Top Ten Soccer Players of All Time
List of the best soccer (football) players of all time, in order
- crowd rank
Did score two of the greatest goals of all time, even if one of them was actually an own-goal by Terry Butcher. Able to call on divine intervention when required. Two world-cup gold medals, a bag of cocaine and five hookers at the Dorchester!
Franz Beckenbauer (Der Kaiser)
He invented the modern attacking sweeper position and is the only man to both captain and manage World Cup-winning teams (1974 and 1990, respectively). Led Bayern Munich to three European Cup championships and four national titles. European Footballer of the Year in 1972 and 1976.
Invented total football. Two European Championships with Ajax, and should have won the 1974 and 1978 World Cups (if he'd bothered to have played in the latter). Barcelona's intricate passing game is a direct consequence of his vision.
Ronaldo (Luís Nazário de Lima)
All-time top scoring forward in the World Cup. Won two WC golds (1994, 2002) and might have won a third in '98 if he hadn't suffered a nervous breakdown(?!) fifteen minutes before the final against France.
European Footballer of the year at 21. Ripped apart the greatest team in Europe at the time (Benfica) with a 5-1 thrashing at home, then repeated the performance with a 4-1 win to help Manchester United become the first English team to win the European Cup. Could have had it all. When asked what he did with all his money: "Most of it I spent on birds and booze. The rest I squandered."
Alfredo di Stefano
Five (count 'em) five consecutive European Championships with Real Madrid. 3rd highest scorer in the history of Spain’s top division, with 228 goals in 329 games. Di Stéfano is also Real Madrid’s highest league goalscorer of all time, with 216 goals in 282 league matches.
84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues - not too shabby! Olympic champion in 1952 and a World Cup finalist in 1954. Won three European Cups (1959, 1960, 1966), 10 national championships (5 Hungarian & 5 Spanish Primera División) and 8 top individual scoring honors. Oh yes, and he could knock ten milk bottles off the cross-bar with ten shots from the penalty spot!
Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento)
Maradona? Zidane? Come off it. Three World Cup wins, the first at 17 with two goals, the last at 30 with a bullet-header. Oh yeah, he also scored over 1000 first-class goals. And he never got sent off. 'Nuff said
Zenedine Zidane (ZiZou)
He scored two to win the 1998 World Cup, also won Euro 2000 and the 2002 UEFA Champions League. Also one of only two three-time FIFA World Player of the Year winners. Won the Golden Ball as the MVP in the World Cups of 1998 and 2006. And he would have won another World Cup if he'd headed in the ball instead of head-butting Materazzi!
Gerd Muller (der Bomber)
Lethal acceleration over short distances, a remarkable aerial game, and uncanny goalscoring instincts. He could turn quickly and with perfect balance in small spaces at speeds that would cause other players to fall over. He also had a knack of scoring in unlikely situations. With national records of 68 goals in 62 international appearances, 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga games and the international record of 66 goals in 74 European Club games. Still holds the record for the most number of WC goals in a single tournament (13).