Top 10 Best Football (Soccer) Players Of All Time – (Updated 2024)

Who Are The Best Football Players Of All Time?

Football is undoubtedly the world’s most popular sport, with about 4 billion fans globally. It is challenging to decide on the top ten best football players in the entire history of so many greats. Every football era included multiple GOAT players who ruled the game and its regulations for years.

In this article, we rank the top ten football players of all time based on their brilliance, ability to win matches on their own, longevity, skills, impact on the game, and career achievements.

So let’s dive in.

Zinedine Zidane (France)

Zizou

Full name: Zinedine Yazid Zidane

Professional career span: 1989-2006

Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Height: 1.85 m

Zinedine Yazid Zidane, also known as “Zizou,” is a former professional footballer from France who was an attacking midfielder. He was a playmaker renowned for his grace, vision, superb ball control, dribbling, and incredible physical power.

On top of that, he won the Ballon d’Or in 1998. Zidane first gained recognition as a world-class player in the 1998 Cup final, when he demonstrated his extraordinary talent against the star-studded Brazilian squad. He scored two wonderful headed goals in the final, fulfilling the dreams of millions of French fans who had been eagerly waiting for their first World Cup triumph.

Furthermore, as an attacking midfielder, he netted 159 goals in 789 games; his statistics do not fully capture his dominance and legacy in football, which he left behind with his incredible balling ability.

He is one of the greatest football players in history, ranking tenth on our list.

Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)

Ferenc Puskas

Full name: Ferenc Purczeld Biró

Professional career span: 1943–1966

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.72 m

He was the most brilliant goal-scorer in football history. He is among the all-time great attackers in the history of the game because of his exceptional shooting ability and finishing touch. Puskas’s career statistics are almost ridiculous; in 705 professional games, he scored an incredible 700 goals.

In addition, he guided Hungary to the 1954 World Cup final by singlehandedly. He won five league crowns and three European Cups during his time at the club.

He is placed ninth on our list and is considered by many to be among the greatest footballers of all time.

Ronaldo Nazario (Brazil)

The Phenomenon R9

Full name: Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima

Professional career span: 1993–2011

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.83 m

Ronaldo Nazario is undeniably one of football’s greatest players of all time. He was well-known for his quick pace, amazing ball control, and dazzling finishing ability.

Plus, he was known as “The Phenomenon” in the football world. He can easily knock down his opponent on the knees and dribble past opponents courtesy of his amazing shooting power and physical strength. He was undoubtedly the best striker in football history.

In addition, the great Brazilian won the Ballon d’Or twice during his career, in 1997 and 2002. He has won two World Cups with the Brazilian national team, in 1994 and 2002. His World Cup statistics are simply incredible; he has 15 goals in 19 games.

Furthermore, during his career, the renowned Brazilian scored 414 goals in 616 appearances for both club and nation. He was largely regarded as the best striker of all time, and he finished eighth on our list.

Alfredo De Stanio (Argentina)

Saeta Rubia

Full name: Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhé

Professional career span: 1945-1966

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.78 m

Alfredo Stefano Di Stefano Laulhe was considered to be one of the best football players of all time. He played as a forward in his professional career. Alfredo was famously known as “Saeta Rubia,” which means (Blond Arrow). He was an exceptional talent, Well, some people claimed he was even better than all the other Argentinians, including Maradona and Messi. Because he was a very versatile player and could play and score stunners from any position.

However, he never played in the World Cup, even though he played with 3 different national teams, including Argentina, Colombia, and Spain. He played most of his international football for Spain after moving to Madrid.

In addition, he scored an incredible 307 goals in just 396 appearances, and he surely was one of the best football players of all time, ranking 7th on our list.

John Cruyff (Netherlands)

One of best football player of all time

Full name: Hendrik Johannes Cruijff

Professional career span: 1966–1984.

Playing positions: Attacking-midfielder, Forward

Height: 1.78 m

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff, better known as John Cruyff, was a former professional footballer from the Netherlands who is largely recognized as one of the greatest football players of all time. He was known for his speed, dribbling, ball handling, technical prowess, and remarkable shooting abilities.

Cruyff was also a tremendous goal scorer, with 401 goals in 710 games. He won three Ballon d’Or awards in 1971, 1973, and 1984, respectively. He was widely recognized as one of the most influential players of all time.

Further, despite having an outstanding career, he was unable to win any World Cups, despite leading the Dutch team to the 1974 World Cup final, becoming tournament MVP, and winning the Golden Ball.

He was one of the greatest football players of all time, ranking sixth on this list.

Gerd Muller (Germany)

Gerd Muller

Full name: Gerhard Müller

Professional career span: 1966–1981.

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.76 m

Gerd Muller was a German professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest goal-scorers of all time. He still holds multiple scoring records. Gerd Muller is one of the few players to have won the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and Ballon d’Or accolades during their careers.

Additionally, because of his incredible capacity to score goals, he was nicknamed “Der Bomber,” which translates to “The Nation Bomber.” he scored 566 goals in 607 competitive matches for Bayern and 68 goals in 62 appearances for Germany; these numbers resemble PlayStation. He makes scoring goals appear effortless; he is without a doubt one of the greatest players of all time, ranked fifth on this list.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

Cristiano Ronaldo

Full name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro

Professional career span: 2002-Active

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.89 m

Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who is often regarded as the best player of all time. He is without a doubt one of the best players of all time, known for his incredible speed, shooting power, physical strength, clinical finishing, individual abilities, and ability to score spectacular headers and bicycle kick bangers.

In addition, he has five Ballon d’Or awards and four European Golden Shoes, the most of any European player. Ronaldo is arguably the best striker in the history of football. He made 1155 appearances for the club and country, scoring 879 official goals. He owns the record for most goals in football history, as well as the record for most goals in international games (122).

Furthermore, he owns various scoring records, is one of the top players in the game, and is placed fourth on this list.

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

Diego Maradona

Full name: Diego Armando Maradona

Professional career span: 1976–1997

Playing Position: Attacking midfielder

Height: 1.65 m

Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional footballer who was arguably the most influential football player in history. He was regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. Maradona was world-renowned for his incredible dribbling abilities, great shooting power, vision, ball control, passing accuracy, and playmaking abilities. He was also known as “El Pibe de Oro,” or (The Golden Boy).

Diego Maradona also scored 345 goals in 680 appearances as an attacking midfielder. Furthermore, he virtually single-handedly won Argentina’s 1986 World Cup, where he scored the greatest goal in football history, “The Hand of God.”

Diego Maradona, one of the greatest football players of all time, is ranked third on this list.

Pele (Brazil)

Full name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento

Professional career span: 1956–1977

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.73 m

The Brazilian icon is widely regarded as the best footballer of all time. The International Olympic Committee honored him as Athlete of the Century, and he made Time’s list of the 100 most influential individuals of the 20th century. During his international career, he won three World Cups in 1958, 1962, and 1970, making him the only and youngest player to do so. He was known as O Rei (the King).

Further, Pele’s brilliant career was also studded with other scoring records. He scored 1279 goals in 1363 games, including exhibitions. These statistics sound unbelievable, yet Pele did it. That’s why he was known as the “King of Football.”

Moreover, numerous football legends have stated that:

“Everything you see any player doing, Pele did it first.”

“Before Pele, football was simply a sport. Pele has changed everything. He transformed football into art and entertainment.”

Leo Messi (Argentina)

Full name: Lionel Andrés Messi

Professional career span: 2004-Active

Playing position: Forward

Height: 1.69 m

Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer and the greatest football player of all time. He has almost all of the records and is arguably the most decorated player of all time. Messi has won every major trophy in his career and is one of the few players to do so, including the World Cup, Ballon d’Or, Golden Boot, Champions League, and Copa America (similar to the UEFA Euro in Europe).

Messi also holds the records for the most Ballon d’Or trophies (8), Golden Boots (6), goals in a calendar year (91) for club and country, assists (390), Pichichi honors, and International MVP. Besides that, he holds numerous scoring records.

Furthermore, Leo Messi is not only the greatest scorer of all time but also the greatest playmaker in history. His playmaking abilities outperform those of the greatest midfielders and playmakers, making him the most complete and best football player of all time by a significant margin. Messi’s vision, passing, scoring, dribbling, and playmaking skills are unparalleled.

Here are some quotes regarding Messi from football superstars.

“When you are in trouble, give the ball to Lionel Messi.”

“Messi is the best player in the world by some distance, He is like a PlayStation, he can take advantage of every mistake we make.”

Furthermore.

‘He doesn’t appear human; he’s an alien.”

“Don’t write about him, don’t try to describe him, just watch him.”

The best football players of  all time include:

1)  Leo Messi

2) Pele

3) Diego Maradona

4) Cristiano Ronaldo

5) Gerd Muller

6) John Cruyff

7) Alfredo Di Stéfano

8) Ronaldo Nazario

9) Ferenc Puskas

10) Zinedine Zidane

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