Best football players of all time
Players who have made the sport much more interesting. In our article today, we have decided to name a few of them. We have to remind you that these names are just a few in the ocean of “best soccer players of all time”.
Best soccer players of all time
Here we go with number 25...
25. Andres Iniesta
The current Vissel Kobe central midfielder is definitely one of the best players of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Iniesta in the name to come up with all the honors in soccer world. The 35-year-old had a key role in the Barcelona sides that won two historic trebles in 2009 and 2015. He also has achieved 35 trophies, including nine La Ligas and four UEFA Champions League titles.
Titles & Achievements: 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2008 & 2012 UEFA European Championships, four UEFA Champions Leagues, nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey, 3 FIFA Club World Cup, 2012 UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award, 2009 La Liga Best Spanish Player, FIFA Ballon d'Or 2nd place in 2010 and also 3rd Place in 2012 and 4th place in 2011, and Golden Foot winner in 2014.
24. Paolo Maldini
The famous AC Milan player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever defenders and players, holds the record for most appearances in Serie A, alongside Gianluigi Buffon, with 647.
Throughout his career he was known for his calm and composed manner on the pitch, as well as his ability to read the game, preferring elegance and intelligence to physicality and aggression when defending.
He was also known for his character and was referred to as "an icon and gentleman of the game". Interestingly, Maldini played in the 11th Match Against Poverty on 4 March 2014, appearing with other star players including Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luís Figo, and Pavel Nedvěd, which was held in Bern, Switzerland, with proceeds raised helping the recovery efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
Later on 1 September 2014, "Il Capitano", along with many current and former footballing stars, took part in the "Match for Peace", which was played at the Stadio Olimpico, Rome, with the proceeds being donated to charity.
Titles & Achievements: 7 times Serie A titles, most Serie A appearances of all time, most AC Milan appearances of all time, five European Cups, seven Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, two Intercontinental Cup, 1994 FIFA World Cup runner-up, 2000 UEFA European Football Championship runner-up, five Supercoppa Italiana titles, one FIFA Club World Cup, winner of the Best Defender trophy at the UEFA Club Football Awards, and the Serie A Defender of the Year Award in 2004.
Greatly known as one of the greatest footballers of all time, Eusebio was nicknamed the “Black Panther” or “the Black Pearl”, and was known for his speed, technique, athleticism and his ferocious right-footed shot, making him a prolific goalscorer.
Black Panther did a lot during his professional life including helping Portugal to reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, and also being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals.
Titles & Achievements: 1965 Ballon d'Or, 1966 European Golden Boot, 1968 & 1973 European Golden Boot, 1962 European Cup, 3 times European Cup top scorer, FIFA World Cup Bronze Ball winner in 1966, FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1966, 11 Primeira Liga titles, five Taca de Portugal titles.
22. Lev Yashin
And here in another panther on our list, but this time a black one!
Famous for his athleticism, positioning, stature, bravery, imposing presence in goal, and acrobatic reflex saves, Lev Yashin was known as "Black Spider" or the "Black Panther".
Today he is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport and is one of the most important footballers of all time, as he basically invented goalkeeping.
Titles & Achievements: 1963 Ballon d'Or, Olympic gold medal, 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, 8 times European Goalkeeper of the Year, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, five Soviet Top League titles, Order of Lenin, 1961 European Goalkeeper of the Year, FIFA Goalkeeper of the Century in 2000, FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, and many more awards to his name.
The Brazilian legend who is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time is widely considered a master of the confined space of the penalty area, rapid speed over short distances, and his own trademark, which is the toe-poke finish.
To mention a memorable moment of his professional career and toe poke style, we can talk about his opening goal in a hat-trick for Barcelona against Real Madrid in 1994 saw him drag the ball around the defender without it leaving his foot before finishing with a toe-poke into the corner of the net.
It is also interesting to know that Romario has scored over 1,000 goals during his playing career. It was on 20 May 2007, when the 53-year-old scored his 1000th goal, which was a penalty kick against Sport Recife, while he was a part of Vasco da Gama. Anyway, later FIFA congratulated him but stated that he is still officially on 929 goals, as 77 came in youth football, with others being scored in friendly matches.
Titles & Achievements: 1994 FIFA World Player of the Year, 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1994 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1994 World Cup All-Star Team, 1994 FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot, 1989 & 1997 Copa America, 1993/94 La Liga title, three-time Eredivisie, 1993/94 Pichichi winner, FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Shoe in 1997, FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball in 2000, FIFA World Cup Dream Team in 2002, and many other awards.
For sure, Ronaldinho is one of the names not to be forgotten forever. The Barcelona ambassador brought honor for any team he kicked the ball for, including PSG, Barcelona, A.C. Milan & Flamengo. With the all-time smile on his face and his brilliant technique he was the player to add joy and beauty to soccer.
Titles & Achievements: 2005 Ballon d'Or, 2004 & 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2005 UEFA Club Forward of the Year, 2005 & 2006 FIFPro World Player of the Year, 2006 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, two La Liga titles, one Scudetto, 2009 Golden foot, and 2004 & 2005 World soccer player of the year.
19. Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. A member of the England team that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup and the winner of Ballon d'Or in the same year, he played almost all of his club football at Manchester United. Interestingly, back in that time, the 82-year-old was known for his attacking instincts, his passing abilities from midfield and his ferocious long-range shot, as well as his fitness and stamina.
Bobby Charlton was one of the flight passengers in the “Munich air disaster of 1958” and was rescued by Harry Gregg. He was one of the team members, known as "Busby Babes" on the plane. The plane crash caused the death of 8 United members and many more. This sad tragedy destroyed the nucleus of what promised to be one of the greatest generations of players in English football history, which took 10 years to be recovered. That was when Bobby started to go up the lather of glory again.
Titles & Achievements: 1966 Ballon d'Or, 1966 FIFA World Cup, 1966 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1967/68 European Cup, three Football League First Division titles, 1962/63 FA Cup, UEFA European Championship third place in 1968, Football League 100 Legends in 1998, FIFA Player of the Century in 16th place by FIFA internet vote and 10th place by IFFHS.
18. Giuseppe Meazza
Widely considered as one of the best players of his generation and also of all time, Giuseppe Meazza is famous for his technical skill, prolific goalscoring, and creative ability, which has given him the nickname "il genio" that means the genius.
Internazionale was the team he kicked the ball mainly for in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club, and winning three Serie A titles, as well as the Coppa Italia. However, later he took part in teams such as Milan, Juventus, Varese and Atalanta.
It is interesting to know that in international level, he led Italy to win two World Cups: one in 1934, and the other one in 1938 where he was the team captain.
Titles & Achievements: FIFA World Cup in 1934 & 1938, 1934 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, three Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia in 1938/39, three Capocannoniere.
17. Gerd Muller
The 74-year-old has been one of the best in international scale at West Germany where he has scored 68 goals in 62 appearances, and also at club level, after 15 years with Bayern Munich, where he scored a record 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games and an international record 66 goals in 74 European club games. Müller is currently 17th on the list of all time international goalscorers and is considered as one of the bests in soccer history.
Titles & Achievements: 1970 Ballon d'Or, 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1972 UEFA European Championship, 1970 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, two-time German Footballer of the Year, 1976 Intercontinental Cup, European Golden Shoe winner in 1970 & 1972, 3 times European Cup winner, seven-time Torjägerkanone, four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, and many more awards.
One of the best players of all time, he is often called the "White Pelé". A player who was a creative playmaker, with excellent technical skills, vision, and an eye for goal, with most clinical finishes and best passes ever. That was the reason for Pelé to say that he was the one player who came closest to him.
Titles & Achievements: Five-time Bola de Prata winner, three-time South American Footballer of the Year, top scorer in Flamengo's history, 1981 Copa Libertadores Best Player, Copa Libertadores top scorer in 1981, 1981 Intercontinental Cup, three Campeonato Brasilerio Serie A titles, FIFA World Cup Bronze Boot in 1982 and many more awards to his name.
15. Franco Baresi
Franco Baresi is the next name on our list who spent his entire 20-year career with Serie A club Milan, captaining the club for 15 seasons. Regarded as one of the greatest defenders of all-time, he has won three UEFA Champions League titles, six Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana titles, two European Super Cups and two Intercontinental Cups with his club during his professional playing career.
Titles & Achievements: FIFA World Cup winner in 1982, FIFA World Cup Third-place in 1990, FIFA World Cup Runner-up in 1994, AC Milan Player of the Century, Serie A Player of the Century, six Scudetti, three European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, 1989 Ballon d'Or runner-up, UEFA European Championship Semifinalist in 1980 & 1988, and many more awards & honors to his name.
14. George Best
Greatly known as one of the best Wingers and players of all time, George Best spent most of his club career at Manchester United.
The all-time player is known for his style, pace, skill, balance, feints, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to get past defenders.
Best had the opportunity to be so famous in advertising due to his good looks and so he became one of the first media celebrity footballers, earning the nickname "El Beatle" in 1966. However, his lifestyle and notably alcoholism, not only did not bring him happiness but also made him die at the age of 59.
Titles & Achievements: Ballon d'Or winner in 1968, 1967/68 FWA Footballer of the Year, 1967/68 Football League First Division top scorer, 1968 European Cup, two Football League First Division titles, Football League 100 Legends in 1983, Golden Foot in 2005, and many other awards to his name.
13. Marco van Basten
Many of us remember Van Basten by his memorable volley in the UEFA Euro 1988 final against the Soviet Union.
He is regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport and is known for his close ball control, attacking intelligence, impeccable headers, and spectacular strikes and volleys.
The 55-year-old had an extraordinary performance during the short period of his playing career as he was forced to be retired at the age of 30 due to his serious injuries. But as we all know that was not the end of his career as he continued coaching Ajax and the Netherlands national team later. Nowadays he is working as the FIFA technical director
Titles & Achievements: Ballon d'Or winner in 1988, 1989 & 1992, FIFA World Player of the Year in 1992, UEFA Best Player of the Year in 1989, 1990 & 1992, Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1984/85, two Capocannoniere, 1988 UEFA European Championship, two European Cups, European Golden Boot winner in 1985–86, Top Scorer and Best Player with 5 goals in UEFA Euro 1988, World Golden Boot in 1985/86, three Scudetti, three Eredivisie, three KNVB Cups and many more awards.
12. Michel Platini
Though many remember his name by his ban from football as the UEFA president in 2015, we have to say that Michel Platini is definitely the greatest goalscoring midfielder of all time. The former Nancy, Saint-Étienne, and Juventus player was nicknamed “Le Roi” which means “The King” due to his ability and leadership. It is interesting to know that Platini was his country's record goalscorer until 2007, and holds the record for most goals scored in the European Championship despite only appearing in the victorious 1984 edition as he has 9 to his name.
Titles & Achievements: Ballon d'Or winner in 1983, 1984, 1985, French Player of the Century, two times French Player of the Year, three times Capocannoniere, 1984 UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament, 1984 UEFA European Championship, UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 1984, one European Cup, one Ligue 1 title, one Coppa Italia, one Intercontinental Cup, and many other awards.
11. Ronaldo Nazário
The all-time football star is known for his dribbling at speed, feints, and clinical finishing and that’s why Ronaldo is considered as one of the greatest players of all time.
Titles & Achievements: 2 times Ballon d'Or winner, three times FIFA World Player of the Year, 1998 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 2002 FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe, 1994 & 2002 FIFA World Cup, 1996/97 European Golden Shoe, two times Copa America winner, two-time Pichichi winner, 1998 Serie A Footballer of the Year, two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one KNVB Cup, one UEFA Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1998, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in 1997/98 & many more.
10. Mane Garrincha
Who can believe that a boy with an alcoholic dad, a lot of family issues, one leg 6 centimeters shorter than the other one, and also left leg turned outwards and right leg turned inwards can be named as one of the best soccer players in the 20th century?
Well, it’s better for you to change your beliefs as Mane Garrincha has had obviously all these problems and still he is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers of all time and also a legendary figure in the sport.
He is the one who played a vital role in Brazil's 1958 and 1962 World Cup victories and became the first player to win Golden Ball, Golden Boot and the World Cup in the same tournament. This is while he was also named in the World Cup All-Star Team of both 1958 World Cup and 1962 World Cup. Moreover, it is interesting to know that Brazil never lost a match while fielding both Garrincha and Pelé.
Titles & Achievements: 1958 & 1962 FIFA World Cup, 1962 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1962 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, Best Player of the Brazilian Championship in 1962, Best Player of the Rio-São Paulo Tournament in 1962, named in World Team of the 20th Century, World Soccer's Greatest Players of the 20th century in 1999, IFFHS World Player of the 20th Century in 8th place.
9. Ferenc Puskas
The first thing to be remembered by his name is the FIFA Puskás Award but the name in much bigger. The legendary soccer player who is widely known as one of the best players of all time kicked the ball for Budapest Honvéd and Real Madrid, plus Hungary & Spain national teams. He became an Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup where he was named the tournament's best player. It is interesting to know that he was also recognized as the top scorer of the 20th century by the IFFHS in 1995.
Titles & Achievements: Five Spanish League titles, World Soccer Player of the Year in 1953, European Player of the 20th Century, Olympic gold medal, 1954 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1960 Ballon d'Or runner-up, 1954 FIFA World Cup runner-up, four-time Pichichi winner, four-time Hungarian league top scorer, two-time European Cup top scorer, three European Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, one Copa del Rey, five Hungarian League titles.
8. Zinedine Zidane
The current Real Madrid coach has always been one of the most beloved players in the soccer world. The 47-year-old has been marked by his elegance, passing, ball control, and technique and is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Zizou has made us many unforgettable moments in football history including his left-foot volley in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, which is considered as one of the greatest goals in history
Titles & Achievements: Ballon d'Or winner in 1998, three times FIFA World Player of the Year, 2002 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, UEFA Champions League Best Player of the Past 20 Years, 2000/01 Serie A Footballer of the Year, 2006 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, the only player to be named “Player of the Year” in three of the top five leagues, 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2000 UEFA European Championships, 1999 World Soccer's Selection of the 100 Greatest Footballers of the 20th century, Ballon d'Or Silver award in 2000, UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament in 2000, and many many more awards.
7. Franz Beckenbauer
The 74-year-old legendary footballer, known as “Der Kaiser”, which means the Emperor is considered as one of the greatest players in history. You may know that Beckenbauer started his playing career as a midfielder, but he made his name as a central defender and one of the bests in fact.
It is interesting to know that he is one of three men, along with Mário Zagallo and Didier Deschamps to have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager. In fact, he lifted the World Cup trophy as the captain in 1974 and repeated the feat as a manager in 1990. In addition, he was the first captain to lift the World Cup, European Championship, and the European Cup during the time of captaincy.
Titles & Achievements: 2-times Ballon d'Or winner in 1972 & 1976 , FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, 1966 FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award, four-time German Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Cup winner in 1974, 1972 UEFA European Championships, three European Cups, four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1966–67, one Intercontinental Cup. As a manager he also won the World Cup with West Germany in 1990, Ligue 1 title in 1990–91 with Marseille, and a Bundesliga title in 1993–94 and UEFA Cup in 1995–96 with Bayern Munich.
6. Alfredo Di Stefano
Alfredo Di Stefano is regarded as one of the best footballers of all time and is best known for his achievements specially with Real Madrid. In international scale, he played mostly for Spain after moving to Madrid, but he also played for Argentina and Colombia. He is remembered as a powerful, quick, skillful, and prolific forward, with great stamina, tactical versatility, creativity, and vision, who could also play almost anywhere on the pitch. He JOINED Real Madrid in 1982 and before that kicked the ball for teams like Valencia and River Plate. He is currently the sixth-highest scorer in the history of Spain's top division, and Real Madrid's third-highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches between 1953 and 1964. For the Real Madrid, he is staying alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Titles & Achievements: Argentine Primera División top scorer in 1947, Ballon d'Or winner in 1957 & 1959, five European Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, eight La Liga titles, five-time Pichichi winner, World Team of the 20th Century, one Copa del Rey, FIFA 100 in 2004, European Cup top scorer in 1958 and 1962, and many more awards.
5. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff is obviously not just known by his style of playing but also is famous for his coaching techniques, books, and business venture. However, he is most remembered by his special type of playing. In fact, Johan was a player to invent his own skill move and also modern football and that is why he is one of the most influential names in football history. A player to be known for his technical ability, speed, acceleration, dribbling, and vision, possessing an awareness of his teammates' positions as an attack unfolded and later a coach to be famous for "Total Football". Total Football is a system where a player who moves out of his position is replaced by another from his team, thus allowing the team to retain their intended organizational structure.
Cruyff's style of play and his football philosophy was so strong and admirable that is has influenced managers and players all around the world. Names such as Arrigo Sacchi, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger, Pep Guardiola, Frank Rijkaard, Michael Laudrup, Eric Cantona, Peter Bosz, Óscar García Junyent, and Xavi.
Titles & Achievements: 8 Eredivisie titles, 3 times European Cup winner, Ballon d'Or winner in 1971, 1973 & 1975, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner in 1974, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, three-time Dutch Footballer of the Year, two-time Dutch Sportsman of the Year, one La Liga title, one Copa del Rey, six KNVB Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, UEFA European Championship Third place in 1976, FIFA World Cup Runner-up in 1974, and many more awards and titles.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo
CR7 is the player to win almost every possible honor in football’s world and for sure one of the best players of his generation. Currently, he kicks the ball as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and also captains the Portugal national team. The 34-year-old has won 29 trophies in his career, including five Ballons d'Or and four European Golden Shoes.
Titles & Achievements: Four times Ballon d'Or winner, FIFA World Player of the Year in 2009, European Golden Shoe winner for three times, the Best FIFA Men’s player in 2017, Premier League Player of the season in 2006 & 2007, 3 times UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, two times PFA Players' Player of the Year, 2013/14 La Liga Best Player, 2016 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball, 2007/08 UEFA Club Forward of the Year, 2004, 2012, 2016 UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament, 2016 UEFA European Championship Silver Boot and many more.
The 79-year-old is obviously one of the bests & can be referred to as the best forward player of all time. One of the 100 most important people of the 20th century according to TIME. Interestingly in 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. He is also the all-time leading goalscorer for Brazil with 77 goals in 92 games, while in total he has scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. You also need to know that in Brazil he is hailed as a national hero for his accomplishments in football and for his outspoken support of policies that improve the social conditions of the poor.
Titles & Achievements: Most career goals (of any footballer ever, like ever), FIFA Player of the Century, France Football's greatest FIFA World Cup player, TIME 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century list, Brazil's all-time leading goalscorer, Santos' all-time leading goalscorer, youngest FIFA World Cup winner, most assists in FIFA World Cup history, 1958, 1962 & 1970 FIFA World Cup, top goalscorer in FIFA World Cup finals, two Copa Libertadores titles, six Campeonato Brasilerio Serie A titles, two Intercontinental Cups, 1970 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1958 FIFA World Cup Best Young Player, 1970 Bola de Prata.
2. Diego Maradona
Maradona is one of the most famous players in the world, greatly regarded as one of the bests of the 20th century and all time. He is known for his vision, passing, ball control, a de range of maneuver and dribbling skills. It is interesting to know that "The Golden Boy" was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice. The first time was when he transferred to Barcelona for a then world record £5 million, and the second time was when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9 million.
The 59-year-old started coaching Argentina in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. Maradona is currently coach at Argentine sports club, Gimnasia.
Titles & Achievements: FIFA World Cup award in 1986, South American Footballer of the Year in 1979 & 1980, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in 1986, 1985 Serie A Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, FIFA Goal of the Century, Argentine Sports Writers' Sportsman of the Century, South American Footballer of the Year two times winner, Argentine Football Writers' Footballer of the Year 4 times winner, one Coppa Italia, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Cup, & many other awards.
1. Lionel Messi
And here is the first player on our list. Leo Messi is the best of all time, while he is the best football player in the 21st century with no doubt. The player to win six Ballon d'Or awards, & six European Golden Shoes. Just hearing his name in the squad will make the opponent players nervous and that is why he is considered as the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Titles & Achievements: 6 times Ballon d'Or winner, 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, Barcelona all time top goalscorer, Argentina's all time top goalscorer, La Liga all time top goalscorer, six-time Pichichi winner, most goals scored in a calendar year, FIFA Club World Cup Silver Ball in 2015, 2011 & 2015 UEFA Men's Player of the Year, seven-time La Liga Player of the Year, 2014 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 2005 Young European Footballer of the Year, 2009 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, five-time European Golden Shoe winner, four Champions Leagues, nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey & many more awards.
Who do you think is missing on the list? Put your comment in the comment section.