Best Football Players of all time
Football is the most popular sport around the globe with the highest viewership base. Also, it is the most played sport. There is certainly some kind of informality which makes it more vibrant than any other sport. Since there have been many prolific players who have contributed to the beauty of this game, the debate about the greatest players of all time has never come face to face with the conclusion. Involving all the evolutions brought into the sport it is a topic far beyond the justifications as one can never compare the era of bucks skin balls to technologically fabricated jerseys of the modern time. However, there are few who have always cast their spells better than the others and here are 10 Greatest football players of all time.
10) Michel Platini (1973-1987)
Though his credibility and repute are a matter of compromise in the boardrooms Platini’s ingenuity in the field was never a subject of doubt. His dominant performance in 1984 European Championship, which guided the French to their first ever major trophy made his presence an impactful one. His showcase of talent was never diminished at the club level with regular display of intelligent passing, dead-ball skills and deadly precision in the 30-yard box. Having won the league titles with Saint-Etienne, Nancy and Juventus he has more than 200 goals in his name. He was the player of certain caliber whom even Zidane admitted emulating.
9) Paolo Maldini (1985-2009)
Maldini is known for his loyalty towards the only football club he represented for 25 years representing the AC Milan for a record 902 times. In his two and a half decade of span, he won the silverware for 26 times which included : the UEFA Champions League (5), Serie A titles (7), Coppa Italia (1), Supercoppa Italiana titles (5), European Super Cups (5), Intercontinental Cups (2) and a FIFA Club World Cup. In fact, Maldini had gained such respect in Italian football that his derby rivals even held banners to pay tribute in his last game. Known as Il Capitano was as successful for the national team, appearing in three Euros and four World Cups including USA ’94 were in the likes of his father he was in the team of the tournament.
In a shocking establishment, Paolo Maldini has turned his hand to the world of tennis, qualifying for a professional tournament on the ATP’s Challenger Tour.
8) Ferenc Puskás (1944-1966)
He was one of the greatest striker ever. Puskas was a member of Army team which later formed into a Hungarian club Budapest Honved. The Hungarian Ministry Of Defence gave him the nickname of the ‘Galloping Major’. Proving his nickname in all worth a reality, he led the way to five league titles for Budapest Honved while being the eminent player guiding Hungarian national team to Olympic gold and world cup final in 1954, he had the average of a goal per game in the process. UEFA put a ban on him for failing to adhere to his commitments towards Honved due to the Hungarian Revolution with which his career seemed to be over. Despite his advancing age and degrading fitness Real Madrid gave him a chance in 1958 to which he responded in all capabilities and went on to win another five league titles with Real Madrid.
7) Alfredo Di Stéfano (1943-1966)
Being bold in his words he was bolder in his deeds. As a matter of fact, he performed in all areas of the field for Real Madrid except that of a goalkeeper. He was a profuse goal scorer with 511 goals in 702 games for Real Madrid. By and large, he was no ordinary striker but an artist all over the pitch. He represented three nations: his native Argentina, his adopted Spain, and Colombia. But greatest of his feat is him scoring in five consecutive winning European Cup finals during 1950’s for Real Madrid. In spite of being the one largely talented player, he could never represent in any World Cup, though he won a Copa America once with Argentina.
6) Zinedine Zidane (1988-2013 )
He was a rare talent with sound control over the ball, playmaking skills and the vision to drop the ball in right positions. He was a savage midfielder often rising to the demand in decisive games. The central player scored 159 goals in 789 games, with netting twice in 1998 world cup final against Brazil while paving the way to the trophy. He buoyed the French to victory in Euro 2000 almost by himself. He played for Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid while winning the 3 league titles and a European Cup with latter two of his three clubs. Although, he saw a tragic end to his career but winning FIFA player of the year thrice along with his elegant football and aggressive style made him no less than a scientist. Currently, he is extending his magnificent services as a manager towards his former club Real Madrid.
5) Franz Beckenbauer (1964-1984)
He could play as a defender and as a midfielder with brilliance. He invented the role of a sweeper or a defensive midfielder according to the modern footballing dictionary. In spite of his position he went on to 111 goals in 776 appearances for Germany and Bayern Munich. Similar to De Stefano, he influenced the game from all over the pitch diminishing the concept of fixed position. He was an awesome captain with tormenting passing and graceful dribbling that made led him to this list. Having won the world cup in 1974, European Championship in 1972, three European championships, eight league titles and European footballer of the year twice, he is undoubtedly the best German Footballer till date.
4) Johan Cruyff (1964-1984)
Acing the control, strength, and pace he was as graceful as he was cynical combining with the calculative intelligence. He was a display of sheer brilliance and had a prolific goal scoring record of 401 goals in 710 matches. The Dutchman played for Ajax and Barcelona in the 1960s and 1970s and is seen as Europe’s best player ever. He won 3 European Cups and 10 league titles, but couldn’t leave a mark for his national team. It’s difficult to think of any other player who has left a lasting legacy by inspiring generations of players to come with his swift turns and unmatchable skills.
3) Diego Maradona (1976-1997)
Maradona is unarguably the most gifted player ever. The Argentine was famous for his dribbling skills where his rivals were unable to catch up with his speed. When the Lilliputian Argentinian was at his peak, he was literally unrivaled. He held the position of an attacking midfielder from where he scored 345 goals in 680 games. In fact, he is said to have marched to world cup victory in 1986 with an ordinary Argentine side with solo extraordinary efforts by involving himself in almost every goal scored by his team. He also won 3 league titles, and 1 UEFA Cup with Napoli. No matter how controversial his career might have been, he is the player whose presence has glorified the game in the 20th century.
2) Lionel Messi (2000-present)
Messi is nothing short of the best footballer to have played. He is a perfect blend of players who have happened to mastered the dribbling, passing, technical ability, strength and clean finishing. You can see the glimpse of Maradona, Zidane, Cruyff, and versatility of De Stefano and Beckenbauer. He is more of an artist than a footballer, he is swift as the brush strokes of Da Vinci. He is more of a video game character in the real gameplay. It is not at all an exaggeration to state that he is now challenging the crown of Pele for the greatest ever.
The Argentinian forward has earned enormous achievements with eight La Liga titles, four Champions League, five Ballon d’Or of all time with an astonishing 337 goals and having previously been accused of bottling it on the international stage, Messi then silenced his critics when the Argentines won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing Olympics. Messi also won the Golden Ball at the 2014 World Cup. I surely feel blessed to have shared the earth with him and even more blessed to have him playing in the span of my living. Very recently he has also exchanged vows with his longtime sweetheart. No doubt he is amongst ones of the best football players of all time.
1) Pelé (1956-1977)
Pelé was a goal scoring robot. He was a 17-year-old teenager when he bolted in six goals in 1958 world cup. He continued to prove remarkable four years later when Brazil again won the world cup in 1962. Even so, he was injured only in the second game of the next world cup. Still, in 1970 he continued to display “Joga bonito” as they say in Brazilian for the beautiful game and won the Golden Ball for World Cup winning performance. By the time he hung his boots he had already netted 1281 times which is a record t which none have even come close to. He won 2 Copa Libertadores and 5 league titles with Brazilian club Santos. To be honest the unfathomable achievements of this legend will be too much to even expect from any footballer in the days to come
Having selected these 10 phenomenal footballers, it would be a blot on my conscience not to mention other great players. Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Frank Lampard, Thierry Henry, George Best, Zico, Gianluigi Buffon, Gerd Muller, Ronaldinho, and all the heroes which have served the game of football and have inspired to bring the sport to a level which it has achieved. With this I rest my claim, to know what you think about the 10 greatest footballers of all time.
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