Is Firmino the best Brazilian to have played in the Premier League?
There has always been a fascination with players from Brazil on their arrival in the Premier League. The notable skill of players from South America has caught the eye, but there have not been many of the influential forwards from the Selecao to have played and thrived at the highest level of English football.
Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario and even Neymar have all opted to remain away from the Premier League, leaving a void of top-tier talent to have succeeded at the major clubs in the division. There have been players that have impressed with their quality, including Juninho during his time at Middlesbrough, while Willian has been a class act in his seven years with Chelsea.
One player in the final third is beginning a rise to the top of the Brazil’s Premier League representatives. Roberto Firmino has established himself as one of the leading forwards in the world, displaying all-round attributes to make him the perfect spearhead in Liverpool’s charge towards the top-flight crown. Liverpool are the overwhelming favourites in the betting odds on Premier League winner this term given their dominance at the top of the table.
Firmino has been a driving force in their success, scoring eight goals and notching another seven assists. His goals have been important, but the attention that he draws in the final third opens up space for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to thrive alongside. The 28-year-old is a tough customer, and although he has all the flicks and skill of a Brazilian, the forward also boasts a robustness that few Premier League defenders relish facing on a weekly basis.
In his five seasons with Liverpool he has been a model of consistency. Firmino has reached double figures in the previous four years with the Merseysiders, notching 15 in his best term in the 2017/18 league campaign. Even though he has not enjoyed his most prolific season, the Brazilian is still on pace to score at least 12 goals in the current term to guide his side towards their first league title in 30 years.
Firmino is close to establishing himself as perhaps the best Brazilian player ever to have played in the Premier League. Outside of Willian, the other top men have been defensive midfielders in the form of Gilberto Silva and Fernandinho. Both players have been influential in the success of outstanding teams – with the former staring for Arsenal’s Invincibles and the latter winning three titles with Manchester City.
Firmino has enjoyed a direct impact on Liverpool’s surge towards the title this term and was a key cog on the team that narrowly missed out in the 2018/19 season. The 28-year-old is not at the peak yet, but if he enjoys another run to the crown next season with the Reds then he should definitely be considered as perhaps the greatest Brazilian player in the history of the Premier League. It’s not a bad effort from a player that was not signed to an overly huge fanfare in 2015 from Hoffenheim.