The next destination of our alphabetical world tour is Uruguay. Two-time World and 15-time South American Champions, Uruguay have long been punching above their weight in football. They remain the smallest nation to ever win a World Cup and have consistently reached the knockout stages in recent times.
According to the Premier League website, 21 players have represented Uruguay in the Premier League, the first of whom was…
First Player – Adrián Paz (Ipswich Town; 1994-95)
Legend has it that Ipswich were courting Gabriel Batistuta in the summer of 1994, but the Tractor Boys ended up with a very different South American striker in Adrián Paz.
He became the first Uruguayan to play in the Premier League when he joined Ipswich along with Argentine defender Mauricio Taricco, of whom less was expected.
Paz finished his only Premier League campaign with one goal in 17 appearances as Ipswich finished bottom. He left the club shortly after, while Taricco stayed and established himself in the team. In hindsight, Ipswich probably should have pursued Batistuta instead.
Most Appearances: Gustavo Poyet – 175 (Chelsea, Spurs; 1997-2001, 2001-04)
With 187 appearances over seven years, midfielder Gus Poyet made the most Premier League appearances of any Uruguayan.
Over seven seasons in England with Chelsea and Spurs, Poyet scored 54 goals and won the 1998 UEFA Super Cup, 1997/98 UEFA Cup Winners Cup and the 1999/2000 FA Cup, all with Chelsea.
Poyet moved into management after finishing his playing career, leading Brighton to promotion from League One and later managing Sunderland in the Premier League.
Top Scorer: Luis Suárez – 69 (Liverpool; 2011-14)
One of the most controversial footballers of the modern era, we saw the very best and very worst of Luis Suárez in just three-and-a-half years in England.
He was undoubtedly among the world’s very best centre forwards in his final two seasons at Anfield and equaled what was at the time the record goal haul for a 38-game season in 2013/14.
But this was not before he was banned for 10-games for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanović during a league game in 2013. After Suárez’s third biting misdemeanor at the 2014 World Cup (his first came during his days at Ajax), Liverpool decided to sell the enigmatic striker.
Since leaving for Barcelona, Suárez has continued to find the net regularly and won the Champions League in 2015, but suffered a nightmare return to Anfield in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals as his side blew a 3-0 first-leg lead.
Though several players have appeared in recent years, Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira was the only Uruguayan to make an appearance in the 2019/20 Premier League season before the lockdown.
- Of the 10 CONMEBOL nations, only Brazil (79) and Argentina (71) have been represented by more players in the Premier League than Uruguay.
- Diego Forlán is the only Uruguayan to have won the Premier League, doing so with Manchester United in 2002/03.
- Uruguay have won 15 Copa America Tournaments, more than any other nation.