Peter Cech and Cristiano Ronaldo among few stars as we look at the Premier League all-time best playing 11 for the 21st century.
The world has seen many exceptional footballing talents over the years. Each player has to earn their place in the starting 11 and keep performing. But the players who do it consistently over a long period of time in different situations and different positions are the ones who become the Greats of the game.
EPL has witnessed many world-class talents since its inception. But today in this article, we’ll be looking at the best 11 players for the 21st century in the Premier League. The players are selected on the basis of the stats and the impact they have made for future generations. There is a huge list of legendary players that have played in the league, but we are considering their performance to each other which might end up opting out few of the list.
Premier League Best Playing 11 for the 21st Century
There have been very few players in the league that are loved by their opponents, and Petr Cech is one of those. He is the only goalkeeper in the league to win the Golden Gloves for two different clubs, and is the joint record holder to win it 4 times in his career.
He has not only dominated in the EPL but has conquered the UEFA Champions League by winning 3 Best Goalkeeper Awards. His rugby-style head guard was iconic which he wore after he sustained a head injury in 2006 against Reading. Petr Cech holds the record for the most number of clean sheets in EPL with 202 clean sheets in 443 appearances.
If we need to guess the top 5 goal scorers in the league, surely, we’ll name all the top strikers that have played in the league. But Frank Lampard sits on number 4 with 177 Premier League goals without not playing once up top. He holds the record for scoring the most number of goals from outside the box (41).
Mr. Consistent went on to net double-digit goals in consecutive 10 years. He is considered the best midfielder of his time, and the best player ever to play for Chelsea. He joined Chelsea in 2001 and went on to win 3 league titles and 1 Champions league title in his career.
Sometimes, a great player leaves a void for many years to come. Such was the impact of Rio Ferdinand’s defensive brilliance – both at the club and the country level. He won 6 EPL titles with one of the most iconic Manchester United’s team of the century.
Ferdinand’s game was a text-book style center defending. He was tall, he had perfect distribution skills from both feet, he played as a sweeper and also helped in making goal-scoring plays. At his peak, he was a treat to watch and among the best CB in the league and in the world.
Hailed as one of the best players ever for Manchester United, Paul Scholes had a prolific career with Red Devils. He made a whooping 718 appearances for the club (the third-highest in the league). He also scored more than 150 goals for Manchester United.
Not just that, has won the most number of EPL titles in the premier league history with the club i.e. 11 and also had 25 trophies in his cabinet. A gifted midfielder was so pleasant to the eyes with his passing, his movement and his skills, and used to make an assist out of thin air.
The selfless server for the club with outstanding records to his name. The longevity of his career and the class that he has delivered throughout can’t be seen elsewhere. He is the most decorated Manchester United player with 8 premium league titles and one champion’s league title. Winning a total of 13 titles with the club, he was the go-to player for his team.
From an explosive winger to being a dependable midfielder during the latter half of his career, his game didn’t dip from day one until he retired. His record of the most number of titles is not easy to break, and I guess he’ll hold this record for decades to come.
The Captain, the Leader, and Legend for Chelsea fans, John terry, has been a rock-solid defender with a knack for scoring crucial goals. The old-fashioned center defense has led the legendary Chelsea side of the 2000s to great success. Terry played for Chelsea for 19 years, and was named UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
He was known as the best defender of the generation at his peak. In addition, Terry has been the most successful captain for the club winning 5 Premier League titles, one Champions League title, one UEFA Europa League, three league clubs and 4 FA cup titles.
This name needs no introduction. Arguably one of the greatest players of our generation, Cristiano Ronaldo has won 3 consecutive league titles and the Champions League title with the Red Devils. He won his first Ballon d’Or in 2007 due to his world-class performance for united.
He dominated the league during his stay, and then moved to Real Madrid at just 24 for a world record signing amount. His fitness, skills, finishing, speed and style have inspired many generations to come. One of the most popular number 7 for the club, Ronaldo proved worthy of it at a very young age.
You can imagine how good was Thierry Henry, as he is the 5th most goal-scorer in the league when he spent only 7 seasons in the league. Arsenal star striker had won 4 Golden boots in 7 years and won 2 premier league titles with Arsenal.
No one has one more Golden boots award than Henry. He is surely the best striker in the league in the 21st century betting 249 goals in 258 matches. He captained Arsenal for 2 seasons and led them to the UEFA Champions League title victory.
It’s tough to top the list where you are competing with the Ronaldos, Henrys and Rooneys. But not when your name is Alan Shearer. The Premier League all-time top scorer by a fair margin, Shearer has scored 62 more goals than the second-place Rooney.
Now you would have guessed the sheer dominance of this man. However, the only league title he won was with Blackburn Rovers in the 1994-95 season. And also won two consecutive Golden Boot awards with them. He then moved to Newcastle United and spent the rest of his career with them becoming the club’s record goal scorer as well.
Sometimes a moment of sheer brilliance helps you write your name in the history books. Who can forget the last-minute goal scored by King Kun, as called by Cityzens. Aguero has been the torchbearer of the new regime of Manchester City, and he made an impact in every season that he played.
He was lethal in front of goal and is the record holder for the most number of hat tricks in the premier league i.e. 12. Aguero moved to City in 2011 and helped them win the league title after 44 years. He won 5 league titles with City in just 10 years, but after moving to Barcelona for a brief period, he had to retire from the game due to serious health issues.
It’s not the titles that define one’s greatness, but it’s the impact they have had on the pitch. Undoubtedly one of the greatest players of his generation, Liverpool’s Stevan Gerrard spent 17 years with Liverpool. He has been the backbone of the team always, and is known as one of the best midfielders to play the game.
His playmaking and powerful hits were a treat to watch. The hardworking midfielder captained the side for the majority of his career. He had his fair share of ups and down in his career, but nothing takes away the mark that he has left on the game.
Premier League All-time Best Playing 11 for the 21st Century:
Petr Cech [gk], Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, John Terry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Sergio Aguero, & Stevan Gerrard
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Himanshu is an author at Footbalytics. He is a sports freak and Football is his first love. He is a National level football player himself. With the world full of Messi’s, Ronaldo’s and Gerrard’s fans, he is a die hard fan of Iker Casillas.
Though he is a Sales Manager by profession, he would never miss playing football with his mates.