5 Spanish Footballers who made it big in the Premier League

spaniards in english football

LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are always linked in the transfer market to the best players in the world. However, many Spanish players have made their way over to the Premier League and have left a lasting impression on the English top flight.

The adjustment for Spanish players to the more physical, quicker Premier League can often be a difficult one, although there have been a host of notable successes like Juan Mata, Diego Costa and Santi Cazorla.

Here we take a look at five of the most influential Spanish players to have ever graced the Premier League.

Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso is currently earning wide acclaim as one of the hottest young managerial properties. Having surprisingly guided Bayer Leverkusen to the 2023/24 Bundesliga title, he has featured prominently in the football betting odds for a number of top European jobs and has been linked with returns to former clubs Liverpool and Real Madrid.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was pulling the strings in midfield for those sides and his time spent in England is hard to forget. 

Alonso would always quietly go about his business at the base of Liverpool’s midfield, dictating the pace of the play. He had enviable playmaking ability and won the UEFA Champions League in his first season with the Reds. Alonso wasn’t the quickest, but he was so elegant on the ball and hugely influential in consistently driving his team forward.

A craftsman of the playmaking game, he spent five years with Liverpool before returning to LaLiga to play for Real Madrid.

Cesc Fàbregas

Cesc Fabregas
Photo credit: depositphotos.com

A two-club man during his time in England, it all started for Cesc Fàbregas at Arsenal. The creative midfielder, who always had astonishing vision and time on the ball, burst onto the scene for the North London side as a precocious teenager.

His delightful passing game was just a joy to watch. Although his time with the Gunners ended without a league title and with only one FA Cup to his name, he departed for Barcelona in 2011 having made a lasting impression.

Then in 2014, he surprisingly drifted back to the Premier League to join Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea. A more mature player but still as gifted as ever, Fàbregas was pivotal to Chelsea’s success in the Premier League, winning the league title twice with them.

David Silva

best spanish players in the premier league
Photo credit: depositphotos.com

Former Manchester City player David Silva is fondly remembered by fans of the Premier League, even by those who aren’t City supporters. The diminutive Silva had a low centre of gravity that he used to great effect, and the ball at times just looked like it was glued to him when he would go on his mazy runs.

Silva oozed class and skill and was known for the precision of his creative passing. He won four Premier League titles with Manchester City and when Pep Guardiola arrived at the club, the form of Silva went through the stratosphere.

One of Spain’s greats, Silva left the Etihad with 12 titles across all competitions and became the first ever Spaniard to successfully defend a Premier League title capping a glittering career in the English top flight.

César Azpilicueta

A rock in the full-back position for Chelsea, César Azpilicueta was a model of consistency for the Blues under many different managers. Made a club captain, César Azpilicueta never let his club down and while predominantly a right back, he would often fill in across the back line when it was needed.

A great reader of the game, he had pace and power in abundance. That meant that Azpilicueta was often seen marauding forward and quick as a flash, he was back cleaning up in defence.

César Azpilicueta’s long tenure with the Blues made him a club legend. Consistency and passion will do that for a player, and Azpilicueta racked up the silverware including two Premier League titles and the famous Champions League success in 2021 against Manchester City.

David de Gea

Spanish Premier league players
Photo credit: depositphotos.com

While Liverpool’s former Spanish goalkeeper Pepe Reina is an honourable mention, easily Spain’s greatest goalkeeping export to England is David de Gea. The former Manchester United player was regarded as one of the world’s best keepers for many years.

Despite much speculation throughout his time at Old Trafford of him making a move back to Spain, De Gea remained loyal to the club until United let his contract run out at the end of the 2022/23 season. Bizarrely, for such a top keeper, he remained in the footballing wilderness, not playing during the 2023/24 season.

De Gea was a brilliant shot-stopper with lightning-quick reactions. At one point he seemed to single-handedly keep United in matches, so poor were the performances in front of him. The former United Player of the Year won just one Premier League title but deserved a lot more.