Top 10 Best Soccer (Football) Players of All Time

The world of soccer (or football, as it's known outside of North America) is filled with legendary players who have dazzled us with their skills, thrilled us with their goals, and won our hearts with their passion for the beautiful game. From the early pioneers who helped shape the sport to the modern-day icons who have redefined how the game is played, soccer's rich history is studded with names that have become synonymous with excellence.

But when it comes to identifying the 'best' soccer players of all time, where do we even begin? Is it the forward who scores the most goals or the goalkeeper who makes the most saves? Is it the midfielder with the uncanny ability to control the tempo of a match or the defender whose tackles stop opponents in their tracks? Perhaps it's not just about statistics at all. Maybe it's about the players who transform the game into an art form, who can do things with a ball that leave us in awe, and who imprint unforgettable moments into the annals of soccer history.

Compiling a list of the best soccer players of all time is an adventure through the annals of the sport, where we encounter giants who have set records, won countless titles, and stirred the passions of millions of fans around the globe. It's a tribute to the game that unites us in shared excitement and anticipation every time the ball rolls on the pitch.

As you embark on this exploration of soccer greatness, think about the players that have left you spellbound. Whether you're a die-hard fan of Pelé, an unwavering supporter of Maradona, a loyal follower of Messi or Ronaldo, or an advocate for a lesser-known but equally talented player, your vote matters. Your opinion contributes to this ongoing conversation about the greatest players to have graced the soccer pitch.
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 de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"). He was known for the "Goal of the Century" and the "Hand of God" goal. He died of cardiac arrest on November 25, 2020 at the age of 60

Maradona was pure magic. A man who, with his overwhelming personality, faced everything and everyone. Alone, like a lion, he performed feats difficult to imitate. Not only was he the best player in the world, but his character led him to be the true Messiah in football. Eternal glory to Diego!

I am not sure if the person who created this list plays soccer or football, if you want to call it that. Diego Maradona CANNOT be compared to Pele or other players, with all due respect. He is completely in a different category, the best of the best. Maradona is an acronym for beautiful football. You enjoy seeing him play, giving perfect passes, dribbling, and scoring. I'm sure if he played as a goalkeeper, he would be the best as well. Putting someone else on the top of the list rather than Diego is an insult to the game. So far, no one has ever scored a goal like his against England from the middle of the field, fantastic. Diego, you are simply the best.

I love Messi, I love Pele, I love Cristiano. But there is no one who deserves the #1 spot on this list more than Diego Maradona. His pinpoint accuracy on passes, his cool finishes, and most of all, his dribbling make him the best ever. His passes allowed him to carry a team on his back because he could make anyone look good. His cool finishes always came at crucial times, putting his team in front in any competition. And his dribbling, ohh. He was five times better than Messi because what Messi does about twice per game, Maradona did at least 50 times. Pele could score, Messi can score, Cristiano can score, but none of them could score as well as Diego. Just watch a YouTube video of him. He is 5'5", and he runs by people like they are cones.

N1 without a doubt. He made underdogs win. If you have seen him play, you'd know how incredible he was. I love Messi, but he is not at Maradona's level. People are usually blinded by stats, which make Pele, Messi and C. Ronaldo stand out, as they are stat monsters. But if you cannot see behind the stats and actually watch the player PLAY, then you are failing to appreciate the magic. Maradona may not have been the biggest scorer (many players scored more than him), or he may not have been the biggest winner (many players won more championships than him), but he was the best player. No one has ever dribbled like him so consistently, nor given such precise unthinkable passes, in situations were making such a thing caught you by surprise. As mentioned in other comments, he was so good that he made average players look good. He took many defenders' mark and left other players alone in the field. He played against probably the best defenders of all time in that Italian league. Back then, ...more

2 Lionel Messi Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi (born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Barcelona. He is also known as one of the greatest football players of all time. He was born in Rosario, Argentina on June 24th, 1987.

Zidane, Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo, R9 - the rest of those legends - they have all impacted the football world, but Messi is something else. When Ronaldinho first played with him, he saw that he was going to be the best. He saw that he had more potential than anyone ever. Now it's 2023, and he has won absolutely everything. He is better than anyone he has ever played with and anyone who has ever lived. He is the one and only GOAT.

I have watched Maradona play, and the only difference between him and Messi is the World Cup trophy that Maradona won in 1986. Messi is in the same sentence as Maradona because his personal contribution during the 90 minutes on the field can actually impact the outcome of the game every time he plays. He is a playmaker; whenever he touches the ball, he tries to start something, and most of the time, it is the trying that finally creates goals. His touch, signature moves, and ability to take on a double/triple team from another team are remarkable. His ability to always get in the box is what makes him so dangerous, even when he doesn't score. I will have to say that at this time, Messi is the greatest player in the world who has not won a World Cup.

Messi is by far the greatest player who ever played soccer. No one can surpass him; no one is better than him; no one can challenge him for the throne of being the best, not even Pele, Maradona, or Johan Cruyff. He is above the highest level of soccer. He is the greatest ever. He can score from any angle, create opportunities out of nothing, and score in both tight games and free games. No one can challenge that, not even Pele or Maradona. Messi is the world's greatest ever living soccer legend in the history of soccer. He is the greatest soccer legend who ever played soccer. He is the greatest soccer player of all time in the history of soccer.

He is playing the game in an era in which the technical standards of football and players have increased tremendously. Still, see how he outperforms others.

He has won 4 World Best Player awards in a row, which no other player can boast. The 5th one is in queue this year.

He has won 4 Champions League titles, which is considered the best tournament in the world, even compared to the World Cup. In the Champions League, the best teams with the best players on the planet compete against each other.

His Argentine team came close to winning the World Cup but lost due to bad luck to the German team, who were at the ultimate peaks of power and skills because of talent from Bayern Munich.

3 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 voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century.

He's the best that ever played. He moved like a jungle cat. No one had ever seen anyone play like that before. His skill at full speed was mesmerizing. His passing was as precise as a surgeon's scalpel, unlocking opposing defenses. Look at what the Brazilians did to Italy in the 1970 World Cup. That wasn't TFC out there, that was the 1968 defending European Champions Brazil were playing. Italy's defense was known to stifle the opposition. Pele cut them open at will. Pele changed the way the game was played. Players today, that people fawn over because of their skill, Pele did 60 years ago. He did it before big contracts, endorsements, and personal trainers. Most importantly, he showed up and performed at major tournaments. Ronaldo and Messi can't hold a candle to Pele. Simply put, Pele is a winner, the greatest of all time.

I'm sure whoever voted for anybody else, especially modern players like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, has never seen Pele play (just check him on YouTube) or they are biased people who dislike him for his skin color or nationality. But unbiased people can easily see that Pele is light years away from anyone else. He played perfectly with both legs, the head, chest, and knees. He scored goals, provided assists, scored free kicks, penalty kicks, headers, bicycle kicks, and back-heeling. I mean, he handled 100% of the repertoire of soccer tricks to perfection, and he was THE BRAIN of any team he played on. He was the planner, the strategist, the thinker, the creator. He was the heart of the Golden era of soccer: the 1970 World Cup. Pele, simply the king!

Probably the most overrated player of all time. People say he won three world cups...he was 17 during the first one and only played the last few games, albeit as a great asset to the team, but not close to being their best player (that was Didi). The next one he played only two games before being sidelined with injury (an injustice in its own right); the star of that world cup and overall better player was Garrincha. In 1970 Pele was the leader and best player of one of the best teams ever assembled at a World Cup, that would have most definitely won without him; contrarily, Maradona nearly single handedly won a world cup (albeit only one) in 1986.

Pele played his club career exclusively in the Americas. He did not face the tougher competition that Europe had to offer...

Defense was not a priority during Pele's era. If you watch highlight videos, you can see that it was not difficult to simply waltz through a soft defense and score at will. The far higher scoring numbers ...more

There's no way Messi is so far above Pele. Actually, I think it's pretty tough for anyone to surpass Pele at any time. He is the one who made football what it is now. He is capable of passing, scoring with both legs, heading the ball, and is the fastest player. I think he combines the strengths of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. He was a machine, the most athletic player (like Ronaldo), AND he had the biggest talent to play the game (like Messi). So, I understand that people who have never seen him play might vote for Messi or Ronaldo, but the race is not even close.

4 Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team.

He is the perfect player, a complete package who can dribble, juggle, take free kicks, deliver deadly crosses, make long-range efforts, exhibit never-ending stamina, display great accuracy with both feet, possess serious pace, showcase impressive height when jumping for the ball, have a perfect body shape, execute unforgettable free kicks. And last but not least, he is from Portugal. Unarguably, he is the best player they have ever produced, and they might not produce someone like him again. Although his country of origin is not as famous as Pele, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldinho, and Zidane, he is now among them, which means his will and hunger for goals and victory surpasses theirs. I love his style!

Come on! He has the sweetest shot in the world and well does about everything! I mean, can Messi ever jump over 6'3 defenders and send a powerful header? Can the likes of di Stefano, Pele etc. Score goals like he does and still have the rest of his attributes? The answer is... No

I think the best football player is Cristiano Ronaldo. His transfer is the most expensive, he can jump, dribble, and his free kick is magnificent. The perfect player.

He is a remarkable player and will be remembered among the best to ever play football. However, his stamina is not all that, as he often fades out of matches. His work rate on the field over 90 minutes is not always exemplary, even though it is a requirement for his role. He can improve his team play; he shows flashes of vision sprinkled with hints of generosity. However, he is more selfish than necessary, which detracts from his effectiveness rather than enhancing it. Is he great? Yes. Is he a generational talent? Yes. Is he one of the best we will ever see? Yes. Is he as close to perfect as anyone today? Debatable. Is he one of the most complete athletes based on his physical prowess and ability? Yes. However, is he the perfect footballer? No, there are too many holes in his game and too many questions regarding his dependability, mental strength, and emotional maturity for him to be perfect. I don't say this to criticize him because, honestly, the perfect footballer does not exist.

5 Zinedine Zidane Zinedine Yazid Zidane, nicknamed "Zizou", (born 23 June 1972) is a is a French former professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder. He received many individual accolades as a player, including being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or. He is the current manager of Real Madrid.

I haven't seen Pele play live - only a video - but I saw Maradona and Ronaldo. They both had a class of their own, and the world knows they were good. Maybe out of the two, if I had to select one, I would say Maradona may take an edge. However, for the number one slot, the only player who really inspired me was none other than Zidane. I rate him the best simply because he made me feel as if he owns the field the moment he stepped into it, inspiring his teammates and becoming the focal point of the entire opponent team to be the one to tackle. And guess what? He still used to manage to get through them - class above!

Put France back onto the worldwide football map.

His playing skills were simply marvelous, amazing, punctuated in my opinion by his incredible performance against Brazil in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. At that point in his career, he was more Brazilian than any Brazilian at the time.

Always present when needed, he led France to back-to-back major championships in 1998 and 2002.
He came back in 2006 and almost won it for France in overtime with another amazing headshot (his specialty in the Finals) blocked by a certain Gianluigi Buffon, at the top of his craft.

Zidane's name should be well ahead of the two Ronaldos. Cristiano is a great player, but he hasn't won anything worthy now and probably won't.

Zidane won everything there is to win. He won the 1998 World Cup against Brazil. He won the Euros. He won the Champions League with Real Madrid, scoring one of the best goals ever in the final. He also almost won 2 consecutive World Cups but narrowly lost to Italy in penalties in 2006 and received a red card. Zidane is the only player who can make Brazilians look bad on the pitch. He is also a good coach; he even won the Champions League as both a coach and a player. Give me Ronaldo and 10 players, and I will win you the Champions League. Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane is in a class by himself. He is the most elegant player ever. Whenever he is playing, you do not want to take your eyes off him because you don't want to miss a magical move or a ball control never seen before. Zidane makes the game look beautiful with his artistic style of play. Zidane did things with his weaker foot that most world-class players of the past and present cannot do. The man was a football god sent to show us the true beauty of the sport.

6 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 widely regarded as one of the greatest and the most prolific players in the history of the sport.

The top 3 should be:

1. Pele
2. Diego Maradona
3. Johan Cruyff.

Come on, third, that's very good.

Johan Cruyff isn't one of those footballers who's good but ends up as a washed-up celebrity. He was a very special footballer who invented football as it is today. Come on, the least they can do is put him in the top 5.

Do you know why he was the first to call football the beautiful game? (By the way, anyone who doesn't know this is a right idiot). Johan Cruyff called football the beautiful game because he made it the beautiful game. He definitely deserves to be higher on the list, so come on everybody, vote for Johan Cruyff! (If you don't, screw you).

As some of you have rightfully pointed out, both Pelé and Maradona were better (but just barely) individual players, but they did not bequeath anything as revolutionary or enduring as Cruyff's vision of "Total Football." Cruyff modernized the game of football. He not only possessed outstanding tactical ability, but he also had an unparalleled vision of the game that no other football player could match.

For his superior visionary skills, his technical and tactical abilities, as well as his titles and legacies, Cruyff deserves to be recognized as the greatest player of all time.

For many too long ago to have witnessed, but this man belongs in the top 3 - I'd even say the single best one. I understand the internet is ruled by youngsters, and they adore the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, and they should. But I hope they will one day acknowledge the fact that Cruyff is the individual who influenced football the most as we know it today.

Barcelona should rename its stadium to this all-time legend. The people of Catalonia and the Netherlands should never forget him.

Cruijff is well known for changing the way football was played into the best way to play football. Not only as the best player, but also as the best coach and the best manager. Bringing joy to spectators and always remaining down to earth. His influence is bigger and much more complete than other great players. Johan Cruijff is easily the greatest football player of all time.

7 Ronaldo (Ronaldo Luiz Nazario da Lima) Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, commonly known as Ronaldo, is a Brazilian business owner, president of La Liga club Real Valladolid, and a retired professional footballer who played as a striker. Popularly dubbed in Portuguese O Fenômeno ("The Phenomenon"), he is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time. As a multi-functional striker who brought a new dimension to the position, Ronaldo has been the influence for a generation of strikers that have followed. His individual accolades include being named FIFA World Player of the Year three times, and winning two Ballon d'Or awards.

He might not be the greatest, but he will remain the best player in history with the best technical ability, like dribbling, skills, and tricks efficiency (ahead of Ronaldinho), pace, shooting, and even passing (surprisingly good for a center forward). I've seen many players in the past like Pele, Cruyff, Maradona, Di Stefano, Zico, Ronaldinho, George Best, Denis Law, George Weah, Michel Platini, Beckenbauer, Figo, Eusebio, Kaka, Rivaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi, and so I can call them one of the greatest, and they're certainly in the best list as well. But the one that tops the best list is just Ronaldo and none else. If Ronaldo had won the European Champions League, he would have certainly been the greatest ever. Please don't even compare anyone with Ronaldo. He's beyond comparison.

Ronaldo is the greatest of all time. There is no doubt that if he hadn't suffered multiple knee injuries, he would have been the best player of all time. He was an unstoppable goal machine, an exceptional dribbler, and a complete striker. He made it easier for midfielders by constantly moving all around the pitch. In one season, he scored 34 goals in Serie A, which is the highest score since 1980. I would say he is better than Pele in terms of skills. It's also worth mentioning that he played against more organized defenses in the modern era and competed in Europe. After considering all of this, there is only one word that describes him: "Phenomenon."

The greatest footballer would be a coin toss between Pele or Maradona, I would think. But my favorite player ever is the original Ronaldo. Check out all those quotes from the best players in the world who saw him, and you may have to agree that he was one of, perhaps, three players in the game's history who might be thought to have been sent to Earth from another planet. The best defenders in the world really couldn't handle Ronaldo in his prime. And even after his horrific injuries, he comes back and scores 8 goals at the 2002 World Cup and wins Player of the Year, even when he's effectively past his prime. His ability was through the roof; he would probably get over 18 out of 20 for nearly every quality listed on the Football Manager games. He could level Pele for his football brain. I love watching videos of him more than anyone else. I dunno. He just really, really, really had that special something. And I love how, unlike Messi and Cristiano (both obviously amazing), Ronaldo at ...more

In the years prior to his injuries, Ronaldo played football on a different plane. In comparison to Messi, a phenomenal player, however, Ronaldinho possessed more ways to win a football match. He had more skill than Messi, was more powerful than Messi, could use both feet to either dribble or shoot, could play as a pair, could be upfront by himself, performed at every level, tested himself against the best defenders, and came out on top. He was voted Ballon d'Or twice by 20. How many did Messi have at the same age? Simply outstanding.

8 Ronaldinho Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho or simply Ronaldinho, is a Brazilian former professional footballer and current ambassador for Barcelona. He played mostly as an attacking midfielder, but was also deployed as a winger. Often considered one of the best players of his generation and regarded by many as one of the greatest of all time, Ronaldinho won two FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a Ballon d'Or. A global icon of the sport, he was renowned for his technical skills, creativity and dribbling ability, as well as his use of tricks, feints, overhead kicks, no-look passes and accuracy from free-kicks.

In terms of technique, no one has ever 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, he scored some fabulous goals, and lots of them. My favorite footballer of all time without a doubt, the best to watch and by far the most skillful. At times... Absolutely mind-blowing. (Not to mention, a lovable guy). Who doesn't like Ronaldinho?!

Ronaldinho could do things with the ball that no one else could. He manipulated it as if he was telling it where to go with his mind, not his foot. Ronaldinho has the best playmaking ability out of anyone out there. Iniesta and Xavi are amazing passing players, but I don't see them making 50-yard passes onto someone's foot without looking. Messi is unbelievable; however, he doesn't have the skill that Ronaldinho had, period. Ronaldinho's free kicks have always been almost perfect. He has the most incredible field awareness I have ever seen. He also doesn't flop. He loves to play the game and is always smiling. If he gets kicked in the leg but still has a slight chance to get the ball back, he will hop right back up and get it. Pele and Maradona were great players, but only for their time. If Maradona or Pele played professionally now, they wouldn't make a high-level team if they make one! Ronaldinho, in his prime, could take anyone on any time, no questions asked. He was the absolute ...more

Ronaldinho is the complete football player. Sure, Cristiano Ronaldo can jump higher, run faster, and so on. I'm not saying Ronaldo, Messi, or anyone else is bad; they just aren't Ronaldinho. In fact, Messi is probably the most efficient on the field, while Cristiano Ronaldo has the overall top attributes. But when do you EVER see anyone smile like Ronaldinho when he falls, scores, or misses? He has fun and he shows that. Never have I seen anyone manipulate a football like Ronaldinho. I can do around the world, and I bet half the footballing world can too, but the way the ball is like part of Ronaldinho's body makes it look elegant and super easy. This is just one opinion though; it was a tough choice because there are great footballers out there today, many of them. Ronaldinho, Messi, and Cristiano remain my favorites.

Ronaldinho... I don't care how many cups he won for his country, his team, or the himself... Don't care how many goals he scored, assisted, or narrowly missed. All what I care about is when I like to be entertained, I look for his videos online and watch for hours; always makes me smile and often laugh out loud. Truly student of the art, the beautiful game. How many goal he scored from outside the box? How fast can he run past unsuspecting mid-fielders and defenders? He passes the ball like Magic Johnson, with his back like the Harlem Globetrotters. I call on those who arrogantly deny the truth, to ask themselves, have you truly seen him pass, score, assist, dribble, and most importantly, have you seen him smile when he does all that... He reminds me when I was a kid playing the game and enjoying it.

He is the best ever player, distant second comes Ronaldo (De Lima)

9 Franz Beckenbauer Franz Anton Beckenbauer (born 11 September 1945) is a German former 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, and also as his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors. He is widely regarded to be one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. A versatile player who started out as a midfielder, Beckenbauer made his name as a central defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper (libero).

A lot of people think goals are what make a player great, but what about the people who prevent them from happening or getting anywhere near the box?

Beckenbauer redefined what a sweeper/libero is. He mastered it and made it his own with his elegant style of play, gracing the field. There was a certain arrogance to how he worked on the pitch, as if he were in control, earning him the nickname "Der Kaiser." Beckenbauer was a puppet master, standing back and pulling the strings, which earned his team every major prize.

He was always the number one threat to the opposing team, and he could demolish them effortlessly. Franz Beckenbauer was simply extraordinary on every level.

I really cannot understand how Beckenbauer is ranked only 10th, behind Beckham. Beckenbauer was one of the most complete players ever. He was fast, had great vision, could score like only a few strikers of his time, and he was probably the best defender to ever grace the game. He ruled the entire game and won countless trophies. Sadly, there are only a few videos of him available, and most of those videos only show his scoring skills. He was more than a defender; he could play basically everywhere.

Except for Pele, Franz was the greatest all-around player I ever saw. Smarter than anyone playing the game today, and as a sweeper, he played both defense and offense without a lot of flashy wasted movement. He made the game look so simple, till you tried to duplicate him and realized the man was pure skill and deception, who never got caught out of position. No, he didn't chalk up a lot of goals in his career, but most of the players who did received a perfect assist from Franz.

Beckenbauer was undoubtedly the most brilliant and technically sound defender of all time. He was a rock for Germany and then, after retiring as a player, he became one of the greatest coaches of all time. As of 2014, he is the only person to win the World Cup as a captain and a coach.

10 David Beckham David Robert Joseph Beckham is (born 2 May 1975) is an English former professional footballer, the current president & co-owner of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City.. He played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain and the England national team, for which he held the appearance record for an outfield player until 2016. He is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France. He retired in May 2013 after a 20-year career, during which he won 19 major trophies.

David Beckham is my idol. He literally does everything a soccer player could do. David Beckham is probably the greatest soccer player ever to step foot on this earth. I would watch a thousand games of David Beckham. Besides, a lot of people look up to Beckham as their idol. For example, in the movie "Bend It Like Beckham," pretty much every character looks up to Beckham as their idol or hero. He just inspires so many people that it is unbelievable. He has so much talent and potential that people just love him. It is probably an honor for The LA Galaxy coach to have such a talented player on his team. Beckham's parents are so blessed to have a child like Beckham. There is nothing bad to say about Beckham because he is a hero in my eyes and he inspires me.

Professional soccer player David Beckham was born on May 2, 1975, in London, England. A phenom almost from the moment he could first kick a soccer ball, Beckham began playing for Manchester United, England's legendary soccer team, at 18 and was a starter by the time he was 20. He has also played for Real Madrid. In 2007, he signed a five-year, $250-million contract with the L.A. Galaxy. He has also scored an amazing free kick goal in 2001 against Greece that changed the way England plays soccer.

A truly magical player, always made a difference in an England shirt, which was really important to him. An absolute legend, the best crosser and free-kick taker the game has ever seen. Laugh out loud at those who consider Cristiano Ronaldo to be in the top 10. You obviously don't watch football.

He's a legend. No one can come close to his greatness. He is an unselfish player, always assisting and scoring less, helping out his teammates, and has won trophies in all the leagues he's played. Is there any other soccer player selected as the ambassador of the Olympics? No one can ever match his magical right foot. He is a true legend.

The Newcomers

? Manuel Pellegrini
? Marcelo
The Contenders
11 Alfredo Di Stéfano

Many people seem to have no idea what makes a great player or cannot recall players of the past. Di Stefano was the greatest with Pele second. Players like Beckham, Ibrahimovic, etc., should not be mentioned in the same article. George Best was skillful but would have been better off as a ball juggler in a circus. He would beat the same defender four times when he could have passed to a teammate with an open goal... Not a team player at all.

It's almost comical to see players like Ronaldinho and, especially, Beckham ranked above Di Stefano. The others ranked higher than him, like Beckenbauer or Zidane, are more logically considered legends of the past few decades, whereas Don Alfredo is an iconic figure spanning six decades. If Pelé, Maradona, and Messi deserve the top three spots, Di Stefano and Cruyff are two of the next three to follow.

The greatest player of all time. Though nominally a striker, Di Stéfano had the tackling, shooting, passing, and dribbling ability, and (most importantly) endurance to be able to play quite literally all over the field and excel in all facets of the game, and it is this all-around brilliance that made him the best. He is one of only eight players to have won multiple Ballons d'Or and was recently declared by Pelé to be the greatest ever.

One of the first and most complete "playmakers" of football ever seen.

What a joke to see young people putting Beckham, Xavi, or Rooney here. All three combined are not even equal to Di Stefano in terms of effectiveness from midfield to attack!

12 Neymar Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, born 5 February 1992, commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and the Brazil national team as a forward or winger, and is also the captain of the national team. Neymar was born on 5th February 1992 in Sao Paulo of Brazil. He started playing international matches at the age of 17. Neymar salary is 9.18 million Euro. As a result, his net worth is about $75 million.

Neymar will be in the top 5 of all time by the end of his career. His international stats are incredible for his age, and he performs the best in the world for his nation. With 44 goals in 65 games, he will without a doubt surpass Pele's record as the highest goal scorer for Brazil, probably in less than 5 years too! If he wins the 2018 World Cup, he will give Messi a good run. Neymar and Messi are the new Pele and Maradona.

Another year, another cluster of near moves for Neymar.

The constant speculation linking him to Real Madrid and Barcelona often takes away from what a fantastic year he's had, scoring 31 goals and providing 15 assists back in Brazilian football for Santos.

He had a solid London 2012 Olympics during the summer, scoring some great goals and grabbing a silver medal.

So underrated since he's on the same team as Messi, and he is the star of that team. Neymar is that one player where you just HAVE to love him. He admits that Messi is better, unlike stupid Ronaldo. He is a great player and a great person. And there's something to be said for that.

Growing experience in Brazil endows the talented boy with overflowing enthusiasm, which is in a class by itself in the whole world. He is almost the last samba player. His unique ability on the football field is simply appealing.

13 Zlatan Ibrahimović Zlatan Ibrahimović (3 October 1981) is a Swedish professional footballer who plays for an Italian club AC Milan and the Sweden national team for which he is captain.

Zlatan is one of the cockiest players of all time. It's hilarious, though. Balotelli does it as well, but he is just mean and annoying. Anyway, Ibra has one of the hardest shots I've ever seen in my life. He uses both feet to give the goalie the worst time in goal. He is very good off the ball. His attitude holds him back on the field a little bit, but he makes up for it quite a bit with his great play. He uses moves or simple fakes to take on entire teams at once. He can score with any part of either foot, and he's proved it over and over again with many acrobatic goals. He is a complete forward but not a great all-around player.

Ibra is my favorite player by far. He has tremendous gifts of balance and focus. He is exciting to watch: you never know what he will do, and sometimes it is utterly breathtaking, impossible. I would put him in the top 5 all time for his complete game--as a striker with head and feet and even chest, and for his generous assists, and for his brutal defensive skills. He is a huge man who moves like a tango dancer.

I cannot believe he is not up here already. This player holds one of the most impressive highlight reels to date, dribbling through what seems to be an entire team and promptly putting the ball in the net. Players like C. Ronaldo make many pretty moves but do not put the ball in the net. This player does.

15th? Easily top 10. This man has scored some of the most insane goals I have ever seen. A natural goalscorer. Also, he can dribble the ball with the best of them. He can pull off literally every skill in the book too. Watch a Zlatan compilation, then come back and say he isn't a magician with a football... It's impossible.

14 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 of the Year in 1968 and came sixth in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. Best received plaudits for his playing style, which combined pace, skill, balance, feints, two-footedness, goalscoring and the ability to get past defenders.

Pele himself once claimed that George Best is better than him. What is wrong with you people? George Best was the first football superstar, and he was awarded Player of the Year in 1968. People who saw him play claimed that he was certainly a legend. After his death in 2005, people forgot about this legend who deserves to be in the top 5. People who haven't seen him play can check his videos on YouTube and also read his famous quotes. I hope my comment helps you recognize a true legend.

Maradona good, Pele better, George Best.

George had it all: balance, vision, and breathtaking brilliance. He was magic. His swerving runs and pace took him past the best defenders in the world; he played for fun. During George's playing days, the winter pitches became mud baths, but he could still pirouette and ghost from one penalty area to another. When he was in full flight, he was a sight to behold. George Best is the best footballer ever to grace a football pitch.

A player who was so far ahead of the rest that he made it look easy. From his time on the pitch to now, there has never been a player who could singlehandedly turn defenders inside out and change the outcome of any game he was in (and did so many, many times).

Skill that has no equal.
Insight of the game second to none.
Unparalleled self-belief.
A true god of the game.

If George Best is not number 1, then there should not be a number 1 because there is no player alive or dead who deserves it more (FACT).

Ridiculous that he is this low. Half of the people who voted for Messi probably don't even know who George is, and it's just sad. It is sad that people my age just look at who is playing now and say they are the best instead of looking deeper into it. George is the best. Pele, Puskas, Di Stefano are up there with him, but nobody touches George Best.

15 Ferenc Puskas Ferenc Puskás (1 April 1927 – 17 November 2006) was a Hungarian footballer and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and the sport's first international superstar. He scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, played four international matches for Spain and scored 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He became an Olympic champion in 1952 and led his nation to the final of the 1954 World Cup. He won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966), 10 national championships (5 Hungarian and 5 Spanish Primera División) and 8 top individual scoring honors. In 1995, he was recognized as the greatest top division scorer of the 20th century more.

The greatest footballer ever! Football is all about scoring goals, and Ferenc was the greatest goalscorer ever. Just look at his record; there is no one who can compare! Even Puskas's record for the most goals scored in a season in Spain stood until just a couple of years ago. His goal-scoring in internationals for Hungary is unbelievable. Have a look at the 4 goals Puskas scored in the great team of Real Madrid that won the 1960 European Cup - fantastic! I am English (not Hungarian) and many years ago had the pleasure of seeing Puskas play in a charity match in England when he was well into his 40s, and he was still brilliant!

His powerful kicks were also really precise as well! For example, in one game, he nailed a free kick, but the referee asked him to do it again. Puskas told everyone, "I'm gonna kick it exactly the same way!" And so he did, and he scored again! Well, these days I'm watching a lot of games, but I've seen no one near to that confidence, precision, and love for the game on the field! Ferenc Puskas, rest in peace! Thank you!

Messi? Really? Great player, but he is only good now. He will be forgotten eventually. Puskas scored 1000 goals WAY before Pele did. I don't think Messi has scored 1000, has he? The dribble, the timing, the speed that he had. Better than Pele and WAY better than Messi and that dang cheater Maradona.

Ferenc Puskas is amazing. He could shoot incredibly and handle the ball. Hungary beat England 6-3, and then they wanted a rematch. So he had Hungary on his back and scored some goals in the 7-1 victory. We can still remember him 60 years later. Just incredible.

16 Zico

The best freekicker of all time is Zico. He could dribble like Messi and score many goals like Cristiano Ronaldo, but neither of these two could come close to Zico in terms of free kicks. Even if you were to combine both Messi and Ronaldo, they still wouldn't surpass Zico in this aspect.

Deadly long-range shots with machine precision, combined with all other football skills, to the mastery level.

Zico is one of the greatest in the history of soccer.

Second greatest player in the history of Brazil.

17 Eusébio Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was a Portuguese footballer who played as a striker. Eusébio is considered by many as one of the greatest footballers of all time. During his professional career, he scored 733 goals in 745 matches.

The merit of Eusebio's achievements as a footballer surpasses the four lines on the field. He became an inspirational icon for many generations of footballers, not only in Portugal or Europe but also in an entire continent (Africa). His achievements were greater than the impressive football he played; he became part of the national identity of countries like Portugal and Mozambique. Inside the field or outside it, he was always a simple, humble man who played with passion a game that we all embrace. His legacy is timeless and immortal.

Why is Eusebio so low on this list? Just go watch videos of him. See his goal stats for Benfica - more goals than games for Benfica, over 600 goals in total. He won numerous titles for Benfica, including two European Cups (Champions League) and reached another three or so finals. He was also the top scorer in the 1966 World Cup. Eusebio is the best Portuguese player ever and should easily be in the top 10!

Everybody, older or young, should see this guy run, dribble, and shoot, and after that, you'll know why he has the nickname Black Panther. The best African player ever! It's because of this legend that I just love this amazing sport that we call football. RIP Eusébio, the Silva Ferreira. You will always be in the hearts of Benfica and Portuguese supporters.

Anyone who watches the beautiful game knows that he makes anyone's top 10-15 list. He was a great player during Pele's era - strong, quick, and deadly with the ball at his feet. Check his stats, and you will see he averaged as many goals as games. A legendary player.

18 Kaká Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, commonly known as Kaká or Ricardo Kaká, is a retired Brazilian professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer and the Brazil national team .

A man who was once just a curious boy hypnotized by perfect harmony and the man in the middle, the conductor who creates balance out of chaos, beauty from turmoil, elegance from disarray. No one really knows what happened that day, but he was never the same, and he never forgot the man in the middle. Now this boy has grown up, and he is as elegant with the ball as the conductor with his baton. A pure player, born from the twin mothers of intelligence and creativity, with feet that are tethered to the pitch like strings on a violin. A master of control, a roaming midfielder with an instinctive feel for the ball, who advances man like a conductor moves music, orchestrating the game with just the right rhythm and tempo. Creating something out of nothing, with just a look and a perfect one-touch pass, ending the match with a crescendo and a bow. Every team needs the maestro. - Adidas, The ultimate search.

He is simply the best playmaker in the history of world football. His killer through passes are like a nightmare for any defense. And his long-range shooting is also fantastic. Cristiano Ronaldo shoots 10 times but scores only one or two, whereas Kaka does not shoot much. However, every time he shoots, it's a goal.

Very few on the above list are complete players. Lionel Messi is known for his dribbling, and so is Maradona. C. Ronaldo is known for his skills, pace, and shooting power, Ronaldinho for his skills. But only the complete players in the football field serve the very important duty of playmaking, like Zidane or Cruyff or Pelé. Kaka is a complete player.

Besides that, he has great vision and flow of play.

He really should be number 2 after Pele. People say Ronaldinho, but he doesn't have the right playing style or smarts to even be near number 1.

19 Garrincha Manuel Francisco dos Santos, known by the nickname Garrincha, was a Brazilian footballer who played right winger and forward.

Garrincha was a football artist, a player with a unique dribbling style which resembled a drunken man trying to walk. He's an underrated footballer, perhaps overshadowed by Pele, and he should be in the top ten list. It's definitely worth seeing his videos.

I'm voting for Garrincha simply because he is way too low. Most people clearly don't know anything about the sport if Garrincha is only 25. He should be in the top five.

Garrincha is a truly unknown player, yet still a legend. If there's someone who was and is better, it's just Pelé. Messi is an overrated player. Garrincha could easily run around and around Messi, who has never been close to catching him.

He dominated the game even with his disabilities - a deformed spine and a 6-centimeter shorter left leg - and he is Brazilian, which makes him even more awesome.

20 Wayne Rooney Wayne Mark Rooney is an English professional footballer who plays for and captains both Manchester United and the England national team.

Wayne Rooney has undergone some borderline surgical changes to his game over the past 12 months, but he's coped extremely well.

A poor European Championships (again) firmly behind him, he's adapted to the presence of Robin van Persie superbly and reinstated goals to his game over the past month.

He was the Red Devils' top scorer last season, reliably turning in 27 English Premier League strikes.

Wayne Rooney did an awesome bicycle kick. It was amazing. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was amazed seeing that bicycle kick. Even my dad couldn't believe his eyes. My dad said it was the best kick he had ever seen. And also, he has good skills and he is fast.

Wayne Rooney is the best soccer player to ever exist. He's amazing, and he's scored all sorts of brilliant goals in his international and Premier League matches. So, who do we cheer for? Wayne Rooney!

Did you see that bicycle kick with the assist by Nani? Rooney should be up there a lot higher, but he is still young with a bright future.

21 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.

I hate the fact that the person who elevated goalkeeping to an important position and won the "Player of the Year" award as a "GOALKEEPER" is so underrated. People are familiar with Casillas, Buffon, and Neuer, but how many know Gordon Banks or Yashin? Not all popular players are necessarily the greatest, you know.

This is the best goalkeeper to have lived on Earth. He is the only goalkeeper to have won a Ballon d'Or, and will probably be the only one. He has made some unbelievable saves and I just don't know why he has always been underrated or even unknown to the general football fans.

Rated 94 for being the great goalie who could save tons of shots most goalies couldn't and just flat out being the best goalie of all time.

Very underrated. He made the goalkeeping position important. He's the reason anyone even cares about Casillas and Buffon.

22 Thierry Henry Thierry Daniel Henry is a French professional football coach and former player. He is the second assistant coach of the Belgium national team.

What the hell! Zidane below Messi... And Kaka, Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Gheorghe Hagi, David Beckham, Jari Litmanen, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Messi above Henry! Are you kidding me? He is the best striker ever to live. Now, some of you might be thinking about Messi and Maradona. They are far below this legend. Zidane should be at number 1 as a player, but definitely Henry and Ronaldinho are the best as a striker.

The best Premier League player of all time got snubbed for the Ballon d'Or twice, and many people forget about his undefeated season with Arsenal in 2003-04. And seriously, who on earth would say to the ref in the World Cup, "Yo, I touched the ball, don't allow that goal"? He is simply a world-class player and should certainly be in the top 20 of the best players of all time list.

Legendary! Record goalscorer for Arsenal and France, won the World Cup, European Championships, Premier League, FA Cup, La Liga, Champions League, and Copa Del Rey. In his prime, he could dribble past 6 or 7 defenders in the middle of the park and go on to score a goal. I'm not even exaggerating!

Electric pace, strength, sublime finishing, intelligence... He had it all. It's a shame he never won the Ballon D'Or.

I don't believe TH14 is ranked 22nd in this list. He is greater than Messi, Pele, Ronaldo, and Maradona. He is the best striker in Arsenal and the world ever. He has scored over 230 goals for Arsenal. One word to describe this player: "Fantastic." If I were the one who created this list, I would make Thierry Henry number 1.

23 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 footballers of all time, Platini won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1983, 1984 and 1985, and came seventh in the FIFA Player of the Century vote. In recognition of his achievements, he was named a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1985 and became an Officier in 1998. more.

A real complete player: scorer, passer, very good personal technique, sense of timing, extraordinary vision of the game, very good teammate (making his partners play better), a winning mentality, respectful to others, regular performances, and so on...

Cristiano Ronaldo took 4 European tournaments to score 9 goals, whereas he took only 1. He should be ahead of CR7 and many of the overrated players ahead of him.

Three times European Player of the Year.
Over 40 goals for his country from midfield.
Highest scorer in Serie A for 3 consecutive years.
One of the greatest passers of the ball in history.
Highest goal scorer in European Championship history.
I rest my case.

Come on! Platini scored the best free kick goal ever in 1984 against Portugal! He's just the best.

24 Andrés Iniesta Andrés Iniesta Luján is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spain national team.

Obviously, Iniesta is in the top 100 footballers of all time. Andres is going to be the best footballer in the next 10 years or so. No one will ever beat Andres, the beast Iniesta, in the next 10 years! Iniesta should be the 11th best of all time. Against Italy in the group stages of Euro 2012, he made Gianluigi Buffon (the best goalkeeper for the last decade or so) jump like a frog. Iniesta is small, but he can get through footballers (Peter Crouch or Nikola Zigic) who are about 1 foot and a quarter taller than him. Iniesta has helped Spain for a long time, and in all matches with Spain, rain or shine, Iniesta would always play in the 1st team. In the 2010 World Cup, Iniesta helped Spain with a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final. Fabregas set Iniesta up, and Iniesta scored the only goal in the match. Iniesta is the best attacking midfielder in the world, by a long, long, long way.

He captains the best soccer club in the world right now. He scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final. He is the best visionary to play the sport and creates so many opportunities with impeccable passes. Even though he is aging, Iniesta was named the best player at the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final. What else do you want from him? He is easily the best midfielder right now. He has been among the top nominees for the Ballon d'Or in recent years and deserves at least one to his name.

What's he doing at number 32? He should be right up there, below Messi at 3. I haven't seen too many players as skillful as him. The list should go like this: 1. Pele, 2. Messi, 3. Iniesta, 4. Zidane, 6. Maradona, 7. Voller, 8. Zico, 9. Ozil, 10. Ibrahimovic.

The insanely skilled player who is hailed by many players has great flexibility, guts, and knack to get through all the challenges without losing the ball.

25 Robin van Persie Robin van Persie is a Dutch coach and former professional footballer who played as a striker. Regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, he is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands men's national team. He is currently an assistant manager at boyhood club Feyenoord in his first managerial role.

In one of the only years, Robin van Persie's ankle hasn't given way, it's no surprise to see him turn in consistently excellent performances that place him among the best in the world. Coming off a 30-goal season at Arsenal and a £22 million move to Manchester United, expectations were so high that the Dutchman could have crumbled.

Robin Van Persie is the best striker and winger ever. He has good technical skills, a great shot, and the best left foot in the world. He stayed in Arsenal and played for the Gunners. Come on, Van Persie, you can do it. I trust you.

Had a great career, only cut short by injury, which made Man Utd fall out of favor with him. If it weren't for his knee and ankle, he would still bang 15 goals every season.

Best player ever. Star of the best team to never win a World Cup, if not the best team ever.

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