Best Athletes 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.

Ranker Video The Best Soccer Players Of All Time

Whether you call it soccer or football, this extensive list of the greatest soccer players of all time is ranked by 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 good 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.

Vote up the world's best soccer players in the world who deserve to be in the top 10 in football history.

list ordered by

1
126,401 98,129
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - 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 ...more

2
176,473 96,647
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Forward - 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 ...more

3
102,152 56,433
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - 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 ...more

4
155,829 76,056
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, GOIH, known as Cristiano Ronaldo, is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid C.F. and the Portugal national team. He is a ...more

5
114,741 54,646
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, commonly known as Ronaldinho or Ronaldinho Gaúcho, is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Mexican club Querétaro. His main playing position is as an ...more

6
23,322 37,893
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender - Paolo Cesare Maldini is an Italian former footballer who played as a left back or central defender, being adept with either foot although naturally right-footed. He spent all 25 seasons of his ...more

7
85,353 50,595
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Midfielder - 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, ...more

8
20,106 34,686
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Marcel "Marco" Van Basten is a Dutch football manager and former football player, who played for Ajax and A.C. Milan, as well as the Netherlands national team, in the 1980s and early ...more

9
89,188 47,614
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima commonly known as Ronaldo, is a retired Brazilian footballer. Popularly dubbed "the phenomenon", he is considered by experts and fans to be ...more

10
40,598 25,947
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON, born 25 April 1947, known as Johan Cruyff, is a former Dutch footballer and was until recently the manager of the Catalonia football team. He won the Ballon d'Or ...more

11
49,346 49,435
Kaká is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, commonly known as Kaká or Ricardo Kaká, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for American club Orlando City ...more

12
17,678 17,645
Zico is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Playmaker, Midfielder - Arthur Antunes Coimbra, better known as Zico, is a Brazilian coach and former footballer. Often called the "White Pelé", he was a creative player, gifted with excellent ...more

13
31,767 26,318
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Sweeper - Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a German football manager, and former player, nicknamed Der Kaiser because of his elegant style; his leadership; his first name "Franz", and his dominance on ...more

14
10,832 10,939
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, GCIH, GCM, was a Portuguese footballer who played as a striker. Eusébio is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. During his ...more

15
12,078 13,149
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Right Wing, Midfielder - Manuel Francisco dos Santos, known by the nickname Garrincha, was a Brazilian footballer who played right winger and forward. He is regarded by many as the best dribbler in football history. The ...more

16
39,842 19,109
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Andrés Iniesta Luján is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and the Spain national team as a central midfielder. Iniesta came through La Masia, the ...more

17
14,700 14,980
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

18
13,768 22,665
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Forward, Midfielder - Ruud Gullit, OON, is a Dutch football manager and former football player who played professionally in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the captain of the Netherlands national team that was victorious ...more

19
26,693 15,303
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Andrea Pirlo, Ufficiale OMRI, is an Italian professional footballer who plays for Italian Serie A club Juventus and the Italian national team. Pirlo is a free-kick specialist, who is usually ...more

20
21,672 17,890
George Best is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - George Best was a Northern Irish footballer who played as a winger for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. In 1968 he won the European Cup with United, and was named the ...more

21
11,187 11,381
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Inside forward - Ferenc Puskás was a Hungarian footballer and manager, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He scored 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals ...more

22
4,895 9,585
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender - Franco Baresi is an Italian football youth team coach and a former player and manager. He played as a sweeper and as a central defender, and spent his entire 20-year career with Serie A club ...more

23
7,273 10,800
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah is a Liberian humanitarian, politician, and an ex-footballer who played as a striker. Regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995 ...more

24
5,756 8,433
Andriy Shevchenko is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko is a former Ukrainian footballer who played for Dynamo Kyiv, Milan, Chelsea, and the Ukrainian national team as a striker. Shevchenko is ranked as the fifth top ...more

25
26,778 13,620
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Xavier "Xavi" Hernández i Creus is a Spanish footballer who plays for FC Barcelona as a central midfielder. Xavi came through La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy, at the age ...more

26
3,273 8,252
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Inside forward - Giuseppe "Peppino" Meazza, also known as il Balilla, was an Italian footballer playing mainly for Internazionale in the 1930s, scoring 242 goals in 365 games for the club. He led Italy ...more

27
32,677 16,235
David Beckham is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE, is an English former professional footballer. He played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, and the ...more

28
30,184 14,251
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Goalkeeper - Gianluigi "Gigi" Buffon, Ufficiale OMRI, is an Italian goalkeeper who plays for and captains both Serie A club Juventus and the Italy national team. Buffon is the record holder for ...more

29
4,083 6,740
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Midfielder - Franklin Edmundo Rijkaard is a Dutch football manager and former player. Rijkaard has played for Ajax, Real Zaragoza and Milan, and represented his national side 73 times, scoring 10 goals. In ...more

30
32,376 15,409
Zlatan Ibrahimović is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a striker for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Swedish national team for which he is captain. Ibrahimović started his ...more

31
19,774 10,126
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Midfielder - Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha, more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a retired Brazilian footballer and current manager of Turkish league club Akhisar Belediyespor. He started his ...more

32
23,711 13,109
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Thierry Daniel Henry is a retired French professional footballer, who played as a forward. He played for Monaco, Juventus, Barcelona, New York Red Bulls and spent eight years at Arsenal where he ...more

33
2,897 6,317
Gianni Rivera is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Giovanni "Gianni" Rivera is an Italian former football midfielder, who was mostly utilised as an offensive playmaker; he was awarded the Ballon d'Or, one of the most prestigious ...more

34
44,476 19,935
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona and is the captain for the Brazil ...more

35
5,259 6,046
Luis Suárez Miramontes is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Luis Suárez Miramontes, also known by the diminutive Luisito, is a Spanish former footballer and manager. He played as a midfielder for Deportivo de La Coruña, CD España ...more

36
10,857 5,113
Luka Modrić is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Luka Modrić is a Croatian footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Croatia national team. Modrić plays mainly as a central midfielder, but can also play as an attacking ...more

37
12,710 6,308
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender - Carles Puyol i Saforcada is a Spanish retired footballer. Mainly a central defender he could also play on either flank, especially as a right back. He served as the longtime team captain for his ...more

38
6,982 4,973
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender - Marcos Evangelista de Morais, known as Cafu, is a Brazilian former professional footballer. He is the most internationally capped male Brazilian player and also made history playing for ...more

39
2,938 4,269
Didi is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Waldyr Pereira, nicknamed Didi, was a Brazilian footballer who played midfielder. He played in three FIFA World Cups, winning the latter two and was named the tournament's best player in 1958. ...more

40
8,908 7,807
Romário is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Romário de Souza Faria, known simply as Romário, is a former Brazilian footballer, manager and current politician. A prolific striker renowned for his clinical finishing, he is ...more

41
1,767 5,122
Roberto Donadoni is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Roberto Donadoni is an Italian football manager and former midfielder, who is currently in charge of Serie A club Parma. A complete winger, known for his pace, stamina, offensive capabilities, ...more

42
8,509 5,399
Raúl is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Raúl González Blanco, known as Raúl, is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for New York Cosmos as a striker. Raúl was born in the San Cristóbal de los ...more

43
4,274 5,489
Clarence Seedorf is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Clarence Clyde Seedorf is a Dutch former footballer and former manager of A.C. Milan regarded by many as one of the best midfielders of his generation. Seedorf is one of the most decorated Dutch ...more

44
11,072 6,342
Steven Gerrard is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder - Steven George Gerrard, MBE is an English footballer who plays for and captains Premier League club Liverpool. He has played much of his career as a central midfielder, but he has also been used ...more

45
11,496 6,295
Manuel Neuer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Goalkeeper - Manuel Peter Neuer is a German footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Bayern Munich and the German national team. He has been described as a "sweeper-keeper" because of his unique ...more

46
7,287 4,316
Francesco Totti is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Playmaker, Forward, Midfielder - Francesco Totti, Ufficiale OMRI, is an Italian footballer who plays for and captains Serie A club Roma. His primary playing positions are those of an attacking midfielder or supporting forward, ...more

47
8,399 5,687
Ryan Giggs is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder - Ryan Joseph Giggs, OBE is a Welsh football coach and former player who is currently the assistant manager at Manchester United and co-owner of Salford City. Giggs made his first appearance for ...more

48
9,529 5,925
Iker Casillas is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Goalkeeper - Iker Casillas Fernández is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for and captains both Real Madrid and the Spain national team as a goalkeeper. In 2008 he was the captain of the ...more

49
7,369 4,648
Didier Drogba is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward - Didier Yves Drogba Tébily, known as Didier Drogba, is an Ivorian professional footballer who plays for English club Chelsea as a striker, and is the all-time top scorer and former captain ...more

50
10,273 5,816
Gareth Bale is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
StephenCrouch added Forward, Midfielder - Gareth Frank Bale is a Welsh footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Bale began his professional career at Southampton, playing at left-back ...more