best soccer players of all time

Top 12 Best Soccer Players of All Time

What name comes to your mind when somebody asks about the best sport in the world? Of course, soccer is the majority answer.

If soccer was in your mind, then tell us what names come to your mind when somebody asks about the best soccer players of all time?

Of course, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo must be your guess right away.

However, are you curious and looking for the best soccer players of all time? If yes, then you are in the right place.

Here, we have picked the top 12 best soccer players of all time.

12 Best Soccer Players

12. Eusebio

Country: Portugal

Position: Striker

International Goals: 41 out of 64 matches

Club Goals: 424 out of 436 matches

Eusebio is an icon and the true soccer legend of Portugal. The player is regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time.

Moreover, Eusebio is also called the Black Pearl or the Black Panther.

Eusebio, one of the best soccer players

Eusebio is well-known for scoring 53 goals in UEFA club competitions. It is the 9th highest of all time in the history of soccer.

Moreover, he is the 8th highest goal scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League.

Eusebio’s Major Titles and Achievements:

  • Ballon d’Or 1965
  • 12 times top scorer
  • 11 times Portuguese champion
  • 5 times Portuguese cup winner
  • 1 time European Champions Club Cup Winner from SL Benfica.

11. Lev Yashin

Country: Soviet Union

Position: Goalkeeper

The professional Soviet soccer player Lev Yashin was nicknamed “The Black Spider” because of his head-to-toe dark attire.

Yashin is considered not only to be the best goalkeeper of all time but also the most influential one.

Also, he is well known to be the first goalkeeper to foist his authority on defense players by shouting at them for 90 minutes.

Moreover, he would come off his line frequently to compete with opponent attackers head-on and intercept their crosses.

lev yashin best soccer player all time

In fact, he has made over 150 penalty saves during his career and maintained over 270 clean sheets.

Lev Yashin’s Achievements and Accolades:

  • 1963 Ballon d’Or winner (first and only keeper to win Ballon d’Or)
  • 9 times Goalkeeper of the Year
  • FIFA Goalkeeper of the Century 2000
  • World Soccer Greatest XI 2013

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10. Zico

Country: Brazil

Position: Attacking Midfielder

International Goals:  48 out of 71 matches

Club Goals: 192 out of 332 matches

Arthur Antunes Coimbra, widely known as Zico, is a former soccer player and is often called “The White Pele.”

Zico ready to score a goal (Source: The Guardian)

Zico is widely popular because he is regarded as one of the best playmakers and a freekick specialist at his time. Also, he was able to bend the ball in any direction.

In fact, the god of football, Pele, once said,” The only player who resembles my playing method is Zico.”

Zico’s Major Achievements and Accolades:

  • Bola de Ouro (1974, 1982)
  • Bola de Prata (1974, 1975, 1977, 1982, 1987)
  • Campeonato Carioca top scorer (1975-30 goals, 1977-27 goals, 1978-19 goals, 1979-26 goals, 1982-21 goals)

9. Gerd Muller

Country: Germany

Position: Striker

International Goals: 68 out of 62 matches

Club Goals: 487 out of 555 matches

Gerd Muller, one of the greatest goal scorers of all time, is a former professional footballer from West Germany. Fans nicknamed him “The Bomber.”

Goal machine Muller is well known for his amazing goal-scoring ability.

Gerd Muller, a German striker (Source: SportMob)

Additionally, he conquered the Golden Boot by scoring 10 goals in the 1970 FIFA World Cup playing for West Germany.

Also, he played a key part in winning the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

Gerd Muller’s Major Achievements:

  • Ballon d’Or (1970)
  • Footballer of the Year (Germany 1967, 1969)
  • Voted best Player 40 Years Bundesliga (1963–2003)  
  • Bundesliga Top Scorer (1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978)
  • European Golden Shoe (1970, 1972)
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Boot (1970)
  • UEFA European Championship Top Scorer (1972)
  • European Cup Top Scorer (1973, 1974, 1975, 1977)
  • DFB-Pokal Top Scorer (1967, 1969, 1971)
  • Golden Foot (2007)

8. Alfredo Di Stefano

Country: Argentina/Spain/Columbia

Position: Centre Forward

International Goals: 29 out of 41 matches

Club Goals: 376 out of 521 matches

Argentine-born professional soccer player and coach Alfredo Di Stefano is regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time.

He is well-known for his intelligence, stamina, and all-around skill.

Alfredo Di Stefan posing with trophies (Source: Managing Madrid)

Here is how the coach of Real Madrid, Miguel Munoz, described Alfredo Di Stefano in the late 1950s: “The greatness of Di StEfano was that, with him in your side, you had two players in every position.”

Moreover, fans recognized him because of his achievements with Real Madrid by securing the record of five consecutive European Cup Titles in 1953-64.

Stefano’s Major Achievements and Accolades:

  • Ballon d’Or (1959, 1957)
  • Ten times top scorer
  • Copa America Winner (1947/48) from Argentina
  • 8 times Spanish Champion and one time Spanish Cup winner (1961/62)

7. Michel Platini

Country: France

Position: Attacking midfielder

International Goals: 41 in 72 matches

Club Goals: 224 in 432 matches

Michel Platini is a former soccer player, manager, and the 6th President of UEFA.

However, he was banned from involvement in football for an ethics violation that will last until 2023.

Michel Platini, a former soccer player (Source: Twitter)

Of course, he came into highlight by showing the most dominant display in the international tournament history by scoring nine goals in the 1984 European Championship, including two hattricks.

Furthermore, his dead-ball skills, intelligent passing techniques at the club & international matches make him popular.

Platini’s Major Achievements:

  • Ballon d’Or (1985, 1984, 1983)
  • Footballer of the Year (1984, 1977, 1976)
  • 4 times top scorer
  • European Champion Clubs’ Cup Winner (1984/85) from Juventus FC
  • Italian Cup Winner (1982/83)

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6. Johan Cruyff

Country: Netherland

Position: Attacking midfielder, Forward

International Goals: 33 out of 48 matches

Club Goals: 291 out of 514 matches

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff is a legendary Dutch professional soccer player and a coach.

The forwarder is regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Likewise, he is well known for his talent in every aspect of soccer.

Johan Cruyff ready to play a game (Source: Football history)

This right-footed player came into highlight when he scored 25 goals in 23 matches from Ajax Amsterdam in the 1965-66 season.

In addition, he gathered the attention of a huge mass after he transferred to FC Barcelona with a world-record transfer fee, 6 million euro, at that time.

Cruyff’s Major Awards and Achievements:

  • Ballon d’Or (1971, 1973, 1974)
  • Won Eredivisie 9 times
  • Six times KNVB Cup winner
  • Three times European Cup winner
  • La Liga (1973-74)
  • Best Player of World Cup (1974)

5. Zinedine Zidane

Country: France

Position: Attacking Midfielder

International Goals: 31 out of 108 matches

Club Goals: 95 out of 506 matches

Former professional soccer player Zinedine Zidane is also known as Zizou.

Moreover, the player is still considered one of the greatest soccer players and greatest Muslim athletes.

Zinedine Zidane during a game
Zinedine Zidane during a game

Similarly, he is widely popular for his exceptional agility, ball control, and vision.

Moreover, many people became huge fans of Zidane after scoring one of the greatest goals in the UEFA Champions League final with a left-foot volley in 2002.

Zidane’s Major Achievements:

  • FIFA World Player of the Year (2003, 2000, 1999)
  • Ballon d’Or (1998)
  • FIFA World Cup Golden Ball (2006)
  • Laureus World Sports Awards for Life Time Achievement (2011)

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

Country: Portugal

Position: Forward

Career Goals: 783 official career goals in 1073 professional appearances

Portuguese professional forward player Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for Serie A club, Juventus. Also, he captains the Portuguese national team.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the most expensive player when he signed a deal with Real Madrid with a transfer fee worth €94 million.

Cristiano Ronaldo after a goal (Source: Premier League)

Later, Gareth Bale broke that record with €100 million.

Later, he transferred to Juventus with a transfer fee worth an initial €100 million.

It was the most expensive transfer for an Italian Club. Additionally, it was the most expensive transfer for a player above 30 years old.

Ronaldo’s Major Achievements and Accolades:

  • FIFA Ballon d’Or/Ballon d’Or (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
  • FIFA World Player of the Year (2008)
  • European Golden Shoe (2007–08, 2010–11, 2013–14, 2014–15)
  • Best FIFA Men’s Player (2017. 2016)
  • 10 times Footballer of the Year

3. Diego Maradona

Country: Argentina

Position: Attacking midfielder

International Goals: 34 out of 91 matches

Club Goals: 251 out of 491 matches

An Argentine professional soccer player and manager, Diego Maradona, is widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time. “The Golden Boy” was his nickname.

Likewise, his exceptional vision, ball control, passing, and dribbling skills make him widely known. Moreover, he was also known as a freekick specialist.

Diego Maradona showing his skill (Source: Britannica)

Also, Maradona was the first player to set the transfer fees record twice.

Maradona captained the Argentine team during the 1996 World Cup and shocked the world with his domination against West Germany.

Moreover, he scored both goals and led his country towards a win with 2-1.

Maradona’s Major Achievements and Accolades:

  • World Cup Golden Ball (1986)
  • FIFA Player of the Century (2000)
  • FIFA Goal of the Century (2002)
  • Golden Foot (2003)
  • FIFA 100 Greatest Living Players (2004)
  • Ballon d’Or Dream Team (2020)

2. Lionel Messi

Country: Argentina

Position: Forward

Career goals: 748 official senior career goals in 929 professional appearances

Leo Messi is an Argentine professional soccer player and captain. The forwarder is regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time.

He holds the record for highest goals in La Liga, the highest number of hat-tricks in La Liga and UEFA Champions League, and most assists in La Liga.

Lionel Messi is ready to score a goal (Source: Britannica)

This Argentinian forward has earned so much respect due to his breathtaking technical ability and record-breaking list of achievements.

Besides being the best soccer player of all time, he also holds his place of being one of the highest-paid sportsmen in the world.

Messi’s Major Achievement and Accolades:

  • The Best FIFA Men’s Player (2019)
  • Ballon d’Or (2019, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)
  • 3 time UEFA Best Player in Europe (2015, 2011, 2009)
  • 10 times Player of the Year from FC Barcelona
  • 22 times top scorer.
  • Copa America (2020/21)

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1. Pele

Country: Brazil

Position: Forward/Attacking Midfielder

International Goals: 71 out of 92 matches

Club Goals: 643 out of 659 matches

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, widely known as Pele, is a retired professional Brazillian Soccer player. Also, FIFA labeled him as The Greatest.

Pele shocked the world when he lifted the 1958 World Cup trophy at the age of 17.

Moreover, he scored twice in the finals and became the youngest scorer and the world cup winner.

pele best soccer player all time
Pele, best soccer player of all time

Brazil and Santos’s all-time top goalscorer, Pele, is the only player to win 3 World Cups in 4 appearances.

Furthermore, Pele set Guinness World Record by scoring 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, including friendlies.

Consequently, he is among the most popular sports figure in the 20th century.

Pele’s Major Achievements and Accolades:

  • 3 times World Cup winner (1970, 1962, 1958)
  • 6 times Top Scorer
  • FIFA World Cup Best Young Player (1958)
  • World Cup Golden Ball (Best Player) (1970)
  • Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur (2013)
  • South American player of the century, by the IFFHS (2000)
  • FIFA Player of the Century (2000)
  • FIFA 100 Greatest Living Footballers (2004)

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