The topic of the G.O.A.T of football is an all-time debate. Since the inception of the game, fans have speculated the topic, arranging and rearranging the hierarchy with every generation.
There are three factors that contribute to making a football player the greatest of all- ability, length of career and contribution to the sport. The football players who tick all these boxes are termed as the greatest footballers of all time.
Favourite players might change from time to time but there is nothing that can replace the below listed brilliant, outstanding and greatest footballers of all time.
The Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho is one of the best football players of all time with a shining career in the mid-2000s. He was twice titled FIFA World Player of the Year. One of the best footballers ever, Ronaldinho steered Barcelona to a couple of league titles and a Champions League victory in the five seasons he was associated with the team. What made him a great football player is how he made even the difficult and unimaginable goals look easy. The smile that Ronaldinho wore while playing the ball was impressive and showcased that he loved playing the sport above winning it.
Portugal-born Cristiano Ronaldo is not only one of the best football players of all time, but also the world’s first and only billionaire football player. He’s set enough records in his career to fill a book until now and he isn’t close to being finished yet. Cristiano Ronaldo in his spell-binding career is an all-time top scorer, has bagged the Golden Boot and the Golden shoes and is now after winning the Serie A record. He is amongst the few recorded players to have made over 1,000 professional career appearances and has scored over 780 senior career goals for club and country. Cristiano Ronaldo’s discipline towards the sport, mental strength and focus is what makes him one of the best footballers ever and stand apart from the rest.
The top scorer in La Liga history, Lionel Messi is one of the best footballers of all time. A productive goalscorer and creative gameplayer, he has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards and European Golden Shoes. Lionel Messi led Barcelona to achieve their first treble in Spanish football back in the 2008-09 season. He has elevated goalscoring to a new level, enhancing the method of judging whether a striker is productive or not. His consistency in performance, astonishing goals tally and versatility make him one of the top football players of all time. Lionel Messi is the leading brand endorser of the sportswear organisation Adidas and the world’s highest-paid athlete according to the Forbes list 2019.
Diego Maradona can be rightly described as a never-seen-before talent in football. One of the best footballers of all time, he scored 385 goals in 680 games from attacking midfield. An advanced playmaker, Diego Maradona set the world record transfer fee twice- In 1982 and 1984. He was the torchbearer of greatness in football for Napoli and also the victory for Argentina in the 1986 World Cup. One of the top football players of all time, Diego Maradona was well-known for his amazing dribbling skills, unique and clinical goalscoring and accurate passing and crossing. His nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy") stuck with him throughout his career.
The French former football player Michel Platini was nicknamed ‘Le Roi’ (The King) for his ability and leadership. One of the best football players of all time, he was an attacking midfielder with 353 goals in 652 games. Michel Platini was the record goalscorer of France until 2007 and holds the record for most goals scored in the European Championship. His ruthless goalscoring combined with flawless passing ability makes him one of the best footballers ever. After his retirement as a player, Michel Platini coached the France national team for four years and was the co-organizer of the 1998 World Cup in France.
Zinedine Zidane fondly referred to as Zizou, scored 159 goals in 789 games as a midfielder. One of the best footballers ever, he performed the best in challenging matches, showcasing a skill a few sportsmen possess. Zinedine Zidane won the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 European Championships with France. He brought victory in three league titles and one European Cup to Juventus and Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane’s vision, passing, ball control and technique made him one of the best football players of all time. After his retirement, he brought the same expertise and knowledge to coaching. Currently, Zinedine Zidane is the manager of La Liga club Real Madrid and is one of the most successful managers in the world.
Being a sweeper did not constrict one of the best footballers of all time, Franz Beckenbauer, from scoring 111 goals in 776 appearances for Germany and Bayern Munich. Nicknamed ‘Der Kaiser’ (The Emperor), he never had a fixed position on the pitch and would be seen all over the field, ruling the game. Franz Beckenbauer was the ultimate captain with his elegant game style, dominance and leadership on the field. His dribbling, passing and all-round technical ability made him one of the top football players of all time. He is one of the three men to have won the World Cup as a player and as a manager.
Johan Cruyff was a perfect blend of Zinedine Zidane and George Best as a football player. An advocate of Total Football, he is one of the best footballers of all time. A prolific goalscorer, Johan Cruyff scored 401 goals in 710 appearances from attacking midfield. His style of play and football philosophy is an inspiration to many football players and managers alike. Johan Cruyff was unmatched in his skill, clinical ability, control and strength, making him one of the top football players of all time.