Greatest Soccer Players: Top-15 All-Time Best | SportyTell (2024)

Who is the best and greatest soccer player of all-time? Read on.

World football is a sport loved by over 4 billion fans all over the globe. Since the dawn of the 20th century, soccer has been subject to considerable public acclaim and attention.

Due to the famous nature of the sport, the best has often been in the spotlight during the peak of their careers.

These best soccer players not only compete to be the greatest among their contemporaries but struggle to create as well as break records for which they will be remembered long after they retire. That has inspired our article on the greatest soccer players of all-time.

Aside from creating records that give insight into their fantastic prowess, these records help in recognizing talented players as not just virtuoso during their heydays, but competent contenders for the title of the greatest of all time.

Table of Contents

The Greatest Soccer Players of All-Time (G.O.A.T.)

15. Gianluigi Buffon

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Yes, a goalkeeper on the greatest soccer players list, Buffon was and still considered one of the best players to ever play the game, and he was a goalkeeper. playing with Juventus his whole career, this player was out of this world.

Some referred to him as GOD, simply because his ability to stop balls that seem like a lost cause, when it was clear it was going to be a goal, Buffon would reach his long hands and stop the ball.

With cat like instincts, and amazing field view, Buffon will be studied and researched for decades as how to play the game at his position.

14. Ronaldinho, Brazil ( yet again )

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It’s becoming a recurring theme on this article that Brazil produces world class players, and Ronaldinho is just another one of these, if not the best one of them all.

The way he played the game made it look so easy, like anyone can do it, and he always had a smile on his face like he was still playing in his home town, on a dirt field.

Ronaldinho had the special ability to pass the ball and see the whole picture and whole field like no other. Every team who had him as a player, and also the national team of Brazil, saw major success during his years. and he deserves a place on this list.

13. Romario, Brazil

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Another Brazilian on the list, which is not surprising to be honest, they have the ability to play soccer not many poses.

Romario was one of these who made it to greatness.

With an amazing dribbling ability, Romario led the national team to win their fourth World Cup and many believe that the team with him on it, was the best Brazil had to offer to this day.

Romario was not a big guy, but his ball control and soccer IQ made him a special player that reached the highest levels of the game.

12. Paolo Maldini, Italy

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Paolo Maldini, the Italian football player, Played for his only team of AC Millan and won a few championships with them, he is still considered one of the best players to come out of Italy, and one of the best in the world.

It was known that when Maldini is playing with your team, your goalkeeper has the easiest job in the world, it actually became a meme of some sort, because Maldini was so good at his position as a defender, attackers rarely had many options at attacking his goal.

For this reason and many more, Maldini is on this list of the greatest soccer players ever.

11. Gerd Muller, Germany

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Muller was considered to be one of the greatest strikers of all time, he had a skill of putting himself in the right place, at the right time, to score the goal.

With an unbeaten 365 goals in the German league, Muller is untouched in his ability to score goals and it doesn’t look like some will break his record any time soon.

Muller went on to win the German cup with his team Bayern four times and to this day is wildly considered to be the greatest German player to ever play the game.

10. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Argentina

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Stefano “Saeta Rubia” Di Stefano had a very successful soccer career that lasted more than two decades. Within this period, the Argentine won several individual awards and championships.

He won the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959, the Spanish Player (Athlete) of the Year on four occasions, and the South American Championship with the Argentinian national team in 1947.

His contemporaries also recognized his incredible wits, as seen in the words of ex-UEFA president and french footballer Michel Platini, who hailed Stefano as the great among the greats. Stefano ranks 10th in our greatest of all-time soccer players.

9. Roberto Baggio, Italy

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One of Italy’s greatest footballers, Roberto Baggio, was an exceptional footballer who captivated fans.

Baggio throughout his 30 years career mesmerized fans with his unique dribblings that it was said that angels sang in his legs. He was a terrific soccer star who mastered the core art of curling freekicks and netting set pieces. Baggio won the World Soccer Player of the Year award and the Ballon d’Or in 1993.

He also won Italy’s Player of the Century in 2000. Baggio is notably among the greatest soccer players of all-time.

8. Michel Platini, France

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No doubt, in terms of players who have left an indelible print in world football in the 20th century, Platini would emerge as one of the most competent candidates for the title of the greatest players.

The French footballer had a successful career, which lasted over two decades. Platini won the 1984 UEFA European Championship and emerged third place in the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

He also won the Ballon d’Or on three occasions and the World Soccer Player of the Year twice.

7. Johan Cruyff, Netherlands

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Creating a name in football is a daunting task, but creating an exceptional style unique to yourself, is, even more, a rigorous challenge. However, Johan Cruyff defeated the odds to achieve both.

The Dutchman invented the Cruyff turn, which players in modern football widely use. He won the Ballon d’Or three times, the 1974 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, and led his side to second place in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

6. Ronaldo, Brazil

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El Fenomeno, as Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is nicknamed, ruled the world of football at the peak of his career.

The Brazilian forward created a reputation for himself as a result of his impeccable style of dribbling, fantastic speed, and excellent finish.

Before El Fenomeno clocked 23, he had reached a record goal of 200 for both club and country.

He won the FIFA World Cup twice, the Copa America twice, the FIFA Confederation Cup once, and the Ballon d’Or twice.

5. Zinedine Zidane, France

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Zinedine Zidane‘s phenomenal understanding of football, even after retirement, is a visible indication that he was one of the best soccer players of his time.

Just like any of the greatest soccer players to have graced the pitch, Zidane created a style unique to him. On the pitch, Zidane played with a calm and balanced sense of style and elegance.

His technique worked well in his favor as he continued to be a fan favorite, even after retirement. Zidane won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA World Cup, the Ballon d’Or and many other awards during his career.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal

Currently playing for the Serie A club, Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo, is a prolific forward who has remarkable scoring abilities. The Portuguese forward is known for his determination to strive for success.

So far, Ronaldo has gathered admiration throughout the three countries he has played club soccer.

CR7 is top-4 on our ranking of the greatest soccer players of all time. He has won the Ballon d’Or five times, the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Nations League, and the FIFA Best Men’s Player awards.

ALSO READ:

10 Reasons Cristiano Ronaldo Is The Greatest Footballer Of All Time

3. Lionel Messi, Argentina

A football demi-god, Lionel Messi emerged from obscurity to become one of the best and most prolific goalscorers in the history of world football. His antics on the field keep fans in suspense.

Messi is known for admirably converting freekicks. Aside from that, he is an excellent playmaker who provides beautiful passes for clinical finishes.

Several sports pundits regard Messi as the greatest of all-time (G.O.A.T.) The Barcelona legend has won the Ballon d’Or six times, the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, and the Best FIFA Men’s Player awards.

ALSO READ:

10 Reasons Lionel Messi Is The Greatest Footballer Of All-Time

2. Diego Maradona, Argentina

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Possessing a small stature in football may work against you. But if you’re skillful enough, that could be one of your most significant advantages.

For Diego Maradona, his small stature was an advantage that he utilized. The Argentine footballer controlled the ball effortlessly; he made astounding dribbles, scored jaw-dropping and memorable goals.

Maradona’s senior career lasted 21 years, and within that period, he won the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Player of the Century, the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, and the FIFA World Cup Golden shoe award, to mention a few. Many may argue that Diego Maradona is the greatest soccer player of all time.

1. Pelé, Brazil

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The king of football, Pelé, is arguably the greatest soccer player of all time. At just the age of 17, he announced his presence to the world in a fashion that convinced many that he was here to stay.

He went on to thrill soccer fans with his charming antics and his prolific goalscoring abilities.

Pelé, throughout his 24 years career, scored more than a record 1,000 goals. He won several individual awards and tournaments with the Brazilian football team, which include the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Player of the Century, the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player award, and many more.

Conclusion

What are your thoughts about our ranking of the top-15 greatest soccer players of all-time? Which of the best soccer players do you think should make this list? Please share it with us in our comments section below.

I'm an avid soccer enthusiast with a deep understanding of the history and nuances of the sport. My passion for soccer extends beyond casual fandom, as I've actively followed the careers of numerous players mentioned in the article and possess a comprehensive knowledge of their achievements and playing styles.

Now, let's delve into the concepts and players mentioned in the article:

1. Gianluigi Buffon:

  • Position: Goalkeeper.
  • Highlighted attributes: Cat-like instincts, amazing field view, and ability to stop seemingly impossible shots.

2. Ronaldinho, Brazil:

  • Playing style: Made the game look easy, exceptional passing ability, and a joyful demeanor on the field.

3. Romario, Brazil:

  • Notable skills: Amazing dribbling ability, led Brazil to win their fourth World Cup.

4. Paolo Maldini, Italy:

  • Position: Defender.
  • Impact: Known for making the goalkeeper's job easy due to his defensive prowess, exceptional ball control, and soccer IQ.

5. Gerd Muller, Germany:

  • Position: Striker.
  • Scoring ability: Unbeaten record of 365 goals in the German league, known for being in the right place at the right time.

6. Alfredo Di Stéfano, Argentina:

  • Nickname: "Saeta Rubia" (Blond Arrow).
  • Achievements: Won Ballon d'Or in 1957 and 1959, Spanish Player of the Year, South American Championship.

7. Roberto Baggio, Italy:

  • Unique skills: Captivated fans with unique dribbling, known for curling free kicks, won World Soccer Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or in 1993.

8. Michel Platini, France:

  • Achievements: 1984 UEFA European Championship, three-time Ballon d'Or winner, and two-time World Soccer Player of the Year.

9. Johan Cruyff, Netherlands:

  • Innovation: Invented the Cruyff turn, won Ballon d'Or three times, led Netherlands to second place in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

10. Ronaldo, Brazil:

  • Nickname: El Fenomeno.
  • Skills: Impeccable dribbling, fantastic speed, and prolific goal-scoring ability.

11. Zinedine Zidane, France:

  • Playing style: Calm and balanced sense of style, elegant technique, won UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, and Ballon d'Or.

12. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal:

  • Achievements: Five-time Ballon d'Or winner, success in UEFA Champions League, UEFA Nations League, and FIFA Best Men's Player awards.

13. Lionel Messi, Argentina:

  • Notable skills: Prolific goal-scorer, adept at converting free kicks, excellent playmaking ability.

14. Diego Maradona, Argentina:

  • Attributes: Astounding dribbles, memorable goals, small stature used as an advantage, won FIFA World Cup, FIFA Player of the Century.

15. Pelé, Brazil:

  • Achievements: Prolific goal-scorer with over 1,000 goals, won numerous individual awards, including FIFA Player of the Century.

In conclusion, the article ranks these players based on their impact, achievements, and contributions to the sport. Each player mentioned has left an indelible mark on the history of soccer, making them contenders for the title of the greatest of all time. The rankings are subjective and open to interpretation, sparking discussions among soccer enthusiasts.

Greatest Soccer Players: Top-15 All-Time Best | SportyTell (2024)
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