Football- the most popular sport on the planet, can be considered far-ahead than any other sport on the planet, in terms of passion and emotion that is associated to the game. Throughout history, the fans have felt a certain connect with specific players and they have based their understanding of the game around the players that they follow. There have been many players that have made us, football fans, fall in love with the game. In this article, we will look at players that have changed the modern game and considered as the Greatest football players of all time. As we know it, and in the process, have dazzled fans with their spectacular performances for the teams they represented throughout their career.
5. Johan Cruyff
The pioneer of ‘total football’, Dutchman Johan Cruyff was in many terms, the inventor of the modern game. His contribution to the sport is priceless, both as a player and as a coach of the Ajax and the Barcelona teams. In 1971, 1973, and 1974, he captured the Ballon d’Or three times. He assisted the Dutch squad at Ajax in three memorable European Championships and numerous league championships. He was crucial to the success of Ajax and took the initiative. Cruyff’s outstanding performance led the Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final and earned him the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player. Many modern terms like ‘tiki-taka’ and ‘cruyff turn’ are popular because of his playing style.
4. Diego Maradona
“El Pibe de Oro” or “The Golden Boy,” Diego Maradona was voted as the joint FIFA Player of the 20th century. A passionate leader and someone with an unmatched connection with the ball, Maradona was a fan favourite throughout his career. During his club career, he participated at Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, and Newell’s Old Boys, but his time at Napoli, where he received multiple honours, is often regarded his most influential, at club level. But, what Maradona has done for Argentina, is nothing less than a god’s work. Taking them single-handedly to a world cup title in Mexico, 1986, winning the golden ball, in the process. During the game against England in the quarter-finals, Maradona scored the ‘goal of the century’ as well as the most controversial goal scored in history, ‘the hand of god.’ He was renowned for his dribbling, passing, and vision abilities. His personal leadership abilities were unrivalled. His mere presence on the field was sufficient to raise the team’s spirits.
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3. Cristiano Ronaldo
The most followed person on Instagram and the winner of five Ballon D’ors, Mr. ‘CR7’ takes the third position on this list. He can be considered one of the most ‘clutch’ players of all time, who step up whenever needed and his trophy cabinet, with 32 trophies, is a proof of that. He has conquered leagues in England, Spain as well as Italy and has broken countless records in the process. He is considered among the Greatest football players of the UEFA champions league, as he has the most goals and most appearances in the tournament. At the international level, Ronaldo is the captain of the Portuguese national team and has had similar success. At Euro 2016, he helped Portugal win their first major tournament title and took home the Silver Boot for scoring the second-most goals overall. In 2019, he led them to victory in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, and in 2020, he accepted the Golden Boot award for the tournament’s top scorer. He is currently the top goal scorer in International football as well as men’s football with over 815 professional career goals.
2. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the only player in history to have won the Ballon d’Or seven times and is regarded as an alien owing to his humanly impossible playing ability. Since 2005, he has caused trouble for the opponent teams. Among other absurd records, he holds the Guinness World Record for the most goals scored for club and nation in a single calendar year (91 goals in official games in 2012). His capacity to alter the game in any way imaginable sets him apart from other players to have graced the field. He has a track record of scoring goals, but he is also a creative force who almost always contributes assists and pivotal passes that change the course of games. He has the highest no. of goals as well as the highest no. of assists in La liga history. With Argentina, he has scored 86 goals and captained them to a Copa America title, while being the best player at the tournament. He has also played in the 2014 world cup final, also being the best player of the tournament.
Also read: 10 Unknown Facts About Lionel Messi
Pele ranked first as Greatest football players of all time and revered as the footballing god. Pele, a great athlete, has won the most World Cups of any player. Pele also served as the offensive coordinator for his club and nation. With a total of 77 goals in 92 games, Pelé is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer. He is Santos’ all-time leading scorer with 643 goals in 659 appearances, which is staggering for a club player. Pele scored twice in the 1958 World Cup final against Sweden to become the player with the youngest World Cup goals (17 years, 249 days). His cumulative goal total in 1,363 games—including friendly matches—of 1,279 goals is recognised as a Guinness World Record.
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