Aston Villa have had some awesome foreign players in the club’s recent history, with many of them falling just as much in love with the club as the fans did with the players.
Every Villa fan will have their own favourite foreign player, but here are five of the best.
Olof Mellberg was Sweden’s best ever defender according to compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the centre-back was wildly popular during his time at Villa Park.
Known lovingly as The Viking due to his Scandinavian heritage, Mellberg played in over 200 games for Villa between 2001 and 2008.
“I don’t particularly like Birmingham City,” Mellberg said once, with the defender’s hatred of Villa’s rivals particularly endearing him to the club’s fans.
Mellberg was even the first foreign footballer ever to be named Villa’s club captain, while he also had one of the best beards of any player in football history.
Fans will always remember Mellberg for giving away thousands of replica shirts to mark his last ever game for the club.
Juan Pablo Angel
Villa’s record signing when he joined the club from River Plate for £9.5 million in 2001, Juan Pablo Angel hit 62 Premier League goals during his time at Villa Park.
A clinical finisher with great pace and agility, Angel was strong in the air but devastating on the ground, with a wonderful strike in Villa’s 2-1 League Cup quarter-final victory against Chelsea possibly his most memorable moment in a claret and blue shirt.
Angel was phenomenally popular among the Villa faithful and it was clear that the Colombia international also had a great deal of fondness for the club too.
Discovered by Villa boss Graham Taylor as a teenager, Dwight Yorke is certainly one of Villa’s top strikers of the modern era, scoring 98 goals in 287 appearances at the club.
Yorke was supremely prolific, hitting the last goal in Villa’s 1996 League Cup final victory at Wembley, while 60 of the Trinidad and Tobago international’s goals came in the Premier League.
Despite nine years of service at Villa Park, some fans hold the manner of Yorke’s departure from the club against him, as well as the fact he later went on to play for hated rivals Birmingham City.
Christian Benteke has found life hard since his big money move from Villa to Liverpool last summer, suggesting the Belgium international perhaps should have stayed at Villa Park.
Benteke scored on his Villa debut, the first of his 42 goals for the club, and at his best the strong and powerful striker was simply unplayable.
The forward is also one of the few Villa players to pass the 20 goal mark in all competitions in the Premier League era, with Benteke becoming the first Villa star since Juan Pablo Angel to reach the milestone for the club.
Stiliyan Petrov – known as Stan – is certainly one of Villa’s most popular foreign players ever.
The beloved Bulgarian made nearly 200 appearances during his seven years at the club, with his stay at Villa Park coming to a sad end when he was diagnosed with acute leukaemia.
Petrov was the fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year for the 2008-09 season, but it was perhaps the following season that was his best at the club.
Villa finished sixth in the Premier League, as well as reaching the final of the League Cup and the semi-finals of the FA Cup – with Petrov in his first year as Villa’s captain.