The Premier League is very much the ‘World League’ these days.
Players from pretty much every country around the globe, attracted to the prestige of England”s top tier, and the money.
Difficult then for fans who don’t have a few miles on the clock, to comprehend just what a stir it used to make when the odd player from another country came to the old Division One.
Rarely would they be star players either, as the likes of top clubs in Spain and Italy would be seen as far more attractive for most.
Forty years ago Tottenham shocked the footballing world when they signed Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa in 1978, two players who had just helped Argentina win the World Cup.
The Falklands War didn’t exactly help the likelihood of many more Argentine stars coming to England for a number of years but as the Premier League era came along, we have seen some quality players enhance the top tier.
A list of the top 10 Premier League players from Argentina has been compiled by the excellent Football365, two Newcastle stars featuring at six and seven.
Bassedas and Cordone don’t quite make the list but Fabricio Coloccini and Jonas Gutierrez do.
Coloccini had an up and down Newcastle career and made clear he wanted to leave BUT he was outstanding in that 2011/12 season, named in the PFA team of the year.
Whilst Jonas is a real Newcastle United cult hero, a class act.
Football365 Top ten Premier League Argentineans:
6) Jonas Gutierrez (Newcastle United, Norwich City)
There are more talented players than Gutierrez on and off this list, but few foreign imports bought into the ethos of their club and ingratiated themselves with supporters quite like him. The passion that exists within Argentinean football culture lends itself to cult hero status. Two notable examples are still to come, but Gutierrez rivals them by that measure.
If Gutierrez’s determination, desire and heart cemented his legendary status at Newcastle, his farewell was the stuff of folklore. In June 2013, Gutierrez was diagnosed with testicular cancer after discovering a tumour.
He stepped away from the game and had surgery in October 2013. Upon his return to St James’ Park, opportunities in the first team were limited and he went on loan to Norwich to play under his former manager Chris Hughton.
Returning to Newcastle for 2014/15, Gutierrez finally made his first appearance back in the black-and-white in February, and it soon became clear that he would leave that summer.
On the final day of the season, with Newcastle needing to beat West Ham to ensure their Premier League survival, Gutierrez was surprisingly picked to start. He assisted the first goal and scored the second in a 2-0 win, and broke down in tears after his finish secured safety. From surviving cancer and chemotherapy to surviving relegation in seven months.
7) Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United)
“Oh Coloccini, you are the love of my life. Oh Coloccini, I’d let you sh*g my wife. Oh Coloccini, I want curly hair too.”
So went the ditty from Newcastle fans to their captain to the tune of Can’t Take My Eyes off You by Frankie Valli, as Coloccini was leading the club to fifth place in the Premier League under Alan Pardew. Never one for understatement, in 2012 Pardew compared Argentinean to Bobby Moore. Of course he bloody did.
Coloccini stayed for nine years on Tyneside, and only six players have made more appearances for Newcastle in the Premier League: Shay Given, Alan Shearer, Shola Ameobi, Rob Lee, Nobby Solano and Gary Speed. That list is a who’s who of Newcastle cult heroes. Even if the ending went sour – Coloccini demanded to leave on two occasions – it does not diminish the excellence.