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The Best Soccer Players of All Time

Updated November 17, 2020 3.8m votes 437.5k 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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  • 1
    Diego Maradona
    117,080
    63,441

    Diego Maradona

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLanús, Argentina

    Diego Armando Maradona (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo maɾaˈðona], born 30 October 1960) is an... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Cristiano Ronaldo
    166,182
    93,058

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Lionel Messi
    191,721
    107,946

    BirthplaceRosario, Argentina

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

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  • 4
    Ronaldo
    93,369
    56,684

    Ronaldo

    Forward

    BirthplaceRio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Ronaldo is a Portuguese and Spanish equivalent of the name Ronald. Notable people known as... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Zinedine Zidane
    87,438
    56,716

    Zinedine Zidane

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceMarseille, France

    Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin jazid zidan]; born 23 June 1972),... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Ronaldinho
    121,365
    68,546

    Ronaldinho

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplacePorto Alegre, Brazil

    Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Brazilian... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Luka Modrić
    22,478
    10,618

    Luka Modrić

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceZadar, Croatia

    Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Gianluigi Buffon
    32,884
    21,283

    BirthplaceCarrara, Italy

    Gianluigi Buffon, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒanluˈiːdʒi bufˈfɔn, -ˈfon]; born 28 January... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Thierry Henry
    24,300
    15,889

    Thierry Henry

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLes Ulis, France

    Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Andrés Iniesta
    42,897
    28,382

    Andrés Iniesta

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceFuentealbilla, Spain

    Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Steven Gerrard
    12,200
    7,847

    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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  • 12
    Carles Puyol
    14,798
    9,419

    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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    #37 of 452 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time#7 of 113 The Best FC Barcelona Players Of All Time, Ranked

  • 13
    Neymar
    47,247
    28,664

    Neymar

    Forward

    BirthplaceMogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    David Beckham
    33,809
    21,918

    David Beckham

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceLondon, England

    David Robert Joseph Beckham (UK: ; born 2 May 1975) is an English former professional... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Xavi
    28,500
    19,116

    Xavi

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceTerrassa, Spain

    Xavier Hernández Creus (Catalan: [ˈʃaβi əɾˈnandəs ˈkɾɛws], Spanish: [ˈtʃaβj eɾˈnandeθ ˈkɾeus];... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Роберто Карлос
    21,015
    14,036

    Роберто Карлос

    Defender, Midfielder

    BirthplaceGarça, Brazil

    Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha (born 10 April 1973), more commonly known simply as Roberto... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Johan Cruyff
    46,470
    36,239

    Johan Cruyff

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceAmsterdam, Netherlands

    Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf] (listen), internationally spelled... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Pelé
    130,902
    113,800

    Pelé

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceTrês Corações, Brazil

    Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu];... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Lev Jašin
    5,904
    4,184

    Lev Jašin

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

    Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Russian: Лев Ива́нович Я́шин, 22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990),... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Gerd Müller
    9,800
    6,858

    BirthplaceNördlingen, Germany

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

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

  • 21
    Roberto Baggio
    7,256
    5,415

    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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    #11 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players#848 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time

  • 22
    Raúl
    9,948
    7,082

    Raúl

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceMadrid, Spain

    Raúl González Blanco (Spanish pronunciation: [raˈul ɣonˈθaleθ ˈβlaŋko]; born 27 June 1977),... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    George Best
    23,788
    20,557

    George Best

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceBelfast, United Kingdom

    George Best (22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005) was a Northern Irish professional footballer who... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Iker Casillas
    9,752
    6,418

    Iker Casillas

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceMóstoles, Spain

    Iker Casillas Fernández (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈikeɾ kaˈsiʎas feɾˈnandeθ]; born 20 May 1981)... more on Wikipedia

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    #81 of 356 The Best Current Soccer Players#4 of 186 The Best Soccer Goalies of All Time

  • 25
    Luis Suárez
    11,717
    7,587

    Luis Suárez

    Winger, Forward

    BirthplaceSalto, Uruguay

    Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz (American Spanish: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾes]; born 24 January 1987) is a... more on Wikipedia