North Africa has always been capable of producing excellent footballers, thanks to their ties with European nations. Algeria is no exception and the African country has grown into one of Africa’s best sources for leading talent. 17 Algerian players have played for teams in the English Premier League over the past three decades, with some stars winning major awards in their time in the country. So just who are the best Algerian players in Premier League history?
5 best Algerian players in Premier League history
Moussa Saib (Tottenham)
Even the most die-hard football fans might not know who Moussa Saib is, however he has enjoyed some fame in English football. The first ever Algerian player to feature in the Premier League, Saib spent just under three seasons in London with Tottenham from 1998-2000. The versatile midfielder made vital contributions for Spurs during his short stay at White Hart Lane scoring the final goal in a 6-2 victory over Wimbledon in May 1998 helping them avoid the drop.
He also featured in the side that would emerge victorious in the 1999 League Cup final ensuring that he didn’t leave English football empty handed. He left at the start of 2000 to join Saudi side Al-Nassr and would later become an established manager in his homeland. A well-storied career for a veteran of the game.
Adlene Guedioura (Wolves, Crystal Palace, Watford, Middlesbrough)
Very few midfielders have enjoyed a bumpier ride in the English top flight than Adlene Guedioura. The French-born Algerian midfielder thrived as a holding midfielder whop was never afraid to battle in the middle of the park. Despite bouncing around clubs who were fighting relegation, Guedioura proved he belonged at the top level with many managers turning to him to help protect their defence.
He was capable of some stunning strikes too and memorable goals against the likes of Arsenal and West Brom made him a fan favourite wherever he went. After enduring relegation with Middlesbrough in 2018, Guedioura has remained in the English Championship helping the likes of Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United compete for ways to rejoin the top flight. He wouldn’t be at the top of the list but deserves to be mentioned as one of the best Algerian players to feature in the Premier League.
Said Benrahma (West Ham)
It felt like an eternity for Said Benrahma to reach the Premier League but, now that he has, he hasn’t disappointed. The flamboyant winger shone in the English Championship for Brentford before West Ham finally brought him up to the big league. He didn’t disappoint either as his pinpoint passing and fancy footwork uncorked defences with ease.
As his style worked well with others in the West Ham frontline, Benrahma has become a regular for The Hammers and helped them reach sixth in the league for their highest finish for over a decade. With great understanding and passing abilities, Benrahma has all the skills to become a quality Premier League playmaker for many years to come.
Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth)
As far as attacking full-backs go, very few were as passionate or lively as Nadir Belhadj. The left-back was just as comfortable in attack as he was in defence making him a nightmare for defences to handle when he pressed forward. During his three-year spell with Portsmouth, Belhadj was one of their main creative outlets and would often take corners and free kicks whenever he could.
Despite a fiery temperament, Belhadj was one of the top stars in a Pompey side that was ravaged by poor management off the pitch. It was fitting that Belhadj picked up a runners up medal in the 2010/2011 FA Cup season as it was the least he deserved for giving everything to Pompey until the very end. Belhadj departed Fratton Park as Pompey were relegated moving to Qatar where has played for over a decade.
Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City, Manchester City)
When Riyad Mahrez joined Leicester in the Championship from Le Harve for just £450,000 in January 2014, few would predict that the winger would turn into a megastar. His flair and taste for goal divided many as he initially failed to convert half of his chances. However, as Mahrez and Leicester both moved into the spotlight, everything clicked. In the 2015-16 season, the Algerian winger exploded onto the scene scoring 17 goals in 37 games helping Leicester shock the world and win the Premier League.
It was this amazing form that saw Mahrez win PFA Footballer of the Year and African Footballer of the Year in 2016. His form also earned a big-money move to Manchester City in 2018 and pick up another two Premier League winner’s medal. His excellent form in recent years earned him a spot in the IFFHS African Football team of the 2010s and solidify him as one of the greatest Algerian players of all time and certainly is the best to feature in the Premier League.
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