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
128,982 102,588
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
21,019 39,067
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
105,901 58,932
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
24,415 41,851
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
117,785 57,426
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
43,019 27,585
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
182,949 99,421
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
159,879 79,719
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
91,819 49,223
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
88,036 52,119
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
12,903 14,282
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
11,780 11,672
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
18,395 18,614
Zico is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
32,874 26,837
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
50,324 51,654
Kaká is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
14,413 23,391
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
15,495 15,615
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
18
22,712 18,368
George Best is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
41,277 19,776
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
27,604 16,015
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
5,245 10,201
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
7,627 11,448
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
3,485 8,797
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
11,859 11,771
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
6,108 9,094
Andriy Shevchenko is listed (or ranked) 25 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