Coral’s Premier League era Spain stars XI after Pedro joins Chelsea
Following Premier League champions Chelsea signing Spain international winger Pedro Rodriguez from Barcelona, beating Manchester United to his signature, Coral experts got thinking about other great talents from that country that have graced England.
After much deliberation, we’ve come up with an all-star Spanish side that either plied its trade or still play here. Do you agree with our starting XI and subs?
Wantaway Red Devils stopper De Gea has a Premier League winners’ medal from his time at Old Trafford, which is more than former Liverpool custodian Pepe Reina received during his stay at Anfield. Despite De Gea looking likely to be at Real Madrid eventually, we’ve chosen him to protect the posts. Man Utd are 5/1 shots to be champions again.
Chelsea cult hero Ferrer has seen many fellow Spaniards follow in his footsteps at Stamford Bridge; some but not all are included below. Diminutive at just 5ft 7in, he now coaches Mallorca. Michel Salgado made it a close run choice, but based on achievements in England we go with the Blues full back.
Bolton Wanderers pulled off some sensational signing during the 2000s, and versatile Basque Country native Campo was a shining example. He stayed with the Trotters for six seasons, and it’s a pity he did not receive more recognition at international level.
Sam Allardyce and Phil Gartside had jaws dropping when ex-Spain and Real Madrid skipper Hierro moved to Wanderers in 2004. A set-piece and sweeping master, he was once La Roja’s record scorer. Hierro simply had to be included ahead of Gerard Pique, whose great achievements at Barcelona followed his Premier League departure from Man Utd.
With a procession of average orthodox left backs like Asier del Horno, Javier Garrido and Jose Enrique coming to play in England, it’s Chelsea incumbent Azpiliceuta we’ve chosen instead. Defensively solid in their Premier League title winning campaign last term, punters can expect improvement from him and the entire Blues rearguard under Jose Mourinho.
Another Basque Country native makes our XI. Magnificent Mendieta’s move to Middlesbrough is right up there with the Hierro to Bolton transfer. It had everyone scratching their heads, and what work from Steve McClaren and Steve Gibson to get their man initially on loan.
Ex-Arsenal captain Fabregas was another key component of Chelsea’s title win last term in his first season back in England. Treated shabbily by Barcelona, their loss has definitely been a great gain to the Premier League, which the Blues are 4/1 to retain.
The Basque theme runs rich through this Spanish side, but can you blame us when Alonso is definitely one of the true pass-masters of Premier League history? Ludicrous long-range goals, as well as perfect cross-field balls, were his forte during five years at Liverpool and he helped them win the 2005 Champions League against all odds.
Leading the supporting cast is Manchester City maestro Silva, who has been one of the best signings made at the Etihad. Creativity is his middle name and he added plenty of goals to his guile last term. If Manuel Pellegrini’s men are to regain the Premier League title (11/10 favourites), then Silva shall have plenty to do with it.
Arsenal creator Cazorla comes up with key goals for the Gunners, not least in the 2014 FA Cup final with a sumptuous Wembley free-kick. Rumours persisted this summer of a switch back to Spain with Atletico Madrid, but we’re glad he’s committed his future to the cause at the Emirates.
While his barren Chelsea stint leaves a stain that is hard to wash out of a tarnished reputation, the Torres of Liverpool was lethal. It’s something often forgotten, but his sensational scoring exploits at Anfield made ‘El Nino’ both a literal and figurative force of nature.
Substitutes: Pepe Reina, Gerard Pique, Michel Salgado, Mikel Arteta, Luis Garcia, Juan Mata, Fernando Morientes