Who the best soccer players in the world are is guaranteed to cause a debate. There are so many variables that a definitive answer is almost impossible. The era they played, the teams they played for and finally, the positions they played all play a part in this.
We are going to list 7 players who would be on the majority of soccer fans lists. Then, we will go by the year they were born from the earliest to most recent.
Who Are The Best Soccer Players of All Time?
Alfredo Di Stefano - July 4, 1926
Few players can claim to have built a dynasty like Alfredo Di Stefano at Real Madrid. His goal scoring exploits helped Real Madrid win the first five European Cups in a row. Establishing the Spanish club as one of the biggest and best, not in Europe, but the world. He scored 216 goals in 282 appearances for Real Madrid. For this reason, they named their training stadium after him.
Di Stefano has the rare distinction of playing for three different international teams. He played for Argentina, six times, Columbia four times, and Spain 31 times. A winner of the world player of the year award twice, and over twenty major trophies with his clubs. Di Stefano passed away in 2014, but his legend lives on.
Ferenc Puskas - April 2, 1927
Hungarian player Ferenc Puskas was a member of the Real Madrid team of the early 1960s. Before he had been a prolific goal scorer for his first club, Budapest Honved. He scored 358 goals in 350 appearances for Honved, and 156 goals in 180 games for Real Madrid. In his international career, he played 85 times for Hungary and scored 84 goals.
These goals helped Hungary become one of the world's best international teams of the era. This earned them the nickname the Mighty Magyars. They had a playing record of 42 wins, 7 draws and 1 defeat between 1950 and 1956. That single defeat depriving the team of a World Cup gold medal in the final against West Germany. Puskas passed away in 2006 and had a state funeral by the Hungarian government.
Pele - October 23, 1940
Pele was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, people know him as the greatest player ever. He was part of what many think is the greatest team ever, which was the Brazil team which won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
If we include the friendly matches he played in, Pele scored over 1,000 goals in his career. This feat still has him listed as the player with the most career goals in the Guinness Book of records. Little wonder he was the Player of the 20th Century, with three World Cup winners’ medals. He has scored more hat-tricks than any other player (92). Finally, he is still the youngest player ever to play in a World cup winning team when he was 17 years and 249 days.
Franz Beckenbauer - September 11, 1944
A good defender is important to a winning team. One of the greatest defenders ever was Franz Beckenbauer. His nickname was 'Der Kaiser' as he was one of the greatest on-field leaders the sport of soccer has ever known.
He led his club, Bayern Munich to three consecutive European Cups. He captained West Germany, to the European Nation's Championship in 1972, and the World Cup in 1974. After retirement, he had success as a coach, in 1990 he coached West Germany to victory in the World Cup.
Diego Maradona - October 30, 1960
Diego Armando Maradona has had one or two controversial episodes in his life and career. He remains one of the most talented and skillful players that has ever walked on to a soccer field.
A prolific goalscorer, he also could dribble past defenders as though they were not there. His goal against England at the 1986 World Cup was proof of this. Maradona earned a place in history when he led Argentina to victory and scored 5 goals in this World Cup.
Christiano Ronaldo - 5th February 1985
Christiano Ronaldo has played for Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. With these clubs, he has won 27 major trophies. Winning the UEFA Champions League in three consecutive years with Real Madrid.
His goal scoring record is remarkable, with over 600 goals for his clubs, and 85 goals for Portugal. Which is all the more remarkable given that those 85 goals came from 109 appearances.He is also one of the most decorated players. Winning the World Player of the Year seven times, and inclusion in the FIFA World XI for 12 years in a row.
Lionel Messi - Argentina - 24th June 1987
For many the Argentinian player, Lionel Messi is the greatest and most skillful ever. While that may be open to debate, one certain thing is he is a goal machine. He has 90%+ goals to game ratio for his club FC Barcelona and has accumulated a cabinet's worth of trophies.
Winning 33 major trophies including, 4 UEFA Champions League titles, and 10 La Liga titles. He has won countless awards. The World Player of the Year six times, and inclusion in the FIFA World XI for 12 years in a row.