The 100 greatest players of all time

Enzo Francescoli

Enzo Francescoli was one of the most elegant playmakers of all time

100. Danny Blanchflower

Career span 1949-61
Country Northern Ireland: 56 caps, 2 goals
Clubs Barnsley, Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur
Position midfielder
Medals 1 English title, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 2 FA Cups

The Barnsley coaches couldn’t quite believe it. There they were, attempting to drill their squad into shape, only for a young upstart from Belfast to demand they actually start training with a ball. Who knows, he wondered. It might actually improve the players’ technique.

Blanchflower, of course, was always something of an individualist. But only off the pitch. On it, his keen intelligence ensured his teams were gloriously cohesive. Arguably taking the role of captain to unprecedented levels, Blanchflower combined tactical acumen with exquisite technique. Such a role raised Tottenham to the most successful period of their history. But, arguably even more importantly, it took Northern Ireland to the World Cup quarter-finals in 1958.

Never a spectacular player. But a very special one.

Ability 76
International 74
Club 75
Total 75


99. Jozsef Bozsik

Career span 1943-62
Country Hungary: 101 caps, 11 goals
Clubs Kispesti, Honved
Position midfield
Medals 5 Hungarian titles

When Hungary eventually announced themselves as so, so much more than Olympic champions at Wembley in 1953, it was – predictably – Ferenc Puskas and Nandor Hidegkuti who dominated the headlines. The former for his drag-back and brilliant double. The latter for his hat-trick and the manner he utterly dominated the game as an unprecedented deep-lying forward.
But, typically, it was Bozsik that got the ball rolling. In every sense. After 45 seconds of that famous 6-3 at Wembley, he slipped Hidegkuti inside for the forward to fire home from outside the box. It was a common occurrence.

Indeed, Hidegkuti himself later explained to Jonathan Wilson how Bozsik’s passing and positioning from deep midfield were the “final touches to the tactical development” of a team that proved among the most influential in history.

As Brian Glanville wrote of Bozsik when covering the 1954 World Cup, he was “a driving, attacking player with strength, confidence and – of course – superb control. He was his side’s chief dynamo.”

Applying vision and vibrancy from defensive midfield, Bozsik often began moves before Hidgekuti took them on. That was the foundation of a 49-game unbeaten run that went all the way to the World Cup final, as well as Honved’ five league titles before the Hungarian revolution.

Ability 77
International 78
Club 70
Total 75


98. Just Fontaine

Career span 1950-62
Country France: 21 caps, 30 goals
Clubs Casablanca, Nice, Stade Reims
Position striker
Medals 4 French titles, 3 French cups

It’s astonishing to think that, on the eve of the 1958 World Cup, Fontaine was no more than a reserve for the French squad.

His most important kick, however, wasn’t even one he provided himself. Just before the tournament began, first-choice centre-forward Rene Bliard walloped the ground when he went to strike the ball, hurt his ankle and had to be sent home.

As such, Fontaine was in. And France’s best forward line for three decades was born. The Moroccan-born striker developed a seemingly telepathic relationship with Raymond Kopa, expertly finishing so many of the playmaker’s through-balls. It led to Fontaine winning the Golden Boot with a record of 13 goals, and France reaching the semi-finals.

The pity, perhaps, is that the two players only belatedly got to link up in club football. When Kopa left Stade Reims for Real Madrid in 1956, Fontaine was brought in from Nice – who had just won the French title thanks to his goals – as a relative replacement. And, although the forward would fire Reims to the league again in 1958, he couldn’t help them improve on the 1956 European Cup performance. In 1959, they lost to Real in the final again.

As one of the most prolific strikers in the game, however, Fontaine’s goals at least ensured defeat was a rare feeling.

Ability 79
International 76
Club 70
Total 75


97. Elias Figueroa

Career span 1964-82
Country Chile: 47 caps, 2 goals
Clubs Santiago Wanderers, Penarol, Internacional, Palestino, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Colo-Colo
Position centre-back
Medals 9 domestic titles (5 Brazilian state, 2 Uruguay, 1 Chile, 1 USA), 1 Chile Cup

It’s saying something that in a World Cup which featured Franz Beckenbauer, Berti Vogts, Ruud Krol, Tacisio Burgnich and Giacinto Facchetti, it was Elias Figueroa who was named Germany 1974’s best defender.

A rock of a centre-half, the Chilean combined concrete durability with calm composure. With Figueroa underpinning their team and often initiating attacks, Chile enjoyed their most sustained period of international success. Between 1966 and 1982, the country reached three World Cups and got the last four of the Copa America twice.

That saw him named South American Footballer of the Year three times and, eventually to travel the continent. Figueroa eventually won a series of titles in Brazil and Uruguay, with Internacional and Penarol respectively.

Indeed, Figueroa wasn’t just 1974’s best defender. He was one of the greatest in South American history. And, given the talent that has come out of that continent, that’s saying even more.

Ability 80
International 76
Club 69
Total 75


96. Josef Masopust

Career span 1950-70
Country Czechoslovakia: 63 caps, 10 goals
Clubs ZSJ Technomat Teplice, Dukla Prague, Crossing Molenbeek
Position midfield
Medals 8 Czechoslovak titles, 3 Czechoslovak cups

Josef Masopust had to make a correction. Because, as he checked into his Chilean hotel at the start of the 1962 World Cup, his name was grossly misspelt.

To a degree, that was understandable. Masopust wasn’t yet fully famous on his own continent, let alone South America. Like many players from communist Europe, he suffered from the regimes’ insistence on keeping the finest players under wraps. Although Masopust had initiated an era in which Dukla Prague would win eight domestic titles in 16 years and reach the 1967 European Cup semi-finals, he hadn’t yet grabbed attention. Even his sparkling performances in the nascent 1960 Nations Cup, that saw Czechoslovakia reach the last four, came without many of Europe’s marquee teams.

But it wouldn’t be long until Masopust proved he was well capable of playing in any of Europe’s marquee leagues. And no-one would ever spell his name wrong again. Particularly not in Chile, where he utterly dominated the World Cup.

Possessing exquisite technique with either foot, Masopust was a devastating dribbler. So much so that he achieved the ultimate accolade for any tricky player – he had a move named after him: ‘the Masopust slalom’.

Pele described him as “one of the greatest players I ever saw… with those explosive dribbles, he had to be Brazilian!”

But Ferenc Puskas went further. Because there was so much more to the Czechoslovakian’s game. “Masopust could do it all: win the ball, pass, dribble and break into the box. He was an outstanding player.”

And he would emphatically illustrate it in Chile. Masopust was instrumental in his country reaching the World Cup final for the second time and becoming the first European side to get to the last two outside their own continent.

And, in that final, he almost caused the ultimate shock. Masopust opened the scoring against that dynastic Brazilian team. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to win the tournament. But it was enough to cement Masopust’s status as one of the all-time greats.

Ability 81
International 79
Club 65
Total 75


95. Karl-Heinz Schnellinger

Career span 1959-75
Country West Germany: 47 caps, 1 goal
Clubs FC Koln, AC Mantova, Milan, Tennis Borussia
Position left-back, libero
Medals 1 European Cup, 2 Cup Winners Cup, 2 domestic titles (1 Germany, 1 Italy), 3 Italian Cups

Long before the Germans had solidified their football qualities to the point of becoming a stereotype, Schnellinger effectively defined the national team’s identity. Known in Italy as the “Volkswagen” for his unfailing consistency, the defender combined power with a relentless winning mentality. Indeed, even his rare goals emphasised his reliability. Although Schnellinger only scored a single goal in his 47 caps, it came in the 90th minute of the 1970 World Cup semi-final as West Germany trailed Italy 1-0.

Once the whistle blew for extra-time, some of Schnellinger’s furious Milan teammates reportedly told him “he would never return to Italy”. But such threats didn’t stop him continuing an already impressive Serie A career, as he added a further two Coppa Italias and Cup Winners Cup to his existing two medals for both trophies as well as a European Cup and a title.

Ability 78
International 73
Club 74
Total 75


94. Johnny Rep

Career span 1971-87
Country Netherlands: 42 caps, 12 goals
Clubs Ajax, Valencia, Bastia, St Etienne, PEC Zwolle, Feyenoord, Haarlem
Position forward
Medals 1 European Cup, 2 domestic titles (1 Dutch, 1 French)

Johnny Rep was never one to be intimidated by aura. On one of his first training sessions with the Ajax senior team, he had a heated argument with Johan Cruyff which saw him banished to the reserves by the so-called “players’ council” for a month.

Initially quite an emotional character, Rep blamed that very council – as well the meek manager they supposedly controlled, Stefan Kovacs – for refusing to play him ahead of the aging club stalwart, Sjaak Swart. Eventually, though, the argument that Rep’s quality put forward became too compelling. Indeed, with Kovacs refusing to go against the players despite pressure from the Ajax board, Cruyff and co had to instruct the coach to include Rep in order to save his job.

But it couldn’t be denied that the young winger brought a new dimension to Ajax’s play. Previously, both Piet Keizer and Swart had been content to loiter at the edge of the box as the rest of the attack surged through. But, with Cruyff increasingly dropping back into midfield, Rep made the kind of incisive runs inside that allowed Ajax to wreak havoc. From such moves – as well as the captain’s perfect passé – Rep became the club’s top scorer in his first full season. And one of his goals was the winner in the 1973 European Cup final against Juventus.

Even more impressively, the then 22-year-old carried that elevated form in the 1974 World Cup. Rep scored four goals en route to that famous final.

The only caveat is that period may have proved a peak for Rep himself. Thereafter, his own aura diminished somewhat too. Part of that was down to relatively poor transfer choice. Rep often joined good clubs at slightly wrong times: St Etienne in between the brilliance of the mid-70s and the magnificence of Michel Platini; Valencia while Heriberto Herrera misguided the team.

But he still became Holland’s highest ever World Cup scorer with a further three goals in 1978. And the rampaging style ensured he was always more memorable than the stats.

Ability 78
International 76
Club 72
Total 75.3


93. Daniel Passarella

Career span 1971-89
Country Argentina: 70 caps, 22 goals
Clubs Sarmiento, River Plate, Fiorentina, Inter, River Plate
Position central defender
Medals 2 World Cups, 6 Argentine titles

Intimidating, uncompromising but also exceptionally elegant. Passarella was known as ‘El Kaiser’ for his grace as much as his authoritarianism. Argentina’s 1978 World Cup-winning manager, Cesar Luis Menotti said he “had no doubts about making him captain. His professionalism and ability to influence others were remarkable”. Diego Maradona, meanwhile, described his former leader as the “best defender I’ve ever seen… and the best header of a ball too – in attack as well as defense.”

Indeed, Passarella began as many attacks as he broke up. Until Ronald Koeman, he was the most prolific nominal defender in football history. Such a fluidity helped form a vital link in Argentina’s freewheeling 1978 squad, raise River to a series of titles and allowed Passarella himself to impress in Italy. As well as on a series of opposing players throughout his career.

Ability 76
International 76
Club 74
Total 75.3


92. Marcel Desailly

Career span 1986-2006
Country France: 116 caps, 3 goals
Clubs Nantes, Marseille, Milan, Chelsea, Al-Gharafa, Qatar SC
Position central defender, midfielder
Medals 1 World Cup, 1 European Championship, 2 Champions Leagues, 3 domestic titles (2 Italy, 1 Qatar), 1 FA Cup

Zinedine Zidane may well have been head and shoulders above the rest of the French team in the 1998 World Cup final. But, as good as the playmaker went on to become, that run was not powered by his poise. Rather, it was founded on what was statistically the finest defence in World Cup history.

And its most dynamic member was Desailly. The Ghanaian-born powerhouse truly illustrated his range – in terms of both versatility and the ground he covered – as a defensive midfielder with Milan. And he emphasised his drive with the curling striker that clinched the 1994 Champions League final, as well as his second European medal in successive seasons. Despite Milan missing both Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta against Barcelona in Athens, Desailly brought his game to a new level. And, beyond that, he became one of the most assured and intimidating defenders in the world for almost a decade.

Ability 76
International 76
Club 74
Total 76.3


91. Enzo Francescoli

Career span 1980-97
Country Uruguay: 73 caps, 15 goals
Clubs Wanderers, River Plate, Racing Club Paris, Marseille, Cagliari, Torino, River Plate
Position attacking midfielder
Medals 3 Copa Americas, 1 Copa Libertadores, 1 Supercopa Sudamericana, 6 domestic titles (5 Argentine, 1 French)

One of the most elegant playmakers of all time. So much so, that Zinedine Zidane named his son after the Uruguayan.

That is perhaps explained, however, by the fact that Francescoli guided the Frenchman’s boyhood club Marseille to the 1990 Ligue Un title.

And, to a degree, the fact that was the only piece of silverware Francescoli won in Europe has somewhat affected his reputation here. But, although he only ever decorated his periods at Cagliari and Torino rather than deliver the clubs to glory, there’d no denying that Francescoli dominated many other elevated stages.

His innovation helped Uruguay end a 16-year Copa America drought in 1983 before retaining it in 1987, as well as twice driving the side into the last 16 of the World Cup. As an elder statesman in 1996, then, he guided River Plate to only the second Copa Libertadores in their history.

Ability 85
International 70
Club 70
Total 75.6



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maramu 5 pts

This is a really interesting subject for every people in love with football especially the really sophisticated way ranking has been tackled here. Even I think this topic DOES need updating, I could even imagine others rankings related to players. I think something like geatest brazilians, english, italians, ... of all time, then it could be done clubs by clubs like best united, barcelona, real, milano ... players of all time and why not a ranking position by position.


I do hope this website will live !

maramu 5 pts

Please we really need update after last season. I can't see how c.ronaldo couldn't enter the list. Pirlo probably should also. Do you shcedule an update before the end of the year ?

snakehips 5 pts

I think that the way the players have been ranked has been far more sophisticated than most other

similar attempts - taking into account many variables - including those who had no real prospect of winning the world cup.

Real efforts have been made to justify inclusion players in the final XI team + the rankings of players,

which attempts to take away the subjective view which many will have (country team/they support).

Also the compilers give rationale for why certain players did not make the team or list.

In the course of this I have been educated/learnt new things.

A contributor has persuaded me about Carlos Alberto.I favoured Cafu.

I saw the latter in action in two world cups which Brazil won.He played superbly.

If the pre-match Ronaldo event/omission hadn't happened I think he would have won three.

But Carlos Alberto - despite only playing one game - the final - in one of the two world cups he won,

was probably the better player.I am willing to accept this now after considertion.

Also further research has changed other views on players.

My only doubt is still around Neeskens being so high in rankings + in the final XI team.

Again, saw him play.He was adaptable,highly skilled - a total football player.

But - on your point, given a choice,you would have had Gerrard,Keane,Souness or Bryan Robson

- if you were picking a central midfield player in preference + you wanted to win a game.

But on the whole, agree with most choices/rankings - particuarly Maradona as No.1.

Would be so interesting to see Alex Ferguson's top 100 + final team

( an honest one - with no politics).He was around to see most of those on the list.

Would ceratinly have to give it respect.

Bobby Charlton did one - best ever XI - which is worth a look at

+ Pele named his top players (100+) - but was criticised for potentially appeasing certain countries.

Interesting he did not even include Didi - a fellow Brazilian - seen by many as best midfielder ever.

After listening to views + research of my own, I would select the following:


My final team - with rest of squad would be:



                                   Ronaldo (Brazil)     Pele


           Best                 Didi                    Mattheus          Maradona


           Facchetti          Beckenbauer    Baresi              Carlos Alberto




G -   Buffon, Casillas.

FB-  Djalma Santos (RB), Nilton Santos (LB).

CD-  Moore  Sammer.

CM - Keane Zidane

F -    Cruyff Romario DiStefano Garrincha


Standby (7) - Banks (Gk) Puskas Eusebio Messi Gerrard Hansen Dalglish.


The debate goes on! :)



NicolajThiimSchmidt 5 pts

Ronaldinho is heavily underestimated.

JGG 5 pts

 snakehips I could easily have Nílton Santos over Facchetti. By any objective (and subjective) means, he is the greatest left-back ever with considerable ease.

snakehips 5 pts

Good point.I thought Dalglish was in best 100.But maybe wrong.

With Best, probably my favourite player of all time.

There was something magical about the way he played.

But that supporting striker role has so much competition.

Pele + many others (Ronaldo/Romario - Brazil + Muller - Germany + Rush! being out + out strikers).

So difficult to compare the decades - but the discussion is the enjoyable part.


bazzie 5 pts

Its difficult to say who the best player(s) of all time are. I prefer to view the history of football as (generations). Footballers of a decade would be more accurate. For instance the fitness level, training techniques and sports medicine are different today than to what they were 60 years ago. Footballs now are more like athletics, full time professionals with diets and training schedules. 

No giggs, gerrard, cantona, dalglish berkamp in the top 100 football players of all time makes this list laughable in any case. Weah and Best could never have won or even played in the world cup so the points system is not correct. 

JGG 5 pts

My all-time squad:



1) GK: Lev Yashin (Banks)

2) RWB: Carlos Alberto Torres (Djalma Santos)

3) CB: Franz Beckenbauer (Figueroa)

4) CB: Bobby Moore (Baresi)

6) LWB: Nílton Santos (Roberto Carlos)



5) DM: Lothar Matthäus (Rijkaard)

8) CM: Johan Cruijff (Didi / Zidane)

11) AM: Diego Maradona (Platini / Zico)



7) Di Stéfano (Garrincha)

10) Pelé (Best / Eusébio) 

9) ST: Ronaldo (Müller / Puskas / Van Basten / Romário)




                      BECKENBAUER                MOORE

 C.A.TORRES                                                         N. SANTOS




                       DI STÉFANO




maramu 5 pts

 JGG Whith such a roster, I think, when you loose the ball, you are in a bad shape

snakehips 5 pts

Noticed Paul Scholes' name cropping up quite regularly in these types of polls.

Great player that he was, find it difficult to see how he would even get into Man Utd's greatest team ever

- let alone a world's greatest ever team.

As a central midfield player - Keane,Robson,Stiles + Edwards were surely in a different league.

Occasional games left-sided midfield - but he comes up against Best + Giggs.

Right-sided midfield - Ronaldo + Beckham.

Many games as a forward (supporting forward - not striker - especially early on in career

- but Law,Charlton,Cantona,Rooney,Nistleroy + Sherringham would have to be the front-runners.

Apologies,Man U fans - great player - a player's player - but not one of the greatest ever.

snakehips 5 pts

Well on last night's form (Celtic 2 - Barcelona 1), looks like the world's best current team below may have lost (most Barcelona players). Genuinely well done, Celtic.Everyone likes a David v Goliath.


Messi not unstoppable/unplayable tonight, anyway - nor the rest of the crew.See Mascherano paying centre-back as used many times before - still think he is the best holding midfielder in the world.


Ps.getting back to world's best ever - see team below, Carlos Alberto definitely scored one of the best goals ever - but his international career was fairly brief - compated to the likes of Cafu + Thuram - who both were intrinsic players (right-backs) in their world cup wining teams - Brazil + France, respectively.

No figures to hand, but both either passed or were close to 100 caps.


Think that THAT goal + the 1970 Brazil best team ever general acceptance may have obscured the fact that other players/right backs/wingbacks were actually better players - brilliant though Carlos Alberto was. Just out of interest who was the left-back in the same Brazil 1970 team?

Get my point? Can't see him on anyone's list.Comments?

JGG 5 pts

 snakehips Hi, man. The LWBs on the Brazil 1970 squad were Marco Antônio and Everaldo. Both of them were considered one of the weak links on the team, together with Felix (GK) and Brito (CB).


Regarding CARLOS ALBERTO TORRES, he is widely regarded, together with DJALMA SANTOS, as the greatest RWB of all time. No contest there, my friend. Believe me, it's not just because he was in a great team that he deserves the title (as you can tell by the obscurity of the names I mentioned above).


C. ALBERTO TORRES was included on the FIFA World Team of the 20th Century and capped Brazil 53 times, scoring 8 goals.

DJALMA SANTOS made it onto the FIFA World Cup All Time Team, played in FOUR World Cups (winning two) and capped Brazil 98 times.


Both of them hold the title for greatest RWBs ever and were named so by several institutions. There's really no dispute there. They were an essential part of their squads.


In Brazil, CAFU is generally considered the third greatest RWB. As great as he was, he wasn't as complete as the other two and still ranks behind them.

snakehips 5 pts

 JGG Genuinely interesting + good point.But that poll was back in 1998, as I understand.Cafu achieved a great deal after that.142 caps altogther  - most capped Brazilian ever + 2 world cups + Euro Cup with Milan.

He played for Brazil almost three times as many games as Alberto.

Amazing resilience + endurance - quick, reliable + dynamic. 

So difficult to compare different players from different times.

Also The FIFA team (4-3-3), as you pointed out had two rightbacks + three attacking midfield players - Cruyff, DiStefano + Platini.

I was looking for a team which would 'work' - the best 'team'.

Hence the inclusion of two primarily defensive midfield players.

Whole of FIFA team for those interested:



Alberto Santos Beckenbauer Moore

Cruyff Di Stefano Platini

Guerrincha Pele Maradona.


More opinions needed - everyone had a valid one + it is always so interesting just to see what people think - as long as it is not a list of players from the last few years who come from the club they supported.There is some great knowledge out there.Go on - prove us all wrong!:)

JGG 5 pts

 snakehips Well, a lot of what I say is from what I've heard and researched. I never saw Djalma Santos and Carlos Alberto Torres play, although my grandfather did and he assures me that they were in a league of their own. I mean, anyone who can sustain their status for so many decades has to have been an exceptional player, right?


Anyway, I was talking more about what is general agreement in Brazil amongst football critics, journalists, historians and researches rather than what I think.


Regarding Cafu having more caps than the other two, I don't think that is enough to place him ahead of them. It's not just about  how many times a player has been active. Many legendary players didn't have over 70 caps (probably most of them) and still are considered some of the greatest ever.


Anyway, in terms of who has a better resumé, the order would be 1) Djalma Santos (4 WCs disputed, 2 won), 2) Cafu and 3) Carlos Alberto Torres. But of course, Torres caused a huge impact on the game and really revolutionized the RWB position, so in terms of importance (and sheer technique), he'd be very probably number 1. In terms of sheer defensive functions, Djalma Santos would be again #1.


So, the overall impression I get is this:


Greatest Brazilian Right Backs

1) Djalma Santos/Carlos Alberto Torres

2) Cafu

3) Leandro/Nelinho


Those are the Top 5 greatest Brazilian names on the postition, with the first 3 names being the greatest of all time worldwide as well.



snakehips 5 pts

Just to clarify 'Ronaldo' as the striker in the team refers to Brazil Ronaldo

(three times world player of the year + highest ever total scorer in World Cup)

- not current Madrid/Portugal Ronaldo (who is referred to as C Ronaldo).

Despite verastility, could not find a place for Neeskens + many other top players.


Just for interest, current top world team.


                                    C Ronaldo   Messi   


                        Xavi      Alonso     Mascherano   Iniesta

                       (Bale)    (Mata)      (Busquets)    (Tevez)

                        Cole       Vidic         Pique      Ramos

                        (Alba)          (Y Toure)            (Alves)


                                        (Hart + Krul)


Rest of squad in brackets - some liberty with centrebacks as Ramos is proven there + right-back.

No traditional right winger - because Alves (Barc) could easily play there.


Anyway, minor diversion - back to the world's best EVER!

The platform/soapbox is all yours/your turn now................




snakehips 5 pts

Yes - Muller.incredible player.similar type to Romario - absolute 10/10 finishers.Just thought that Ronaldo (Brazil) was like a force of nature in his time.Like Usain Bolt now - or Jona Lomu (to use rugby(!) at his peak.Fast, massively powerful + never missed. Don't know a great deal about Larsson - presumerably not Sunderland! LOL (laughs).Seem to remember Larsson being brought in at a late stage by Ferguson (Man Utd) + winning the title.If it's the same one (popular surname)

-  he was obviously some player with a massive impact. Van Basten was great - I think everyone remember THAT goal.Retired early + never won world cup - but I guess you could say that of Best.Ronaldo above (Brazil) also seemed to lose all incentive after injuries when about 28. 

There's just so many good players. 


If playing now - like a visiting 'Harlem Globe Trotters' against all-comers,think I would have used the 2011-12 Man City formation.4-4-2: with two defensive midfield players - Dida + Mattheus.So would have had the easy (!) task of dropping one of Best,Pele,Maradona,Zidane or Ronaldo from 1st draft team.LOL. It's an endless enjoyable debate - loads of names sprang to mind after listing the team.Seeing old clips of Eusebio destroying top quality defences makes you think if he had been Brazilian, he would be everyone's 1st choice. Still think Messi + C Ronaldo have a lot to do on national stage.Maradona won with Argentina on his own.The ten other players in his side could have been picked from the crowd before the match! Messi has Tevez Aguero Collocini (Newc) Maxi Rodriguez (ex-Liv) + others of quality.Guess it's a case of getting them to play well together.On paper, on a par with Spain maybe).


Anyway,here's my final draft team:.


Final Draft Team:


                                               Ronaldo            Pele


                        Best                                                                Maradona

                                               Didi                   Mattheus        


                        Facchetti        Beckenbauer    Baresi             Cafu





G:    Buffon Casillas

FB:  Maldini Thuram

CD: Hansen Cannavaro

CM: Keane Zidane

WM:Guerrincha Cruyff

F:    Romario Eusebio


Standby: Khan Brehme Sammer Stiles Di Stefano Puskas Messi.


This team allows a more defensive start to games than the 1st draft.

Two primarily defensive central midfielders - allowing the four flair players to flourish.

Basically Man City's tactics last season (2011-12).

Mattheus was a brilliant World Cup winning captain who defended + attacked.

Like the old 'Bryan Robson' style - both ends of the pitch.

Carrying on the Man City/modern day theme, he would be Yaya Toure to Didi (Barry).


In any second half, the attacking options available - Zidane,Cruyff + co (above)

- would surely win any game.Anyway,finally happy with this team (final draft).


Congrats to providers of this fantastic list + the detail/time which has been spent compiling it.

So grateful that it shows high intelligence + has inspired some great debate/comments.

Stated at first that there was a predictable concentration on forward + midfield players.

But on Saturday,to quote again (!) Gary Neville (a defender) said that's were the best players play!


Many thanks again for the opportunity to contribute to this!

Look forward to comments/further discussion.:)










Akiak 5 pts

Very good list. Only complaints are the lack of Bergkamp, one of the most skillful players in EPL history, and Willem van Hanegem, considered by many the second best dutch player in history, better than the 3 milanistas. List could also use a couple more from Ex Yugoslavia, namely Dragan Dzajic and Milos Milutinovic.


Those who could easily be dropped are Johnny Rep, Redondo, David Villa and Eto'o.

JGG 5 pts


1) GK: Lev Yashin (Gordon Banks)

2) RWB: Carlos Alberto Torres (Djalma Santos)

3) CB: Franz Beckenbauer (Figueroa)

4) CB: Bobby Moore (Baresi)

6) LWB: Nílton Santos (Roberto Carlos)



5) DM: Lothar Matthäus (Rijkaard)

8) CM: Johan Cruijff (Zinedine Zidane)

11) AM: Diego Maradona (Platini)



7) Di Stéfano (Garrincha)

10) Pelé (Puskas) 

9) ST: Ronaldo (Van Basten / Romário)

francis 5 pts

 JGG Very good and similar to my choices although I would have Muller at No9

JGG 5 pts

 francis I respect your opinion, but wouldn't rank Muller ahead of Ronaldo at all. Not only has Ronaldo surpassed Muller as the all time WC scorer, but he was also a lot more complete as a football player and as a typical number 9 striker than Muller. Let's not forget the man was elected FIFA player of the year for 3 years. 


I'd still place Puskas, Van Basten and maybe even Romário higher than Gerd Muller.


Oh, and Zico and Didi would also make it on the bench. Forgot to include them on my squad.

francis 5 pts

 JGG Well of course it's your team but I don't think there has ever been a better  finisher than Muller, his goals stats speak for themselves.  Some of the other guys you mention were better all round players, but in such a great team you would only need someone to finish and no one was ever better in the penalty box then "Der Bomber"

Still a great team though, congrats.


Thought I should mention that Van Basten is my own personal favourite, after Henrik Larsson of course ;o)

snakehips 5 pts

Generally well thought out/justified list.

Inevitably concentration on the forwards + midfielders - percentage wise (the glory players).                How many defenders saved/won games?


Apparently Pele himself said Best was the best ever.

Nobby Stiles - World Cup + Euro Cup.

Could mark any player out of a game.


Brehme - German left back - immense + a habit of winning games with a single goal.

Di Stefano + Neeskens brilliant but too high (not World Cup Winners).


My team (with rest of traditional 23 man squad after:


                                  Ronaldo   Pele 

         Best                                                     Maradona

                                  Didi        Zidane


         Facchetti          Baresi    Beckenbauer   Cafu




G -   Buffon Khan

FB - Brehme Thuram

CB - Hansen Cannavaro

CM - Stiles Mattheus

WM- Guerrincha Cruyff

ST -  DiStefano Romario


Standby - Keane Banks Moore Eusebio Messi.


Uncomfortable leaving out -

Puskas,Carlos Alberto,Philol,Desailly,Henry,Rychard,Maldini,Carlos,Pasarella,Xavi,Iniesta,

Krol,Keane,Sammer,Davids,Casillas,Neeskens + no doubt others.


But the team has balance,flair + is attacking-minded with enough defensive options in the squad

+ plenty of room for a brilliant squad rotational system.


Anyway, pleased to make a contribution! Hope this adds to the debate!:)

francis 5 pts

 snakehips  I don't believe Pele said that about Best or if he did it was one of those leading questions the British press are so good at asking.

Like when they asked Klinsmann how he felt about getting the opportunity to play in England and he replied with "it's always been my dream", funnily enough the same answer he gave when he signed for Inter.

adamrhbrown 5 pts

 francis  snakehips Actually I believe Pele did say that once, but he does say a lot of things. However, you might be interested to know that Maradona once said it too.

francis 5 pts

 adamrhbrown  snakehips Mmmmmnnnnnn another guy talks crap. Besides I think Best is a wonderful player, just the most overated ever especially in the UK.

UsamaShakir 5 pts

where are paul scholes and ryan giggs you gotta be kiding me ..eric cantona ? bergkamp ? 

elelelelel 5 pts

my team would be:


                                                                              Lev Yashin




Carlos Alberto             Franz Beckenbauer                Franco Baresi                 Roberto Carlos






Jimmy Johnstone                                               Pele                                                           Maradona                



                                                          Zidane                      Messi



Subs: Cassilas, George Best, ronaldo, kenny dalglish, di stefano

Durbbb 5 pts

This list is garbage. The most talented player ever Ronaldinho at 39 is madness!!, C Ronaldo not even on the list yet eto'o is?! And No Clarence Seedorf?? One of the Champions leagues greatest ever players.

aDutchmenAlwaysKnowsBest 5 pts

Where is Purrel Frankel on this list???? He is a freaking legend in De Graafschap. I can not take this list too serious. Purrel Frankel belongs here.

djuasse 5 pts


The real site with the legends of the football with their biographies

biatch0r 5 pts

R9 at 18 and listing his ability at 92? He should easily be in the top 5 and have an ability of 100 considering what he's achieved with the major injuries he's managed to come back from.

Conversation from Facebook

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

It's in the reasons there Alan, in the short argument with each player.

Alan Mahmood
Alan Mahmood

why u choose maradona better than pele?

Cláudio Alegria
Cláudio Alegria

i was about to ask you what had happened to the part 2 of this series, looks like i've got good stuff to read to distract me from work today =)

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

He should be in one of the many that missed out actually. Can't argue against lifting Celtic to a Uefa Cup final and then contrbution to 2006 CL.

Michael Dore
Michael Dore

What about Henrik Larsson, believe he should have got a mention at least.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Oh yeah, haha! It's been a long week finalising the list!

Michael Dore
Michael Dore

well that went right over your heads!

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Dalglish also didn't really make it for his Celtic career

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Ultimately, Rangers players didn't quite have the European pedigree. Baxter very unlucky to miss out though

Michael Dore
Michael Dore

Jinky & Kenny make the list, no Gers again, lack of Scottish referees in Europe deprived Rangers players of playing at the highest level.

Emmet Gates
Emmet Gates

hes won more than maradona too, but he isnt half as good. by the way the lack of batistuta on your list was shocking. pound for pound has been the best striker of the last 20 years.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Have to agree to disagree on Messi I'm afraid. His ability is unreal. And his application is even better. Sure he's already achieved more - in terms of major trophies - than both Baresi and Ronaldo did!

Emmet Gates
Emmet Gates

messi is too soon, baresi should have been top ten, the man is the best defender in the history of football. messi wasnt as talented as ronaldo or baggio. he gets so much protection from referees nowadays compared to the 80s and 90s. plus he hasnt done much with argentina. olympic gold aside.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Personally, I agree on Messi. Think he'll be up there.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

Much appreciated guys!

Ciarán Coyle
Ciarán Coyle

Great list, so glad Stevie Me wasn't in it. What you wrote about his positional play is spot on, he plays football like a giddy 13 year old i.e. just follows the ball around the pitch, not the play.

Timothy Bane Mwinyella
Timothy Bane Mwinyella

Huh! Somehow in the very order I wrote. What are the odds that Messi will top the list by the time he retires? B.t.w GREAT JOB with these lists.

Football Pantheon
Football Pantheon

You'll have to click, haha!

Timothy Bane Mwinyella
Timothy Bane Mwinyella

lemme ask before i click on it? Maradona, Pele or Cruyyf?