Sports

The Best Soccer Players of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated February 24, 2020 3.7M votes 420.2k voters 2.9M views 1,415 items

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

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
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
Andrea Pirlo (Italian pronunciation: [anˈdrɛːa ˈpirlo]; born 19 May 1979) is an Italian former professional footballer. Pirlo was usually deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield for both ...more
2
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Diego Armando Maradona (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo maɾaˈðona], born 30 October 1960) is an Argentine retired professional footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest ...more
3
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward
Ronaldo is a Portuguese and Spanish equivalent of the name Ronald. Notable people known as Ronaldo include: Ronaldo (Brazilian footballer) (born 1976), Ronaldo Luís Nazário de ...more
4
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʁonawˈdʒĩɲu ga'uʃu]) or simply Ronaldinho, is a Brazilian former professional ...more
5
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu]; born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé ([peˈlɛ]), is a Brazilian retired professional ...more
6
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Forward
Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾez ˈmesi] (listen); born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains ...more
7
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (European Portuguese: [kɾiʃˈtjɐnu ʁoˈnaɫdu]; born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club ...more
8
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Midfielder
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin jazid zidan]; born 23 June 1972), nicknamed "Zizou" (pronounced [zizu]), is a French former professional football player and ...more
9
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf] (listen), internationally spelled Cruyff; 25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he ...more
10
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Japanese club ...more
11
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Goalkeeper
Gianluigi Buffon, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒanluˈiːdʒi bufˈfɔn, -ˈfon]; born 28 January 1978) commonly shortened to Gigi Buffon, is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper ...more
12
Luka Modrić is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Spanish club Real Madrid and is the ...more
13
George Best is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
George Best (22 May 1946 – 25 November 2005) was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger, spending most of his club career at Manchester United. Named European Footballer ...more
14
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
Xavier Hernández Creus (Catalan: [ˈʃaβi əɾˈnandəs ˈkɾɛws], Spanish: [ˈtʃaβj eɾˈnandeθ ˈkɾeus]; born 25 January 1980) is a retired Spanish professional footballer who played as a ...more
15
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Sweeper
Franz Anton Beckenbauer (pronounced [ˈfʁants ˈbɛkn̩ˌbaʊɐ]; born 11 September 1945) is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser ...more
16
Zlatan Ibrahimović is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward
Zlatan Ibrahimović (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈslaːtan ɪbraˈhiːmʊvɪtɕ], Bosnian: [zlǎtan ibraxǐːmoʋitɕ]; born 3 October 1981) is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a forward for LA ...more
17
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Midfielder
Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha (born 10 April 1973), more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who now works as a football ambassador. He ...more
18
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French professional football coach and former player who was most recently the manager of Ligue 1 club ...more
19
Ryan Giggs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Ryan Joseph Giggs (born Wilson; born 29 November 1973) is a Welsh football coach and former player. He is the manager of the Wales national team and a co-owner of Salford City. He played his ...more
20
Neymar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born 5 February 1992), commonly known as Neymar Jr. or simply Neymar, is a Brazilian professional ...more
21
David Beckham is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
David Robert Joseph Beckham (UK: ; born 2 May 1975) is an English former professional footballer, the current president of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City. He played for Manchester ...more
22
Raúl is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Forward, Midfielder
Raúl González Blanco (Spanish pronunciation: [raˈul ɣonˈθaleθ ˈβlaŋko]; born 27 June 1977), known as Raúl, is a Spanish football manager and former player who played as a ...more
23
Carles Puyol is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender
Carles Puyol Saforcada (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈkaɾles puˈjɔl i safoɾˈkaða]; born 13 April 1978) is a Spanish retired professional footballer who played his entire career for Barcelona. ...more
24
Sergio Ramos is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Defender, Midfielder
Sergio Ramos García (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈseɾxjo ˈramoz ɣaɾˈθi.a]; born 30 March 1986) is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for and captains both Real Madrid and the Spain ...more
25
Steven Gerrard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Midfielder
Steven George Gerrard (born 30 May 1980) is an English professional football manager and former player who manages Scottish Premiership club Rangers. He spent the majority of his playing career ...more