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Top 10 Most Famous Football Players of All Times

Updated on August 14, 2019
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The MAS is a driven individual having the right capabilities to learn and educate by writing through experiences and knowledge.


In history, there are various references to prehistoric and traditional ball games that were played in different parts of the world. A lot of them transitioned into one of the most popularized games of sports today that may include Cricket, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Golf, Hockey, Tennis, Volleyball and most popularly Football amongst many others. The sport of Football is also known as soccer in some countries. One variation usually popular in the United States is known as the gridiron football while another variation includes Rugby. These various forms of football are known as football codes.

Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the categorization of these games at English public schools during the 19th century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the 19th century, distinct regional codes were already developing in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the 20th century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.

Association Football

The main focus of this article would be association football. Football is one of the oldest and most recognized sports in the world. The Football World Cup is the pinnacle of this international game. Following are some of other major tournaments:

  • The Euro Championships.
  • Copa America.
  • African Cup of Nations.

While domestically, amongst many other, some of the strongest leagues in the world consist of:

  • The English Premier League.
  • Spain’s La Liga.
  • The Italian Serie A.
  • Germany’s Bundesliga.

A Team = 11 Players (1 goalkeeper & 10 outfield players).

Aim of the sport = To score more goals then your opponent.

Playing Time = 90 minutes (split up into two halves of 45 minutes with a 15 minute rest period called half time).

The List

I made this list of top ten football players based on the knowledge that I have as a fan of how they have impacted the world with amazing athleticism and tremendous display of talent, regardless of any other ratings or rankings. I acknowledge that many football greats could be added to the list.

Here is my list of the ten of the most famous and (arguably) the greatest football players from the past and present that have graced the field with their abilities and entertained audiences around the world while winning millions of hearts through their talents.

01. Pelé

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Full Name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento.

D.O.B: 23 October 1940.

Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in).

Playing Position: Forward / Attacking midfielder.

National Team: Brazil.

Brief: Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was elected as the Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, he is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games.

02. Diego Maradona

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Full Name: Diego Armando Maradona.

D.O.B: 30 October 1960.

Height: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in).

Playing Position: Attacking midfielder / Second striker.

National Team: Argentina.

Brief: Dubbed as “El Pibe de Oro (meaning The Golden Boy)”, Maradona has earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals and played in four FIFA World Cups in his international career while leading his team in winning the 1986 edition of the FIFA World Cup. He is also regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.

03. David Beckham

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Full Name: David Robert Joseph Beckham.

D.O.B: 02 May 1975.

Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m).

Playing Position: Midfielder.

National Team: England.

Brief: Beckham is the first Englishman to win league titles in four countries (England, Spain, United States & France) and has been hailed as one of the greatest midfielders of all times. He won 19 major trophies during an illustrious career spanning for over two decades. In the year 2013, he was listed as the highest-paid player in the world.

04. Cristiano Ronaldo

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Full Name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.

D.O.B: 05 February 1985.

Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in).

Playing Position: Forward.

National Team: Portugal.

Brief: Ronaldo is a prolific goal scorer who has scored over 700 senior career goals for club and country. He also holds the records for most goals scored in the UEFA Champions League (i.e. 126) and the UEFA European Championship (9), as well as those for most assists in the Champions League (44) and the European Championship (6). He was ranked world's highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017. As of 2019, he is also the most followed user on Instagram with over 173 million followers.

05. Lionel Messi

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Full Name: Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini.

D.O.B: 24 June 1987.

Height: 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in).

Playing Position: Forward.

National Team: Argentina.

Brief: Messi has a record-tying 5 Ballon d'Or awards and a record 6 European Golden Shoes. He has also won a Barcelona club-record 34 trophies and 10 La Liga titles, 4 UEFA Champions League titles and 6 Copas del Rey. He also holds the Guinness World Record as top goal scorer for club and country in a calendar year (i.e. 91 goals in the year 2012) and is the only player to win more than one FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball.

Did you know?

FIFA is a series of association football video games or football simulator released annually by EA Sports that have sold or shipped at least 260 million copies worldwide making it one of the best-selling video game franchises ever.

06. Neymar

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Full Name: Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior.

D.O.B: 05 February 1992.

Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in).

Playing Position: Forward.

National Team: Brazil.

Brief: Neymar is the 3rd highest goal scorer for Brazil scoring 60 goals in 97 matches. At the 2016 Summer Olympics, he captained his national team to their first Olympic gold medal in men's football. Being regarded as one of the most prominent athletes in the world, he was listed by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world in the year 2017. He has also won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

07. Ronaldinho

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Full Name: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira.

D.O.B: 21 March 1980.

Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in).

Playing Position: Attacking midfielder / Forward.

National Team: Brazil.

Brief: Renowned for his technical skills and creativity, Ronaldinho has played 97 matches for his national team while scoring 33 goals and representing Brazil in 2 FIFA World Cups. He was included in the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFA World XI thrice, also named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year in the year 2006 and the South American Footballer of the Year in the year 2013.

08. Wayne Rooney

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Full Name: Wayne Mark Rooney.

D.O.B: 24 October 1985.

Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m).

Playing Position: Forward / Attacking midfielder.

National Team: England.

Brief: Rooney is the record goal scorer for the England national team and for Manchester United. He has won the England Player of the Year award 4 times (i.e. in 2008, 2009, 2014 & 2015). In his international career, he has scored 53 goals in 120 international caps while at club level, he has won every honor available in English, European, and Continental football except for the UEFA Super Cup.

09. Zinedine Zidane

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Full Name: Zinedine Yazid Zidane.

D.O.B: 23 June 1972.

Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in).

Playing Position: Attacking midfielder.

National Team: France.

Brief: Zidane has been regarded as an elegant & visionary ball controller due to his excellent technique. Being capped 108 times by France, he has won the 1998 edition of the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2000 making him a national hero in France from where he retired as the 4th most capped player in France history. He has also won the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball award in the year 2006.

10. Mohamed Salah

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Full Name: Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly.

D.O.B: 15 June 1992.

Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in).

Playing Position: Forward.

National Team: Egypt.

Brief: Mohamed Salah is known for his speed, finishing and dribbling skills. He is Egypt's all-time highest scorer in FIFA World Cup history as well. His record-breaking performances have helped him receive a number of accolades, including the PFA Players' Player of the Year, the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Fans' Player of the Year awards. Salah also came third in the 2018 Best FIFA Men's Player award.


The sport of football had amateur origins and evolved into the modern professional competition before association football became world's most popular sport. It has a worth of USD 600 billion worldwide. With this rich history spanning for over a century now, it is played by over 250 million players in over 200 countries today as millions of people regularly go to football stadiums to follow their favorite football teams, while billions more watch the sport on television or on the internet. Football has the highest global television audience in all of sports.

With this the article concludes. Thanks for reading.


Who is your all time favorite football player?

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© 2019 Muhammad Ali


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