Football is a sport that is famous and enjoyed all over the world, and with that comes some of the most talented athletes the world has ever seen. These athletes have dominated the sport, set records, and broken boundaries. Fans worldwide have their own opinions on the best soccer players to have ever graced the pitch, but there are a few players that everyone can agree on.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is an Argentine footballer who is generally considered one of the best football players of all time. When 11 years old, he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficit, and his parents were unable to pay for the costly treatment. Barcelona took notice of Messi’s talent and offered to pay for his medical treatment in Spain, where he rose through the ranks to become one of the best soccer players in the world.
Messi earned a spot on the World Cup squad due to his performance during Argentina’s 2005-06 season. He has won numerous awards, including seven Ballon d’Or awards, and helped Barcelona win the treble in 2009. Messi has also played for the Argentine national team and helped them win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s self-assurance and dedication to becoming the best player in the world from a young age. At 18, he had already made a name for himself by tormenting the United defense in a friendly game against his former club, Sporting Lisbon. Ronaldo’s teammates were amused by his confidence and dedication to improving his skills, but some warned him against publicly declaring his ambition to avoid putting too much pressure on himself. Despite this, Ronaldo was unfazed and continued to work hard, even using weights to improve his stepovers in training.
The performance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the soccer world is remarkable. It is noted that Ronaldo was injured at the start of the season but still managed to score 14 goals from 32 games. However, Messi has outperformed Ronaldo this season, scoring 25 goals in 30 games. The article highlights the difficulty of comparing the two players because they play in different leagues and are on different teams.
An age-old debate on who is the greatest footballer of all time. While many fans have different opinions, the article argues that Pele is the undisputed greatest footballer of all time. To measure greatness, objective and quantifiable criteria are necessary, and Pele meets these criteria. Pele’s incredible achievements with Brazil and Santos, including three World Cup titles, seven retrospective Ballon d’Or wins, and being the century’s leading player declared by
FIFA, make him a legendary figure in football. Despite the controversy surrounding his total goalscoring record, Pele’s impact on the game is undeniable, and he revolutionized football with his samba-like flair and fast, fluid style.
4. Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona was an Argentine football player considered one of the greatest of all time. He displayed his football talent early and joined Las Cebollitas at the age of eight, and at 14, he signed with Argentinos Juniors, making his first-division debut in 1976. Maradona played for Boca Juniors, FC Barcelona, SSC Napoli, Newell’s Old Boys, and Sevilla.
He helped Napoli become a top team in Italian football. He also played for Argentina in multiple international competitions and scored two iconic goals in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals against England. Maradona later became the head coach of the Argentine national team and led them to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2010. He passed away at the age of 60 in Tigre, Buenos Aires on November 25, 2020.
5. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff started playing for Ajax at 10 years old and became a key player in helping to define the “Total Football” style that would shape the Dutch game. After winning three consecutive league titles and three straight European Cups with Ajax, he made a world-record transfer to Barcelona. There, he played an instrumental role in securing their first league title since 1960 and was twice named European Footballer of the Year.
Additionally, he led the Netherlands to the 1974 World Cup final, earning the title of Player of the Tournament. Cruyff’s influence on football extends beyond his impressive numbers, and he has been recognized as one of the greatest all-around football thinkers of all time.
6. Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer is a former German football player and coach, born on September 11, 1945, in Munich, Germany. Known as “der Kaiser,” Beckenbauer is considered one of the greatest players of all time for inventing the modern position of the offensive sweeper. Under his leadership, Bayern Munich won three European Champions Club Cups and four national championships.
In addition to his playing career, Beckenbauer also had success as a coach and administrator. He led the West German national team to victory in both the European Championship and the World Cup in the 1970s. After retiring from playing in 1984, he transitioned to coaching and led West Germany to the World Cup finals in 1986 and victory in 1990. Beckenbauer also played a key role in the successful bid of Germany to host the World Cup 2006 and held positions with Bayern Munich and FIFA.
Beckenbauer has received numerous personal awards and honors, including the Silver Laurel Leaf and the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
7. Michel Platini
Michel Platini was a renowned “French football player and administrator.” He is considered one of the most prominent figures in international football, having won numerous titles and awards. Platini played for French football clubs such as AS Nancy and Saint-Etienne before joining Juventus in Italy, where he achieved international stardom. After contributing to France’s victory in the 1984 European Championship, Platini represented the country at the national level.
However, in 1987, he decided to retire from playing to focus on coaching and later became the president of the “Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).” However, his career was marred by controversy when he was found to have accepted an improper payment from Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA.
He was subsequently banned from international football for eight years, which was later reduced to four years upon appeal. Platini resigned from UEFA in 2016 after his ban was not completely overturned.
8. Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
“Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima,” also known as “Ronaldo,” is a Brazilian football player who has achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. He began playing football at a young age and joined several teams before becoming a member of Brazil’s national team in 1994. Ronaldo played for several prominent clubs, including FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, and Real Madrid.
He won three FIFA Player of the Year awards and helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup championship. Despite suffering a serious knee injury in 1999 and again in 2008, Ronaldo continued to play and score goals, including a record-setting 15 goals at the World Cup. One of the all-time greatest players, Ronaldo retired from football in 2011, leaving a lasting legacy.
9. Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane, born Zinedine Yazid Zidane in Marseille in 1972, is a retired professional football player of Algerian descent. Growing up in a high-crime and high-unemployment area, he began playing soccer at age five and joined junior teams at age ten.
Zidane’s talent was quickly noticed by scouts and he started his professional career at clubs such as Cannes and Bordeaux before moving on to play for Juventus and Real Madrid. Zidane is best known for his performances with the French national team, including leading them to win the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000, and for his ability to control and lift a team.
Although he retired from football in 2006, Zidane’s influence on the sport is still apparent, and he is widely considered one of the “greatest players” in history.
10. Alfredo Di Stefano
Alfredo Di Stefano was born in 1926 to Italian-Argentine and Argentine parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He spent his early years helping other Italian immigrants and working on his parent’s farm. At 12, he joined a youth team and signed for Club Atlético River Plate in 1945. After loan stints and successes, he became part of the legendary attack known as ‘La Máquina’ (The Machine). Following Argentina’s players’ strike in 1948, he moved to Colombian side Millonarios Fútbol Club of Bogotá, where he played in the successful team known as ‘The Blue Ballet.’ He is perhaps best known for his stint at Real Madrid, where he led them to five consecutive European Cup titles, scored in five consecutive finals, and scored 49 goals in 58 matches, the best in the European Cup era. He continued to play at a high level even in his 30s.
The soccer world has seen many great players throughout history, and the Top 10 best soccer players in the World article have provided insight into some of the most celebrated football legends of all time. From Pele’s samba-like flair and fast, fluid style to Messi’s incredible scoring ability, each player has made their mark on the game in a unique way. Maradona, Ronaldo, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, and Platini are just a few of the many other football players who have contributed significantly to the sport’s growth and popularity. Their contributions to the game will never be forgotten, and they will always be remembered as some of the best to ever play the game.