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Five of the best Belgian players in Premier League history

It is fair to say that at the moment no Country contributes as many top class players to the Premier League as Belgium.

The small continental nation is currently reaping the benefits of having produced it’s own Golden Generation, with several Belgian players playing key roles for top six Premier League sides.

With this in mind we decided to take a look at five of the greatest Belgian players ever to grace the EPL, and for the first time ever when producing one of these lists all five of the players are still actively playing their trade in the English top flight.

5. Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham

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A ball-playing defender comfortable at centre-back or left-back, Vertonghen has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest defenders since signing for Tottenham in 2012.

The most-capped player in the history of the Belgian national side, Vertonghen arrived in English football from Ajax with a burgeoning reputation having been crowned Dutch Footballer of The Year and impressed in his debut campaign.

He was named in the PFA Team of The Year in that first season, and again in 2017/18. His partnership with compatriot Toby Alderweireld being a key foundation in turning Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham into regular Champions League campaigners.

 

4. Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea, West Brom, Everton, and Manchester United

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Signed by Chelsea with a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising talents, Lukaku initially failed to make the grade at Stamford Bridge before flourishing into one of the division’s finest forwards.

He got his breakthrough with a loan spell at West Brom in 2012/13, scoring 17 league goals including a hat-trick in the famous 5-5 draw with Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge.

A second loan spell followed, this time at Everton where he continued to score prolifically before the move was made permanent in 2014. He won the clubs Player of The Year award in 2016/17 after scoring 25 league goals, whilst also being named in the PFA Team of The Year that same season.

That form attracted Manchester United, who secured his services for a reported initial £75m in 2017. He is one of just five players to have scored 50 Premier League goals before their 23rd birthday, and the fifth youngest to have scored 100 in the division.

Aged just 25, he is already Belgium’s record goalscorer, having scored 43 goals in 77 caps.

 

3. Vincent Kompany – Manchester City

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A true bargain in an era where his club have spent lavishly, Vincent Kompany has been an integral part of Manchester City’s emergence as a dominant force in English football.

Signed in 2008 from German club Hamburg, Kompany has established himself as one of the Premier League’s finest defenders, and despite injury problems hampering his recent campaigns, remains a fundamental part of Pep Guardiola’s side.

A three-time Premier League winner, the commanding centre-half has been the captain and leader in a period of unprecedented success at The Etihad.

Named in the PFA Team of The Year on three occasions, Kompany was named Premier League Player of The Year in 2011/12 as City ended a 44-year wait for a top flight league title.

 

2. Kevin De Bruyne – Chelsea and Manchester City

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Arguably the key component in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City machine, De Bruyne began his career in the Premier League in West London with Chelsea.

Having grown frustrated by a lack of opportunity he moved to Germany, initially with Werder Bremen on loan before a permanent switch to Wolfsburg.

His impressive form in the Bundesliga, where he was named Player of The Year in 2014/15, was enough to persuade City to spend a fee in the region £55m to bring him back to the Premier League.

One of the most complete midfielders in world football, on his return to English football he has established himself as one of the division’s finest players, twice being named the club’s Player of The Year. In 2017/18 he registered a league high 16 assists as City won the title, becoming the first team in Premier League history to reach 100 points.

 

1. Eden Hazard – Chelsea

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Boasting a combination of pace, agility and creativity, Eden Hazard has shone in the Premier League since signing for Chelsea from French side Lille in 2012.

He was named in the PFA Team of The Year in his debut campaign, one of four times he has featured in just six seasons in English football. In 2013/14 he won The PFA Young Player of The Year award whilst finishing second in the senior voting.

His finest campaign was arguably 2014/15, Hazard scoring 14 league goals and being named PFA and FWA Player of The Year as Chelsea won the title. Whilst 2015/16 proved a poor campaign for both Hazard and the Blues, he returned to form the following season and was a central figure as Chelsea secured a second league title in three seasons.

Chelsea’s Player of The Year on three occasions, Hazard was appointed Belgium captain for the 2018 World Cup and led the team to a 3rd place finish, winning the Silver Ball as the tournament’s second best player.

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