One of the best leagues in world football, the Premier League has and continues to attract some of the best players the game has ever seen. Some of which have descended from Portugal, a country well known for producing world class players, including a certain CR7. More about him later on. Below we look at the best Portuguese players to play in the Premier League.
Raul Meireles (Liverpool and Chelsea)
Raul Meireles’ time in the Premier League was short and sweet. Two years, two clubs. He spent the 2010/11 season at Liverpool and the next at Chelsea. Arriving from Porto with big expectations the centre midfielder was solid but never really lived up to the hype. Comfortable on the ball and an excellent passer Meireles made things tick. He was a key figure in Chelsea’s famous Champions League winning side in 2012 before departing for Turkey and Fenerbahce. In and out. Job done. No messing about.
Jose Bosingwa (Chelsea and QPR)
Another Champions League winner with Chelsea, defender Jose Bosingwa joined the club in 2008 from Porto and spent four years at Stamford Bridge before ending his stint in England with a season to forget at QPR. It was an absolute car crash. And that’s being kind. Back to his time at Chelsea then. Two FA Cups, a Community Shield and that Champions League title. Despite playing at full back, Bosingwa was a huge threat going forward, and needed no invitation to bomb on. He was pacy, got up and down and was comfortable on the ball causing the opposition serious problems. His fiery, unpredictable character often caused controversy, and that’s why we love him.
Spotted the trend yet? Yeah, that’s right, Chelsea had a thing for signing Portuguese players, especially during the Jose Mourinho era. A bit like Wolves of late. Tiago’s time at Stamford Bridge was short lived, but he had a huge impact. In Mourinho’s first season at the club only five players made more Premier League appearances than the defensive midfielder. Chelsea cruised to the title that season with Tiago suffering defeat just once in 34 games, some record eh?
Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
One season in the Premier League, one title. Easy work for Ruben Dias, who joined Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side in 2020 from Benfica. The centre back, still only 24, has had a huge impact on the Citizens’ defence, forging a formidable partnership with John Stones. Both were instrumental in City’s 2020/21 success and Dias was named player of the year by numerous publications. If the Portuguese centre back plays at the same level next season then It’ll take something special to stop Man City bagging back-to-back titles.
Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Wolves – insert handshake emoji – Portuguese players. They go together like mac and cheese. Burger and fries. Salt and vinegar. It’s a match made in heaven. Joao Moutinho joined the club in 2018 from Monaco and was considered to be a serious coup. That said, many predicted the then 32 year old, 5ft7 midfielder to struggle to adapt to the fast paced, physical style of the Premier League. How wrong they were. He bossed it from day one. Going toe to toe with the best in the league. Now 34, Moutinho remains a regular starter for the Midlands club, which is testament to his talent and fitness.
Luis Boa Morte (Arsenal, Southampton, Fulham and West Ham United)
No Portuguese player has made more Premier League appearances than Luis Boa Morte. The pacy winger, best known for his eight year stint at Fulham, notched up 296 appearances in England’s top flight. Exactly 100 more than the next highest, Cristiano Ronaldo. Boa Morte was also the first Portuguese player to win the Premier League. Doing so with Arsenal in 1998 before moving to Southampton a year later. Overall Boa Morte spent 14 years in England finishing his stint with 29 league goals and 35 assists.
Brazilian-born Portugal international Deco arrived in the Premier towards the latter years of his career, joining Chelsea from Barcelona in 2008. Many predicted the ageing midfielder would struggle to find his feet, but he proved them all wrong by playing a pivotal role in Carlo Ancelotti’s 2009/10 title winning side. Deco’s vision, creativity and ability to pick a pass in the final third helped the Blues bag a then record 103 league goals.
Paulo Ferreira (Chelsea)
Mr reliable, Paulo Ferreira followed compatriot Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge in 2004 and made 141 league appearances for the club over a spell of 9 years. It could, and would, have been more but for a series of niggling injuries. He did, however, help Chelsea to four league titles which isn’t bad going eh? Solid in the tackle, positionally excellent and comfortable on the ball Ferreira, who represented Portugal 62 times, was an all round solid full back. He could defend and attack, and always gave his all. Which is why he fast became a favourite with the Chelsea faithful.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)
Massively underrated, Bernardo Silva joined Manchester City in 2017 from Monaco. In his first two seasons at the club Silva helped Pep Guardiola’s side win back-to-back league titles, whilst breaking multiple records in the process including most points, wins and goals scored in a single season. Typically deployed as a right sided attacking midfielder, Silva is blessed with a wand of a left foot and is a nightmare to defend against with bags of pace and energy. The latter he utilises defensively too harassing opposing players, nibbling at their ankles like a little Jack Russell. He’s a handful, and that’s being polite.
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)
Since signing for Manchester United in January 2020 Bruno Fernandes has wasted no time in making his presence felt. The attacking midfielder has been in red hot form since switching from Sporting, scoring 26 goals in 51 appearances across all competitions. Prior to his arrival the Red Devils lacked that cutting edge in the final third. They were boring to watch. Laboured. But not now. Not with Bruno. They’re a different beast. He dictates play. Makes things happen. Anything good goes through the Portuguese playmaker. As a result he’s fast become a favourite amongst the Old Trafford faithful.
Nani (Manchester United)
Often over shadowed by the legend that is Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Bought from Sporting in 2007 the pacy winger spent seven years at Manchester United where he won four league titles and made 147 Premier League appearances. Capable of playing on either wing, Nani had pace to burn and was a bag of tricks. He bagged 26 league goals during his time at Old Trafford, making him the third highest scoring Portuguese player in the competition’s history. We’ve got to mention the celebration too, it was flipping good. Yeah, we went there, no shame at all.
Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)
One of the best defenders of his generation Ricardo Carvalho forged a formidable partnership with John Terry at the heart of Chelsea’s defence. The pair Solid in the tackle, dominant in the air and comfortable on the ball Carvalho had it all and helped the Blues to three Premier League titles in six years, including back-to-back titles in 2004/05 and 2005/06.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
A list of the best Portuguese players to play in the Premier League wouldn’t be complete without Cristiano Ronaldo, would it? Many believe he’s the goat, the greatest of all time, and it’s hard to argue against those claims. The statistics speak for themselves. He scored 84 goals in 196 Premier League appearances and won three league titles on the bounce between 2006 and 2009. In two of those three campaigns he was named Premier League Player Of The Season making him only only the third player to win the accolade twice. He also won the Golden Boot award in 2007/08 after netting an impressive 31 goals. Ooh and we almost forgot that Ballon d’Or crown in 2008.