10. Johan Cruyff – Holland
Dutchman Johan Cruyff became a hometown star for Amsterdam Ajax during the 1960s and then excelled with Spain’s Barcelona in the following decade. He’s one of the best ever European-born players and is right at home on this list. FIFA named him to World Team of the 20th Century back in 1998 as well as the organization’s World Cup Dream Team. Cruyff captured a trio of Ballon D’Or awards and led Ajax to three European Cups and eight Dutch championships. However, he never managed to win a World Cup during his career which ran from 1964 to 1984.
9. Zinedine Zidane – France
Described as the ‘God of Football’ by UEFA President Michel Platini, the former French captain was born on 23rd June 1972. Many believe he was the best midfielder ever and his records have proven the same. Zidane is the winner of one Ballon D’ Or trophy and is also the 3-time holder of the title of World Player of the Year. His red card for head-butting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 WC Final is considered to be one of the most remembered moments in the history of football. He features at #9 on the list.
8. Alfredo Di Stefano – Argentina
Alfredo Di Stefano actually played for three different international squads during his career as he was born in Argentina and then moved to Europe with his Italian parents. Because of his heritage, Di Stefano suited up for Argentina, Colombia, and Spain. He scored six goals in six games for both Colombia and Argentina and then chipped in 23 more in 31 matches with Spain. His career lasted from 1943 to 1966 with his best years coming at Real Madrid in Spain. Di Stefano banged in 484 goals in 665 club outings. The striker helped Madrid win five straight European Cups and scored in each of the five finals.
7. Iker Casillas - Spain
Iker Casillas has won everything there to be won for a footballer. He made his debut for Real Madrid at the tender age of 17 and never looked back. 5 La Liga titles, 3 Champions League, 4 Copa Del Rey makes him one of the most decorated player in spanish domestic football. At the international level he guided Spain to 2010 world cup win and two back to back European championship titles in 2008 and 2012. No goalkeeper in history of football has achieved so much what Casillas has done in his career. He might be nearing to lose his national team place to David Da Gea but he will go down as the greatest goalkeeper of all times.
6. Ronaldo – Brazil
Before Cristiano Ronaldo there was just Ronaldo of Brazil. He starred for several teams from 1993 to 2011, including Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan. Ronaldo won FIFA’s Player of the Year award three times and scored 62 times in 98 international games. The forward ended his career with 352 goals in 518 contests. Ronaldo was just 17 when he won his first World Cup in 1994 and added another in 2002. Ronaldo won the World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball during his career and scored 15 goals in World Cup games, which is the second-most in history. He’s also Brazil’s second leading international goalscorer.
5. Ronaldinho - Brazil
In terms of technique no one has even been close, he carried his Barcelona team at times and I have no doubt that if he had the luxury of playing in the current Barcelona team with such a talented squad, it would not be Messi who would be taking the plaudits. Possibly, Maradona, Pele and Beckenbauer could be named ahead of him, but for me he was amazing. He could do everything, his passing was immaculate, he had the vision and ability to find the killer ball, he could beat any number of defenders with amazing skill and of course scored some fabulous goals, and lots of them.
4. Pele - Brazil
Since Pele was born in October of 1940, his brilliance will be lost on most of today’s younger fans. However, most people who saw him play regard the Brazilian named Edson Arantes do Nascimento to be the best player to ever lace up a pair of football boots. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) voted Pele as the player of the century. He played professionally between 1956 and 1977 with Santos and the New York Cosmos and helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. This makes him the only player in history to play for three World Cup winners. Pele scored a reported 1,281 goals during his career with 77 of them coming in 91 games for Brazil.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal
Portuguese international forward Cristiano Ronaldo of Madeira Island became a household name after joining Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon back in 2003. Since then, he moved on to Real Madrid in Spain in 2009 and has arguably become the best player on the planet. The 30-year-old had 400 goals to his name by the time he was 28 and has been named the best player in the world by FIFA three times. Ronaldo has already represented his country 119 times and has 52 goals to his name and has another 426 goals in 623 club contests along with numerous other pieces of silverware.
2. Lionel Messi - Argentina
Argentine international striker Lionel Messi has made his claim to fame playing with Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona. The 27-year-old has been named the FIFA player of the year four times during his career, which sets a new record, and captured the award four years in a row. He holds numerous Spanish LaLiga scoring records including being the youngest player to score 200 goals in the competition. Messi is the league’s and Barcelona’s all-time top scorer. The superb striker also set a record in 2012 with 91 goals during the calendar year.
1. Diego Armando Maradona - Argentina
Argentine midfielder Diego Maradona will always be known for the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal he scored against England at the 1986 World Cup, but he’ll also go down in history as one of the sport’s greatest performers. FIFA named him and Pele as co-winners of the top player of the 20th century award. Maradona entertained fans between 1976 and 1997. He led Argentina to the World Cup in 1986 and also helped Italian side Napoli to a pair of Serie A championships. Maradona retired with 34 goals to his name in 91 games for Argentina. Inarguably the king of football.
Thanks to the following website for providing the information presented:
- Coggin, Stewart : Soccer Expert. "Who Are the Best Soccer Players in the World Today?" Sports Rankings. N.p., 06 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.