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
27,957 24,417
Pelé is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Pelé Forward, Midfielder

The Best Current Soccer Players The Best Athletes of All Time

2
38,545 23,805
Lionel Messi is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Lionel Messi Forward

3
26,511 16,884
Diego Maradona is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Diego Maradona Forward, Midfielder

4
8,047 8,118
Marco van Basten is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

5
6,204 6,829
Paolo Maldini is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Paolo Maldini Defender

6
17,672 11,142
Johan Cruijff is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Johan Cruyff Forward, Midfielder

7
4,737 3,230
Garrincha is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Garrincha Right Wing, Midfielder

8
19,752 13,721
Franz Beckenbauer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franz Beckenbauer Defender, Sweeper

9
22,471 15,467
Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldo Forward

10
24,516 20,225
Zinedine Zidane is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
rebelr19 added Zinedine Zidane Midfielder

11
22,293 13,200
Ronaldinho is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ronaldinho Forward, Midfielder

12
24,401 17,832
Cristiano Ronaldo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cristiano Ronaldo Forward, Midfielder

13
8,988 6,491
George Best is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Best Midfielder

14
5,811 4,191
Zico is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Zico Playmaker, Midfielder

15
781 790
Gianni Rivera is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianni Rivera Midfielder

The Best Soccer Players of the '90s The Creepiest Sports Mascots

16
2,909 2,251
Ruud Gullit is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ruud Gullit Defender, Forward, Midfielder

17
713 647
Giuseppe Meazza is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Giuseppe Meazza Forward, Inside forward

18
1,739 1,485
Franco Baresi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Franco Baresi Defender

19
1,326 1,250
George Weah is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
George Weah Forward

20
6,432 5,095
Kaká is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Kaká Midfielder

21
4,669 3,211
Ferenc Puskás is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Ferenc Puskás Forward, Inside forward

22
6,502 4,893
Alfredo de Stefanio is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

23
1,624 1,516
Andriy Shevchenko is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

24
1,226 1,104
Frank Rijkaard is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Frank Rijkaard Defender, Midfielder

25
4,224 2,909
Eusébio is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Eusébio Forward

26
1,199 912
Roberto Rivelino is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Rivelino Midfielder

27
8,017 5,475
Andrea Pirlo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrea Pirlo Midfielder

28
281 160
Didi is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Didi Midfielder

29
362 361
Roberto Donadoni is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Donadoni Midfielder

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30
9,778 5,238
Gianluigi Buffon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gianluigi Buffon Goalkeeper

31
4,379 3,384
Romário is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Romário Forward

32
1,489 1,275
Clarence Seedorf is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Clarence Seedorf Midfielder

33
2,073 1,558
Cafu is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Cafu Defender

34
156 89
Djalma Santos is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Djalma Santos Defender

35
689 643
Paulo Roberto Falcão is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

36
226 141
Vavá is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Vavá Forward

37
9,698 7,272
Andrés Iniesta is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Andrés Iniesta Midfielder

38
174 98
Gérson is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gérson Playmaker, Midfielder

39
7,600 4,630
Zlatan Ibrahimović is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time

40
771 649
Jairzinho is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Jairzinho Midfielder

41
8,642 6,539
Xavi is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Xavi Midfielder

42
4,095 3,285
Roberto Baggio is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Baggio Forward, Midfielder

43
6,250 4,626
Gerd Müller is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Gerd Müller Forward

The Best Soccer Players from Portugal The Best Frozen Food Brands

44
11,255 9,221
Thierry Henry is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Thierry Henry Forward, Midfielder

45
421 369
Ranker Video
Tostão Winger, Forward, Midfielder

46
7,219 5,509
Roberto Carlos is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Roberto Carlos Defender, Midfielder

47
715 589
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge Forward, Midfielder

48
174 88
Sandro Mazzola is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Sandro Mazzola Forward, Inside forward, Midfielder

49
2,240 1,631
Lev Yashin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Lev Yashin Goalkeeper

50
201 128
Juan Alberto Schiaffino is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Soccer Players of All Time
Juan Alberto Schiaffino Forward, Inside forward