Top 13 Greatest Football Players Of All Time by FIFA Ranking
|Top 13 Greatest Football Players Of All Time, According To FIFA Ranking. Photo KnowInsiders|
Ranking the greatest footballers of all time is no easy matter, and there are a lot of factors to consider. Goals are obviously the most important aspect of the game. But there are other metrics such as influence and competitiveness across different eras, which cannot be measured through numbers.
Top 13 Greatest Football Players Of All Time by FIFA Ranking
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
With over 750 senior goals for club and country, Lionel Messi’s credentials as one of the greatest goal scorers in football history are beyond any doubt.
Why Messi becomes the greatest football player of all time?
He is the first football player in the World to win three European Golden Shoe Awards.
He is the first footballer in the world to win three European Golden Shoe award.
He has scored most Hat-Tricks in Barcelona.
Lionel Messi has netted 86 goals in 162 international matches in his career, making him the top goal scorer of all time for Argentina. Messi is also fourth on the list of highest goal scorers in international football and second amongst active players, only behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
How many World Cups has Messi played until now?
Lionel Messi has scored six goals in 19 matches at the FIFA World Cup, spanning four editions (2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018).
The revolutionary Che Guevera of Argentina and Messi both have the same birthplace.
He made his league debut at the age of 17 against RCD Espanyol, making him the third-youngest player in Barcelona history. He was also the youngest player to have ever scored for Barcelona at the time.
He gave birth to his son Thiago on November 2, 2012. He declared on his Facebook page, "Today I am the happiest man in the world; my son was born and I thank God for this gift.
|Lionel Messi, now 36, is entering the twilight of his career and will be eyeing to improve his World Cup goal-scoring record considerably at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar later this year.|
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
How was Ronaldo’s first World Cup?
A young Cristiano Ronaldo, already recognised as one of the prodigies of world football, was picked for the 2006 FIFA World Cup under the captaincy of the legendary Luis Figo.
Wearing the No. 17 shirt, Ronaldo made his FIFA World Cup debut against Angola. He got a yellow card in the 26th minute and was withdrawn after an hour.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first FIFA World Cup goal came in the next match against Iran. He converted a penalty in the 80th minute to give Portugal a 2-0 win.
It made Ronaldo the youngest Portuguese player to score in a FIFA World Cup match at 21 years and 132 days.
Seven goals have been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo in 17 games at FIFA World Cups. Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon D'Or winner, is the only player to have scored more than 800 goals for club and country and has the most goals in men's international football history.
Additionally, Cristiano Ronaldo guided his nation to victory at the 2016 UEFA European Championship and the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal have yet to win the FIFA World Cup, and the superstar hasn't always performed at his peak in the major tournament.
In order to surpass the legendary Eusebio, who has nine FIFA World Cup goals, as the leading goal scorer for Portugal in World Cups, Ronaldo will also need to score three more goals at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
|The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will likely be the 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s final shot at winning the coveted title. If he scores in Doha, Ronaldo will become the first man to score in five FIFA World Cup editions.|
3. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
When Diego Maradona made his national team debut against Hungary on February 27, 1977, he was 16 years old, making him the youngest Argentine to do so.
He soon made headlines once more when coach Cesar Luis Menotti left him off the 1978 World Cup team because he believed the player was too young to compete in such a big event. But he was simply unstoppable in the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship, scoring six goals in six games to lead Argentina to the championship.
Maradona debuted in the World Cup's premier competition in 1982, losing 1-0 to Belgium. He was unable to perform well during the game at Camp Nou. He found his form again in the following match against Hungary, scoring a brace to lead his team to a 4-1 victory. The Albicelestes were paired with Brazil and Italy in the second group stage. Argentina lost both games as Maradona once again fell short of expectations. He was given the boot against Brazil after losing his cool and elbowing Batista.
|How many trophies has Diego Maradona won in his career? |
Maradona has won 9 trophies in his club career. Maradona has won two international trophies. The first was the 1986 World Cup, and the second was the CONMEBOL – UEFA Cup of Champions, or commonly known as the Artemio Franchi Cup.
4. Pele (Brazil)
Pele is the only player in the world to have won three World Cup titles
Pelé had won three FIFA World Cups with Brazil, the most wins of the World Cup by any player.
Youngest player to play and win the World Cup
Pele is the youngest player to play and win the World Cup. At the age of 17 years and 249 days, Pele helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958 at the Rasunda Stadium in Solna, Sweden. Brazil defeated the hosts 5-2 to win their first-ever World Cup trophy where Pele scored a brace.
How was Pele’s First World Cup?
In 1958, Pelé won his first World Cup in Sweden, where he had a significant impact on the competition. In his lone first-round appearance, he contributed an assist for a goal before scoring the game's only goal against Wales in the quarterfinal. Before tallying a brace in the 5-2 victory over the hosts, he scored a hat-trick in the semifinal victory over France.
Even though his contributions were significantly less, he would win his second trophy at the very next competition, held in Chile in 1962. After contributing to Brazil's 2-0 victory over Mexico in the tournament opener, Pelé suffered an injury in the very next game that forced him to sit out the rest of the competition. But Brazil, the last country to do so and one of only two in history, would follow the course set out for them by their talisman and win a second consecutive championship.
After promising to never participate in the World Cup again as a result of the vicious targeted tackling he endured throughout the 1966 competition, Pelé achieved his third and final victory in 1970. He made the right choice; in addition to performing admirably in Mexico, Pelé also won the Golden Ball for his four goals, the best of which came in the 4-1 victory over Italy in the championship game.
5. Ronaldo Nazario (Brazil)
|Photo The Sun UK|
The most incredible player in football history is our Brazilian star, Ronaldo Nazario. The legend has many trophies in his stack. He won FIFA World Cup twice.
He won two La Liga titles, a UEFA Cup, and many more. He got two Ballon d’Or titles in 1997 and 2002, three times FIFA world player of the year award, the Golden Ball at the World Cup in 1988, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 1998, and two Pichichi trophies.
6. Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
|Photo FussBall Museum|
Franz Beckenbauer, the game's master sweeper, attained legendary status by playing both offensively and defensively.
The Kaiser was a superstar in every sense of the word—elegant, assured, and great with the ball, as well as tactically brilliant and a great leader. He played in more than a century of matches for West Germany, 50 of which he captained. Additionally, he received two votes for European Player of the Year.
His World Cup career began in 1966 when West Germany lost to England at Wembley in the championship game, with Beckenbauer playing Bobby Charlton in an unusual midfield position. In that World Cup, Kaiser Franz scored four goals, making him known to a global audience.
In Mexico 1970, Beckenbauer is best known for continuing to play despite having a clear shoulder injury in the famous 4-3 semifinal loss to Italy. Despite being severely injured, he resisted being replaced and fought for the entire 120 minutes, only to see his team lose the close game. A victory over Uruguay in the bronze match served as some consolation.
In 1974, his own nation hosted his third and final World Cup. West Germany and Kaiser Franz reached their heights just in time to win the war. Of course, the highlight was the memorable final victory over Holland and Johan Cruyff. With the victory in Munich, Beckenbauer became one of only two players in World Cup history to possess the full set of medals. The other player is Wolfgang Overath (Gold, silver, bronze).
7. Michel Platini (France)
Michel Platini, one of the most graceful midfielders in history, was a lethal goal scorer with a winning attitude. With nine goals in five games, he led France to victory at Euro 84, arguably the greatest individual performance at an international competition. This allowed him to succeed everywhere he went.
However, Platini saved his best performances for his country, where he fronted one of the greatest midfield trios in history with Alain Giresse and Jean Tigana. Before shockingly losing to West Germany on penalties in the 1982 World Cup semifinal, they came close.
Platini was unstoppable during the Euros two years later, scoring two hat-tricks against Belgium and Yugoslavia in the group stage and ultimately deciding the match against Spain with a free-kick.
8. Zinedine Zidane (France)
Zinedine Zidane is a great French football player of our modern era. He triumphed 1988 FIFA World Cup. In 2000, Zidane was named the player of the tournament since the team won the Euro 2000 championship. He was awarded the golden ball for best player of the tournament in 2006. He scored 31 goals in 212 appearances for the Bianconeri. He got two Serie A titles. He won the Ballon d’Or winner in 1988.
|In mid-2022, a statue immortalising Zinedine Zidane's headbutt during the 2006 World Cup final was re-installed in Qatar after it was removed in 2013 amid a domestic backlash. |
The 5-metre bronze work called "Coup de tete" was removed days after its unveiling after some people in the conservative Muslim country criticised it for promoting idolatry and others said it encouraged violence.
9. Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
Johan Cryuff, a legend of Ajax and Barcelona, is still regarded as the greatest player in history. Despite having a long list of individual honors, Cryuff is the greatest player to never have won an international trophy.
But his club career was as brilliant as it was ground-breaking. Cryuff propelled Ajax to elite status by leading the team to eight Eredivisie championships and three consecutive European Cup victories during his two stints there. He made 287 appearances for the Dutch powerhouses, scoring 194 goals and dishing out 140 assists.
10. Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
|Alfredo Di Stefano|
What's his name? He is in a position to receive the ball from wherever he is on the field. After watching Di Stefano play for Real Madrid in 1957, Bobby Charlton penned the following: "You can see his influence on everything that's happening.
Di Stefano may not have possessed the natural talent of players like George Best or Diego Maradona, but according to Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer, among others, he was likely the best all-around player to ever grace the game of football.
Intense rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona fought tooth and nail for his signature. The Spanish Football Federation suggested both clubs share the player during a contentious battle between the two powerhouses, but controversially gave Real Madrid first dibs on him.
11. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)
Ferenc Puskás, also known as the Galloping Major, was a professional football (soccer) player from Hungary and the first global icon of the game. He was born in Budapest, Hungary, on April 2, 1927, and passed away there on November 17, 2006. Puskás was a member of three European Cup-winning teams (1959, 1960, 1966) with the Spanish club Real Madrid and scored 83 goals in 84 games for the Hungarian national team.
Puskás switched to Real Madrid not long after. There, he formed one of the world's most perilous scoring combinations with Alfredo di Stefano. Puskás contributed significantly to Real Madrid's five consecutive league championships (1961–65) and three European Cup victories while playing for the Spanish club, scoring 512 goals in 528 appearances. He represented Spain at the 1962 World Cup after obtaining Spanish citizenship in 1961, but he went goalless in four games. In 1966, he ended his playing career and spent several years coaching. Puskás returned to Budapest in 1993, and the football stadium there was renamed in his honor in 2002.
|An honor in his honor has been established. The FIFA Puskás Award goes to the player who, in the opinion of the organization's judges, scored the most beautiful goal in any competition, regardless of gender or nationality, and who did so without benefit of luck or mistake.|
12. George Best (Northern Ireland)
George Best: Who is he? The Irish Football Association refers to him as the "greatest player to ever pull on the green shirt of Northern Ireland." He is a Northern Irish football player who was named the European Footballer of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ireland, on May 22, 1946.
George Best is a natural mediator. He can be incredibly diplomatic and tactful because he has a sixth sense for what people want or feel. Because of his patience and cooperation, Bestie works well in groups and manages to bring people with very different viewpoints together.
Best discovers his enormous power and abilities to influence challenging circumstances in the direction of his objectives when he uses his considerable inner strength. George Best will have the courage to use his own personal power when necessary because he is aware of his inner strength. In actuality, George Best frequently wields the real power.
George Best possesses an artistic soul. He is incredibly perceptive, shy, and sensitive. These characteristics are both his assets and liabilities because Best is extremely sensitive to his own and other people's feelings, but that same sensitivity can also make him suppress his considerable gifts. Among Best's many admirable traits are sensitivity and perceptiveness.
13. Zico (Brazil)
Zico is regarded as the first Brazilian star to play in Europe after he chose Udinese over offers from Roma and Milan in 1983. Due to the significant sum Udinese paid, Italian authorities attempted to obstruct his transfer, which led to separatist street demonstrations with the slogan "O Zico o Austria."
He is the greatest Brazilian who has never taken home the trophy. Zico was the player who, in Pele's opinion, played the most like him. He led Flamengo to four league championships, one Copa Libertadores, and another Club World Cup in the 1980s while scoring 333 goals at the storied Maracana stadium alone.
Zico scored four goals in his five appearances, and he was selected for the tournament's all-star team, even though Brazil's memorable World Cup campaign in 1982 came to an unsatisfactory conclusion. He also participated in the 1986 World Cup, but due to his poor physical condition, Brazil was defeated by France in the quarterfinals.
| How to Watch the World Cup 2022 Qualifiers in the UK |
How to watch live 2022 World Cup Qualifiers from anywhere online in England, Wales, Scotland and Republic of Ireland: TV Channel Schedule, Live Stream, Online.
| Full Schedules of World Cup 2022: Start Time, Complete Match Dates, Calendar |
Check out the complete match dates, times, team fixtures for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
| 2022 WORLD CUP: Full Schedule of Group Stage |
Here is the 2022 World Cup match full schedule after the draw was released.