Most Famous Soccer Players of All Time

Who are the most famous soccer players of all time? Of course, fans around the world will have different answers to that question, but certain players stand out from the crowd. Let’s look at the greatest soccer players in history.

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#1 Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has won everything there is to win when it comes to international trophies, club titles and personal accolades. The Argentine World Cup winner has a record seven Ballon d’Or awards to his name and it would not be a shock if he added to his collection before he retired.

After chalking up 672 goals and 303 assists in 778 appearances for Barcelona, Messi bagged 32 goals and 35 assists for Paris Saint-German before joining Inter Miami in 2023. Having also registered 103 goals and 56 assists in 175 games for Argentina, Messi is undoubtedly one of the most famous soccer players of all time.

#2 Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname Pele, comes in at #2 on our list of the greatest soccer players of all time. Sadly, Pele passed away in December 2022 aged 82, but he will always be remembered for his unrivalled ability.

During his illustrious playing career, the Brazilian scored 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches – a Guinness World Record. Pele is also the only player ever to win three World Cups, making it easy to understand why he was voted FIFA Player of the Century in 2000.

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#3 Cristiano Ronaldo

Boasting five Ballon d’Or awards, four European Golden Shoes, three Pichichi Trophies and a Premier League Golden Boot for good measure, Cristiano Ronaldo is unquestionably among the most famous soccer players in history.

Aged 38, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward now plays for Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr. The Portuguese megastar holds the record for most international goals (123) and international appearances (200), making it impossible to leave him off this list.

#4 Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona is widely regarded as one of the most gifted soccer players in history. The Argentine was a magician with the ball at his feet, using mesmerizing trickery, expert dribbling and unstoppable finishing to make a mockery of his opponents on a freakishly consistent basis.

After making a name for himself in his homeland, Maradona starred in Europe for Barcelona, Napoli and Sevilla. He also guided Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, picking up the tournament’s Golden Ball for his efforts.

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#5 Johan Cruyff

Few would argue that Johan Cruyff is not one of the most famous soccer players of all time. After all, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner is known as the key proponent of “Total Football” and also has a soccer trick – the Cruyff Turn – named after him.

#6 Ronaldo

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima might not be the most famous Ronaldo anymore, but he is still considered as one of the best soccer players ever. Indeed, the prolific striker won two World Cup titles with Brazil, in addition to multiple titles and awards at club level.

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#7 Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane played a key role in France’s back-to-back major tournament triumphs in 1998 and 2000, winning the World Cup before winning the European Championship. Consequently, the Real Madrid legend is viewed as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

#8 Franz Beckenbauer

Nicknamed “Der Kaiser” (The Emperor), Franz Beckenbauer is arguably the greatest defender in the history of soccer. The Bayern Munich icon won multiple Ballon d’Or awards, Bundesliga titles and European Cup trophies, as well as World Cup and European Championship titles with West Germany.

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Ben Morris
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