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The Best Soccer Players of All Time

Updated November 17, 2020 3.9m votes 440.0k voters 3.0m views1.3k items

List RulesVote up the greatest current or former professional soccer players from anywhere in the world.

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.

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  • Diego Maradona1
    118,234
    64,106

    Diego Maradona

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLanús, Argentina

    Diego Armando Maradona (30 October 1960 – 25 November 2020) was an Argentine retired... more on Wikipedia
  • Lionel Messi2
    192,782
    108,862

    BirthplaceRosario, Argentina

    Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾez ˈmesi] (listen); born... more on Wikipedia

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    #637 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#341 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

  • Cristiano Ronaldo3
    166,923
    94,328

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese... more on Wikipedia
  • Ronaldo4
    93,825
    57,542

    Ronaldo

    Forward

    BirthplaceRio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Ronaldo is a Portuguese and Spanish equivalent of the name Ronald. Notable people known as... more on Wikipedia
  • Zinedine Zidane5
    87,848
    56,716

    Zinedine Zidane

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceMarseille, France

    Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin jazid zidan]; born 23 June 1972),... more on Wikipedia
  • Ronaldinho6
    121,870
    69,342

    Ronaldinho

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplacePorto Alegre, Brazil

    Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Brazilian... more on Wikipedia
  • Luka Modrić7
    23,123
    11,280

    Luka Modrić

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceZadar, Croatia

    Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian... more on Wikipedia
  • Gianluigi Buffon8
    33,108
    21,691

    BirthplaceCarrara, Italy

    Gianluigi Buffon, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒanluˈiːdʒi bufˈfɔn, -ˈfon]; born 28 January... more on Wikipedia

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    #16 of 356 The Best Current Soccer Players#266 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • Andrés Iniesta9
    43,197
    29,173

    Andrés Iniesta

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceFuentealbilla, Spain

    Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Neymar10
    47,448
    29,607

    Neymar

    Forward

    BirthplaceMogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born... more on Wikipedia
  • David Beckham11
    33,990
    22,862

    David Beckham

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceLeytonstone, London, United Kingdom

    David Robert Joseph Beckham (UK: ; born 2 May 1975) is an English former professional... more on Wikipedia
  • Thierry Henry12
    24,543
    16,707

    Thierry Henry

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLes Ulis, France

    Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French... more on Wikipedia
  • Johan Cruyff13
    47,064
    36,319

    Johan Cruyff

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceAmsterdam, Netherlands

    Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf] (listen), internationally spelled... more on Wikipedia
  • Pelé14
    131,670
    113,999

    Pelé

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceTrês Corações, Brazil

    Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu];... more on Wikipedia
  • Carles Puyol15
    14,977
    10,072

    Carles Puyol

    Defender

    BirthplaceLa Pobla de Segur, Spain

    Carles Puyol Saforcada (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾles puˈjɔl i safoɾˈkaða]; born 13 April... more on Wikipedia

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    #32 of 452 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time#7 of 114 The Best FC Barcelona Players Of All Time, Ranked

  • Gerd Müller16
    9,991
    6,965

    BirthplaceNördlingen, Germany

    Gerhard "Gerd" Müller (German pronunciation: [ˈɡɛɐ̯t ˈmʏlɐ]; born 3 November 1945) is a German... more on Wikipedia

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    #2 of 41 The Best Bayern Munich Forwards Of All Time#1 of 100 The Best Bayern Munich Players Of All Time, Ranked

  • Luis Suárez17
    11,825
    7,885

    Luis Suárez

    Winger, Forward

    BirthplaceSalto, Uruguay

    Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz (American Spanish: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾes]; born 24 January 1987) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Lev Jašin18
    6,102
    4,312

    Lev Jašin

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

    Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Russian: Лев Ива́нович Я́шин, 22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990),... more on Wikipedia
  • Peter Schmeichel19
    6,072
    4,058

    BirthplaceGladsaxe Municipality, Denmark

    Peter Bolesław Schmeichel, MBE (Danish pronunciation: [pʰetɐ ˈsmaɪ̯ˀkl̩]; born 18 November... more on Wikipedia
  • Steven Gerrard20
    12,337
    8,294

    Steven Gerrard

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceWhiston, United Kingdom

    Steven George Gerrard (born 30 May 1980) is an English professional football manager and... more on Wikipedia

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    #91 of 164 Who's the Best Player in the Premier League?#2 of 17 The Best Players In MLS

  • Xavi21
    28,762
    19,766

    Xavi

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceTerrassa, Spain

    Xavier Hernández Creus (Catalan: [ˈʃaβi əɾˈnandəs ˈkɾɛws], Spanish: [ˈtʃaβj eɾˈnandeθ ˈkɾeus];... more on Wikipedia
  • Robert Lewandowski22
    9,710
    6,470

    BirthplaceWarsaw, Poland

    Robert Lewandowski (born 21 August 1988) is a Polish professional footballer who plays as a... more on Wikipedia
  • Dennis Bergkamp23
    9,167
    6,265

    BirthplaceAmsterdam, Netherlands

    Dennis Nicolaas Maria Bergkamp (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdɛnəs ˈbɛrxkɑmp] (listen); born 10 May... more on Wikipedia
  • Roberto Baggio24
    7,406
    5,522

    Roberto Baggio

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceCaldogno, Italy

    Roberto Baggio (Italian pronunciation: [roˈbɛrto ˈbaddʒo]; born 18 February 1967) is an... more on Wikipedia

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    #846 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time#6 of 164 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

  • Zlatan Ibrahimović25
    34,866
    23,958

    BirthplaceMalmö Municipality, Sweden

    Zlatan Ibrahimović (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈslaːtan ɪbraˈhiːmʊvɪtɕ], Bosnian: [zlǎtan... more on Wikipedia