The hottest debating topic amongst the football fans is “Who are the best soccer players of all time and who among them is the best ever?”. We have tried to draw a conclusion to this debate. Here are the top 15 best soccer players of all time.
15 Best Soccer Players of All Time
The Brazil-born footballing star Zico is considered one of the best players to ever grace the game. Zico was a technically gifted player who played as an attacking midfielder throughout his career. Apart from being a playmaker, Zico was also prolific goalscorer and a set piece specialist. Currently, he is active as a manager.
14. Gerd Muller-Germany
Gerd Muller had a successful career, both with his country and the club. He is considered a legend in Germany for being the greatest ever German striker in the game. Muller once set a record for scoring highest goals scored, in a calendar year, for the club and the country as he scored 85 goals. But Lionel Messi snatched the record by scoring 91 in 2012.
13. Geroge Best-Northen Ireland
George Best was one of the very first stars of the football world. Best played most of his career at Manchester United as a winger and an attacking midfielder. He was technically gifted and had an eye for the goal. Although he died in 2005, his footballing legacy still lives on at Manchester United and the whole footballing world. He surely deserves the 13th spot in our list of best soccer players.
12. Paulo Maldini-Italy
Maldini’s legacy is not only confined to Italy or AC Milan but the whole world. The Italian has been one of the best defenders the world has ever seen. He was considered as an artist of defending skills. His slide tackles were so perfectly timed that he rarely gave a penalty to the opposition. Maldini played his entire career at AC Milan and won a number of big trophies. But he was unsuccessful with his national side just like the Argentine Lionel Messi.
11. Xavi Hernandez-Spain
The Barcelona man left the club in 2015 after winning the second treble with the Catalans. He is one of the most decorated players ever alongside Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. Xavi had inch-perfect passes. He is the greatest ever playmaker the football has ever witnessed. Apart from play making, Xavi used to control the midfield. He was a crucial part of FC Barcelona’s success in the past decade. Moreover, he has won 2 European cups and a world cup with the Spanish National team.
The great Ronaldinho came to FC Barcelona in 2004 when the club was under crisis. He dedicated himself to the club, tore apart defenses, won the heart of football fans, and left as a legend. Ronaldinho was not a prolific goal scorer. He was a playmaker and a skilled master. His skills are the reason why he is a special player, different from the traditional football players.
9. Michel Platini-France
Michel Platini started his career from the French team Nancy and went on to play for the Saint-Étienne and Juventus as an attacking midfielder and won 3 consecutive Ballon d’Ors in 1983,84, and 85. He retired in 1987 with 312 goals with clubs and 41 goals with the national team.
8. Alfredo Di Stefano-Argentina
The Argentine Alfredo Di Stefano is arguably the greatest player ever to play for Real Madrid alongside Raul Gonzalez and Cristiano Ronaldo. He won his club 5 European titles and was the top scorer of UEFA Champions league until Raul Gonzalez broke his record. His goal scoring and creating abilities were crucial for Real Madrid. However, his international career was not as successful as his club career.
7. Cristiano Ronaldo-Portugal
The Portuguese superstar has the sweetest shots in the football world today. He has enjoyed an incredible career with Manchester United and Real Madrid. Now at the age of 32, Cristiano is showing signs of aging and lacks the physical strength he used to have back in the days. But he still has a lot more to offer to the game other than just scoring goals. He has won 4 Ballon d’Ors in his entire career. And he is surely going down in the history as one of the best soccer players ever.
6. Johan Cruyff-Netherlands
Cruyff is a wizard in the footballing world. He was a product of Ajax’s youth academy and had an extraordinary career with Ajax until he joined FC Barcelona. He had a vision and a dream to change football. Cruyff wanted to play simple and beautiful football. It is the result of his vision that FC Barcelona has La Masia academy which yielded players like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Victor Valdez etc.
5. Franz Beckenbauer-Germany
Just like Cruyff, Beckenbauer revolutionized football. He is the pioneer of the sweeper position. He was an attacking minded defender who played behind the 2 center backs forming an extra defensive layer. Moreover, he had the task to convert those goal conceding threats into attacking threats. That’s where he was best at. He has a pretty big trophy cabinet for the titles he won with Germany and Bayern Munich.
4. Zinedine Zidane-France
The Frenchman Zinedine Zidane was a midfield maestro back in the days when he was young. His talent came out when he used to play for Bordeaux. Zidane was technically gifted and could control the midfield, as well as score extraordinary goals. He then joined Juventus where he further flourished and became one of the best in the world at the time. Real Madrid came in for him for a record transfer fee at the time. He won a Champions league and a La Liga title with the Spanish club.
3. Diego Maradona-Argentina
Maradona is considered as one of the best dribblers ever to grace the game. He enjoyed a decent career with Napoli and FC Barcelona. But his greatest achievement was to win the world cup with a below average Argentina team. He considered as a footballing God by the Argentines.
2. Lionel Messi-Argentina
Arguably the most gifted player ever Lionel Messi is the second amongst the best soccer players ever. Messi has been at the top for almost a decade now and is expected to become the greatest of all time by the end of his career. At the age of 30, Messi has won 5 Ballon d’Ors, 30 team trophies, and a large number of individual honors and trophies. Moreover, he holds almost every record in the football world. And nobody seems to be breaking these at least for the next 20-30 years.
The Brazilian legendary striker Pele has been the greatest ever. There is no doubt about that. He has got some competition by Lionel Messi and he will most probably lose his spot as Messi will soon overtake him. Pele never played outside Brazil although Europe has been the greatest hub of football. He was a skilled and a technically gifted player. On the club level, Pele has 700 goals. Moreover, he has won 3 world cups with Brazil and a number of other trophies with both clubs and country.