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
31,707 27,902
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Pelé Forward, Midfielder

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2
45,179 26,856
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Lionel Messi Forward

3
30,018 18,601
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Diego Maradona Forward, Midfielder

4
9,125 10,879
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

5
19,525 12,253
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Johan Cruyff Forward, Midfielder

6
7,327 9,176
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

7
5,893 4,513
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Garrincha Right Wing, Midfielder

8
10,255 7,495
George Best is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Best Midfielder

9
7,304 5,534
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

10
20,743 14,920
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

11
6,585 5,090
Zico is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Zico Playmaker, Midfielder

12
4,876 3,474
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Eusébio Forward

13
5,355 3,765
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ferenc Puskás Forward, Inside forward

14
3,583 3,511
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ruud Gullit Defender, Forward, Midfielder

15
7,494 6,251
Kaká is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Kaká Midfielder

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16
24,772 16,542
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldo Forward

17
24,994 14,877
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldinho Forward, Midfielder

18
2,185 2,163
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

19
26,611 21,215
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Zinedine Zidane Midfielder

20
1,076 1,293
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Giuseppe Meazza Forward, Inside forward

21
1,079 1,310
Gianni Rivera is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianni Rivera Midfielder

22
28,147 19,669
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo Forward, Midfielder

23
1,694 1,898
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Weah Forward

24
1,969 2,093
Andriy Shevchenko is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

25
1,519 1,640
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

26
8,786 5,796
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrea Pirlo Midfielder

27
1,437 1,176
Roberto Rivelino is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Rivelino Midfielder

28
616 607
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Tostão Winger, Forward, Midfielder

29
524 420
Luis Suárez Miramontes is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

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30
390 356
Juan Alberto Schiaffino is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Juan Alberto Schiaffino Forward, Inside forward

31
516 418
Didi is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Didi Midfielder

32
1,744 1,557
Clarence Seedorf is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Clarence Seedorf Midfielder

33
4,761 3,574
Romário is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Romário Forward

34
613 801
Roberto Donadoni is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Donadoni Midfielder

35
10,452 5,559
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianluigi Buffon Goalkeeper

36
380 371
Vavá is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Vavá Forward

37
329 274
Sandro Mazzola is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Sandro Mazzola Forward, Inside forward, Midfielder

38
2,378 1,739
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cafu Defender

39
830 848
Paulo Roberto Falcão is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

40
295 310
Gérson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gérson Playmaker, Midfielder

41
286 291
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

42
8,319 5,001
Zlatan Ibrahimović is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

43
443 447
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zanzarlad added Luigi Riva Forward - One of the top Italian players of all times, hard to believe he is not on the list,Italians should be ashamed for this ,you idiots!!!

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44
10,524 7,534
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrés Iniesta Midfielder

45
9,351 6,765
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Xavi Midfielder

46
6,725 4,778
Gerd Müller is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gerd Müller Forward

47
2,581 1,733
Lev Yashin is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Lev Yashin Goalkeeper

48
943 748
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Forward, Midfielder

49
4,402 3,501
Roberto Baggio is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Baggio Forward, Midfielder

50
4,303 3,240
Ryan Giggs is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ryan Giggs Forward, Midfielder