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.

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.
list ordered by

1
28,116 24,586
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Pelé Forward, Midfielder

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2
38,814 23,946
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Lionel Messi Forward

3
26,678 16,953
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Diego Maradona Forward, Midfielder

4
8,081 8,256
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

5
17,737 11,196
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Johan Cruyff Forward, Midfielder

6
6,238 6,949
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

7
4,794 3,293
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Garrincha Right Wing, Midfielder

8
19,792 13,822
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

9
22,556 15,566
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldo Forward

10
24,606 20,321
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Zinedine Zidane Midfielder

11
22,405 13,295
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldinho Forward, Midfielder

12
9,032 6,523
George Best is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Best Midfielder

13
24,559 17,941
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo Forward, Midfielder

14
5,840 4,221
Zico is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Zico Playmaker, Midfielder

15
2,933 2,272
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ruud Gullit Defender, Forward, Midfielder

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16
788 814
Gianni Rivera is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianni Rivera Midfielder

17
724 670
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Giuseppe Meazza Forward, Inside forward

18
1,749 1,507
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

19
6,472 5,118
Kaká is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Kaká Midfielder

20
4,692 3,226
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ferenc Puskás Forward, Inside forward

21
6,526 4,907
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

22
4,244 2,918
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Eusébio Forward

23
1,337 1,273
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Weah Forward

24
1,638 1,528
Andriy Shevchenko is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

25
1,237 1,115
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

26
293 169
Didi is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Didi Midfielder

27
1,204 922
Roberto Rivelino is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Rivelino Midfielder

28
8,043 5,487
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrea Pirlo Midfielder

29
367 376
Roberto Donadoni is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Donadoni Midfielder

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30
9,804 5,248
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianluigi Buffon Goalkeeper

31
4,393 3,390
Romário is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Romário Forward

32
1,498 1,285
Clarence Seedorf is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Clarence Seedorf Midfielder

33
2,088 1,568
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cafu Defender

34
697 654
Paulo Roberto Falcão is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

35
162 101
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

36
234 151
Vavá is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Vavá Forward

37
9,728 7,282
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrés Iniesta Midfielder

38
7,636 4,640
Zlatan Ibrahimović is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

39
179 107
Gérson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gérson Playmaker, Midfielder

40
8,664 6,546
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Xavi Midfielder

41
775 658
Jairzinho is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Jairzinho Midfielder

42
4,105 3,296
Roberto Baggio is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Baggio Forward, Midfielder

43
6,267 4,633
Gerd Müller is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gerd Müller Forward

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44
428 377
Ranker Video
Tostão Winger, Forward, Midfielder

45
11,291 9,226
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Thierry Henry Forward, Midfielder

46
7,244 5,515
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

47
727 594
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Forward, Midfielder

48
2,252 1,637
Lev Yashin is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Lev Yashin Goalkeeper

49
178 96
Sandro Mazzola is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Sandro Mazzola Forward, Inside forward, Midfielder

50
203 138
Juan Alberto Schiaffino is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Juan Alberto Schiaffino Forward, Inside forward