Follow me:

Main Listening Report: The Top Four Foreign Players in the Premier League Era

In this week’s main listening report, we feature four of the best ever foreign imports to have played in the Premier League. Who do you think has been the best overseas player in the Premier League? You can read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

Eric Cantona

Embed from Getty Images
When Leeds United sold Eric Cantona to rivals Manchester United in 1992 few could have predicted the impact that the mercurial Frenchman would have on Manchester United over the next five years. He helped United to their first title since 1967 and then won another three with the Red Devils, along with two FA Cups, while he was also Player of the Year on two occasions. Cantona was never far from controversy but his manager, team mates and fans were all sure that he was worth it. Cantona played 185 games for United scoring 85 goals including the winner of the 1997 FA Cup final.

Thierry Henry

Embed from Getty Images
Now he arrived at Highbury in 1999 hoping to re-build his reputation after a torrid time in Italy with Juventus. He left 8 years later having become the club’s highest ever scorer with a remarkable 226 goals in 370 appearances. The 1998 World Cup winner also won two Player of the Year awards, two league titles, three FA Cup wins and was top scorer in the Premier League on four occasions. A true Arsenal legend.

Peter Schmeichel

Embed from Getty Images
Schmeichel arrived in England in 1991 for what his manager later called a ‘bargain’ fee of £500.000 and the Danish international – he won the European Championship in 1992 – went on to play more than 290 times for Manchester United. He won five league titles, two FA Cups, a League Cup and in 1999 a Champions League final. Now Schmeichel was a strong character who dominated his penalty area and organised his defence; he was also one of the best shot-stoppers around.

Gianfranco Zola

Embed from Getty Images
Zola joined Ruud Gullit’s Chelsea from Italian side Parma in 1995 and helped to transform the London side into serious title contenders in England. Zola played the game in such a way that fans everywhere loved him, particularly the way that he could break down defences with a pass or a dribble. Zola won the FA Cup twice with the Blues, the League Cup once and the Cup Winners Cup in 1998 when Zola scored the winning goal. Zola made 312 appearances for Chelsea and scored 80 goals.


  • mercurial: magical
  • the Red Devils: The nickname of Manchester United
  • never far from controversy: a temperamental character
  • a torrid time: A really difficult time
  • legend: A very famous player, one loved by many fans
  • title contenders: Teams that have a strong chance of wining the title
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show

Football Language Podcast

5 Great Wembley FA Cup Finals

5 Great Wembley FA Cup Finals: On this week's main listening report we preview the FA Cup final by taking a look back at five of the most...

Listening Practice: Short Reports (2006-2016)