While Portuguese players tended not to play their trade in England in previous times, nowadays, it’s far more common to see both players and managers from Portugal shine in the biggest league in the world. From Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani to Marco Silva and Bernardo Silva, the Premier League has been impacted by several of Portugal’s finest.
These days, Portuguese football’s reputation in England doesn’t appear to be waning either, particularly as the English game continues to acquire foreign talent and become a global competition in more ways than one. Additionally, Portuguese professionals generally do well in England’s top flight. For every player like Fabio Silva, who has perhaps failed to live up to expectations at Wolves so far, three more talented players and coaches from Portugal are shining in the Premier League.
With 2024 underway and several Portuguese professionals aiming to build on their solid reputations in the Premier League, let’s salute some of them below.
João Palhinha is a key man at Fulham
It will come as no surprise to Sporting fans, but João Palhinha is one of the best midfield enforcers in the Premier League right now. The protection he provides in front of Fulham’s defence has led to the former Premier League relegation candidates being on the cusp of something far more significant, particularly in terms of fans’ predictions and their football betting efforts. The former relegation contenders aim to build on last season’s showing and finish in the top 10 again, and João Palhinha is key to their chances. His performances have resulted in much interest, though, with German giants Bayern Munich being continually linked with a move for arguably the most important player the Cottagers have within their ranks.
Pedro Neto is one of Wolves’ most dangerous attackers
Wolves are filled with Portuguese talent at the time of writing, and while the likes of Nelson Semedo has also managed to showcase both his defensive and offensive know-how on occasions, Pedro Neto is without doubt one of Wolves’ best players. Injuries have certainly impacted his time in Wolverhampton, though, but Neto’s quality on the ball and his notable trickery make him a joy to watch when he is fit and firing. Aged just 23 and with a seemingly big future ahead of him, Pedro Neto is certainly one to watch in the Premier League this season now he is back from his latest knock.
Marco Silva is working miracles
While João Palhinha has enabled life to go more smoothly than expected for Fulham back in the Premier League, the job Marco Silva has done at the club has been remarkable. After a disappointing spell at the likes of Everton, the former Estoril coach is back with a bang and is now widely regarded as one of the best managers outside of the top six clubs in England. Silva is working miracles on limited resources at Fulham, the team play attractive football under him, the fans adore the work he is currently doing, and they’re a side that are performing well above expectations overall. Although Marco Silva’s stock was arguably at its lowest due to the mess that unfolded at Everton, he has since managed to rebuild his reputation and become a respected manager once again in one of the most competitive leagues around.
Nuno Espírito Santo is a shrewd appointment by Forest
After Steve Cooper’s dismissal left fans feeling incredibly down, any manager that came in to replace him had a tough task on their fans. Nottingham Forest’s supporters simply adored Cooper, a leader who managed to bring the club back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999. A successive run of defeats meant that his sacking was inevitable, though, with the club opting to replace him with former Wolves boss Nuno Espírito Santo. Similar to the aforementioned Marco Silva, Espírito Santo’s reputation has taken somewhat of a hit in England after his failed tenure at Tottenham. The former Porto goalkeeper is already proving his doubters wrong, though, with Forest now looking more organised and tougher to beat thanks to his tactical nous. Additionally, the players appear to be enjoying a fresh approach and an experienced voice in the shape of Nuno, further highlighted by some impressive victories against the likes of Newcastle United and Manchester United since his arrival. Nottingham Forest now seem to be well equipped to stay up this season, and Nuno Espírito Santo deserves a lot of credit for that.
Bernardo Silva is a world-class talent
We couldn’t really leave Bernardo Silva out, could we? The aforementioned star of Manchester City is one of the finest technicians in the Premier League today. In fact, there is a strong argument to suggest that he’ll be right up there with the greats when he does eventually decide to depart Manchester. A player that his manager Pep Guardiola openly admits he adores, Bernardo Silva is capable of pulling the strings in midfield against any opponent, while his flair and inventiveness in possession make him one of the most eye-catching professionals in the league today. An integral part of City’s treble-winning campaign last season, Bernardo Silva is a world-class talent who is easily one of the finest players in the Premier League at the moment.
Plenty more to pick from
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The likes of Diogo Jota at Liverpool, Rúben Dias at Manchester City, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot at Manchester United, to name just a handful of other standout performers, could also be added to the list, as Portuguese talent continues to light up the English Premier League like never before.