There have been many great players in the history of football, but a few stand out even among the greats. On this page we pay tribute to players like Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Di Stefano, Puskas, Zidane, Best, Beckenbauer and Platini. Footballers that deserve to be remembered as the best of the best. Here’s our top 10 of all time best footballers.
1. Pelé (1956-1977)Playing in perhaps the greatest ever World Cup winning team, Pelé was universally acknowledged as the world’s best player. In 1975 he joined the NASL, and became a goodwill ambassador for football in the USA. It’s a role he has been playing ever since.
2. Johan Cruijff (1964-1984)He usually played the centre forward position, but would often drop deep or move to the wing to confuse and draw out his markers. His tremendous tactical insight meant that Cruyff was one of the few players in this top 10 that went on to become a world class coach.
3. Diego Maradona (1976-1997)The title of greatest ever footballer is probably a bit too much credit for a player who also had clear short comings. Since his retirement from football, Maradona’s life has been marred by drugs abuse and health issues.
4. Alfredo di Stefano (1943-1966)Di Stéfano won caps for Argentina, Colombia, and Spain, but never graced a World Cup. He moved to Espanyol in 1964 and played there until hanging up his boots at the age of 40.
5. Ferenc Puskas (1944-1966)Puskas fled Hungary in the wake of the Soviet invasion of 1956 and went on to play for Real Madrid well into his 30’s, winning numerous trophies.
6. Franz Beckenbauer (1964-1984)An elegant and dynamic player known for his outstanding technique and tactical insight, Beckenbauer single-handedly modernised the role of sweeper.
7. Michel Platini (1973-1987)Platini displayed a remarkable goalscoring prowess for someone who was nominally a midfielder. He scored 68 goals in 147 league games for Juventus, and was crowned top scorer of the Serie A on three three occasions.
8. Eusebio (1958-1978)(he was a former under-19 Portuguese 400, 200 and 100 metre champion), quick dribble, and powerful and accurate right-footed strike. Until recently Eusebio was the all-time leading scorer for Portugal, with 41 goals in 64 matches. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1965.
9. George Best (1963-1984)In the years that followed his performances on the pitch were increasingly eclipsed by his problems with gambling, womanising and drinking. In 1974 Best left Manchester United, effectively ending his career at the highest level at the age of only 27 years old.
10. Zinedine Zidane (1988-2006)