football The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time  

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

This list focuses on the 'best' and 'greatest' players based on team achievements, individual awards and impact on the game. Making a list there is always some bias, therefore there will never the ultimate list, but after 10+ years watching the game this is my conclusion of what I believe are truly the 50 best players the world has witnessed. It is very hard to rank players in different positions at different eras, therefore impact and influence as well as popularity played a bigger role when deciding. Also no "if's'' were applied, merely what the players did on the pitch during their careers was put into consideration.

note: Talent and individual ability is not as important since 'all' players in this list share outstanding talent and ability in different areas and different ways.

1
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Lionel Messi Forward - The Best soccer player the world has ever seen and will probably ever see

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2
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Pelé Forward, Midfielder - Most successful footballer ever

3
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Diego Maradona Forward, Midfielder - Bigger heart than any other player

4
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo Forward, Midfielder - CR7 is a pure athlete

5
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Zinedine Zidane Midfielder - Greatest midfielder ever, team leader, superb technical ability, and a gifted mind at reading the game

6
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldo Forward - Best Striker Ever

7
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Johan Cruijff Forward, Midfielder - The Creator of “total football”

8
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper - Perhaps the most important German player to date,  Beckenbauer R evolutionized the role of attacking sweeper

9
Michel Platini is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Michel Platini Midfielder - Winner of 3 Balon Dor's, Platini was the perfect midfielder.

10
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time

11
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Garrincha Right Wing, Midfielder - One of the most underrated and badly marketed players ever. Garrincha's ability will never be matched PERIOD

12
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time

13
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Ferenc Puskás Forward, Inside forward

14
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Eusébio Forward

15
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldinho Forward, Midfielder - Had arguably two of the best years the game has seen, but lacked consistency. The first true 'showman' in soccer

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16
George Best is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
George Best Midfielder - Some say Maradona: Good, Pele: Better, Geroge: Best

17
Gerd Müller is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Gerd Müller Forward

18
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Xavi Midfielder - The brain of the greatest barcelona & spanish national team

19
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Andrés Iniesta Midfielder - Scored the goal in the final for the first Spanish World Cup, Best player in Euro 2012, key FCBarcelona player

20
Zico is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Zico Playmaker, Midfielder

21
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

22
Lev Yashin is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Lev Yashin Goalkeeper

23
Bobby Moore is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Bobby Moore Defender

24
Roberto Baggio is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Baggio Forward, Midfielder

25
Romário is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Romário Forward

26
Michael Laudrup is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Michael Laudrup Forward, Midfielder

27
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Giuseppe Meazza Forward, Inside forward - Not enough evidence to support this amazing player. However we know that he lead Italy to two World Cup victories

28
Eric Cantona is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Eric Cantona Forward, Midfielder

29
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

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30
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Cafu Defender

31
Fabio Cannavaro is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Fabio Cannavaro Defender

32
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Manuel Neuer Goalkeeper

33
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Ruud Gullit Defender, Forward, Midfielder

34
Peter Schmeichel is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Peter Schmeichel Goalkeeper

35
Gheorghe Hagi is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Gheorghe Hagi Midfielder

36
Dino Zoff is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Dino Zoff Goalkeeper

37
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Carles Puyol Defender

38
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Gianluigi Buffon Goalkeeper

39
Ronald Koeman is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Ronald Koeman Defender, Midfielder

40
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Thierry Henry Forward, Midfielder

41
Iker Casillas is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Iker Casillas Goalkeeper

42
Alessandro Del Piero is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time

43
Rivaldo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Rivaldo Forward, Midfielder

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44
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
George Weah Forward

45
Luís Figo is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Luís Figo Midfielder

46
Paul Scholes is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Paul Scholes Midfielder - One of the most underrated and consistent players in the world of soccer. One of the most complete midfielders ever seen

47
Lothar Matthäus is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Lothar Matthäus Defender, Sweeper, Midfielder

48
Roberto Rivelino is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Rivelino Midfielder

49
Philipp Lahm is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Philipp Lahm Defender

50
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder - Perhaps the most prolific Left Back in the modern game