The debate on the greatest footballer has raised serious debate for years on end. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Pele are some of the front-runners with the divided opinion being raised on this subject. Take a look at some of the big names that made this list.
Pele’s supernatural gifts gave defenders a lot to worry about. He rewrote history as he helped Brazil cruise to victory in the 1958 FIFA World Cup at only seventeen years. With 1,283 career goals under his belt, Pele earned the title “O Rei” (The King).
2) Diego Maradona
The Argentine’s left foot made him a firm favourite among Napoli faithful. As captain, Maradona led his country to World Cup glory in 1986. A lot of his supporters use his “goal of the century” during the finals as they argue the case about his superiority over Pele.
3) Zinedine Zidane
“Zizou” controlled the midfield with class and ease for both France and Real Madrid. He was a permanent feature in the France squad that took home the 1998 World Cup. He almost achieved the same feat in 2006 but his temper got the better of him in the final against Italy.
4) Lionel Messi
The diminutive Argentine has been at the heart of every discussion regarding the best footballers. World Cup glory with Argentina is the only missing accolade on his trophy haul that includes four Champions League titles and five Ballon d’Ors.
5) Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is best known for his athleticism and speed; while most soccer players slow down as they advance their age, Ronaldo keeps getting better with age. He cemented his place among the Portugal greats when he led them to victory in Euro 2016.
6) Michel Platini
Like Messi, the Italian only lacks the World Cup title in his trophy haul. His elegant touch and a keen eye for goals were highlighted in Euro 1984 where he scored nine goals in five matches. His club record with Juventus and Saint-Etienne was equally impressive.
7) Johan Cruyff
The style of play was a top priority for the Dutch maestro who carried this mantra into his coaching days. Ajax and Barcelona enjoyed his ‘total football’ philosophy which saw him win the Ballon d’Or on three different occasions.
8) Ronaldo Nazario
‘O Fenomeno’ (The Phenomenon) made a name for himself with impressive performances at PSV before moving to Barcelona as an all-time great. He replicated the same performances at Brazil as he helped them clinch the 2002 World Cup while winning the Golden Shoe in the process.
9) Jurgen Klinsmann
When Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer hang their boots, Jurgen Klinsmann took the German football scene by storm. West Germany’s 1990 World Cup triumph and Euro 1996 for unified Germany were part of his notable contributions.
10) Alfredo di Stefano
Di Stefano was a permanent figure in the Los Blancos’ attack during the 1950s. No other player has surpassed his achievement of scoring in five different European Cup finals and guiding Real Madrid to five consecutive European Championships.
The football scene has seen great talent and more is yet to come. Mbappe, Neymar, Mohammed Salah and Eden Hazard all have the potential to get their names in this list.