Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by

Who is the best football player in the world

As the “world’s number one sport,” football is known for its competitiveness, tactical versatility, and widespread popularity. The history of global football is dotted with numerous legendary figures, including Pelé, the “King of Football,” Zinedine Zidane, who achieved remarkable success in the sport, and Alfredo Di Stéfano, the first player to be inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame. What are the other football superstars that have graced the stage aside from these luminaries?

Without further ado, let’s dive into;

Pele 

  • The only player with three World Cup titles. 
  • Awarded FIFA’s “King of Football” title. 

Pele is the full name of Brazilian forward Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Pele won eleven championships in the Sao Paulo State Football League during his career, including two Copa Libertadores, two Intercontinental Cups, and six Brazilian national championships. His first appearance for the Brazilian national team was in 1957, and he scored 77 goals over 92 matches. In 1958, 1962, and 1970, Pele led Brazil to three World Cup victories, and he is credited with keeping the Jules Rimet trophy forever.

Diego Maradona, 

  • Legendary Argentine footballer. 
  • The greatest football player of the 20th century. 

Diego Maradona was a famous football player and coach born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 30, 1960. Known for his South American ball skills and dribbling ability, Maradona is considered one of the greatest football players of the 20th century. In the midfield, Maradona played as an attacking midfielder. As a leader, he brought his team together to play together as a cohesive unit and had an excellent understanding of the game. Numerous awards were bestowed upon him, including the Golden Ball at the World Cup and the Golden Ball in French Football Magazine. According to several international media outlets citing the Argentine Horn newspaper, Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020, at the age of 60.

Zinedine Zidane

  • Three-time FIFA World Player of the Year
  • The greatest football player of all time

Zinedine Yazid Zidane, born June 23, 1972, in Marseille, France, is a former French attacking midfielder. Zidane’s career peaked during the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France. Three FIFA World Player of the Year awards, a World Cup Golden Ball, and three times France’s most popular athlete were among his achievements. Real Madrid won its 11th Champions League title on May 29, 2016, when Zidane led the team to victory over Atletico Madrid. The 62nd edition of the UEFA Champions League was won by Real Madrid against Juventus on June 4, 2017. For the first time, Zidane won the FIFA Best Men’s Coach award on October 24, 2017.

Franz Beckenbauer

  • Pioneer of the “libero” playing style during his playing career
  • Helped Germany successfully bid for the World Cup

A former German football player and coach, Franz Beckenbauer was born on September 11, 1945, in Munich, Germany. He was also president of the German Football Association and vice-president of FIFA. During his coaching career, Beckenbauer led his teams to league titles, UEFA Champions League victories, and World Cup victories. During his playing career, Beckenbauer represented West Germany 103 times and scored 14 goals. FIFA and the global football community recognize him as the “Emperor of Football” for participating in the 1966, 1970, and 1974 FIFA World Cups.

Alfredo Di Stéfano

  • Inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame as the first player
  • Five-time European Cup champion

Alfredo Di Stéfano, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then acquired Spanish citizenship, was a former professional football player. Di Stéfano began his professional career with River Plate in 1945. With six goals in six matches, he helped the Argentine national team win the Copa América in 1947. After joining Colombia’s Millonarios in 1949, he moved to Real Madrid in 1953. Five consecutive European Cup championships were won by Real Madrid under Di Stéfano between 1956 and 1960. During his career, he scored in all five European Cup finals and twice won the European Cup Golden Boot. Additionally, he won the Spanish La Liga title eight times and was named the league’s top scorer five times. During his Real Madrid career, Di Stéfano made 396 appearances and scored 308 goals.

Ferenc Puskás

  • Hungarian history’s greatest footballer
  • A FIFA Puskás Award is named in his honor

Ferenc Puskás, born in Budapest, Hungary, was a former Hungarian professional football player who played as a forward. He was known as the “Galloping Major.” In 1943, Puskás began his professional career with Budapest Honvéd FC in Hungary. During his time there, he helped the team win six Hungarian League titles and became the league’s top scorer four times. In 1958, Puskás joined Real Madrid in Spain, where he won three European Cup championships. In the 1960 European Cup final, Puskás scored four goals on his own. He also won the La Liga title for five consecutive years and became the league’s top scorer four times.

Sir Bobby Charlton

  • One of the “Holy Trinity” of Manchester United
  • Knighted by the Queen of England

Sir Robert “Bobby” Charlton, born on October 11, 1937, in Ashington, Northumberland, England, is a former English football player who played as a forward. He currently serves as a director at Manchester United. Charlton joined the Manchester United youth academy in 1953, starting his football career. In 1954, he made his debut for Manchester United’s first team, and during his time there, Charlton helped the team win three English top-flight league titles, one European Cup, and one FA Cup, among other honors. He was a key figure in Manchester United’s resurgence from a period of struggle. Charlton also held the club’s record for most appearances and goals for a long time, becoming a legendary figure for Manchester United.

Lionel Messi

  • Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner
  • Holds the record for most goals in a calendar year in football history

Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini, an Argentine football player who plays as a forward, currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French Ligue 1. In 2004, he signed his professional contract with FC Barcelona. On August 8, 2021, after 21 years with Barcelona, Messi left the club. As of 2021, he has won seven Ballon d’Or awards, six FIFA World Player of the Year awards, six European Golden Shoes, and eight Pichichi Trophies (La Liga’s top scorer award), all of which are the most in history. Messi also became the first football player to win the Laureus World Sports Award for Best Male Athlete.

Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Awarded the top scorer of 2021 in the world of football
  • Five-time Ballon d’Or winner

Ronaldo, also known as “C. Ronaldo,” is a renowned Portuguese football player who plays as a winger or striker. Ronaldo possesses exceptional skills, speed, and dribbling abilities. During his career, he has played for Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. Numerous accolades have been bestowed upon him, including a winning of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, the 2016 UEFA European Championship, and five Ballon d’Or awards as well as four European Golden Shoes and five FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Michel Platini

  • Knight of the Legion of Honour, a French order of merit
  • Three-time Ballon d’Or winner

Michel Platini is a former French football player who received the Knight of the Legion of Honour, a prestigious French order of merit. He was born in France in 1955. As an attacking midfielder, Platini had an illustrious career. He played for clubs such as Nancy, Saint-Étienne, and Juventus. As a member of the French national team, Platini also had a remarkable international career. He won three Ballon d’Or awards and made significant contributions to the sport.