Who is the best and greatest soccer player of all-time? Read on.
World football is a sport loved by over 4 billion fans all over the globe. Since the dawn of the 20th century, soccer has been subject to considerable public acclaim and attention. Due to the famous nature of the sport, the best has often been in the spotlight during the peak of their careers.
These best soccer players not only compete to be the greatest among their contemporaries but struggle to create as well as break records for which they will be remembered long after they retire. That has inspired our article on the greatest soccer players of all-time.
Aside from creating records that give insight into their fantastic prowess, these records help in recognizing talented players as not just virtuoso during their heydays, but competent contenders for the title of the greatest of all time.
The Greatest Soccer Players of All-Time (G.O.A.T.)
10. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Argentina
Stefano “Saeta Rubia” Di Stefano had a very successful soccer career that lasted more than two decades. Within this period, the Argentine won several individual awards and championships. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959, the Spanish Player (Athlete) of the Year on four occasions, and the South American Championship with the Argentinian national team in 1947.
His contemporaries also recognized his incredible wits, as seen in the words of ex-UEFA president and french footballer Michel Platini, who hailed Stefano as the great among the greats. Stefano ranks 10th in our greatest of all-time soccer players.
9. Roberto Baggio, Italy
One of Italy’s greatest footballers, Roberto Baggio, was an exceptional footballer who captivated fans. Baggio throughout his 30 years career mesmerized fans with his unique dribblings that it was said that angels sang in his legs. He was a terrific soccer star who mastered the core art of curling freekicks and netting set pieces. Baggio won the World Soccer Player of the Year award and the Ballon d’Or in 1993. He also won Italy’s Player of the Century in 2000. Baggio is notably among the greatest soccer players of all-time.
8. Michel Platini, France
No doubt, in terms of players who have left an indelible print in world football in the 20th century, Platini would emerge as one of the most competent candidates for the title of the greatest players. The French footballer had a successful career, which lasted over two decades. Platini won the 1984 UEFA European Championship and emerged third place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup. He also won the Ballon d’Or on three occasions and the World Soccer Player of the Year twice.
7. Johan Cruyff, Netherlands
Creating a name in football is a daunting task, but creating an exceptional style unique to yourself, is, even more, a rigorous challenge. However, Johan Cruyff defeated the odds to achieve both. The Dutchman invented the Cruyff turn, which players in modern football widely use. He won the Ballon d’Or three times, the 1974 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, and led his side to second place in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.
6. Ronaldo, Brazil
El Fenomeno, as Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is nicknamed, ruled the world of football at the peak of his career. The Brazilian forward created a reputation for himself as a result of his impeccable style of dribbling, fantastic speed, and excellent finish. Before El Fenomeno clocked 23, he had reached a record goal of 200 for both club and country. He won the FIFA World Cup twice, the Copa America twice, the FIFA Confederation Cup once, and the Ballon d’Or twice.
5. Zinedine Zidane, France
Zinedine Zidane‘s phenomenal understanding of football, even after retirement, is a visible indication that he was one of the best soccer players of his time. Just like any of the greatest soccer players to have graced the pitch, Zidane created a style unique to him. On the pitch, Zidane played with a calm and balanced sense of style and elegance.
His technique worked well in his favor as he continued to be a fan favorite, even after retirement. Zidane won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA World Cup, the Ballon d’Or and many other awards during his career.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
Currently playing for the Serie A club, Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo, is a prolific forward who has remarkable scoring abilities. The Portuguese forward is known for his determination to strive for success. So far, Ronaldo has gathered admiration throughout the three countries he has played club soccer.
CR7 is top-4 on our ranking of the greatest soccer players of all time. He has won the Ballon d’Or five times, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Nations League, and the FIFA Best Men’s Player awards.
3. Lionel Messi, Argentina
A football demi-god, Lionel Messi emerged from obscurity to become one of the best and most prolific goalscorers in the history of world football. His antics on the field keep fans in suspense. Messi is known for admirably converting freekicks. Aside from that, he is an excellent playmaker who provides beautiful passes for clinical finishes.
Several sports pundits regard Messi as the greatest of all-time (G.O.A.T.) The Barcelona legend has won the Ballon d’Or six times, the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the Best FIFA Men’s Player awards.
2. Diego Maradona, Argentina
Possessing a small stature in football may work against you. But if you’re skillful enough, that could be one of your most significant advantages. For Diego Maradona, his small stature was an advantage that he utilized. The Argentine footballer controlled the ball effortlessly; he made astounding dribbles, scored jaw-dropping and memorable goals.
Maradona’s senior career lasted 21 years, and within that period, he won the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Player of the Century, the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, and the FIFA World Cup Golden shoe award, to mention a few. Many may argue that Diego Maradona is the greatest soccer player of all time.
1. Pelé, Brazil
The king of football, Pelé, is arguably the greatest soccer player of all time. At just the age of 17, he announced his presence to the world in a fashion that convinced many that he was here to stay. He went on to thrill soccer fans with his charming antics and his prolific goalscoring abilities.
Pelé, throughout his 24 years career, scored more than a record 1,000 goals. He won several individual awards and tournaments with the Brazilian football team, which include the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Player of the Century, the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player award, and many more.
What are your thoughts about our ranking of the top-10 greatest soccer players of all-time? Which of the best soccer players do you think should make this list? Please share it with us in our comments section below.