Who is the greatest football player of all time? In this article, we will highlight the top 10 greatest soccer players of all time, what made them different from others and their achievements.
Most of the greatest soccer players on this list are not known by some of us but it is worth knowing them and comparing them with the players of this decade the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi and so on. Find out which are the 10 greatest football players of all time below.
The 10 Greatest Soccer Players Of All Time
Pele – Brazil
Pelé was the greatest footballer of all time in the history of world football. He received the title of the best player of the 20th century by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and a series of prizes and distinctions worldwide.
Born in the city of three hearts, in the state of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, since he was very young he wanted to be a footballer like his father, João Ramos do Nascimento, known as Dondinho.
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The “black pearl”, nickname for which Pelé was known, jumped into the limelight in 1956, aged just 16, at the service of Santos Futebol Clube. He stood out for being an outstanding striker, with fantastic technique and an enormous appetite for goals.
His consecration happened at the Swedish World Championship, in 1958, when Brazil was, for the first time in its history, the world champion. Pelé scored 6 goals and was decisive for this achievement.
The striker also participated in winning the 1966 World Cup in England and the Mexico World Cup in 1970, where he was nicknamed the king.
Pelé scored more than a thousand goals (1284) in all competitions and won the most varied titles for the clubs where he passed through and also for the Brazilian national team.
Maradona – Argentina
Diego Armando Maradona was born in 1960, in Lanús, Argentina, and became known as a world football legend. One of his nicknames is “El Diez” which shows all the magic, talent and intelligence of his football and his way of playing.
His technique and skill were appreciated everywhere and this made Maradona a unique and incomparable player in football history.
He was, without a doubt, a player out of his time, more advanced and evolved than the others and around him an unparalleled worship and veneration was created, including the creation of a church dedicated to him, the Maradonian church.
He made his European debut as a Barcelona player in 1982, with a record transfer of $ 7.6 million at the time. But his greatest moment was the winning of the World Cup in Mexico in 1986, which, according to the press and popular opinion, was won “alone” by “El pibe de oro”, one of Maradona’s nicknames.
In the 80s, the Argentine star spread all his football in Italy, for Naples, and managed to lead the team to the title, fighting on equal terms with the richest clubs in Italy.
Maradona’s career was also marked by several controversies that were not limited to football fields, but this is secondary because on the pitch Maradona was mythical, like a true god.
Eusébio – Portugal
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira was born in Lourenço Marques (Maputo), the capital of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique and was considered one of the best footballers of all time.
He was a formidable striker and his speed, dribbling, technique and shooting power frightened any opponent. He became known as the “Black Panther”, thanks to his feline performance on the pitch, and was one of the ambassadors of Portuguese football in the world.
The peak of his career came when he played for Sport Lisboa e Benfica and led the club to win several national cups and championships, having become the best scorer on several occasions.
At the international level, he helped the club win the second European Champion Clubs’ Cup (1962) and led the Portuguese team to an honorable third place at the 1966 World Cup, where he scored 9 goals.
Pantera Negra was undoubtedly the best Portuguese player of all time and one of the greatest symbols of Portugal.
Cruyff – Netherlands
Hendrik Johannes Cruyff was born in the city of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, and became known as the greatest Dutch footballer of all time. He was considered a pioneer and revolutionary player, as he broke with the rules that were established in the world of football.
Interestingly, when he was a kid, Cruyff had a deficiency in his feet, whose poor training forced him to use orthopedic devices, but that did not stop him from being one of the best strikers ever. His positioning, intelligence, versatility and tactical rigor are top-notch.
The “mechanical orange”, as the Netherlands team became known, reached its peak during the 70s and the automatic and versatile way in which the players performed their functions on the field made the Dutch game an authentic “carousel”, where the ball circulated from foot to foot for all players.
Throughout his career, he collected several titles and is today one of the active voices in the world of football.
Beckenbauer – Germany
Franz Anton Beckenbauer was the only man that managed to be World Champion as a player and as a coach. He was born in the post-war period of the Second World War, under the ruins of Munich, in 1945.
At the age of 14, he was undecided between playing tennis and football, but he chose football and entered the schools of Bayern Munich and he became a professional player.
His career as a footballer was brilliant and his tactical intelligence has made him one of the best footballers in the world. The Kaiser – Emperor, as he was known, performed the defense functions and was primarily responsible for the appearance of the libero position in modern football, the man whose mission is to “sweep” the danger from his area.
Beckenbauer was a man who accumulated victories throughout his professional career both in the club and in the national team. With Bayern Munich, he won several German championships and cups and, in Europe, in the 1970s, the player won three European Cups. On the other hand, at the service of the German team, he won the European Championship in Belgium in 1972 and the World Championship in Germany in 1974.
He is a man who won everything there was to win, both as a player, coach and president.
Di Stéfano – Argentina / Spain
Alfredo di Stéfano Laulhé was born in 1926, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was one of the most talented players of all time. He played for the national team of Argentina, Colombia and Spain, but served Real Madrid that distinguished itself and achieved success and glory.
Most teammates, including Maradona, consider Di Stéfano the best player of all time, thanks to his vision of play, technique and fantasy.
La Saeta Rubia, as Di Stéfano was known, was a player of choice and was primarily responsible for turning his back on Barcelona and Real Madrid, who became rivals.
Both wanted the player, but he ended up staying in Madrid and made Real build an enviable record, especially the 5 European Cups won between 1956 and 1960.
Puskás – Hungary
Ferenc Puskás Biró was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1927 and was one of the best footballers of the 20th century. Puskás began his career as a professional football player in 1943, in the middle of World War II, at the service of Kispest, which is later called Honvéd.
He was celebrated as the leader of the Hungarian national team that made history in the first half of the 1950s.
Hungary remained undefeated for a period of four years and the “magician magicians”, as they were known at that time, won the gold medal at the Olympic Games Summer 1952 and were the runners-up of the 1954 World Championship, which was held in Switzerland.
Major Galloping, nickname of Puskás, played as a forward and the 84 goals in 85 games made him the top exponent of his team.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ferenc Puskás made a name for himself with Real Madrid and winning three European Cups was crucial for the player to enter the history of world football.
Throughout his career, he scored 512 goals in 528 official matches and in recognition of that fact, FIFA rated Ferenc Puskás as the most beautiful goal of the year.
Platini – France
Michel François Platini was born in Joeuf, France, in 1955. He is the son of Italian emigrants and made history in the French team and at the service of Vecchia Signora, Juventus of Italy.
He was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the history of world football despite his slight appearance. Platini played in the midfield, in the position of “10” and was considered a genius when he held the ball at his feet, such was his creative ability.
He was the player who made the team play around him and never wasted the opportunity to shoot on goal in order to score.
Throughout his career, he won numerous trophies and the highlight goes to winning the European Football Championship which took place in France in 1984, where Platini scored 9 goals.
Michel Platini is currently the president of UEFA (Union of European Football Association) and was primarily responsible for changing certain rules in modern football.
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Garrincha – Brazil
Manoel Francisco dos Santos, Mané Garrincha or simply Garrincha was how one of the best footballers ever became known. He was born in Magé, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1933, and was a footballer who stood out in the right wing of the Brazilian attack, thanks to his disconcerting dribbles that left any defense clueless.
Despite having crooked legs, the left leg was six centimeters shorter than the right, the winger was in the history of football as the most technical player in the world.
His irreverent way of playing was unique and, for example, in the same attack, he was able to pass the ball through the same opponent more than once, just for personal enjoyment.
Garrincha was one of the heroes in winning the Swedish World Cup in 1958 and the World Cup in Chile, which took place in 1962.
Bobby Charlton – England
Sir Robert Charlton, known as Bobby Charlton, was born in Ashington in 1937 and was one of the best players and one of the most charismatic in the history of world football. He started his career at Manchester United and was part of the so-called “Busby Babes”.
Bobby Charlton was an exceptional striker, with a unique positional sense, vision of the game and had a strong shot from long distance. However, he had to deal with one of the greatest tragedies in the world of football: the Munich air disaster in 1958.
This accident took the lives of 8 Manchester United players, in which Bobby Charlton was seriously injured, but he survived. His willpower and willingness were decisive for Manchester United to win again in the following years.
The glory was recovered with the achievement of the national championships in 1965 and 1967 and the winning of the European Champion Clubs Cup in 1968 against Sport Lisboa e Benfica was the icing on the cake.