When talking about soccer, fans often have discussions about the latest trends in teams forms, latest matches, players’ performances, future predictions, etc. Although the main subject of their interests is related to present, it is not uncommon for them to discuss who are the best players to ever play this magical game.
When consulting experts to discuss this topic, when considering the important criteria to rang players, there are usually several names repeated in every list.
Considering criteria such as player’s peak and for how long has he been presenting outstanding performances, here is our list of the 25 all-time greatest soccer players.
1. Lionel Messi
The player who managed to win 5 Golden Balls, 4 Champion League titles, is often considered the best soccer player ever. Definitely for a reason. He represents an incredible combination of a playmaker, dribbler, and shooter. Being able to play on many different positions, making the defense of opponents powerless, is what makes Messi special.
2. Diego Maradona
Famous for his nickname, El Pibo De Oro, Maradona is a real Argentine. He is impulsive, controversial, quarrelsome, aggressive. He has every characteristic you could imagine that one soccer player from Argentina could have. His most famous performance was in the semifinal of the World Championship 1986, when he scored two goals. He managed to dribbled the entire English defense and he scored his second goal with his hand. That move of Maradona was named „Hand of God“.
When he was 18 years old, he played for Brasil national team on the World Championship and he was one of the best players on that Championship. He played for the Brazilian team, Santos. His left and right leg were equally strong, so he was dangerous to the defense of opponents from whatever side he shot from.
4. Johan Cruyff
He could play in every offensive position. He was an offensive midfielder. He has always acted against the rules. When he was informed that Ajax decided to sell him to Real Madrid without him knowing that, he decided to play for Barcelona. He changed the history of football, the way how people perceive it.
5. Alfredo di Stefano
He played for 3 different national teams. He was a legend of Real Madrid. After so many complications related to his transfer from South America to Europe (Barcelona or Real Madrid), after the final decision was made that he would play in Real Madrid, with his incredible shooter skills he led his team to 5 Champion Leagues titles.
6. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ferguson brought him to Manchester United when he was very young, and gave him the number 7, the number that every legend of Manchester United wore. When he moved to Real Madrid, he became Real’s legend, Real’s best scorer ever.
The Brazilian player who has played one season for Barcelona. After moving to Inter, he had amazing games, but his fragile knees ruined the career of the potentially best player ever.
8. Laszlo Kubala
This Hungarian player showed incredible skills, and he was very strong. After coming to Spain illegally, because at that point I forbid it to play soccer in Hungary, he signed for Barcelona. He was a player because the Camp Nou was built.
9. George Best
This player was a Manchester United’s legend. He was very charismatic and loved on and out of the court. He was an attacker.
10. Franz Beckenbauer
He was the first center back who has ever run forward with the ball between his feet. The peak of his career was in Bayern Munich.
11. Andres Iniesta
When he was 11 years old he moved to Barcelona and he had some hard time to adapt. He was an artist with the ball. He scored the winning goal for the Spanish national team in the final of the World Championship in 2014.
12. Zinedine Zidane
He was a player the team could never rely on because they never knew when will he have his amazing games. However, when he had his best days, he dominated the court and he was absolutely unstoppable.
13. Ferenc Puskas
Ferenc Puskas was a Hungarian player who has played for Real Madrid for several years. He won two Champion League titles.
He was a member of a golden Brasilian generation and is considered the best dribbler ever. He had one leg shorter than the other, which is the main reason he had those skills.
His peak was very short. However, he managed to lead Barcelona to a golden era and by now he was considered the most exciting player we have ever watched.
He was the legend of Benfica and Portuguese soccer. He scored 638 goals in 614 games for Benfica.
17. Marco van Basten
Because of an ankle injury, he had to finish his career at the age of 30. He was a member of great Holand threaded in Milano in the 90s.
For the whole of his career, he has been in Milano. He was a captain for most of the time. He is considered the best defensive player ever.
19. Gerd Muller
Ger Muller was the best scorer in German history. His best year was the year in which he managed to score 72 goals.
He spent his whole life in Barcelona. He was a focal point of one of the best teams ever. He had an unmatched vision of the game and great passing skills.
Zico was an attacking midfielder. He was one of the best free-kick takers to ever play.
22. Franco Baresi
Franco Baresi was a famous AC Milan defender. As he had a reputation of unpassable players in the world which led to him and Maldini forming the strongest center back partnership ever.
23. Bobby Charlton
He is usually considered the best English player ever. He was attacking midfielder playing a key role in England winning the 1966 World Cup, which remains the only World Cup Triumph for Three Lions.
24. Thierry Henry
He was a French player who won the World Cup in 1998 and European Championship in 2000. Arsenal built him a statue as he is the club’s best goal scorer of all time.
25. Hristo Stoickho
He was the main scorer of Barcelona’s dream team in the ’90s. The Bulgarian was known for his directness and big mouth, but also for an unlikely friendship with the Brazilian party animal, Romario.