Top 10 Best Footballers (Soccer Players) of the 70s

The 1970s is a period that has its unique charm and is often considered a golden era of football. A decade brimming with flamboyant styles, fascinating tactics, and, of course, legendary footballers who graced the pitch with their unmatched skills and charisma.

Now, we delve into a question that's a delightful dilemma for fans worldwide: Who were the best footballers (or soccer players, for our American friends) of the 70s? When the sport was blessed with abundant talent, it can be quite a challenge to narrow down the standouts.

Will the enigmatic Johan Cruyff, with his 'Total Football' ethos, win the hearts of fans? Or will the electrifying speed and skill of George Best place him at the top? Or perhaps the unyielding consistency of Franz Beckenbauer will be what voters value most? Your votes will carve the path to answer these questions.
The Top Ten
1 Diego Maradona Diego Armando Maradona (October 30, 1960 - November 25, 2020) was an Argentine professional footballer. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. Maradona was given the nickname "El Pibe... read more
2 Pelé Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as "Pelé", was a Brazilian professional footballer who played as a forward. In 1999 he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. In 2000, Pelé was... read more

I wrote a paper in high school about Pelé around 1984. Anything that could be made into a ball - socks, whatever - was a soccer ball, and my buddy and I would make moves and have fun with the sport. Long story short, before hacky sacks, he had the drive and pure passion to do what he did. It doesn't matter where you came from, it's about passion. Enjoy.

Pelé is the best because he was the youngest and the most talented soccer player.

Pelé is easily the greatest athlete of all time, and definitely the best soccer player of the 20th century.

3 Johan Cruyff Hendrik Johannes "Johan" Cruijff (25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff was a proponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is... read more

Pelé was better through the 60s from what I know, so overall the 70s is Cruyff for me.

4 George Best George Best (22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005) was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger, spending most of his club career at Manchester United. A highly skillful dribbler, Best is regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport. He was named European Footballer... read more

Pelé called him the greatest footballer in the world and stated he should have been Brazilian. Need anymore be said?

The others here couldn't lace George's boots.

5 Franz Beckenbauer Franz Anton Beckenbauer (born 11 September 1945, died 7 January 2024) was a German professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career, he was nicknamed "Der Kaiser" because of his elegant style, dominance, and leadership on the field. His first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian... read more

Ranking Beckenbauer behind Best and especially Johnstone is disgraceful. In his prime, he was the best defender in the world and at the same time one of the best midfielders. As one of the most complete players to ever grace the game, he combined speed, elegance, superb tackling, powerful long shots, and amazing passes.

He was known for being a smart tactician and his interpretation of the "sweeper" heavily influenced football.

When it comes to trophies, Beckenbauer cannot be forgotten: As a player, he led West Germany to a World Cup title in 1974 and a European Championship title in 1972. He won the Champions League four times (1974, 1975, 1976, and 1983) and became German Champion five times. He was even determined as the third best footballer of the 20th century by FIFA in 2000, behind Pelé and Cruyff, but in front of Maradona. He's clearly one of the greatest ever, only a few players in the history of this sport can compare with his skills and fame. Nicknamed "The Emperor" (Der Kaiser), he established an era of German dominance in football and is known as the greatest German footballer to date (even greater than Müller and Seeler).

6 Gerd Müller

One of the greatest scorers in football history, Ballon d'Or 1970. The 'bomber' netted 1,461 goals in his career (more than Pelé in fewer matches) and won all the trophies (team and personal as top scorer) in all the tournaments he took part in (both with Bayern Munich and the national team). He was the top scorer of the World Cup in 1970 (10 goals).

7 Kenny Dalglish
8 Kevin Keegan Joseph Kevin Keegan (born 14 February 1951) is an English former football player and manager. A forward, he played for several clubs including Liverpool and Hamburger SV.
9 Michel Platini Michel François Platini (born 21 June 1955) is a French football administrator and former player and manager. As the president of UEFA in 2015 he was banned from involvement in football under FIFA's organisation, over ethics violations. The ban will last until 2023. Regarded as one of the greatest... read more
10 Zico
The Contenders
11 Oleg Blokhin
12 Mario Kempes
13 Luigi Riva

One of the greatest ever! The best scorer of the Italian national team, Cagliari's legend! The man known as "roar of thunder"!

The best Italian striker of all time, the legendary "roar of thunder"!

14 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
15 Jimmy Johnstone

Enshrined the ethos of the 1967 Lisbon Lions. Celtic legend and underappreciated footballer.

16 Marco van Basten Marcel "Marco" van Basten is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played for Ajax and Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, in the 1980s and early '90s as a forward.
17 Fausto Rossi
18 Peter Lorimer
19 Roberto Rivelino
20 Bobby Charlton Sir Robert "Bobby" Charlton is an English football player, regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time. He was an essential member of the England team that won the World Cup in 1966, the same year he also won the Ballon d'Or.
21 Allan Simonsen
22 Stan Bowles
23 John Giles
24 Elias Figueroa
25 Lev Yashin Lev Ivanovich Yashin, nicknamed the "Black Spider" or the "Black Panther", was a Soviet-Russian football goalkeeper, considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game.
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