Football is acknowledged to be the most popular sport on the planet. In fact, it is probably the only sport that is popular in just about any country you can think of.

LONDON - OCTOBER 13: Mart Poom of Estonia gestures during the Euro 2008 Group E qualifying match between England and Estonia at Wembley Stadium on October 13, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
LONDON – OCTOBER 13: Mart Poom of Estonia gestures during the Euro 2008 Group E qualifying match between England and Estonia at Wembley Stadium on October 13, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

The top European teams have fans from literally all over the world, and Arsenal are no different to the likes of Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid in that respect. But where the Gunners stand out is the fact that many of these far-flung nations have even sent their best talent to represent the team from London.

Here are a few notable examples. 

Mart Poom (Estonia) 

When Estonia played its first official game as an independent nation in 1992, Poom was the man between the posts. He went on to represent his nation 120 times, and also became the first of only two Estonians to date who has played in the Premier League. He joined Arsenal in 2005 at the age of 33, initially on loan from Sunderland, but was soon given a permanent contract. His first team appearances were limited, however, and his only Premier League game came at the end of the 06/07 season, when he secured a clean sheet in the goalless draw against Portsmouth. 

Martin Ødegaard (Norway) 

Martin Odegaard of Norway during the UEFA Nations League football match between Norway and Northern Ireland on October 14, 2020 in Oslo. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grott / BILDBYRAN
Martin Odegaard of Norway during the UEFA Nations League football match between Norway and Northern Ireland on October 14, 2020 in Oslo. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grott / BILDBYRAN

From political historical landmarks to the present day, Norwegian football has become increasingly popular in the UK over recent years. Part of that is down to the Norwegian domestic league starting around the time the Premier League finishes, leading many football betting fans to consult the Nordicbet Eliterserien odds for the most tempting wagers in the summer months. Ødegaard is arguably the biggest talent his nation has produced. At 16, he became the youngest player ever to represent Real Madrid and since joining Arsenal on loan in January he’s made his presence felt with goals against Olympiacos in the Europa League and against Tottenham in the Premier League. 

Andrey Arshavin (Russia) 

Arshavin scores four at Anfield
Arshavin scores four at Anfield

After the home team’s incredible run in the 2018 World Cup, the world wised up to the fact that there is some amazing football talent in Russia. But that’s something Gunners fans already knew, having been entertained for five straight years by the charismatic Arshavin. Here’s a man who always showed up when it mattered most – who will ever forget him finding the back of the net four times in that goal fest against Liverpool in 2009?  

Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo) 

Togo's national football team Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor smiles during a training session on January 18, 2017 in Bitam during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Gabon.
Togo’s national football team Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor smiles during a training session on January 18, 2017 in Bitam during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament in Gabon. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)

 A big man with a huge heart, Adebayor is a one-man phenomenon who has put Togolese football on the map almost single-handed. He’s still going strong today, having joined Olimpia Asunción last year for the highest transfer fee in Paraguayan history, and has had spells at Manchester City, Real Madrid and Tottenham. But it was Arsenal who first saw his potential, signing him for £3 million as a 21-year-old in January 2006. Over four seasons, he made more than 100 appearances, scoring 46 goals and becoming one of the great fan favourites in the process.  

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