A player’s worth may be defined by the money he makes, the number of runs he makes, the number of goals he strikes or the number of goals he contains. It is often forgotten in this age of calculation that the best player is an all-rounder. Football is one sport where all facets of the play are used before declaring one footballer “the best of all time.” Below is a list of players from history and present which may qualify into the title.
Lionel Messi is one player who easily falls into the “all-rounder” category. He plays as a forward for the popular Spanish football club FC Barcelona as well as the Argentina national team. He is known for being a team player who brings forward his teammates to their full potential, looking for empty spaces, passing on the ball by filling that space to his fellow footballers to enable them to a goal. Moreover, he is quite popular for his stunning dribbling skills with the ball and has proved to be one of the best footballers on many occasions. He has won 6 Ballon d’Or, 6 European Golden Shoe, 33 club titles and 5 FIFA Player of the Year awards among many other achievements. His fans call him ‘G.O.A.T’ (Greatest of all time) and with such career accomplishments and records, he has proved himself to be worthy of his title.
David Beckham, a former English footballer, is a set-piece specialist known for scoring goals from free-kicks well away from the goal post. His ability to give accurate crosses and passing the ball from a long distance to his teammates made him one of the most remarkable mid-fielders of his time. Beckham has played for many prestigious football clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United as well as Paris Saint-Germain and was a significant team player for the England national team. He is an accomplished player who has many achievements including being the runner up for Ballon d’Or (1999) and FIFA Player of the Year (2001). He has been one of the highest-paid athletes for many years and was the highest-paid footballer in 2013 with a salary of $50 million. Beckham is considered a global ambassador for football and is now the current president of the football club Inter Miami CF.
Another great footballer of his time is Gerd Muller who played for the German national team and Bayern Munich. He was a player who made great use of his feet with the ball and relied much on his speed which allowed him to make space between players. Muller was known for his amazing display of athleticism during the 1970 and 1974 FIFA World Cup and held the record for scoring most goals (14) in the world cup and was unbeaten for 32 years, as well as held the record for being Germany’s top scorer for nearly 40 years. Muller scored the winning goal in the 1974 world cup final against the Netherlands and was hailed as one of the most prolific football players of all time. Moreover, he played in Bayern Munich for 15 years and scored 365 goals in 427 games which made him the highest goal scorer in Bundesliga history. He was a player who was admired by everyone in the football community and will always have his name amongst the best.
It is obvious that Cristiano Ronaldo‘s name would appear in this list of great footballers. He is a player who is undoubtedly one of the best footballers of all time. From dribbling skills to great athleticism, Ronaldo has it all and has proved to be the best over and over again. He is currently playing as a forward in the Serie A club Juventus, as well as the Portugal national team, and is also famous for playing in prestigious football clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo is an extraordinary footballer who has won 23 trophies including 5 Ballon D’or, 5 FIFA Player of the Year and 4 European Golden Shoes. The goal-scoring machine, Ronaldo has broken numerous records and has saved his team against unfavorable odds on many occasions. Being one of the highest-paid athletes, Ronaldo also happens to be one of the most famous athletes of all time. His exceptional football skills and great sportsmanship makes him a key player in any team he plays.
A master of the ball, Romario was an extremely talented footballer who used his pace to rush past defenders and could move the ball in tight spaces with ease. His career was highlighted when he played for Brazil in the 1994 FIFA World Cup which they ended up winning and was also awarded the FIFA Golden Ball for his superb performance in the tournament. Further in his career, Romario played for PSV Eindhoven where he was quite successful as the club won the Eredivisie three times. After his success at PSV, he joined FC Barcelona and conquered the Laliga by becoming the top scorer in the league and helped them win the title as well by his brilliant efforts. He was a valuable asset to every team he played for and is considered one of the greatest players of his time.
Ronaldinho is an exceptional former Brazilian footballer who played for many reputable clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, A.C. Milan but was famous for his time with FC Barcelona. He is one of the most incredible talents that have come across in football. Ronaldinho was a prolific player with many tricks up his sleeve as well as the ability to dribble the ball past defenders with ease through his pace and creativity in the game. He was a perfect team-player as he not only played in the mid-field but also as a forward. On many occasions, he has been recognized as one of the greatest football players of his time. Moreover, he holds many achievements which only a few footballers can achieve in their careers such as the FIFA World Cup 2002, Ballon d’Or 2005, as well as The Best FIFA Men’s Player in 2004 and 2005.
Another addition to this list of greatest players of all time is Kaka, a Brazilian former footballer who is one of the few players who has won all three: Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League. His achievements also include The Best FIFA Men’s Player, Serie A Footballer of the Year, as well as World Soccer Player of the Year. Often recognized as one of the most talented players of his generation, Kaka played as an attacking midfielder who was extremely difficult to stop when he had the ball. During his prosperous football career, he has played for reputable clubs like Real Madrid, A.C. Milan, Sao Paulo, and even Orlando City. He was a complete player who had the ability to score from a long distance and had great interception skills which allowed him to create numerous goal-scoring chances during the game.
Luka Modric is a Croatian footballer who plays as a midfielder for the prestigious football club Real Madrid and also captains the Croatia national team. His ability to accurately cross the ball to teammates, make space between players to create goal-scoring opportunities, as well as striking the ball from a long distance into the back of the net makes him a key-player for any team he plays for. He is Croatia’s all-time greatest footballer and has proven that by leading Croatia to the final in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He was also an essential player that led to Real Madrid’s victory in the Champions League for three consecutive years – making it the only team to do so. Furthermore, Luka Modric is one of the few players who has won the Ballon d’Or which is every footballer’s dream.
Pelé is a legendary Brazilian footballer who is without a doubt one of the greatest players to date. He was a prolific striker of the ball who single-handedly won countless matches for his team. Renowned for his exceptional dribbling skills, great ability to create passes to assist teammates to score, as well as the sensational striking of the ball, Pelé was a player of a great class who used to astonish everyone who watched him play. He is the only player to have won three FIFA World Cups in his football career and did so by leading his team throughout the tournament. He was an extraordinary player who excelled even at club level football and played for the football club Santos. Not only was he the all-time top goal scorer for Brazil national team but also Santos. Pelé broke many records during his career and received several awards for his brilliant and consistent performance in the game. He has been hailed as the finest footballer all over the world and is a role model for many great footballers who came after him.
When it comes to sheer genius play with the ball, Zinedine Zidane is the name that is hailed all over the world. He is a former French footballer who played as a midfield attacker and is famously known as one of the greatest players of his time. Zidane is one of the very few players who have had the opportunity to win all three: FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or. His outstanding efforts in the FIFA World Cup 1998 finally helped France win the tournament and made him a national champion who was appraised nation-wide. At club level, he has played for Juventus, Real Madrid, and Cannes, and has won numerous trophies in all clubs. Furthermore, even after retiring Zidane managed Real Madrid as a coach and helped it win UEFA Champions League three times consecutively, and was awarded Best FIFA Men’s Coach 2017.
One of the most significant individuals in football history, Johan Cruyff was a Dutch football player who played as a forward for the Netherlands national team, as well as for FC Barcelona and Ajax at club level. He was a remarkable player who added his genius to the game and even led to the final of the FIFA World Cup Netherlands 1974. Johan won numerous trophies in his career which also included three Ballon d’Ors. Not only was he a magnificent player but also a huge influencer to the football world. After retiring as a successful football player he transitioned to coaching and shaped many teams by introducing new and effective playing-strategies. He introduced “Cruyff Turn” a move that has been passed down and used to date. Moreover, he also introduced the concept of ‘Total Football’ to clubs Ajax and Barcelona while he was their manager.
Diego Maradona often referred to as ‘The Golden Boy’ is one of the greatest football players of all time. He played as a forward for Argentina and clubs such as Napoli, Sevilla, as well as FC Barcelona. A gifted player, Maradona had the ability to dribble past multiple opponent players through the quick use of his feet and exceptional ball control. His accurate passing of the ball to his teammates and the prolific striking of the ball made him unstoppable in the field. In addition to heroically leading his team to victory in the FIFA World Cup 1986, Maradona also won the Golden Ball for being the tournament’s best player. His goal against England in the final was voted as Goal of the Century, making him a national hero for Argentina. After retiring as a professional football player, he shifted towards coaching and is the current manager of the Argentine club Gimnasia de La Plata.
Another great football player history has witnessed is Michel Platini, a French attacking midfielder who was considered to be one of the most talented players of his generation. His ability to come through despite unfavorable circumstances earned him the respect of everyone in the football community and was nicknamed ‘Le Roi’ (The King) for his exceptional athleticism, as well as a display of leadership qualities. Platini was a very accomplished footballer who won three Ballon d’Or in his career. At the club level, he played for Juventus, Nancy, and Saint-Etienne. His ability to create passes in small spaces efficiently while dribbling the ball through defenders and assisting his teammates to score made Platini a key-player for all the teams he played for. Through his great efforts in the field, Platini led Juventus to win the European Cup as well as making him the top-scorer in the tournament. Moreover, he also led France to win the 1984 European Championship and was once again the top-scorer. After he retired from playing football professionally he coached the France national team for up to four years. Later on, he was also elected as the president of UEFA making him the first football player to do so.
Franz Beckenbauer is a retired German football player who is broadly recognized as one of the greatest footballers of all-time. Often referred to as ‘Der Kaiser’ (The Emperor), Franz was an immensely talented player who was aggressive on the field and had the perfect leadership qualities to lead his team towards victory. At club level, he played for the great Bayern Munich and led them to win UEFA Winners’ Cup for three years consecutively. Franz was a real team-player who played as a central defender but was also capable enough to create clever passes to his teammates and even assist them in goal-scoring chances. All in all, he was a footballer who had many achievements which all footballers dream of. He won the FIFA World Cup 1974 as well as the European Championship.
Ronaldo, one of the most famous and talented players of all time was a Brazillian striker. During his career, he played for many major football clubs such as Real Madrid, A.C. Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, as well as PSV. Renowned for his speed, dribbling with the ball, tricking most defenders through feints, ability to strike the ball with great power and accuracy, Ronaldo was an exceptional player and a rare talent. He accomplished numerous achievements in his football career such as FIFA World Cup 1994, two time Ballon d’Or winner, three times FIFA World Player of the Year, European Golden Boot, as well as the Serie A Footballer of the Year and many other titles. A player with such skills and supremacy in the field is unmatchable and is a role model for all future footballers.