The 10 best football players in history

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Although it is difficult to make comparisons between players from different eras, this type of historical rankings serve to see the sport with perspective and realize the impact that some football players have, both for contemporary fans and over the years.

Discover the ranking of the best football players in history

In this historical classification we highlight the footballers who have had the greatest impact among fans, as well as their importance on the field and their trophy collection.

1. Leo Messi

The skillful Argentine has not yet finished his career and is already considered by many as the best player in history. Logically, placing him so high on the list may clash with other opinions, but there is no doubt that he is an absolute genius.
He went to FC Barcelona at a very young age and there he has achieved the greatest achievements of a team that has set the trend, mainly with Pep Guardiola on the bench but also with other coaches such as Frank Rijkaard or Luis Enrique.

2. Diego Armando Maradona

“El Pelusa”, who has recently left us, has possibly been the greatest pure talent in this sport, but he was not always the role model professional who could have achieved everything. Therefore, perhaps his actual performance does not match his true potential, but he left us authentic displays and historic moments.
Idol of a country that lives football with as much passion as Argentinian, he shone in Europe alongside Barça and Napoli, although he also became accustomed to attracting attention off the field.

muere diego armando maradona

3. Pelé

Possibly the greatest goal scorer in history. Although his figure remains somewhat distant and distorted by a football that was different from the current one in terms of professionalism, he was the great star of the 1950s with a Brazil that amazed the world.
Although he scored more than a thousand goals throughout his career, perhaps he lacked to make the leap to the other side of the pond and measure himself against the best players in the world in Europe.

4. Johan Cruyff

“El Flaco” was the great standard-bearer of Ajax and the Dutch team nicknamed “The Clockwork Orange” in the 70s. Cruyff came out of the Amsterdam factory, one of the best quarries in the world, to become an idol in Barcelona, not only as a player but years later from the bench, leading them to their first European Cup. Johan Cruyff

5. Franz Beckenbauer

While in this type of lists, goal scorers or attacking players usually prevail, the German center-back is considered the best defender in history, so we have to make room for him. He won two Ballon d’Or (1972 and 1976) and became the reference for the World Cup-winning Germany in ’74.

After succeeding with his national team and Bayern Munich, he has been a coach and executive, as he has always had a lot of charisma among players and executives.

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6. Cristiano Ronaldo

Returning to contemporary players, the Portuguese has had the misfortune of sharing time with Leo Messi. If not, he would probably be much higher. He has achieved success at an individual and collective level, but perhaps his unique character has not helped him to be more popular among fans of other teams.

cristiano ronaldo7. Ferenc Puskas

If we are talking about born strikers, we have to go back to the 1950s and take a break to remember Puskas. The Hungarian striker was a star for Real Madrid and led his national team to the gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games and second place at the 1954 World Cup.

8. Zinedine Zidane

Another player who is now succeeding on the sidelines is the French midfielder. “Zizou” was personified elegance and brought success to both Juventus in Turin and Real Madrid, as well as the World Cup he won with France in 1998. Without a doubt, a fixture on this list due to pure talent.

9. Ronaldo Nazário

The “first” Ronaldo was a force of nature. Not even serious knee injuries could stop him. After shining at PSV Eindhoven, he made the leap to FC Barcelona and in just one season he amazed everyone. He traveled to Italy, specifically to Inter Milan, where he would win the Ballon d’Or, and returned to Spain with Real Madrid. A true killer.

10. Lev Yashin

We close this list with the most legendary goalkeeper in history. The Russian goalkeeper became famous for wearing black and being a real panther under the posts. Known by the nickname “The Black Spider”, to this day he remains the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d’Or. He defended Dynamo Moscow’s goal from 1947 to 1971.