 1990/91 and has become a football legend during his time at Old Trafford. Five Premier League titles came his way before 2000 as well as three FA Cups, a League Cup and a Champions League as Giggs played his part in the United midfield alongside Beckham, Scholes and Keane.
2000s – Giggs has continued to win more of the game’s major prizes since, having won an unprecedented 11 league titles with United, as well as an FA Cup, two League Cups and the Champions League again in 2008 since the end of the 90s. He is the current BBC Sports Personality of the Year and still plays a big role at Manchester United.
3. Peter Schmeichel
1990s – The Great Dane signed for Manchester United for £530,000 from Brondby in 1991 in one of the best transfers ever. After winning Euro 92 with Denmark he began picking up the silverware with United, winning the first two Premier Leagues and would add another three before leaving England following the Treble victory of 1999. He also won three FA Cups and a League Cup before departing Old Trafford and joining Sporting Lisbon.
2000s – After winning the Portuguese League in 2000, Schmeichel returned to England with Aston Villa and Manchester City. He worked as a pundit with the BBC and now presents TV shows back in Denmark.
2. Eric Cantona
1990s – The mercurial Frenchman had a stormy career in France before arriving at Leeds United in 1992 and helping them to the First Division title. However Leeds accepted a £1.25 million bid from Manchester United for Cantona and he went on to win four Premier League titles in five years, including two doubles. He famously kung-fu kicked a fan in a game against Crystal Palace in 1995, and announced his retirement from the game two years later.
2000s – The maverick striker moved into acting in France when his playing days were over, but also featured in a movie about his playing days called “Looking For Eric”. He played international beach football and is the current manager of the French side.
1. Alan Shearer
1990s – The league’s record goalscorer with 260 goals, the Geordie striker began at Southampton before moving to Blackburn in 1992. He would go on to win the Premier League with Rovers in 1994/95 and the Golden Boot three times in a row during the 90s, and starred at Euro 96 as England made the semis. He then signed for Newcastle United in 1996 for a world record £15 million and helped them to a second place finish and two consecutive FA Cup finals.
2000s – Shearer would go on to break goalscoring records, and became Newcastle’s all-time top scorer with 206 goals before retiring in 2006. He briefly returned as manager last season but now works as a pundit for the BBC.