Spain has provided some of the best players the Premier League has ever seen. An influx of Spanish managers such as Rafael Benitez and Roberto Martinez has led to more and more top talents switching Spain to England.
We take a look at what could be the greatest Spanish XI in Premier League history…
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
Manchester United have David de Gea to thank for the club remaining in the race for a top four finish this season as the Spaniard has reached new heights at Old Trafford. The goalkeeper has put his summer transfer saga behind him and has enjoyed his greatest season to date. He was recently named in the PFA Team of the Year for his performances this campaign where he has kept 14 clean-sheets.
Right-Back- Hector Bellerin
Former Barcelona youngster, Hector Bellerin, is another player who has enjoyed an outstanding season in the Premier League. After breaking into the Arsenal first-team last season, Bellerin has ousted Mathieu Debuchy and made the right-back position his own. The 21-year-old was the only Arsenal player to be named in the PFA Team of the Year. Bellerin is arguably the fastest player in the Premier League which has made him of the most promising defenders in the world.
Centre-Back – Gerard Pique
Although Gerard Pique made just 12 Premier League appearances, his talents could not be overlooked. Since making the switch to Barcelona, Pique has become one of the best centre-backs in the world. He formed a formidable partnership with Carlos Puyol as Barcelona enjoyed one of their most successful ever spells. Manchester United have been left to rue the decision to allow the 29-year-old to leave the club for just £5m in 2006.
Centre-Back – Fernando Hierro
With over 400 appearances for Real Madrid, three Champions League medals, and five La Liga crowns; it is hard to believe that Fernando Hierro once represented Bolton Wanderers. Sam Allardyce managed to convince the centre-back to spend one season at the Reebok where he made 29 appearances during his one season stay with the Trotters. Hierro then joined Malaga as Director of Football and later become assistant manager of Real Madrid.
Left-Back – Cesar Azpilicueta
£7m signing, Cesar Azpilicueta, has become one of the Premier League’s finest full-backs since his move from Marseille. Although a right-back by trade, the Spaniard slotted in seamlessly at left-back and eventually forced club legend, Ashley Cole, out of the club. The 26-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength at the left back berth and Jose Mourinho once stated that a team with 11 Azpilicuetas would probably win the Champions League.
Centre-Midfield – Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso will also be remembered as one the greatest midfielders to ever grace the Premier League. The 34-year-old joined Benitez at Liverpool for just £10.5m and won the Champions League during his first season; where he scored in the final against AC Milan. Alonso soon took his place in the ‘best midfield in the world’ alongside Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano where he was able to showcase his world-class passing ability. Liverpool’s pursuit of Gareth Barry saw Alonso depart for Real Madrid in a £30m deal before joining German champions Bayern Munich.
Centre-Midfield – Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas returned to the Premier League when he joined Chelsea from Barcelona in the summer of 2014. Fabregas is one of the most creative players the league has ever seen and is fourth in the list of all-time Premier League assists. The 29-year-old has been one of Chelsea’s best performers in a poor league campaign for the Blues. The Spaniard will be hoping to add another Premier League medal to his collection when Antonio Conte takes over the club in the summer.
Attacking-Midfield – David Silva
David Silva had built a reputation as one of the most exciting players in world football when Manchester City shelled out £24m to prise him from Valencia. Silva instantly became one of City’s most influential players and was central to his side’s success on the pitch. He has earned the nickname ‘Merlin’ at the Etihad due to his excellent dribbling abilities. The 30-year-old remains one of the best players in the league and will be one of Pep Guardiola’s most important players next season.
Attacking-Midfield – Juan Mata
Former Chelsea playmaker, Juan Mata, was another Spanish international to swap Valencia for the Premier League. Mata signed a five-year-deal at Stamford Bridge and was one of Chelsea’s best players. However, he fell out of favour under Mourinho and left for Manchester United in a £37m deal. Mata has made 100 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 24 goals. He has collected two European titles and one FA cup during his time in England.
Striker – Diego Costa
Though controversial, when Diego Costa is on form, he is one of the most feared strikers in the world. The Brazilian born forward who later chose to represent Spain joined Chelsea following a superb season in La Liga with Atletico Madrid. He netted 21 goals during his first season with the Blues and lifted the Premier League title. Costa has struggled this season and has let disciplinary issues affect his performances. Back the 27-year-old to rediscover his goal scoring touch under Conte.
Striker – Fernando Torres
After a woeful spell with Chelsea following his £50m transfer, it is easy to forget just how good Fernando Torres was during his time with Liverpool. The former Atletico captain joined the Reds for just over £20m and will be remembered as one of the club’s greatest strikers of all time. Torres netted some sensational strikes during his three seasons at Anfield before leaving for Stamford Bridge. Torres later moved to AC Milan and back to Atletico where he has led his side to the Champions League final against Real Madrid.