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The Best Soccer Players of All Time

Updated November 17, 2020 3.9m votes 439.9k 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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  • Diego Maradona1
    118,233
    64,101

    Diego Maradona

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLanús, Argentina

    Diego Armando Maradona (30 October 1960 – 25 November 2020) was an Argentine retired... more on Wikipedia
  • Lionel Messi2
    192,768
    108,865

    BirthplaceRosario, Argentina

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

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo3
    166,919
    94,329

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceSanto António, Portugal

    Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese... more on Wikipedia
  • Ronaldo4
    93,821
    57,545

    Ronaldo

    Forward

    BirthplaceRio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Ronaldo is a Portuguese and Spanish equivalent of the name Ronald. Notable people known as... more on Wikipedia
  • Zinedine Zidane5
    87,844
    56,716

    Zinedine Zidane

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceMarseille, France

    Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin jazid zidan]; born 23 June 1972),... more on Wikipedia
  • Ronaldinho6
    121,867
    69,342

    Ronaldinho

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplacePorto Alegre, Brazil

    Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Brazilian... more on Wikipedia
  • Luka Modrić7
    23,127
    11,272

    Luka Modrić

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceZadar, Croatia

    Luka Modrić (Croatian pronunciation: [lûːka mǒːdritɕ]; born 9 September 1985) is a Croatian... more on Wikipedia
  • Gianluigi Buffon8
    33,107
    21,687

    BirthplaceCarrara, Italy

    Gianluigi Buffon, (Italian pronunciation: [dʒanluˈiːdʒi bufˈfɔn, -ˈfon]; born 28 January... more on Wikipedia
  • Andrés Iniesta9
    43,191
    29,175

    Andrés Iniesta

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceFuentealbilla, Spain

    Andrés Iniesta Luján (Spanish pronunciation: [anˈdɾes iˈnjesta luˈxan]; born 11 May 1984) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Neymar10
    47,444
    29,608

    Neymar

    Forward

    BirthplaceMogi das Cruzes, Brazil

    Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazilian Portuguese: [nejˈmaʁ dɐ ˈsiwvɐ ˈsɐ̃tus ˈʒũɲoʁ]; born... more on Wikipedia
  • Thierry Henry11
    24,539
    16,710

    Thierry Henry

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceLes Ulis, France

    Thierry Daniel Henry (French pronunciation: ​[tjɛʁi ɑ̃ʁi]; born 17 August 1977) is a French... more on Wikipedia

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    #1336 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time#5 of 164 The Best Soccer Players of the '90s

  • David Beckham12
    33,988
    22,864

    David Beckham

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceLeytonstone, London, United Kingdom

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

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  • Johan Cruyff13
    47,057
    36,318

    Johan Cruyff

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceAmsterdam, Netherlands

    Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf] (listen), internationally spelled... more on Wikipedia

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    #26 of 1,816 The Best Athletes Of All Time#3 of 103 Coolest Soccer Players

  • Pelé14
    131,660
    113,999

    Pelé

    Forward, Midfielder

    BirthplaceTrês Corações, Brazil

    Edson Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu];... more on Wikipedia
  • Gerd Müller15
    9,990
    6,960

    BirthplaceNördlingen, Germany

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

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

  • Arjen Robben16
    6,307
    4,199

    Arjen Robben

    Winger, Forward

    BirthplaceBedum, Netherlands

    Arjen Robben (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɑrjən ˈrɔbə(n)] (listen); born 23 January 1984) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Luis Suárez17
    11,823
    7,873

    Luis Suárez

    Winger, Forward

    BirthplaceSalto, Uruguay

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

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    #168 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#29 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

  • Iker Casillas18
    9,852
    6,607

    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

  • Lev Jašin19
    6,101
    4,311

    Lev Jašin

    Goalkeeper

    BirthplaceMoscow, Russia

    Lev Ivanovich Yashin (Russian: Лев Ива́нович Я́шин, 22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990),... more on Wikipedia
  • Peter Schmeichel20
    6,070
    4,053

    BirthplaceGladsaxe Municipality, Denmark

    Peter Bolesław Schmeichel, MBE (Danish pronunciation: [pʰetɐ ˈsmaɪ̯ˀkl̩]; born 18 November... more on Wikipedia
  • Philipp Lahm21
    6,924
    4,620

    Philipp Lahm

    Defender

    BirthplaceMunich, Germany

    Philipp Lahm (German pronunciation: [ˈfɪlɪp ˈlaːm]; born 11 November 1983) is a German retired... more on Wikipedia

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    #34 of 452 The Best Soccer Defenders of All Time#2 of 31 The Best Bayern Munich Defenders Of All Time

  • Steven Gerrard22
    12,337
    8,287

    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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    #91 of 164 Who's the Best Player in the Premier League?#2 of 17 The Best Players In MLS

  • Xavi23
    28,759
    19,766

    Xavi

    Midfielder

    BirthplaceTerrassa, Spain

    Xavier Hernández Creus (Catalan: [ˈʃaβi əɾˈnandəs ˈkɾɛws], Spanish: [ˈtʃaβj eɾˈnandeθ ˈkɾeus];... more on Wikipedia

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    #6 of 114 The Best FC Barcelona Players Of All Time, Ranked#2 of 114 The Best Soccer Players from Spain

  • Robert Lewandowski24
    9,707
    6,461

    BirthplaceWarsaw, Poland

    Robert Lewandowski (born 21 August 1988) is a Polish professional footballer who plays as a... more on Wikipedia
  • Dennis Bergkamp25
    9,166
    6,263

    BirthplaceAmsterdam, Netherlands

    Dennis Nicolaas Maria Bergkamp (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdɛnəs ˈbɛrxkɑmp] (listen); born 10 May... more on Wikipedia