There is no information or statistics proving that the English Premier League is the best football league in the world. It is an old discussion that will go on and on. But, undoubtedly, the EPL is the most followed football league in the world and is the top league in terms of marketing and financial success.
Its competitiveness, history and money have attracted many of the world’s elite footballers and coaches, and the Premier League also stands out because of its high intensity and attacking style of football throughout the 90 minutes. Nowadays the EPL is increasingly acquiring a distinctly Portuguese flavour, as players and coaches who started out in the Primeira Liga make their way to England for a slice of the action.
Rise of the Portuguese in the Premier League
Being the world’s richest league, the Premier League has the luxury of contracting the services of some of the world’s best foreign players to strengthen and boost their respective teams. In recent years, Portuguese players and coaches have made a big impact on the league.
The Premier League era has been graced with some of the best Portuguese players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Carvalho, José Bosingwa, Pedro Mendes, Paulo Ferriera and Nani and many more. Today, some of the most talented Portuguese youngsters are playing in the league like Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Rúben Neves. Beyond the players, managers like José Mourinho, Marco Silva and Nuno Espírito Santo have brought Portuguese influence to bear in the Premier League.
Mourinho has won the EPL title three times as a Chelsea manager, his contribution to the history of Chelsea is immense, and despite recent struggles, he also brought silverware back to Manchester United. From Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Nani, Ricardo Carvalho and Luís Boa Morte and now the likes of Rui Patrício, João Moutinho and Diogo Dalot, moving from the Primeira Liga to the Premier League is becoming a well-trodden route for Portuguese players and coaches alike.
Portuguese taking the Premier League by storm
Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva is playing a pivotal role for Manchester City in the absence of Kevin de Bruyne. We have seen magical moments from his soccer shoes many a time already this season, having clocked up 7 goals and 3 assists, making himself a key player in what many consider the EPL’s strongest ever side. Cédric Soares, André Gomes, Diogo Dalot and Ricardo Perriera are all playing their part for their respective teams.
The most obvious Portuguese influence, however, is at newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have seamlessly adapted to life in the big time after winning promotion last season. Manager Nuno Espírito Santo was super agent Jorge Mendes’ first client when the former goalkeeper was still playing, and the two have connected again at the West Midlands club, leading to an invasion of players from Portugal.
After storming to the Championship title last season, in the new campaign Wolves have given an excellent account of themselves in draws against heavyweights like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and even defeated Chelsea. The influence of their Portuguese agent has been crucial in building squad that includes Portuguese players Rúben Neves, Diogo Jota, Ivan Cavaleiro, Rui Patrício, Hélder Costa, João Moutinho, Pedro Gonçalves and Rúben Vinagre. Orchestrated by a talented Portuguese coach and a Portuguese-influenced squad, Wolves are teeming with confidence.
And with manager Marco Silva also coming into his own at Everton – in no small part thanks to the resurgent André Gomes – the Portuguese contingent is truly showing its worth in the English Premier League in 2018/19. So much so that it will come as no surprise if more coaches and players from Portugal are soon joining them.