Soccer (or football and futbol) is the world’s sport. There have been some incredible players over the past century which have influenced the game in a variety of ways. Then there are the ones who became the best of all time at their craft.

Do you agree with this list of the best soccer players of all time?

1. Pele

2. Lionel Messi

3. George Best

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

5. Diego Maradona

6. Bobby Moore

7. Thierry Henry

8. Zinedine Zidane

9. Sir Bobby Charlton 

10. Kenny Dalglish

11. David Beckham

12. Bastian Schweinsteiger

13. Franz Beckenbauer

14. Johan Cruyff

15. Eusebio

16. Ronaldo

17. Paul Gascoigne

18. Gary Lineker

19. Ronaldinho

20. Steven Gerrard

21. Ryan Giggs

22. Wayne Rooney

23. Alfredo Di Stefano

24. Dennis Bergkamp

25. Denis Law

26. Ferenc Puskas

27. Xavi

28. Michael Owen

29. Sir Tom Finney

30. Michel Platini

31. Lev Yashin

32. Gareth Bale

33. Gianluigi Buffon

34. Kevin De Bruyne

35. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

36. Bryan Robson

37. Mohamed Salah

38. Lothar Matthaus

39. Marco van Basten

40. Jurgen Klinsmann

Why Choose Pele as the Greatest of All Time?

Although there are several candidates who could feasibly be called the greatest footballer of all time, it is the statistics which Pele put up over the course of his career that make him stand out.

Over 21 years of playing football at the club and international levels, Pele scored 727 goals. That includes 77 which he scored on behalf of Brazil over 92 caps. He appeared in the 1958 World Cup tournament at the age of 17. 

Pele also debuted for his club as a professional at the age of 16, playing for Santos FC until 1975 when the New York Cosmos paid him an enormous sum of cash to play out the final two years of his career there.

Why Place Lionel Messi Over Cristiano Ronaldo?

When choosing between Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and George Best, there were three elements to consider.

  • Talent for the game.
  • Team leadership qualities.
  • Off-the-field issues.

Lionel Messi was convicted of tax fraud in Spanish courts, then directed to spend 21 months in prison before the sentence was reduced to a fine of £223,000. He agreed to pay £400 per day of the judgment that he would serve.

Messi’s father was also found guilty, given a fine as well instead of his original 15-month sentence.

Cristiano Ronaldo is accused of sexual misconduct during a trip to Las Vegas, NV. Law enforcement officials in 2019 continue to look at the case. The soccer player already paid a monetary settlement as a way to keep it out of the news.

George Best never had controversies like these, though he did struggle with alcoholism throughout his entire life.

Based on this combination of factors, including overall skill in reading the game, we generated the list as printed above. 

Who are your favorite soccer players of all time? Where did we get things right?

Did we get some things wrong? Let the debate begin!