Wed 22 March 2023 | 4:30

Best football referees of all time

The main role of a referee on the pitch is to enforce the rules. But sometimes they are incapable of administering justice and make mistakes on the field. In this article, we will introduce the referees who made fewer mistakes and were one of the all-time greatest referees in football history.

In today's society, football holds a unique role. Great football clubs and federations invest millions of dollars in rising to the top of this competitive sport.

Football teams' success or failure may be attributed to a variety of things, including coaches, players, and fans, but it is now clear that referees play an equally significant and crucial role in determining the fate of teams.

One of the most challenging and complicated occupations in sports is refereeing. Nowadays, video assistant referee (VAR) is a great deal of help to increase justice. Still, they occasionally endure criticism and pressure from the athletes, managers, and fans, and they occasionally try to pin their loss on the referee. Even though referees sometimes make mistakes that are difficult to overlook, mistakes are a part of life.

Best soccer referees of all time

Let's take a look at to the list of best referees in soccer history.

Pierluigi Collina

Pierluigi Collina, who is one of the

best referees in soccer history

, is probably the most famous football referee in the world. Pierluigi Collina, in addition to the high quality of the refereeing, has also become more famous for his special and unique appearance.

The Italian referee, who is one of the

best football referees ever

, suffered from alopecia disease, caused hair loss on the head and face. He was the best referee of his time, winning the World Best Referee of the year six times in a row, from 1998 to 2003.

During his career, he officiated many of the world's most important competitions, including the 1999

Champions League

final, the 2002

World Cup

final, and the 2004 UEFA Cup final.

Pierluigi Collina was born on February 13, 1960. He is fluent in four languages: Italian, English, Spanish, and French. Collina started playing football at the age of 11, while he was mostly a reserve player.

At the age of 15, with the change of club, Collina became established and played for two years in the center of defense. According to Collina himself, he was sent off twice during the game and made many mistakes in total! "I don't think being fired twice in five or six years is a lot."


In three years, Pierluigi Collina, who is one of the best football referees of all time, took all the necessary refereeing classes and refereed several regional games. During this time, the young Collina also completed his military service and then entered the University of Bologna, graduating in 1984 with a degree in economics.

Pierluigi Collina made remarkable progress in 1988 and was able to experience refereeing in the third division of Italian football, Serie C1, Serie C2, and after three years, was allowed to be a referee in Serie B and Serie A.

At the beginning of 1995, after refereeing 43 matches in Serie A, Pierluigi Collina officially became a member of the FIFA Refereeing Committee, on April 24, 1996, he managed to officiate the competition between the Netherlands and


as his first official international match.

At the 96th Atlanta Olympics, Pierluigi Collina refereed five competitions, including the exciting final between Nigeria and Argentina, and from there he became famous in world football.

He officiated memorable competitions including the 1999 Champions League final, between Manchester United and Bayern Munich in Barcelona, and the 2002 World Cup final between Brazil and, the qualifiers for the 2002 World Cup or the Spain-France match at Euro 2000, as well as the 2004 UEFA Cup final between Valencia and



After Pierluigi Collina, who is a

greatest football referees of all time

, accepted a sponsorship deal, the Italian Football Federation accused him of a conflict of interest, and that made him retire.

After his retirement, he said: "You have to be accepted on the field of play not because you are the referee, but because people trust you."

"This means you can reach the best result a referee can reach, which is to be accepted even when he is wrong."

"After 28 years, I've decided to hand in my resignation," he announced in 2005. "People must believe in a referee. In the end, we have all lost out."

"I have slept less these last few nights than on the eve of the World Cup final. For me, it wouldn't have been a problem to referee in Serie B, but either they (the FIGC) have faith in us referees or they don't.

"If they don't, then we have to go. Without trust, we cannot move forward."

All football fans believe that the Italian referee is one of the Best football referees of all time.

Undoubtedly, Pierluigi Collina is one of the

best football referees of all time.

Markus Merk

Markus Merk, who is a dentist, is one of the

greatest soccer referees of all time

. Markus Merk was named the youngest referee in Bundesliga history in 1988, in his final years of dentistry.

Markus Merk, one of the best football referees of all time, was born 15 March 1962, is a former FIFA international referee who officiated in the Champions League final. At the age of 29, he became the youngest international referee to officiated at the Barcelona Olympics.

He also officiated in the Euro 2004 final, as well as judging the semi-final derby of the Champions League between Inter Milan and

AC Milan

Markus Merk also refereed the UEFA Cup final between Inter Milan and AC Milan, both of which were from Italy.

One of Merk's hallmarks is his extensive use of the red card when judging football games, as he always holds the record for the number of red cards.

The German referee, who is one of the

best football referees of all time

, whistled in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup, as well as UEFA Euro 2000 and 2004.

in 2004, 2005, and 2008, he was named the best referee by IFFHS. In 2008 after whistled in Bayern Munich and

Hertha BSC Berlin

, he ended his career.

After retirement, he said: “The timing is perfect for me. Why prolong a career that has been very positive up to now”? He reached the age limit and was not happy about it and said that: “I certainly do not favor such a strict age barrier, which is just another way to discriminate”, “I could run the test twice in a row, which tells you everything about my physical fitness.”

He is one of the referees in the world who opposed the use of video technology and said: "People have been talking about that ever since 1966! Forty years and we still haven't found a surefire system to implement. However, if there's something out there that can help us and the game, then I'm open to it."

Markus Mark, who is one of the

all-time greatest referees in football history

, is the most officiated referee in German Bundesliga history.

Howard Webb

Howard Webb, an English referee, is one of the

best football referees of all time

. Webb, who was born on 14 July 1971, has whistled two important competitions, the final of the European Club Cup, and the World Cup, in 2010.

In 1989, Webb who is one of the greatest soccer referees of all time, started his career in local leagues. In 2003 he officiated his first competition between


and Wolverhampton Wanderers in Premier League. 

It is rare for a referee to talk about his mistakes, especially if that referee has made a big mistake. Now, Howard Webb, who is one of the greatest football referees of all time, has spoken about this.

Howard Webb talked about the 2009

Manchester United

and Tottenham game at Old Trafford. In that game, Tottenham scored two goals, and Manchester United was losing that game, and, Red Devils had to compete hard with Liverpool for the title, but due to a wrong penalty taken by Howard Webb, Manchester United came back into the game and won 5-2.

Howard Webb, who is one of the best football referees of all time, said that: “I could see Carrick got there first, and then the goalkeeper clattered into him.

It was an easy penalty award I was expecting the usual cursory appeal that you get from the players, not the huge look of absolute astonishment and amazement on the look of Gomes. It was obvious within seconds I’d got the decision wrong.

There was something more to this. I left with the decision I had taken with no independent evidence that I’d got it wrong other than a gut feeling, and I was hoping that [Cristiano] Ronaldo would miss the penalty. But he didn’t.”  

It was Manchester United who became the champion in the Premier League instead of


. The retired referee also confessed another mistake during the 2010 world cup final.

He has admitted that he should have sent off the Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong.

The English referee said that: "Nigel de Jong's Kung-Fu kick was probably the thing that is most notable in my career in that World Cup final, it is notable for several reasons. If that had happened in just a regular league game, people would have long since forgotten about it but because it was the World Cup final and because it was quite an unusual situation."

"It was de Jong going with a high foot for a bouncing ball Xabi Alonso of


headed just before he got there, and the foot of de Jong went into the chest of Xabi Alonso. Was it a Kung-Fu kick? It is described like that. I do not think it was but looking from the TV, of course, it's a red card. At the time, I was looking through the back of Xabi Alonso and didn't have the certainty to see that the contact was significant. I decided that it was a reckless foul and only a yellow card. It lives with me a lot now when I comment on situations. People will say 'How does Howard Webb know anything? He didn't even recognize a Kung-Fu kick in the World Cup final."

"Having seen it on TV, of course I now see it's a red card. That is one that lives with me more than any decision I have ever made".

Many football fans believe that Howard Webb, who is one of the best football referees of all time, was a fan of the Manchester United team.

Kim Milton Nielsen

Kim Milton Nielsen, a Danish referee, was born on 3 August 1960, is one of the best football referees of all time. He has been one of


's seven international referees since 1988. With a height of 196 cm, he is considered one of the tallest referees in world football, which is a very effective feature in obeying the players.

During his career, Kim, who is one of the

best referees in football history

, officiated 53 Champions League competitions and 154 international games. He also whistled at 1998 and 2002 world cups, as well as 2004 and 2005 Champions leagues. 

The Danish referee, who is one of the

best soccer referees of all time

, was injured once during his career. During the match between Turkey and Belgium, Kim Milton, who is one of the best football referees ever, injured. 

He said about the incident: " It's only the second time I've been injured during a match in my entire career," said Nielsen.

"I'm extremely disappointed about having to leave the tournament.

"It happened at the worst possible moment - just before the quarter-finals."  

Kim Milton Nielsen, who is one of the best referees in football history, retired in 2006.

What do you think of the role of a referee in a football game? In your opinion, which football competitions have changed their result due to refereeing mistakes? Are the referees mentioned in this article among the best football referees of all time? Comment us your views

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source: SportMob

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