How it works
Because of the nature of this list, it is necessarily more subjective than previous entries on Football Pantheon. Except, that is, our last list – the 50 greatest players of 2010-11. Like that list, it is based on as many objective stats and analyses as is possible, as well as three primary strands:
This is the effective ‘control’ for the list. Every player is given a mark out of 100 for the general level of ability throughout their careers.
As a majority of analysts, commentators and stats indicate, genuinely elite players such as Diego Maradona and Pele had the highest technical ability in football history. As such, they are the bar.
And, although such figures may appear arbitrary, we have attempted to judge it on as many respectable reports, opinions, analyses and stats as possible.
What’s more, we have attempted to ensure that every rating is position-relevant. For example, a top defender isn’t overly punished for not having the dribbling ability that Diego Maradona did.
In saying that, however, it should not be discounted that the most technically capable players often dominate games and influence teams by default. As such, the top rankings are naturally awarded to those who transcend their position by dint of their technical abilities.
Essentially, how well a player applied his ability over the course of his club career. A rating is warded out of 100 for overall performance. To give an example of how it was broken down, Johan Cruyff’s 1971-72 season – in which he was influential in securing a treble for Ajax – could be considered an almost-perfect season: 95 out of 100. By contrast, his 1974-75 season may have ended a long drought for Barcelona in securing a domestic title but didn’t quite reach the same level in Europe, as the side was eliminated in the semi-finals: 83 out of 100. An average was then calculated, with this extended across a player’s entire career.
Exactly the same as with the club career, except broken down into campaigns (World Cup plus qualification, European Championship plus qualification) rather than seasons.