Football is the beautiful game. With dedicated and diehard fans cheering every time a pass is made, you really have to be in a packed stadium to understand why this sport is beyond the realms of this vague reality.
Over the years, the game has been graced by prodigies who have redefined the way this game is played and haven it to a level where many other sports can’t even dream of being. With players having almost God-like reputations, the field becomes the canvas of some of the finest displays of individual brilliance. However, there are some players you witness and know that you are witnessing something that happens once in a lifetime.
From Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, From Pele to Maradona, we have had players who shaped up how the game is played and set the bar very high for the decades to come. These are the players who came and conquered much more than just games and trophies. Here are our picks for the greatest footballers of all time:
#1. Lionel Messi
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, four times UEFA Champions League winner, three times UEFA Best Player in Europe. If these credentials don’t justify the phenomenon that Messi is, then go ahead and watch him in action. As a young kid, Messi was never built to be a footballer. However, if you look at his hazy runs that entangle even the best of the defenders, you’ll see an entirely different picture. With a thunderbolt of a left foot and a vision that is second to none, Messi is as potent a playmaker as a devastating machine in front of goal.
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Before Messi, there was Pele. He was awarded as the best player of the 20th century by FIFA and says what Pele was all about. He has carved a place for himself in the folklore of the beautiful game. It is not hard to see that even after so many years, he has not lost his mythological stature and remains to be one of the greatest pioneers of the modern game.
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#3. Cristiano Ronaldo
What makes football so entertaining today is the rivalry of Messi and his counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo. With the ability to win matches on his own and a fearsome shot at goal, Ronaldo is perhaps the fittest athlete in world football. He has been instrumental in Real Madrid’s performances in the Champions League is currently the top scorer in the competition. He also has a major win with his country after having conquered Europe with Portugal’s victory in the Euros last year. With 4 Ballon d’Ors under his belt, Ronaldo just like Messi is one of the best of all time.
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#4. Diego Maradona
Considered to be the finest dribblers of all time, Maradona is a controversial figure in the world of football. However, that should not snatch away what his genius of capable of. He would gallop the best of defenses in his stride, and with a near perfect first touch, Maradona will always find a name in any list that talks about the best players. Yes, he was controversial with his “hand of God’ goal and also his addiction to drugs, but he will always be among the elite players of all time.
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#5. Johan Cruyff
How many players truly revolutionize the game? Well, if they do, no one did it like Cruyff. A talisman as a player and a philosopher as a coach, Cruyff changed the way football was played. His concept of total football shaped up the modern game and inspired the likes of Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola. As a player, Cruyff won everything. From the Champions League to the world Cup and along all that he taught the world to play football in a better and more beautiful way.
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#6. Franz Beckenbauer
Just like Cruyff, Der Kaiser revolutionized the game in his own way as a player. He is regarded as the finest defender of all time. Although, that was not all this footballing great was capable of. With setting up attacks to sweeping up any goal scoring opportunities, Beckenbauer was perhaps the most complete player ever. His enviable career has given the world so many things, but more than that has inspired an entire generation of players, especially in Munich to take up football and excel in it.
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#7. Zinedine Zidane
We all remember the vicious volley that Zidane scored in the Champions League. That is perhaps one goal that sums up what he was capable of doing. A world class midfielder who chipped in with regular and important goals time and again, Zidane has established his name in the history as one of the greatest of all time. A Champions League winner as a player and coach and a world cup winner; there is nothing that Zizou didn’t win in his illustrious career.
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Well, this was our list, but we would love to hear your opinion as well. Who do you think is the greatest footballer of all time? Cast your vote in our poll below.
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