soccer players The Best Soccer Players of All Time  

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List Rules Any current or former professional soccer players from around the world are eligible.

List of the greatest soccer players of all time is ranked by soccer (football) fans worldwide. Who are the best soccer players ever? The goal is to determine the greatest footballers to ever play the game. The list establishes individual rankings of specific soccer players and helps answer the question, "Who is the best soccer player in the world?" This list includes some of the most famous soccer players in the world, but fame doesn't necessarily determine talent.

Though many more people are exposed to top soccer players during major international events like the Olympics or the World Cup (or even UEFA's European tournaments), there are numerous soccer/football leagues around the world made up of thousands of professional athletes. Any of these soccer players are eligible for the list, even if they are mainly well known in certain regions or nations. In America, other than that nation's own Major League Soccer league, the English Premier League and its athletes are most likely to be popular, recognizable, and familiar - though the marriage of David Beckham to Posh Spice makes all the people he plays with more recognizable to American fans.
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
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25,638 21,892

Pelé


Pele, is almost universally regarded as the greatest player in the history of football. Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, Pele emerged on to the international stage at the 1958 World Cup, at the age of just 17. He went on to win three winners medals in football's ...more

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Position: Forward, Midfielder

Birthplace: Brazil, Três Corações

Nationality: Brazil

Also Ranked

#5 on The Best Athletes of All Time

#2 on The Greatest South American Footballers of All Time

#1 on The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

#72 on Wait, These Famous Names Aren't Their Real Ones?!

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Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Photo: Dani Yako/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
2
24,299 15,386

Diego Maradona


Diego Armando Maradona Franco is an Argentine former footballer. He has served as a manager and coach at other clubs as well as for the national team of Argentina. Many experts, football critics, former players, current players and football fans regard Maradona as the greatest football player of all ...more

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Position: Forward, Midfielder

Birthplace: Lanús, Argentina

Nationality: Argentina

Also Ranked

#1 on The Greatest South American Footballers of All Time

#1 on Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

#2 on The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

#1 on The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs

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Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Photo:  Visionhaus/Getty Images
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34,622 21,579

rebelr19 added Lionel Messi


Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. He is a forward and serves as captain for Argentina. By the age of 21, Messi had received Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations. ...more

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Position: Forward

Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina

Nationality: Argentina, Spain

Also Ranked

#12 on The Best Athletes of All Time

#5 on The Greatest South American Footballers of All Time

#12 on Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

#4 on The Athletes That Millennials Love the Most

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Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA-2.0
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23,213 18,971

rebelr19 added Zinedine Zidane


Zinedine Yazid Zidane, nicknamed "Zizou", is a former French footballer and current coach of Real Madrid Castilla. He played as an attacking midfielder for the French national team, Juventus and Real Madrid. Renowned for his elegance, vision and technique, Zidane was named the best European ...more

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Position: Midfielder

Birthplace: Marseille, France

Nationality: France

Also Ranked

#78 on Athletes Who Spark the Most Fan Arguments

#41 on Famous Athletes Who Could Have Dominated a Second Sport

#77 on The Funniest Professional Athletes

#13 on The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

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