The 100 greatest players of all time

Diego Maradona lifts the FIFA World Cup Trophy for Argentina

Towering above: “I seemed to leave everyone else behind,” Maradona once said

10. Giuseppe Meazza

Career span 1927-47
Country Italy: 53 caps, 33 goals
Clubs Inter, Milan, Juventus, Varese, Atalanta, Inter
Position inside-right, -left
Medals 2 World Cups, 3 Italian titles, 1 Italian cup

“Having Meazza on the team,” the great Italian manager Vittorio Pozzo once declared, “was like starting the game 1-0 up.”

That was just as well because there’s an easy joke to be made here about Meazza scoring before he even got on the pitch. The striker became famous for going to a brothel the night before games and was often late for training because of his love “for champagne and women”.

Former teammate Peppino Prisco argued that “Meazza was great, unbeatable, even if he would occasionally run into a frightful crisis caused by his intense sexual activity and passion for the game.”

He always got away with it, though, because he had the ability to make up for his errant behaviour. On another occasion, he arrived at the Inter stadium five minutes before kick-off after another hectic night.

“I could hear the directors saying ‘We’ll deal with him after the match’. Luckily, I scored a hat-trick so afterwards no one said a word!”
It was a frequent occurrence. The match-winning goals, that is.

Because, while many of these stories may be apocryphal, the accounts of Meazza’s ability are not. Short and stocky but with a “bullfighter’s grace”, he also possessed outstanding individual technique. At a time when the game was still developing, Meazza’s 21st century dribbling ability proved truly devastating. His speciality was the “goal by invitation” whereby Meazza would draw the keeper out and effortlessly round him. On one occasion in April 1930, he had done this twice to Roma keeper Ballante within the first 20 minutes. So, when it came to the third, the keeper stayed firmly on his line. Meazza still scored. But Ballante loudly celebrated the fact that he wasn’t deceived.

A natural showman, Meazza still combined entertainment with end product. His 31 goals in 33 games delivered Inter the Serie A title in the competition’s inaugural season.

“He was a born striker,” Pozzo enthused. “He could read the game understand situations and make the whole attack work by applying a concept of the game was based entirely on technique.”

It was for that reason that Pozzo positioned him on the wing for the 1934 World Cup. Meazza’s ingenuity would prove influential. Having knocked out Spain in the quarter-finals with the only goal of the game, his through balls would provide the winners in both the semi-final and final.

But Meazza’s annus mirabilis was undoubtedly 1938. Having again won Inter the title with 28 goals in 30 matches, he assumed the captaincy of his country for their World Cup defence. And he performed imperiously, as Pozzo’s team glided to the glory.

Italy became the first team to retain the trophy. And Meazza confirmed his status as football’s finest pre-war player.

Ability 89
International 90
Club 70
Total 83


9. Zinedine Zidane

Career span 1988-2006
Country France: 108 caps, 31 goals
Clubs Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid
Position attacking midfielder
Medals 1 World Cup, 1 European Championship, 1 Champions League, 3 domestic titles (2 Italian, 1 Spanish)

Very infrequently, football provides the kind of symmetry that can seem supernatural.

Forty-two years after Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas had produced one of Real Madrid’s – and, indeed, football history’s – finest ever performances in Hampden Park, Zinedine Zidane rose to the same level in the same stadium.

The volley which won the 2002 Champions League final was a decisive moment of the highest possible quality on the highest possible stage. The only way it could actually have been improved was if it came under the highest possible pressure – the last minute. Otherwise, it was a perfect example of transcendental ability.

But, the curiosity of Zidane’s career is that his quality still seemed to require that kind of confirmation. Because, although some of his career had surpassed both Puskas and Di Stefano – particularly the international medals – many other aspects suggested significant inferiority.

In truth, Zidane was never quite consumed by the kind of battle rage that saw many other great player absolutely dominate games on a consistent basis.
Sure, he did have a temper as we saw in the 2006 World Cup final and a series of other red cards. But the fact that they were isolated instances is also representative of the more positive side of his career as a whole.

For the majority of his many games, Zidane was a cool, controlling presence. Astutely, Rob Smyth described him as a “cerebral genius” and “avant-garde footballer”. And, along the same lines, Alex Ferguson once said that Zidane “didn’t hurt teams”. While that could be construed as a criticism, it was likely more a reference to the fact that Zidane would tend to withdraw and dictate teams rather than decide them. As Thierry Henry said, “he is the guy we can always count on, the one who really takes control”.

But the first part of Henry’s sentence is just as important. Because, as in the 2002 final and as with the occasional moments of anger, Zidane would save his most decisive moments for the most demanding occasions: the 1998 World Cup final, the entirety of Euro 2000, the last two minutes of France’s Euro 2004 group game with England, the knock-out rounds of the 2006 World Cup.

In that, he was the ultimate big-game player.

Ability 92
International 80
Club 77
Total 83


8. Leo Messi

Career span 2004-
Country Argentina: 63 caps, 18 goals
Clubs Barcelona
Position forward
Medals 3 Champions Leagues, 5 Spanish titles, 1 Spanish cup

Too high, too soon?

Only because of the fact he has too much quality. Without doubt, Messi’s abilities are up there with football’s genuine immortals.

In terms of fundamental technique, there’s probably no purer indication of quality than the capacity to dribble past a player – or a series of them. And very few in football history have done this as effortlessly or as excellently as Messi.

“Once he’s on the run,” Arsene Wenger has said, “Messi is unstoppable. He’s the only player who can change direction at such pace… he takes advantage of every mistake.”

Because, as Wenger also mentioned at the end, even fewer players know how to then use the ball so spectacularly and so often. Over the last few seasons, Messi has provided at least a goal or assist every game. More often than not, he provides both.

It’s the highest rate of productivity since assist records started being collected.

And that’s another key point in Messi’s career. At 24, he’s won more medals than every single one of football’s immortals (ie, the players ahead of him in this list) except Pele at the same age.

And it’s not just about the conquests. It’s about his contribution to them. As barely needs to be repeated, Messi has been the most influential player in one of the greatest teams of all time.

Moreover, Messi has now dominated three Champions League seasons – having already decorated three others – in the manner that Maradona did the 1986 World Cup.
Of course, until Messi comes close to replicating that feat then it seems that there will always be a caveat about his career.

In truth, though, his international has never been as underwhelming as assumed – even if it hasn’t reached the standards of his club career.

In 2007, for example, he was instrumental in Argentina’s run to the Copa America final. A year later, he helped deliver the team to Olympic gold – an achievement with some prestige in South America.

Finally, it’s too often forgotten that Messi was thoroughly dynamic in the first four games of the 2010 World Cup – and that despite the chaotic management of Diego Maradona which eventually lead to the defeat to Germany.

But the ultimate question is, if Messi does eventually have that World Cup, will he be top of such a list?

As the hero of 1986 himself said, “The Maradona and Pele polemics would end.”

Ability 97
International 63
Club 91
Total 83.67


7. Ferenc Puskas

Career span 1943-66
Country Hungary: 85 caps, 84 goals; Spain: 4 caps
Clubs Kispest, Budapest Honved, Real Madrid
Position forward
Medals 1 European Cups, 10 domestic titles (5 Spain, 5 Hungary), 1 Spanish cup

“If a good player has the ball,” Hungary’s Jeno Buzansky once said, “he should have the vision to spot three passes. Puskas always saw at least five.”

To a certain degree, outstanding numbers like that defined Puskas’s career. He ended up with an average of a goal every game: 84 in 85 caps for Hungary, 240 in 260 games for Real, 165 in 164 for Honved.

Except it would, of course, do Puskas a huge disservice to reduce his career to mere goals.

In the 1950s, he was the “star of stars” as Brian Glanville wrote. He had “superb control, supreme strategy and above all a left-footed shot which was unrivalled in the world, dangerous from any distance up to 35 yards.”

Like so many genuine greats, Puskas was also a pioneer. So regular has the simple drag-back become now that it seems a routine skill. But, in 1953 when Puskas sent Billy Wright running “like a fire engine going to the wrong fire” – in the immortal words of Geoffrey Green – it seemed revolutionary.

Puskas had the foresight to think of it first. Indeed, as Buzansky insisted, vision was the Hungarian captain’s greatest virtue. Jorge Valdano claimed that Puskas could easily have been a defender if he wanted because his football intelligence would have “obviated the need to make a tackle”.

Instead, Puskas spent most of his career side-stepping challenges – as he illustrated so exquisitely with Wright. The 7-3 win that moment came in the middle of, of course, was one of the high points of Hungary’s sensational 49-game unbeaten run.

And they might well have crowned the sequence had Puskas not got injured against West Germany in the group stage. The big debate before the final was whether he would play. Eventually, Puskas did so with a hairline fracture. But that debate has seemingly never finished as so many involved with the team continued to argue about it for years after it.

In his defence, Puskas did say that – despite his immobility – he still scored and had another potential late equaliser disallowed in highly controversial fashion.

Having already delivered Honved to five titles in the days before the European Cup, however, Puskas would go on to win the international medals he finally deserved at Real Madrid.

And, there, he provided so much more than goals. As well as a divine partnership with Alfredo Di Stefano, he provided one of the game’s great spectacles in 1960.

Ability 88
International 82
Club 83
Total 84.33


6. Garrincha

Career span 1953-72
Country Brazil: 50 caps, 12 goals
Clubs Botafogo, Corinthians, Portuguesa Carioca, Atletico Junior, Flamengo, Olaria
Position winger
Medals 2 World Cups, 3 Brazilian state championships

“Remember,” Vicente Feola told his anxious Brazilian team ahead of their crucial 1958 group game against USSR, “the first pass goes to Garrincha.”

Still without a win in the World Cup at that point, the Brazilian squad were somewhat intimidated by their own imperfect history. So now, requiring a win against the USSR, Feola realised the only solution was to face the challenge head on and intimidate the opposition. And he had just the player.

Having initially been dropped from the side for showboating against Austria in a World Cup warm-up, Garrincha’s outrageous technique was enough to unnerve any team. When in the mood – which, at that point, was often – he was simply impossible to play against.

That day, it took Didi 20 seconds to get the ball out to Garrincha. And it took Garrincha just three minutes to destroy the Russians and set the tone for the tournament – as well Brazil’s future.

“Garrincha feinted left and went right,” Jonathan Wilson writes in Inverting the Pyramid,” Boris Kuznetsov was left on the ground. Garrincha passed, and beat him again. And again. And then once again put him on the ground. Garrincha advanced, leaving Yuri Voinov on his backside… and fired a shot from a narrow angle that smacked the post.”

Mel Hopkins, who was left to ‘mark’ Garrincha in Wales’ quarter-final defeat, explained how exactly how he did.

“He was a phenomenon, capable of sheer magic. It was difficult to know which way he was going to because of his legs and because he was as comfortable on his left foot as his right, so he could cut inside or go down the line and he had a ferocious shot too.”

It is highly probable, Wilson argues, that Garrincha would have had to adapt his then unprecedented dribbling style in the modern game. But it’s also undeniable he had the sheer ability to thrive in any era. Indeed, the ability to adapt was one of his greatest attributes – as he proved emphatically in the 1962 World Cup.

With the early injury to Pele, Garrincha altered and elevated his game considerably. Having scored no goals in 1958 as the team’s supplier, he then hit two in the 1962 quarter-final and another brace in the semi as the team’s undoubted talisman. It was unquestionably his tournament.

And 1957 was unquestionably his club year as Garrincha hit 20 goals in 26 games to deliver the state championship for Botafogo.

For all that Garrincha is feted as one of the most important figures in Botafogo’s history, however, it is possible that the sheer difficulty of controlling him in the more day-to-day world of club football meant he didn’t quite have the domestic career he should have.

Ultimately, though, it was his ability to improvise so artistically and anarchically that marked him apart. He may have been likened to jazz musicians and all manner of impresarios. But, in truth, he was utterly unique.

Ability 92
International 90
Club 72
Total 84.67


5. Franz Beckenbauer

Career span 1964-82
Country West Germany: 103 caps, 14 goals
Clubs Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos, Hamburg
Position sweeper
Medals 1 World Cup, 1 European Championship, 3 European Cups, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 8 domestic titles (5 Germany, 3 USA), 4 German cups

Dettmar Cramer was going blue in the face. But Helmut Schoen just wouldn’t be moved.

Ahead of the 1966 World Cup final, Cramer – the West Germany assistant manager – insisted that making Franz Beckenbauer mark Bobby Charlton would rob the Germans of most of their creativity.

Cramer was to be proved right. But the debate itself, with Beckenbauer just 20 years old, was testament to his abilities.

And, very soon, he would find a way to combine – and maximise – all of his qualities. Indeed, within four years, he would be effortlessly eclipsing Charlton.
Because, by that point in 1970, Beckenbauer had carefully studied the game of Giacinto Facchetti. He realised that, when playing in defence, he need not be so confined by the traditional interpretations of defence. So, the role of libero was launched. And so was Beckenbauer’s truly elite status.

From that point and that position, the fittingly-nicknamed Kaiser would exert almost unprecedented influence on games. And not just while on the pitch.

In 1974, as a broken Schoen struggled to cope with the new financial demands of the German squad, it was Beckenbauer who stepped in to prevent their World Cup descending into complete chaos. He convinced the rest of the squad to accept an offer and then essentially took over as co-manner.

From there, Uli Hesse wrote in Tor!, “Beckenbauer was in great form and had become the boss both on and off the pitch”.

In the final itself, he took command while Johan Cruyff took effective leave of the pitch. And it marked only the peak of a sensational period for captain, club and country. Beckenbauer was the key influence in two of the greatest sides of all time, as he personally collected a clean sweep of the game’s major honors.

Ability 90
International 82
Club 82
Total 84.67


4. Alfredo Di Stefano

Career span 1945-66
Country Argentina: 6 caps, 6 goals; Colombia: 4 caps, 0 goals; Spain: 31 caps, 23 goals
Clubs River Plate (Huracan), Millonarios, Real Madrid, Espanypol
Position forward
Medals 1 Copa America, 5 European Cups, 13 domestic titles (8 Spanish, 3 Colombian, 2 Argentine), 2 domestic cups (1 Spain, 1 Colombia)

To put it quite bluntly, there has simply never been a club career as perfect as Alfredo Di Stefano’s.

Many clubs like to cite the arrival of certain players as key points in their histories. At Manchester United, Eric Cantona’s innovation initiated the current spell of success. At Liverpool, Kenny Dalglish defined a dynasty. At Barcelona, Johan Cruff changed the culture.

But by dint of the fact that Di Stefano effectively combined all of those individual eras, he overshadows every one of them. No-one has had an influence on any one club like the Argentine had on Madrid.

On arriving – somewhat controversially – in 1953, he didn’t just complete a team or claim a first trophy.

His attitude altered the club’s entire ethos. His ability immediately elevated their overall quality. And his consistency created the most spectacular spell of success that club football has ever seen.

As the most elementary example of his influence, Di Stefano scored in all five of the club’s victorious first European Cup finals – culminating perfectly with the hat-trick at Hampden Park. Moreover, he is the competition’s third most prolific scorer after Gerd Muller and Ferenc Puskas.

And that from a player who could never be described as a striker.

But, then, Di Stefano’s emphatically complete club career was in keeping with the exquisitely complete nature of his game.

“I think nothing of popping up at centre-half or full-back,” Di Stefano once said himself. “We are all footballers and as such should be able to perform competently in all 11 positions.”

In effect, he was describing Total Football – a full 15 years before it was thought of. “And has there ever been a footballer so superbly equipped to play it?” Brian Glanville enquired.

“Pointing, shouting, gesturing,” Glanville added, “Di Stefano ran the show – a more or less benevolent despot.”

Bobby Charlton went further. “He’s got the ball all the time. Everything’s happening around him. He takes it off the goalkeeper, the defenders.”

Real teammate Jose Santamaria concurred. “He was the most complete player ever, something I’ve never seen anywhere else. And I’ve seen a lot of players.”

Just as valuable, however, was the influence he had on everyone else. “It was on and off the pitch,” Santamaria continued. “On the pitch because he was everywhere. Off the pitch, because he showed like no-one else how much he loved and respected Real Madrid and he transmitted that respect to all his teammates.”

The most remarkable part of all of this, of course, is that it took place after resoundingly successful periods with River Plate and then Millonarios. Prior to Madrid, he had already enjoyed the kind of career that would put a player in the top 50 of this list. Indeed, with Argentina, he even won a Copa America – indicating his international career wasn’t quite as underwhelming as though.

Ultimately, though, he never appeared in a World Cup. And it is open to debate whether that’s down to poor timing. In the 40s there was no World Cup, and he didn’t declare for Spain until 1957.

There is no denying, however, that he belonged on the stage.

Ability 95
International 63
Club 98
Total 85.67


3. Johan Cruyff

Career span 1964-84
Country Holland: 48 caps, 33 goals
Clubs Ajax, Barcelona, LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Ajax, Feyenoord
Position forward
Medals 3 European Cups, 10 domestic titles (9 Dutch, 1 Spain), 7 domestic cups (6 Dutch, 1 Spain)

While Alfredo Di Stefano may have greatly influenced the entire history of a club, Johan Cruyff helped create an entire football philosophy.

The charismatic Dutchman was not, of course, the originator of Total Football. But, as Ajax assistant manager Bobby Haarms always insisted, “Cruyff had a massive input… you could say it was [Rinus] Michels and Cruyff”.

Primarily, that was through his elementary – but also elevated – on-pitch intelligence. Cruyff’s innate knowledge of where to run and what pass to make essentially set Total Football in motion. As Haarms added, “he could do everything… and with such speed”.

The famous Russian dancer Rudolf Nureyev, meanwhile, was awe-struck by Cruyff’s movement, proclaiming that both his body and mind were supernaturally swift.
And, even in Ajax’s early, imperfect development, that had a devastating effect. In the 1966-67 European Cup finals, with the team still a long way from the telepathic interchanges of the early ’70s, Cruyff scored twice at Anfield to annihilate Bill Shankly’s Liverpool.

But it was as the young playmaker gradually accumulated such experience and began to talk about, that his career – and Ajax’s unique approach – really accelerated.

Cruyff began to discuss with Michels the finer points of the game, what players worked where, whether others had unseen talents for different positions. Crucially, though, he also applied such thought to his own play. Although Cruyff possessed a similar level of sublime raw talent as Pele and Diego Maradona, he seemed to use his more calculatingly. Whereas they often appeared to know what to do with a ball by pure instinct, Cruyff used intuition. Such was the calculated purpose of some of his touches that it seemed he had instantaneously done the geometry in his head. This exquisite first touch on the turn, against Den Haag in January 1972, is the perfect example. Little wonder renowned journalist David Miller described as “Pythagoras in boots”.

And, like all true innovators, the Ajax captained patented one particular piece of genius: the Cruyff turn.

“At that moment,” Swedish defender Jan Olsson said of his encounter with Cruyff in the 1974 World Cup, “I thought ‘I have him’… I thought I’d win the ball for sure. But he tricked me. I was not humiliated. I had no chance. Cruyff was a genius… it was the proudest memory of my career.”

At that point, of course, Cruyff was enjoying the very peak of his own career. The evolution of Total Football had eventually reached the stage where Ajax almost effortlessly won three successive European Cups. And, throughout each campaign, Cruyff wasn’t just imperious. He was seemingly redefining the presumed parameters of performance. While appearing to glide, he relentlessly unravelled a series of established sides.

And so it was at the 1974 World Cup too. As Dutch football historian David Winner has asserted, “across four weeks, Holland rendered South American football redundant”. In the 4-0 win over Argentina, the defenders were reduced to rugby-tackling Cruyff in order to keep the score down.

And, by then, he had also overturned Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. With a vengeance. With Barcelona winning 5-0, historian Jimmy Burns wrote that “with Cruyff, the team felt they couldn’t lose”. He gave them speed, flexibility and a sense of themselves.

Perhaps fittingly for a player that thought so much, though, Cruyff’s career never reached an inarguably conclusion. Holland never won that international trophy. Barca faded after the fantasy of 1974.

It’s little exaggeration, though, to describe Cruyff as the most influential player of all time. And not just in single matches. He himself, after all, knew the importance of combining the individual with the collective.

Ability 97
International 80
Club 86
Total 87.67


2. Pele

Career span 1956-77
Country Brazil: 92 caps, 77 goals
Clubs Santos, New York Cosmos
Position forward
Medals 3 World Cups, 2 Copa Libertadores, 1 Recopa Intercontinental, 5 Brazilian championships, 10 state championships

So ubiquitous is the praise for Pele, and so ingrained is the idea that he was among the very greatest of all time, that his exact talent can – counter-intuitively – be underappreciated. Even taken for granted.

But there was nothing to be taken for granted about Brazilian football in 1958. Infamously, they had repeatedly allowed the World Cup trophy to slip from their grasp. And the heightened tension now seemed to have a constant hold on the team.

Until, finally – and fittingly – Pele overturned all expectations himself.

With the final itself at a particular fraught point on 54 minutes, and Brazil holding a still fragile 2-1 lead, the ball came to the 17-year-old in the Swedish box.

“I made as if I was going to run forward but turned back instead,” Pele said. “That confused the defender and he let the ball come through to me. When I controlled it on my chest he thought I was going to shoot. I got my foot on it and flicked it over his head, which was something the Europeans weren’t used to… it was one of the most beautiful goals of my career.”

As we’ve seen elsewhere on this list, Pele was hardly the single reason a weight – and wait – was lifted for Brazil that summer. Indeed, the only actual game-changing goal he got was in the 1-0 quarter-final over Wales. But that was still one of six, with a hat-trick coming in the semi and two in the final itself. And, the truth was that, such was the way Pele’s youthful exuberance washed away all of the old flaws, and such was the manner in which his all-round game represented the apogee of a purposeful evolution in Brazilian football, that he forever became associated with a glorious new era. In essence, he was a symbol. But one with an awful lot of substance.

The irony, of course, is that he barely got to exert himself at a World Cup for another 12 years. Pele was injured early in 1962 and kicked out of 1966.
But, in the meantime, he also altered the history of club football.

Again, the accepted realities of the modern game mean that can be difficult to truly appreciate. Because of the fact the top South Americans must travel to Europe long before they mature as players these days, the Copa Libertadores no longer possesses the game’s premium talents. But that was hardly the case in the ’60s. Santos represented the very peak of club football. And Pele was at the centre of their reign.

He had, of course, started it too. In 1962, he had scored a brace in the final against defending champions Penarol to secure Brazilian football’s first ever Copa Libertadores. But, if that series of games was close – with both sides winning away from home before a play-off in Buenos Aires – the subsequent Intercontinental Cup was anything but.

Having scored twice in the Maracana to give Santos a 3-2 lead, Pele then scored a hat-trick in Lisbon to embarrass Benfica 5-2 and completely overshadow Eusebio. As if to only emphasise his obvious superiority then, he humiliated the great Portuguese striker with a nut-meg.

A year later it would be the opposite, with a spectacular Copa Libertadores and a harder fought Intercontinental Cup. First off, Pele crushed his Brazilian teammates Jairzinho and Garrincha with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over a brilliant Botofogo. Then, he rounded off a resounding win over Boca Juniors.

Milan would provide a stiffer test. Both sides won 4-2 before Dalma settled a play-off for Santos. But, again, Pele made his mark with four goals over the three games.

And, finally, in 1970 he would confirm his legacy.

Of that year’s World Cup final, Italian defender Tarcisio Burgnich said: “I told myself before the game, ‘he’s made of skin and bones just like everyone else’. But I was wrong.”

And yet, as sublime as Pele was throughout the tournament and the showpiece itself, the moment that most stood out was of the utmost simplicity – a basic, but brilliant, five-yard pass for Carlos Alberto.

And the beauty was that it was only a repeat of a similar match-winning delivery for Jairzinho in the earlier game against England.

Essentially, in a tournament that many have described as the closest football has come to art, Pele seemed to be proving Leonardo Da Vinci’s maxim that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

But then, throughout that World Cup, Pele had been so on top of his game that he seemed to be very testing the limits of the sport: the dummy against Uruguay, the shot from his own half against Czechoslovakia.

It didn’t matter that they didn’t come off. He was the first to try them. “He was the most complete player I’ve ever seen,” Bobby Moore said. “Capable of everything.”

And, as a result, he would be first in this list – except for one reason. Pele undoubtedly reached the very top of the sport but his route there wasn’t exactly huge in range.

Indeed, 1958 set the tone for his career. Pele was utterly magnificent but was always ably complemented by magnificent players. In 1962, with Santos and then in 1970.

The same could not be said of his rival. Even it if is impossible to say anything else negative.

Ability 99
International 84
Club 81
Total 88


1. Diego Maradona

Career span 1976-97
Country Argentina: 91 caps, 34 goals
Clubs Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys, Boca Juniors
Position attacking midfielder
Medals 1 World Cup, 1 Uefa Cup, 3 domestic titles (2 Italy, 1 Argentina), 1 Italian cup

Given the stage, given the statement of intent and given the staggering number of players left in his wake, there has probably never been a great illustration of individual excellence as Diego Maradona’s second goal against England in 1986.

And yet, as unlikely as the run was, there was still a sense of inevitability and destiny about it. Because, as complete as Pele might have been and as innovate as Johan Cruyff was, no-one quite had the elemental mastery of a ball that Maradona possessed.

“I remember our early training sessions with him,” former Barca teammate Jose Carrasco said. “The rest of the team were so amazed that they just stood and watched him. Only he could create such a feeling of expectation.”

But the anomaly is that it took until 1986 for Maradona to properly fulfil it. Although he was only 25 at the time, it is incredible to think now how dubious his claims to true greatness were before that World Cup. Essentially, you can take the existing caveats about Leo Messi’s performance in the same tournament and multiply them by five.

At that point, Maradona had only won a solitary Argentine title and a Spanish cup, despite starting his career at 15 – the same age as Pele.

It was such parallels – as well as such ability, of course – that brought eternal comparisons with his Brazilian predecessor.

But, in truth, Pele faced far fewer obstacles than Maradona.

While both made their international debuts before the 1958 and 1978 World Cups, respectively, Argentina’s Cesar Menotti didn’t quite have the faith in youth that Vicente Feola did 20 years earlier.

As such, Maradona remained something of a rumour. While Pele got to announce his talent.

On a similar level, the Brazilian began his career at one of his country’s biggest clubs. By contrast, Argentinos Juniors had never won a professional title. And even when Maradona delivered a title to Boca Juniors in his only season there early on – thanks to 28 goals in 40 games – he arguably made the wrong move in going to Barcelona.

At that point, the Catalan club were often more moral victors than the outstanding champions of today. Still without a European Cup, Barca saw more decade-long droughts than league titles and seemed to perpetually stumble from crisis to crisis. And it was into another that Maradona walked in 1982.

Biographer Jimmy Burns wrote that “in Spain, both during the World Cup and in Barcelona, Maradona’s game had often been so undermined by bad refereeing as to become almost unplayable.”

Indeed, an infamous Andoni Goikoetxea assault put him out of action for three months in 1983-84. And that only followed a bout of hepatitis in his first season as well as an ongoing personality clash with president Josep Lluis Nunez. Because of so many external complications, Alfredo Di Stefano argued that Barcelona only saw 20% of Maradona’s full potential.

But it was still enough to score 38 goals in 58 games. Still enough to beat Real Madrid in a Spanish cup final. Still enough for Bernd Schuster to argue with Steve Archibald about who wouldn’t wear the number-10 shirt in his departure.

It was also still enough for Carrasco to see what really drove the player.

“When I was with him he seemed all too conscious of his roots. I’d realised how much he’d struggled to get where he was and how much he felt he still had to achieve to secure his family’s future.”

It was a narrative arc that was to apply to his greatest achievements.

Because, when Maradona went to Napoli in 1984, they had only won a solitary cup in their history. They were the unloved urchins of Italian football.

At the same time, Argentina hardly looked like world champions. They had won less than 40% of their matches in the four years leading up to the 1986 World Cup. Worse, they didn’t even have a system.

And, yet, Maradona lifted both to the greatest heights in their histories.

Because this is the real point about his career. In Mexico, Maradona didn’t just fulfil expectation. He finished it.

As Hugh McIlvanney wrote of the tournament, “Never before has the talent of a single footballer loomed so pervasively over everybody’s thinking… Maradona’s impact goes far beyond the simple realisation that he is indisputably the best and most exciting player now at work in the game. It is in inseparable from the potent sense of declaration inherent in almost everything he has done in the field here in Mexico.”

Sure, Michel Platini’s goals may have been statistically more decisive in Euro 84. But, quite simply, no one influenced an individual tournament like Maradona did in 1986.

But, as emphatic as his five goals were – from the Hand of God to the highlight reel against Belgium in the semi-finals – it was a more understatement performance in the final that truly illustrated the depth of his quality.

Throughout the game, Lothar Matthaus was charged with man-marking Maradona. But, realising that playing his normal game in such restrictive conditions would greatly diminish – and damage – his team, Maradona decided to go so deep so as to draw Matthaus from his anchor role and completely destabilise the Germans.
It worked perfectly as Argentina roared into a 2-0 lead.

Typical of the Germans, though, they exploited the team’s main weakness by scoring twice from set-pieces. But it was to prove their momentum. With momentum behind them, West German abandoned their restrictive approach in order to win the game.

Instead, it took Maradona just three minutes to exploit the extra space. With a divine through ball for Burruchaga, he settled the World Cup.

Four years later, Maradona would prove almost as impressive as he dragged Argentina to the final again. And, in between, he won Napoli the first two titles of their career as well as the Uefa Cup.

Given their history of failure, it is arguably the player’s equivalent of Brian Clough lifting Nottingham Forest to a European Cup.

And most impressively, amid the shackles of Italian football at the time, Maradona sustained his irrepressible, evasive style of play.
Of such moves in general and the goal against England specifically, Maradona once said “I seemed to be able to leave everyone behind.”
He may as well have been talking about football history.

Ability 100
International 90
Club 79
Total 89.67



Share your opinion


Maldini 52?! Are you on crack? Greatest about this list is that CRonaldo isnt there. Finally someone who understands football.

The best 10 are Messi Ronaldinho Zidane Maldini Pele Maradona Baresi Xavi Iniesta Rivaldo


I'm so tired of the Pele nagging. He counts goals he scored in the Brazilian army and is a greedy sellout. More than enough reason to put Maradona above him. A true rebel and creative genius.

PS: Van Basten, Bergkamp, Ibrahimovic, Giggs, Voller, Socrates, Zico, Eder, Junior, Batistuta, Montero, Totti, CR7, Nesta, Roberto Carlos. I can list people who probably need to be on this list for quite some time here.


pele should be number 1 by far,the most complete player ever,this guy jumps like Michael Jordan,amazing speed,use both lengs, dribbling,passing shoot acurancy,the guy has it all.3 wc.,over 1000 goals the best by far.maradona dribble past 5 English players who are very slow and not so great,he maradona dint play with best players???hahaha, he had careca who score 91 goals in year,what special is maradona,because he play with week teams and win championships? big deal, messi and Ronaldo they can take the worst team or club of any country and they can win championships like maradona


@tk753 Did Pele really score over 1000 goals? Really?? 

"messi and Ronaldo they can take the worst team or club of any country and they can win championships" Again, really?? When did this happen?

It's debatable to name at least 2 Brazilians being 'better' than Pele. I don't think anyone could name 2 Argentinians being 'better' than Maradona.


@andyzidane @tk753  messi takes the argentina to the final in wc 2014,just like maradona in 1990,ronaldo take portogal to the final in euro 2016 and win the title,so how you say that this not happen?Ronaldo and messi prove that they can take the worst teams and win world titles,maradona dribbling past these England players so easy because they are not top class defenders and you can say that goal is the goal of the centrury?messi and pele dribbling past 5 or 6 players every time and far better dribblers tha maradona.also in Napoli maradona have players like careca di Napoli who are world class at the time,so how maradona wins everything of his own?


@tk753 @andyzidane

Messi didn't win though, did he? Maradona did.

C. Ronaldo won the Euros (and he wasn't on the pitch!), not a World Cup. The South American equivalent is the Copa America. Pele never won that.

"you can say that goal is the goal of the centrury?"

When did I say this?

I never said Napoli didn't have world class players? I'd probably put Ferrara and Zola ahead of Careca and Di Napoli, but never mind. Look at it in the context of the competition. Napoli had AC Milan, Juventus, Roma, and Inter to contend with. Messi and Ronaldo just have to worry about each other's teams (Barca / Madrid).


@andyzidane @tk753  ok,messi dint win the wc,but don't forget,he has a last chances to win the wc 2018,at the age of 31 like pele in  the 1970 wc.maybe I was wrong about the goal of the centrury,you dint say that,sorry.

maradona won some titles with Napoli, but he never won a champions league with Napoli,that say you something?

did maradona win the copa America? no

did maradona win the wc 1990? his performance was great like wc 86? no

maradonoa has played the same position like pele, did he scores more goals than pele? no

maradona is one of the best players ever, no doubt but because he take Napoli and argetina to the top, dosent mean that pele cant do that.its insane,pele was the most complete number 10

of all time.far more complete player than maradona and a better person than maradona



@tk753 @andyzidane hey Harry, thanks for the reply.

First things first, I think it's pointless comparing honours at international level.

Neither Pele nor Maradona won the Copa America. So what?

Messi does have more chances to win the World Cup, I hope he does. But even if he doesn't, he's still one of the greatest. I could accept people calling him the greatest when he retires.

Maradona didn't win the WC in 1990. So? I didn't say he did? The fact is, he dragged Argentina to the finals of '86 and '90. He won it when he was the best player in the world, and 4 years later, he was unfit, and didn't deserve to win it anyway.

Pele is credited with 3 World Cup victories, but let's not forget that he barely played in 1962.

Secondly, Maradona and Pele DID NOT play in the same position. Pele is a forward. A goalscorer. Maradona is a playmaker. He makes goals.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and that's what makes the game of football we all love. Pele was a great footballer and you believe he's the most complete player that ever lived. I respect that. I can agree that he has an abundance of physical attributes which make him more effective than Maradona. But technical ability? He's no better than Garrincha in his day, and he's certainly not got the technique of Diego Maradona or modern day Leo Messi.

Good night.


@andyzidane @tk753 ho is harry??? maybe you must be thinking about someone else, i see someone in the site with the name harry ho was a ''love'' with pele but dosent mean that i am that guy,i share you.

You are right, pele and maradona is a contest with no winner, everyone has there own opinion, some people say that Ronaldo, messi, zidane, Brazilian Ronaldo, cruyff are the greatest  and many more. But we can agree that all these players give us the  beauty of football and so many good moments.


top 10 should be 

1. ronaldhinio

2. messi

3. cruyff

4. maradona

5. pele

6. zidane

7. brasilian ronaldo

8. berkamp

9. maldini

10.peter schmicel                    


Ronaldinho first are you stupid? Given he was a fantastic player of course but people forget one important thing about ronaldinho he only was truly great for 3-4 seasons. How good was he at AC Milan. Truth is he wasn't great at Milan he was a shadow of his former self and failed at Milan while he not even 30. Someone like zidane won was great throughout his whole years for example he comes out of retirement at the age of 34 to guide his team o the world cup final the biggest stage of them all and even after headbutting someone he was still named the best player of the fifa world cup 2006. Ronaldinho was brilliant but only for a few years that's all.


@Aceace1133 He's a Barcelona fan. What do you expect from a pig but an oink? He's probably never watched another football team play.


Good list as of 2011. Today I'd like to replace the last 8 with Xabi Alonso, Busquets, Ramos, Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez (the second one in this 100, lol), Lahm and Klose. But anyway this rating is adorable.


And Gerard Pique instead of Desailly of course. 


So If Messi wins 2 or 3 world cups he's gonna be the best ever. I'm sure about that.


@DaveScamper @AlexChulkin in Russia he'll be 31, in Qatar - 35. Are you sure that he'll still be the imperious figure in the Argentina team? Are you sure that the Albiceleste will be able to win 2 WCs in a row regarding the actual level of competition? 


Where THE FUCK is Hans Krankl?! He should at least be 50-30.... Also Papin should be in the list.


Are you serious???? Ronaldinho should be ATLEAST in the top 10! I can not believe that you put the most gifted player in history at 39, you put luis suarez ahead of him? You should be ashamed!!!


@RizwanNazirAhmed The Luis Suarez on this list is the Spanish one from the 1960s. And if Ronaldinho was 'the most gifted player in history', shouldn't his era as the best player in the world been a lot longer than 2 years?

In any case, the list is nearly 4 years old and needs updating, but it looks as though Miguel has abandoned the project, which is a shame.


Bobby Moore so far down and Platini? Really now...Laudrup(as good as he was) and Sandro Mazzola better than Baggio. Which wino picks these?


A flawed list....firstly: baggio can't be 60 odd and below some of those people ahead of him(trophies aren't skills) and Maradona can't be above Pele(how can Pele's international rating be 84.  to Maradona's 89 even if you do give him a 1% nod over Pele in ability). Plus remember ability is not just dribbling and control(areas I do rate Maradona above Pele in). Ability should mean total: Pele was two-footed and better in the area, equal or almost in passing and free-kicks etc. Pele first. Messi not in top ten(most over-rated ever). Baggio in top ten.


Can this list be updated? I'm curious to see if CR7 has made it and where he fits in.


guys pele has done everythinng right in his carreer you seem to forget the hand of god goal him smelling cocaine and giving it to children and maradona vs romario romario completely mugged him off he says he could get past anybody wouldnt even be able to get past my 3 year old cousin


@RodrigoBasques Pele was a great ambassador for the sport. A superb footballer. But why highlight factors about Maradona which have nothing to do with his ability? At least Diego had the balls / cojones to play in (and win) European football.

Interesting that you mention Romario, though. I would prefer him in my team ahead of Pele. And Ronaldo. And Garrincha.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

Well if you are an Englishmen then you cannot possibly understand why people love a rebel and hate an establishment.. Someone from a third world country can understand that very easily.. Someone from Latin America can precisely define it... but Europeans and Yankees cannot even imagine it... i will save the history lesson for another time..


Apart from having a very close relationship with Military dictators and FIFA's crooked bastards,, Pele did one thing for which many brazilians despise him-- HE FORGOT HIS ROOTS... he forgot where he came from,, he forgot the slum where he was brought up,, he forgot the shanties and hoodlums of Rio.. you say he is not evil.. Millions and Millions of people attended Garrincha's funeral in 1983...where was Pele??? Where was garrincha's great teammate??? Pele wasn't playing in 1983 oh no,, he retired in 1977..  Instead of attending his teammate's funeral,, Pele was busy in cuddling with his new buddies in FIFA..he was busy shaking hands with Reagan and the Queen ,Pele felt that it was more important to meet with these famous people rather than attending the funeral of his beloved teammate.. and you still DARE to say that Pele is not evil??????


Yes Pele did dedicate a goal to the poor childrens of brazil.. Hypocrites say very bright things at the beginning but in the end they give nothing... Pele did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for the poverty of Brazil.. Pele was a lover of luxurious things.. he ran away to USA in 1974,, he starred a film with Stallione and launched his own video game in 1980.. he simply CHOSE to forgot about these poor childrens.. Once Pele climbed the ladder of fame,, he never even looked back at his native Brazil...


You can even see it today.. Millions of brazilians are in the streets protesting the corruption of this current government.. Millions of dollars are being invested for the World Cup but none in Healthcare.. Romario and Rivaldo understood the pulse of the people and they are already preparing to start a historic revolution in brazil to overthrow this crooked bastards.. but is PELE saying?? he is saying that People "should leave the streets and go back home and not create any chaos.The government is doing the right thing".. It INFURIATED the brazilians masses like wildfire.. Pele has become so distanced from his own people that he cannot even understand their pulse..


Di Stefano wasn't born in a slum like Garrincha,Pele,Maradona,Rivaldo,Romario.. Di Stefano had european descent and ultimately,, he fled to Europe to serve his forefathers.. He was born rich and he never cared for the poor.. In his playing days,, Di stefano didn't like Didi at all because he was from a very poor background.. that was reason why Real Madrid always kept Didi at bench while Stefano was running the show.. i never liked Di stefano but also i cannot disagree that he is one of the greatest in history..


Then you may ask that why do I Hate Pele So much???   I hate him so much because I LOVED him so much.. Before i knew about Pele's cuddling with FIFA and other bastards,, I loved Pele just like Garrincha, just like Maradona, just like Rivaldo, just Ronaldinho.. After all,, they all grew up in the dirtiest of slums.. i was six years old when Maradona was tearing apart the English in 1986 and from then on i started to dig the history to find players having a similar background to maradona.. i found Garrincha and Pele and while Pele was with FIFA,, i was not aware of that at that time.. Many years later when i did found out about Pele's real Face,, i was very shocked indeed.. Just like when Figo betrayed barca and went to Madrid,, Barca fans wrote in a banner-- "We Hate you so much because We loved you so much".. it was exactly my feeling with Pele..and while i continued to agree that he was one of the greatest in history along with Maradona and Garrincha,, i lost all the love for him..


Garrincha's tale is a sad one but he came to this planet to give joy to his people through the means of football and his people received the joy with open arms.. he only understood the language of football and he didn't even know the format of the 1958 and 62 World Cups.. the chilean newspaper rightfully said: "Which planet is Garrincha from??" We may not know that ever again but Brazil's love for him refuses to die........................................................................


Good time to remember Tom Finney.Very few would have seen him play.But not only brilliant - dazzling speed + goals + loyal to one club.But a gentleman off the pitch as well.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

30 years has passed since Garrincha died..  Yet the brazilians always says "We always label the rising stars as the Next Pele because we know there will always be ONE garrincha".. Many Latin American Poets were absolutely fascinated by the miracles feats that Garrincha conjured everyday.. the great Eduardo Galeano said these words:

"In the entire history of football no one made more people happy. When he was out there, the pitch was a circus ring, the ball a tamed animal, the match a party invitation. Garrincha nurtured his pet, the ball, and together they created such mischief that people almost died laughing. He jumped over it, it gambolled around him, hid itself away, skipped off and made him run after it. And on the way, his opponents ran into each other."


Manuel Francisco dos Santos aka GARRINCHA--the most beloved brazilian player of all time......




 @Tanvir 86 Pele and Garrincha provide an interesting personality contrast, but I still don't get why you feel people should automatically love the rebel and hate the establishment figure. Why wouldn't the vast majority of Brazilians love both of them? (Those who remember them at least.) It would be like Argentine fans loving Maradona and hating Messi or English fans loving Paul Gascoigne and hating Bobby Charlton.


 @snakehips  @Tanvir 86 Thanks. It's also worth mentioning that even if Pele could be said to have cuddled up to the military dictatorship, why does di Stefano never come in for the same vitriol from Mr. T? He was used by Franco's regime in much the same way, and he wasn't even Spanish!


As it happens, I watched the documentary Pele and Garrincha - Gods of Brazil a couple of days ago. It made the point that Garrincha wasn't always popular while he was actually alive, certainly in the latter part of his career.


Plus, there was the footage of Pele scoring his '1,000th goal'. Media myth or not, he took that moment to speak out - passionately - on behalf of starving children. Hardly the words of someone who had sold his soul entirely.


Don't get me wrong, Pele is a bit of a corporate whore (there's even a joke in The Simpsons about it), but he's not evil.


By the way, 'Menotti didn't pick Maradona because he was a Pele-lover'. What a bizarre statement. Clearly, he was very much a Didi man.


@adamrhbrown @snakehips the boy @Tanvir 86 's posts have been littered with bizarre comments for many many months now. I personally believe that Maradona is the greatest footballer of all time and prefer other Brazilians (such as Ronaldo) to Pele; but everyone is entitled to their own opinion without facing Tubby's abuse.


This is about the greatest 100 players of all time.

So why has the Pele v Maradona debate dominated virtually all comments so far?

It has become tedious + looks like the writers of these posts don't know any other players.



Pelé easily the greatest ever, ahead of the master of total football Cruyff. Maradona has benefited from myths and ignoring his faults and failures.


Before Pelé, Brazil had never won a world cup nor did they for 24 years without him. He was outstanding aged 17 in 58 world cup as well as in 1970. He made Santos the best club in the world, dominating Brazilian clubs with other great players and destroying the top European clubs, Benfica (hat-trick in Benfica), and Milan. He was top scorer in the Intercontinental Cup. In his time, South American clubs were easily a match for European. He had a magnificent scoring record in cup finals as well as overall, including against European clubs and countries. He was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government, not allowed to play for as foreign club till the 70s


Maradona was sent off in one world cup, cheated in another and was disgraced in another, He had a poor scoring record in cup finals and for Napoli in Europe. He never won the top continental cup. Without him during his career Argentina won a world cup and the Copa America twice, but he never won the Copa America. He improved Argentina's win-loss record by only 0.8% compared with his absence during his career, whereas Pelé improved Brazil by 11.25%.


Pelé was a more complete player; great header, athletic, 2-footed, passer, shot, dribbler, vision; Maradona was mainly one-footed- so much for so-called technique. Pelé had a better temperament and Maradona was a cheat not only with infamous handball "goal" but also drugs.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86



i don't have the patience to argue with another maradona-hater like you... i will only say that you have never watched GARRINCHA... Pele doesn't come even close..

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

 @Sansho do you even know the full of history of maradona??????????????


you talk like you are a great analyst but instead have a relentless grudge against maradona..


first, maradona was very unlucky to miss out on the 1978 WC.. he was the even younger than pele and he ripping everything in the argentine league.. but for some  reasons, menotti didn't chose him.. as menotti was an eternal Pele-lover, he feared that his darling's record of the youngest player to enter the WC will be broken if maradona is chosen.. at the final moment, menotti leaves out the blistering 16-year old maradona.... the whole argentina was shocked... but maradona didn't lose hope.. in came the 1979 youth WC, where maradona absolutely ripped everything by scoring 7 magnificent goals and winning it single-handedly.. just like pele in the late 50s, maradona was the greatest under-20 player in the late to say maradona was a "ghost" in his youth is a pure indication of HATRED towards him..


maradona 82's appearance was bad because of that HAGGARD menotti's reluctance and egoistic passarella's ARROGANCE.. it was never maradona's fault.. he was a victim of those dirty "football" politics which was also why barca's president Nunez refused to play him in regular La liga matches..and let's not forget, maradona got injured by the WORST TACKLE OF ALL TIME by the butcher of bilbao which further increased doubts and rumors about maradona..


but maradona BURIED everything in 1986.. scored the GREATEST GOAL MANKIND HAS EVER WITNESSED on 22 June 1986, Azteca stadium.. not only did he dribble past half the english team, he controlled the ball superbly on the puddles of water on that pitch.. even more mind-boggling is that he accelerated at such a blistering pace on the right side of field, ordinary left-footers find it difficult to run in the right-side, but instead of slowing down, maradona accelerated with lightining pace and dribbled effortlessly past the english to score an absolutely legendary goal that took him to very pinnacle of football.. it was THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION of how far an individual player's impact goes on his team.. and throughout the whole 86 WC, maradona emphatically proved what a ONE-MAN team can do...


pele protagonist??????????? i assume you have never heard of Vava,garrincha,amarildo,tostao,carlos alberto, gerson,rivelino... pele's golden teammates who helped him SO MUCH... who did maradona play with????? burruchaga,careca,giordino,valdano.. maradona's average-ish teammates who couldn't even dribble past a player properly let alone helping maradona...


The list of footballers who said maradona is the greatest and infinity:


Zidane: the greatest ever


2: Careca: admiteas was far better than pele


3: Bobby Charlton: the greatest footballer


4: Gullit: he was from another world


5: Marco van Basten: The Greatest footballer ever


6: Former manager of england bobby robson: hate him or love him he was the greatest player of all time.


7: Zola: he was the god of football


8: Ronaldhino: hes was my idol and greatest


9: won player of the century at fifa 2000 awards


11: Ze Roberto and R. Carlos: Maradona was without doubt the greatest


12: Bearzot: Maradona is football


13: Sacchi on sky: Maradona is the best player in the world


14: Baggio: Maradona all players dream


15: gentile: Maradona better than Pelè


16: Boscov: Maradona can not be compared


17: Sivori: maradona the best in the world


18: Cantona: Maradona is greatest art.The


19: Eusebio: Maradona was the greatest


20: Maldini: Maradona is Maradona


– "Ruud Gullit: Diego Maradona is the best ever in my opinion"., 29 July 2012 – "Lionel Messi: Diego Maradona is the greatest of all-time". SoccerAnchor, 7 September 2011 – "Rummenigge: Maradona better than Pele". The Times of India, 12 November 2008 – "Paolo Maldini: Maradona best ever, Ronaldo close second" Paolo Maldini fan page, 21 July 2008 – "Gary Lineker: Diego has been the best player without a doubt, better than Pele" SoccerBlog, 25 March 2006 – "Glenn Hoddle: Diego Maradona is the greatest player of all time". SoccerBible, 22 July 2010. – "Ryan Giggs: Maradona is the best of all time". tribalfootball, 11 October 2011. – "Rio Ferdinand: In my eyes Maradona is the best footballer ever"., 7 November 2008 – "Mario Kempes: Maradona is absolutely the best". ESPN soccernet, 18 April 2005. – "Aguero: It is disrespectful to compare me to Maradona". Mirro Football, 20 November 2011. – "Frank McGarvey: Diego Maradona was world's best player". Daily Record, 30 October 2008. – "Gordon Smith: Maradona was the best player I ever saw play the game". Daily Record, 30 October 2008. – "Trevor Edwards: Maradona is best" Central Telegraph, 11 April 2012 – "Maradona’s still number one". The Sun, 29 April 2011. – "Considered by many as the greatest football player to have ever walked the face of the earth".




@Tanvir 86 @Sansho was about to wrote smthing similar after reading lots of these pro pele comments.

Yes,pele has the numbers besides him,but you can't compare carlos alberto''s brazil golden team with maradona's underdogs argentina.

Maradona undercome the odds everywhere he went,carrying his team mostly in crucial matches. He had not so easy career as pele,cause of injuries,drug addiction,and lower teammates.

What maradona did overall,pure genius.

Personally,i admire zidane's plays the most,cause he was my childhood idol so it's not about taking sides or smthing.

Also i believe Gherghe Hagi should be at least me

ntioned here.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

Today is undoubtedly a sad day for football.. The greatest Portuguese player in history, the black Panther, a man who reinvented the art of scoring goals in the 1960s-- Eusebio has passed away from this world at the age of 71...


He stamped Portugal's name in the football map with his explosive goals in the 1966 WC... At that WC, much of the world was disappointed with Pele's epic failure but Eusebio exploded just at the right time to fill up the vacuum.. obviously, eusebio remained in Pele's shadows for the most of 60s,, but his domination in the European Cup was second to none.. and for that,, he remains an unfettering figure in the golden history of my list of 100 greatest players,, he is no.12


May peace rest upon his Departed Soul............................................


with all the respect to maradona he is one of the greatest ever but  pele was better. if you look some old videos of pele was amazing,his dribbling,ball control and shoot was much better than maradona, who forgot the match against uruguay 1970 world cup pele performed the best skill ever.yes maradona win the biggest poll of fifa, but was voted by young fans who dont see pele play,in the other hand pele wins win the poll  by lengendery players who wins golden balls, if you dont believe watch here its funny some compare the poll of maradona and the poll of pele WHY??? because  these footballers who are legends of these sport knows far more tons than football fans.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

 @ronaldofenomenon i do remember the MISS OF THE CENTURY when the "Almighty Pele" did everything right against uruguay but then failed to score an OPEN goal.. When maradona dribbled against england,, nothing was open yet he still scored and that also against a 6'3 Shilton covering the goal..if pele scored on that night in 1970 then he MIGHT have reached the level of maradona but unfortunately that never happened..


why don't you see the even older videos of garrincha??? that will make pele look like a ball boy..


obviously,, "Legendary" players like Beckenbeur,Platini shared the same bed with pele in FIFA so it no surprise that FIFA would honour their favorite poster boy with that hilarious award.. Legendary players like Di Stefano,Bearzot,Baresi,Maldini who stayed far away from FIFA's A$$ said that Maradona was greater than pele.. so you decide which group of Legend's comments are you going to approve??? the fans already gave their verdict quite emphatically in three Worldwide polls.......




 @Tanvir 86 Alfredo Di Stefano: "The best player ever? Pele. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both great players with specific qualities, but Pele was better."  your propaganda agaist pele is amazing,first off all you dont have proves that pele kiss  the ass of fifa. in a tv show, maradona and pele show there skills who has better heeding, pele beats maradona, if you dont bealave watch here the legends like cruyff,Beckenbeur,di stefano voted pele and maradona voted by the fans.end of story


 @andyzidane  @Tanvir 86 maybe you dont understand my worlds, the video shows that pele has better ball control and proves his better that maradona,yes maradona is one of the best ever but pele is better, just  symple if you watch the video

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

 @ronaldofenomenon HAHAHAHA.... what a pathetic video.. oh wow, a 73-year old pele has better ball control than a 53-year old Maradona,, so that makes him a greater player????????????!!!!!!!


Pele himself said DiStefano is the greatest player of all time... Messi?? Cristiano Ronaldo??? even a 10-year old boy having an average knowledge about football history will say that Pele is greater than these two.. But when it was asked to Distefano about Pele AND maradona,, He picked Maradona... Beckenbeur shares the bed with pele in FIFA and they also ran Viagra campaigns together.. so it is a no-brainer that beckenbeur would vote for his lifetime partner.. the legends who were not slaves to FIFA ,,they all said that maradona is the greatest..


You can now masturbate by watching that hilarious video.. Trolls like you have no place in this great site...


 @Tanvir 86 this show was the year 2000 maradona was 40 and pele was 60, you  blame maradona every time,the video show that maradona lose the ball and again you said that maradona is greater than pele,you said that pele kiss the ass off fifa and all the biggest football organizations but you dont prove it,if you watch the brazilian ronaldo dribbble skills and technique is far more better than maradona,i think the only part that maradona is better than pele is the free kicks.

Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

 @ronaldofenomenon  you are that same troll by the name of Harry1996,,, changing names won't hide your retarded character..


as i've said many times before,, if you love pele so much then give him a call.. Make love with him using the cheapest viagras and then post the videos on youtube.. this site is for those people who can debate both subjectively and objectively using their vast knowledge about the rich history of football and not by posting pathetic rubbish youtube videos.. thus, you are not eligible to comment on this site by default..So stop wasting time and make that call to Pele before he runs to FIFA to sleep with Beckenbeur....


Tanvir 86
Tanvir 86

 @ronaldofenomenon  you are that same troll by the name of Harry1996,,, changing names won't hide your retarded character..


as i've said many times before,, if you love pele so much then give him a call.. Make love with him using the cheapest viagras and then post the videos on youtube.. this site is for those people who can debate both subjectively and objectively using their vast knowledge about the rich history of football and not by posting pathetic rubbish youtube videos.. thus, you are not eligible to comment on this site by default..So stop wasting time and make that call to Pele before he runs to FIFA to sleep with Beckenbeur....


 @Tanvir 86  again and again you dont aswer in my question about pele kiss the ass of fifa and you fall to see in this symple video that maradona lose,you can talk trash every time but you dont proove nothing,1970 pele do the greatest skill ever, maranona never do something like that,in the era off pele, the ball was more harder to control than maradona era,who is harry1996, maybe someone who support pele?i dont give a shit.i just say my option,but there are more important thinks in life about pele and maradona


 @Tanvir 86 maybe my english is not so good  but  you cant avoid the truth,cruyff,beckebauer,platini,di stefano,zico said pele, all this players kiss the ass of fifa? can say anything you want but you dont proove a thing.


 @ronaldofenomenon  @Tanvir 86 @ Ronaldofenomenon, instead of judging a players true strength based on other retired footballers comments, why dont u use ur brain and watch the standard of football in Pele's era? did u ever ask urself the question if gk even used gloves back in the 60s? did 4-2-4 formation play a major factor in helping the attacking team? did man marking even exist back then? have u even watched a game of the champs league in the 60s? how many subs were allowed in each game when pele was playing? how many games did Pele really played in 1962 wc? when u find out all the answers for that question i suggest u watch the serie a matches that Maradona played in Napoli in the late 80s and do a serious comparison on the defence both players faced! Real Madrid could win 5 champs league in the late 50s but no team has even come close to it since. what does that tell u? Football standards has gone up 3 notch since Pele's days!