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Five of the best Colombians to play in the Premier League

Everton have made a statement signing with the capture of James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, the pulling power of Carlo Ancelotti abundantly evident after the arrival of the Colombia international.

Rodriguez has starred for some of Europe’s leading clubs having won seven league titles during spells with Porto, Real and Bayern Munich, and the Merseyside club will be hoping the 29-year-old can deliver a much needed injection of quality to an underperforming side.

Following the arrival of the South American superstar, we’ve decided to look back at some of the best Colombian players to have played their football in the Premier League throughout the years, though we’ve opted for impact at English sides over all-round ability.

Here are five of the best Colombians in Premier League history:

Faustino Asprilla

The mid-nineties were a good time to be an avid supporter of Newcastle United, the sleeping giant of English football competing at the summit of the Premier League and playing a brand of football that has that incarnation of the Magpies still fondly remembered.

Asprilla arrived in the north east of England as an exciting new arrival to an ever increasingly cosmopolitan Premier League, signing in a £6.7m deal from a cult Parma side that had made their presence known in peak Serie A.

The Colombian strutted into St James’ Park amid a snowstorm in a grey fur coat, an introduction to a fascinating character who would sprinkle maverick magic and madness on the Newcastle side over the next two seasons.

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His mid-season arrival in 1996 failed to stop Newcastle’s infamous title capitulation – a collapse he has been somewhat unfairly associated with as a well-oiled machine proceeded to falter following the signings of Asprilla and David Batty.

In truth, his move to the Premier League failed to live up to expectations as he scored 18 goals in 61 appearances, but he provided moments of his fleeting genius in Newcastle colours, including a scintillating Champions League hat-trick to defeat Barcelona on Tyneside.

His flamboyant style and eccentric personality mean he will always be remembered fondly in Newcastle, a player who could win football matches virtually by himself, if he so decided to.

Faustino Asprilla: The mercurial Colombian who could win a game on his own – if he felt like it

Hamilton Ricard

Another enigmatic and inconsistent forward, Hamilton Ricard was briefly brilliant for Middlesbrough during a colourful and often controversial career.

Bryan Robson had spotted the forward during the 1997 Copa America and after delving deeper into the background of Ricard, signed the star from Deportivo Cali where he had recently finished as Colombia’s leading goalscorer.

He struggled during his opening months at a Middlesbrough side heading towards promotion, but after the Teesiders sealed their return to the Premier League he burst into life in English football.

Ricard scored eight goals in his first 10 appearances in the top flight during a season in which he finished as the club’s leading scorer with 18 in all competitions, netting a further 14 the following season to establish himself as Middlesbrough’s attacking focal point.

He fell out-of-favour during his third full season and later joined CSKA Sofia before a globetrotting career at a succession of clubs across the planet, his controversies including being banned for attacking a referee and causing death by dangerous driving in 2002 – receiving a three year jail sentence he is yet to serve.

Often outstanding, occasionally awful, Ricard remains Middlesbrough’s highest ever Premier League scorer.

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Juan Pablo Angel

Juan Pablo Angel was pinned as Colombia’s next great goalscoring hope after bursting onto the scene with Atletico Nacional and later River Plate, joining the latter as Hernan Crespo’s replacement before starring for the Argentines.

His record of 62 goals in 132 appearances across all competitions attracted attention from Europe and it was Aston Villa who secured his signing, landing Angel in a club-record deal worth £9.5m.

Like many foreign imports, Angel initially struggled to get to grips with the English game before thriving after a period of adaptation, becoming a firm fans’ favourite at Villa Park, his best season coming during the 2003/04 campaign as he plundered 23 goals in all competitions.

Angel was a fine finisher and his qualities were seemingly perfectly suited to the physically demanding Premier League, his appetite to press defenders and brilliance in the air seeing him adored on the Holte End.

He scored 44 goals in 175 league appearances and whilst that tally is a poor reflection on the player’s talent, he was loved at Villa for his honest approach and dedication to the cause.

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Hugo Rodallega

Hugo Rodallega arrived in the Premier League as an unknown to European football and tasked with replacing Emile Heskey at Wigan Athletic, with Steve Bruce confident he had found a gem in the talented Colombian frontman.

He arrived as one of the club’s most expensive ever signings and after a period of adaptation enjoyed a respectable three-and-a-half year spell, his toughness, pace and power making him an ideal fit for the demands of English football.

Rodallega scored 24 league goals over his spell with Wigan to become the club’s all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, the highlight of which was a powerful final day header to secure victory at Stoke and retain the club’s top flight status in 2011.

He left on a free transfer for Fulham in 2012 and spent three seasons with the west London outfit, though failed to prevent the club slipping out of the Premier League before enjoying a renaissance in Turkish football.

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Davinson Sanchez

After a quartet of Colombian centre-forwards fondly remembered despite their inconsistencies, the final spot in our five of the best is reserved for a player of vastly differing style.

Davinson Sanchez signed for Tottenham in a club-record deal from Ajax three years ago, after enjoying a meteoric rise since moving to European football.

The powerful centre-back had made a name for himself in his homeland with Atletico Nacional and won the Copa Libertadores with the club in 2016, before his talents were spotted by Ajax’s scouting network.

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Just one season in the Eredivisie saw Sanchez named as the Amsterdam’s side’s Player of the Year and he was linked with a host of leading clubs before moving to north London, where he has cemented himself as a regular in the Spurs side.

Sanchez is dominant in the air and quick across the ground, though his ball-playing abilities have been questioned since his arrival in English football. Still just 24-year-old, he has the potential to improve further and become a bedrock of a new Spurs side under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.

Read – Five players we can’t wait to see make their Premier League debut this weekend

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