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Newcastle cult hero (no, not him) makes list of greatest South Americans in Premier League

4 years ago
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Who are the best ever South American players, past and present, to have graced the Premier League?

In days gone by it was Spain and Italy where pretty much all of the top South American players spent their careers, more familiar language and culture (and weather!) in particular ensuring those countries were so dominant.

The Premier League era though has increasingly made England more attractive, with the financial rewards and the increasing dominance in the Champions League for so many years, breaking that La Liga/Serie A stranglehold.

The excellent football website football365 have now published a list of the top 10 South American players to appear in the Premier League.

It features one Newcastle player.

I’m guessing most would assume that it is a certain Faustino Asprilla but anybody who was watching Newcastle from the mid/late 90s onwards will know who really was the top South American to play for the club.

Step forward, Nobby Solano.

Yes Nobby makes it in at number 10 in the list below and I think he should clearly be higher, if Newcastle had been a team winning trophies then he certainly would have been.

Instead we just have our memories of some great times watching Newcastle back then.

I think that under Sir Bobby when we ended up with Shearer and Bellamy up front, Speed and Dyer in the middle, then Laurent Robert and Nobby Solano on the wings, it was just so good to watch.

Maybe the very best moment coming at Elland Road on 22 December 2001, Newcastle come from 3-1 down to beat Leeds 4-3 with a last gasp goal from Nobby Solano – going into Christmas top of the Premier League.

That will be my permanent mental picture in my head of the great Nobby Solano.

This is the Football365 Top 10 with their write-up on Solano:

1 Sergio Aguero

2 Luis Suarez

3 Alexis Sanchez

4 Carlos Tevez

5 Juninho

6 Pablo Zabaleta

7 Philippe Coutinho

8 Gilberto Silva

9 Gus Poyet

10 Nobby Solano

Nolberto Solano (Newcastle, Aston Villa, West Ham)

You might consider it odd that Solano has managed to break into this top ten over the last two years without playing any football, but this is a wrong being righted. Everybody’s favourite Peruvian trumpeter has a smile that could melt a thousand hearts, but was also a damn fine footballer.

Solano spent 13 years in England during two separate spells between 1998 and 2012, playing for three Premier League clubs, two Championship clubs and ending at Hartlepool United in League One. It’s only a touch over four years since he scored a free-kick winner at Bournemouth in the league, which makes you question time itself.

Newcastle supporters have suffered plenty of disappointment with much-hyped foreign signings over the last 20 years, but Solano was the antidote. He arrived for £2.5m, immersed himself in local life and won the hearts of the fans. When he was sold to Aston Villa in 2004, Newcastle fan site NUFC.com declared that a ‘part of the club’s soul had departed’.

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