From Peter Schmeichel in goal to Thierry Henry up front. The Premier League has had some of the best players that football has ever seen. But English football has been extremely blessed with top quality wingers in particular. Out of all the players that have succeeded as wingers, there are three that stand out; Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and Mohammed Salah.
The finest of margins separate these three players. So, in my opinion it comes down to preference as well as Premier League legacy when deciding who is the best winger.
Eden Hazard was sensational for Chelsea. He was their best player throughout his time in London and carried them to two league titles. Unlike Ronaldo and Salah, Hazard was never the main source of goals for his team. However, he was the main creative outlet and was always looked for by his teammates as the player that will set up goal scoring opportunities.
Eden’s main attributes had to be his intelligence, dribbling and creative prowess and although he wasn’t a prolific goal scorer, he still managed to score a few goals himself. In both his title winning seasons he scored 14 league goals and 16 league goals respectively. Despite this, his most impressive league campaign statistically would be in 2018/19 where he registered 15 goals and 15 assists.
Hazard ended his time in London with four Chelsea player of the year awards, Both PFA players player and young player of the year awards and a Premier League player of the season award. Despite Chelsea’s continued success after his departure, Hazard’s impact on the pitch has been sorely missed, reminding fans of the immense void he left behind at Stamford Bridge.
Salah came back to the Premier League in 2017 and ever since then he has been unstoppable. He kickstarted his legacy in England by breaking Ronaldo’s 38 game goal scoring record with 32 goals. Salah’s goal scoring record since he’s joined Liverpool is a joke. He is a 3 time golden boot winner and has never scored below 19 league goals at Liverpool.
I believe he’s one of the greatest big game players this league has ever seen. He has over 60 goals and assists in 82 appearances against the big 6. Even in this underwhelming season Liverpool have had he is amongst a select few elite players who have reached double digits in both league goals and assists.
Although his goal scoring attributes may get all the glory, his playmaking ability does go under the radar. The winger has registered 10+ league assists in several different seasons.
Salah’s individual Premier League accolades have undeniably solidified his legacy in the league. With multiple Golden Boot awards, he has showcased his exceptional scoring prowess season after season. His electrifying performances have earned him the admiration of all Liverpool fans. The Egyptian King.
I think we can all agree that Ronaldo’s legacy is best defined by the 2007/8 season. He scored 42 goals goals in 49 appearances as Manchester United won both the Premier League and Champions League. His form saw him be the first player to clean sweep every individual award that year. Ronaldo was the first wide player in the premier league to put up such freakish numbers.
I believe it could be argued that without him the role of wingers putting up striker goal scoring numbers wouldn’t be as prominent as it is today. Also, I think it is important to remember that Ronaldo is the last player to win a Ballon d’Or in the Premier League which is a career defining moment in his Premier League career.
Ultimately, whilst in England, Ronaldo revolutionised the role of a winger. He became the main source of goals whilst also keeping elements of the traditional winger. For example, he was able to beat his defender in a one on one situation and maintain the flair aspect of being a winger which the fans love. He had the ‘X factor’ element to his game whilst being statistically efficient which puts him a level above a lot of good wingers.
When it comes to the Premier League legacies of Ronaldo, Hazard and Salah, only the finest margins separate them.
Who do you think is the best winger in Premier League history?
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