Top 100 Soccer Players Ever – by the ‘Association of Football Statisticians’

‘Greatest Ever Footballers’ by Headline publishersNote: This is the same article I published on Soccerlens.com, which you can find here.

It’s that time of the year again. The time when a random (ok, let’s call it ‘well-respected’ if you prefer) football publication makes an “All Time Best” ranking that never fails to create controversy and offend a few people. FourFourTwo did one of those last month, this time it’s the turn of the Association of Football Statisticians’ to make its Top 100, after studying every fact and figure from the beautiful game over the past 100 years. Points are given for goals scored by forwards and clean sheets for defenders. Players also get awarded marks for trophies won, captaincy and the level they played at throughout their career.

It should come as no big surprise to see Pelé at nº1 spot (the Brazilian legend totalling 16,799.44 points), but the names and rankings further down the list are bound to raise some eyebrows. The analysis of The Sun highlights the biggest problems in English Premiership terms:

  • Manchester United legends George Best, Denis Law and Eric Cantona don’t make the top 100.
  • Ali Daei’s 109 goals in 149 games for Iran puts him at 26th – ahead of players like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho.
  • Diego Maradona is ranked only 6th.

The publishers explain to The Sun that Best misses out because he never participated in a World Cup tournament, and had a fairly short career, while Ali Daei won his place by scoring 109 goals in 149 international matches for… Iran.

The page of the ‘Daily Star’ with the Top 100 article

The Daily Star takes a look the UK players, and finds out that England’s top star is Bobby Charlton in 23rd spot, two places above Scotland’s Kenny Dalglish. David Beckham is 44th, Kevin Keegan at 46th, Gary Lineker 56th, Welsh ace Ryan Giggs 62nd, and Michael Owen 68th. Alan Shearer misses out of the top 100.

Further analysis of the ‘Best 100′ reveals that the top 3 trio is 100% Brazilian (with Ronaldo 2nd and Romario 3rd… and Cafu closing down the Auriverde block at 10th). Figo is 4th, Zidane 5th, and other big names such as Platini (13th), Maldini (15th), Zico (16th), Gullit (18th) and Cruyff (21st) are excluded from the Top 10.

The most represented nation is France (with 16 players), followed by Brazil (11), Italy and Germany (10). England totals 7, Argentina 5 (Messi not included).

Also, in terms of overall football career, the most represented European league is the Serie A. Indeed, most of the Top 100 played at one point or another in Italy: Serie A totals at least 58 players in that ranking, closely followed by La Liga (44), and the EPL (36).

Other represented leagues include the Bundesliga (22), the French Ligue 1 (22), the Dutch Eredivisie (20), and the Portuguese Superliga (5). As for South America, the Campeonato Brasileiro counts 11 players while the Argentine Apertura/Clausura only 8 (most of the Brazilian/Argentine stars obviously beginning their career back home). An interesting note is the total of 13 players who played in the MLS/USL (mostly at the end of their careers), making North America the destination of choice for footballers close to retirement.

As for the Italians, aside from the aforementioned Paolo Maldini the remaining 9 players in the list are Paolo Rossi (43rd), Alessandro Costacurta (49th), Dino Zoff (51st), Alessandro Del Piero (60th), Demetrio Albertini (64th), Giacinto Facchetti (75th), Franco Baresi (77th), Gianni Rivera (78th) and Roberto Baggio (79th).

The Top 100 is revealed in the book Greatest Ever Footballers, on sale next week by Headline publishers for £14.99 (€21.50).

Here’s the full list.

1 Pele Pelé (Brazil)
2 Ronaldo Ronaldo (Brazil)
3 Romario Romário (Brazil)
4 Figo Luís Figo (Portugal)
5 Zidane Zinedine Zidane (France)
6 Maradona Diego Maradona (Argentina)
7 Matthaus></td>  <td>Lothar Matthäus </strong></td>  <td><strong>(Germany) </strong></td>  </tr>  <tr>  <td><strong>8 </strong></td>  <td><strong><img src= Lothar Matthäus (Germany)
8 Muller Gerd Müller (Germany)
9 Beckenbauer Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
10 Cafu Cafu (Brazil)

.

11 Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
12 Marco van Basten (Holland)
13 Michel Platini (France)
14 Rivaldo (Brazil)
15 Paolo Maldini (Italy)
16 Zico (Brazil)
17 Raúl (Spain)
18 Ruud Gullit (Holland)
19 Eusébio (Portugal)
20 Ferenc Puskás (Hungary)
21 Johan Cruyff (Holland)
22 Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina)
23 Bobby Charlton (England)
24 Jürgen Klinsmann (Germany)
25 Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)
26 Ali Daei (Iran)
27 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Germany)
28 Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
29 Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
30 Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
31 Dennis Bergkamp (Holland)
32 Frank Rijkaard (Holland)
33 Thierry Henry (France)
34 Pavel Nedved (Czech Rep)
35 Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
36 Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
37 Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
38 Sepp Maier (Germany)
39 Didier Deschamps (France)
40 Lilian Thuram (France)
41 Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
42 Hakan Şükür (Turkey)
43 Paolo Rossi (Italy)
44 David Beckham (England)
45 Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
46 Kevin Keegan (England)
47 Marcel Desailly (France)
48 Oliver Kahn (Germany)
49 Alessandro Costacurta (Italy)
50 Clarence Seedorf (Holland)
51 Dino Zoff (Italy)
52 Patrick Kluivert (Holland)
53 Jari Litmanen (Finland)
54 Daniel Passarella (Argentina)
55 Bixente Lizarazu (France)
56 Gary Lineker (England)
57 Ronaldinho (Brazil)
58 Sylvain Wiltord (France)
59 Bebeto (Brazil)
60 Alessandro Del Piero (Italy)
61 Davor Šuker (Croatia)
62 Ryan Giggs (Wales)
63 David Trezeguet (France)
64 Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
65 Patrick Vieira (France)
66 Jürgen Kohler (Germany)
67 Laurent Blanc (France)
68 Michael Owen (England)
69 Youri Djorkaeff (France)
70 Frank De Boer (Holland)
71 Emilio Butragueño (Spain)
72 Hugo Sánchez (Mexico)
73 Rudi Völler (Germany)
74 Djalma Santos (Brazil)
75 Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)
76 Kanu (Nigeria)
77 Franco Baresi (Italy)
78 Gianni Rivera (Italy)
79 Roberto Baggio (Italy)
80 Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
81 Gheorghe Popescu (Romania)
82 Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark)
83 Raymond Kopa (France)
84 Carlos Valderrama (Colombia)
85 Rui Costa (Portugal)
86 Gary Neville (England)
87 Edgar Davids (Holland)
88 Claudio Taffarel (Brazil)
89 Paul Scholes (England)
90 Diego Simeone (Argentina)
91 Bryan Robson (England)
92 Roy Keane (Rep of Ireland)
93 Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
94 Henrik Larsson (Sweden)
95 Fabien Barthez (France)
96 Michael Ballack (Germany)
97 Jan Koller (Czech Rep)
98 Edwin van der Sar (Holland)
99 Robert Pirès (France)
100 Johan Neeskens (Holland)



Shopadidas.com

Posted in Soccerlens, World News |

Related Posts:

  • Top 10 English Soccer Entertainers
  • FourFourTwo’s Top 100 Soccer Players List
  • 2007 ‘Rich List’: Richest Players & Club Owners of English Premiership Soccer
  • 5 Referees for Soccer Matches… the Way of the Future?
  • L’Équipe’s Best 11 Soccer Players of 2007
  • 274 Responses to “Top 100 Soccer Players Ever – by the ‘Association of Football Statisticians’”

    1. Makaveli says:

      and dont say. “ohhh people dont know shit or they are stupid”
      because seriously. do you think all the people in the world are stupid and dont know shit about football, and you are the one who is right?!
      Think again lol!

    2. tenzin choedup says:

      for me the top soccer players are

      1) steven gerrard
      2) lampard
      3) zidane
      4) ronaldhino
      5) torres
      6) drogpa
      7) ashley cole
      8) carrighar
      9) ferdinand
      10) john terry
      11) cassilas

    3. CNLSanders says:

      Great list. Don’t quite agree with Beckham being higher than Ronaldinho.

    4. jakub fornal says:

      Dla najlepsi
      zidan
      C.ronaldo
      Ronaldinho
      figo
      maradona
      messi
      kaka
      terry
      lampard
      rooney
      ibrahimovic
      gerrard
      buffon
      casillias
      drogba
      fabregas
      arshavin
      villa
      benzema
      henry
      dani alves
      valdes
      beckham
      j.cole
      a.cole
      r.ferdinand
      vidic
      van persie
      pato
      totti
      lehmann
      torres
      eto’o
      adebayor
      owen
      cafu
      ronaldo
      pele
      i reszta znakomitych…

    5. zid says:

      pele
      maradona
      zidane
      ronaldinho
      ronaldo
      c.ronaldo
      beckham
      rooney
      t.henry
      johan cruyff

    6. Craig says:

      Rubbish this should be the top 10 players at the moment in the premier lesague ;-) :cool: :!:

      1.Rooney
      2.Fabregas
      3.Drogba
      4.Lampard
      5.Gerrard
      6.Terry
      7.Cech
      8.Ashley Cole
      9.Vermarlen
      10.Barry

      This should be the order.

    7. dandy says:

      Casillas, Kahn, Roberto Carlos, Maldini, Thuram, Daniel Alves, Xavi, Gerrard, Messi, Zidane, Ronaldo, V.Nistelrooy, Ronaldinho, Del Piero, Henry, Ballack is my top 15 of the last 10 years.

    8. dandy says:

      and the best strikes of the last 5 years ranking for me:

      1-Villa
      2-Forlan
      3-Etoo
      4-V.Nistelrooy
      5-Rooney

    9. dandy says:

      and the best players of right now
      1-Messi
      2-C.Ronaldo
      3-Rooney
      4-Villa
      5-Fabregas

    10. dandy says:

      best teams of all time

      Brazil of Pele
      Milan of Arrigo Sacchi
      Barcelona of Guardiola

    11. dandy says:

      Best spanish players of last 10 years for me

      1-Casillas
      2-Xavi
      3-Villa
      4-Raul
      5-Torres
      6-Iniesta
      7-Mendieta
      8-Puyol
      9-Baraja
      10-Morientes

    12. Daniel says:

      what a joke this list is! I can think of at least 40 players that are better than the players on this list.

    13. ipin yun says:

      best 20 of last 20 years for me

      1- cantona
      2- buffon
      3- van der sar
      4- van nistelrooy
      5- raul
      6- beckham
      7- campbell
      8- messi
      9- rooney
      10- zico
      11- xavi
      12- tevez
      13- park ji sung
      14- ronaldinho
      15- pantelic
      16- di natale
      17- pirlo
      18- ibrahimovic
      19- henry
      20- nakamura

    14. m7md says:

      lool who makes these lists wat a fail. :razz: . ronaldinho 57 :shock: maradona 6 :twisted: he should be top 2 where is messi how is figo in the top ten haha all he did was betray barca and run to inter after it.
      pele
      maradona
      ronaldo (brazil)
      ronaldinho
      c. ronaldo
      messi
      hugo sanchez
      voller
      cantona
      and btw buffon is not to be on this list because he doesnt have consistency
      plzzzzz watch the matches and old tapes b4 u write this s@#!

    15. ROGER says:

      1 PELE
      2 MARADONA (drugs and hand ball goal – make me to doubt him – Ronaldo Zidane won world cups on a fair basis for Brazil and France)
      3 ZIDANE shud b beter than Maradona but eish, its a dificult situation
      4 RONALDO (BRAZIL) – shud b beter than Maradona but eish, its a dificult situation.
      5 ROMARIO
      6 ROBERTO BAGGIO (NOT SURE BUT MY FAV ITALIAN)
      7 FIGO
      8 RONALDINHO
      9 FRANZ BECKENBAUER
      9LOTHAR MATTHAUS (NOT SURE WHO IS NUMBER 9)
      10 MICHEL PLATINI

    16. javeed soltani says:

      1 ronaldinho
      2 ronaldo (brazil)
      3 c.ronaldo
      4 messi
      5 rooney
      6 gerrad
      7 henry
      8 kaka
      9 terry
      10 david beckam

    17. javeed soltani says:

      i am javeed haidari or javeed soltani i am from afghanistan but i am playing for a football club in australia i think ronaldinho is the best player in the world.

    18. football expert says:

      i honestly think the list is correct.. but ronaldinho sud;nt even be in the list..
      Ronaldo wud be the best if he never got injured.

    19. John says:

      MARADONA
      PELE
      DI STEFFANO
      GARRINCHA
      ZICO

      nobody know about di steffano and garrincha, please.
      and
      messi, C Ronaldo, ronaldinho and all actually players are littles girls, i like Riquelme

    20. jeremy10 says:

      1. Pele (Brazil)
      2. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
      3. David Villa (Spain)
      4. Ranaldo (Brazil)
      5. Landon Donavan (USA)
      6. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
      7. KaKa (Brazil)
      8. Robiniho (Brazil)
      9. George Best (Manchester United)
      10. Xavi (Spain)
      11. Luis Figo (Portugal)
      12. Tierry Henry (France)
      13. Ranaldiniho (Brazil)
      14. Blanco (Mexico)
      15. Rivaldo (Brazil)
      16. Michael Bradly (USA)
      17. Tim Howard (USA)
      18. Zinedine Zidane (France)
      19. Paolo Rossi (Italy)
      20. Clint Dempsey (USA)

      PS: Cristiano Ranaldo is not the best in the world he is just a jerk who likes money, and i bet if he went to another team he would amedetly move to a different team because of what he’s getting paid!!!

    21. jeremy10 says:

      Yes Beckham’s a good player but he can’t stay in one place without getting in an arguement with the coach

    22. jere90 says:

      c ranaldo is horrible get over it

    23. jere90 says:

      john your an idiot who is di stefana?

    24. Trivette says:

      Wheres Fernando Torres Torres Is lke Way better Than Beckam ;-)

    25. twat says:

      jeremy10 your a fool america hasent produced any footballers worthy of being in the top 100 footballers ever let alone 4 in the top 20 u fucking mug

    26. Don says:

      Stupid list…

      Maradona should be in top spot. Pele is great but so was his team mates. Maradona is the only player who won the world cup on his own. Without him in the Argentinian team, no way they would have won. As proof, he also won the Seria A for Napoli. Indeed he is the greatest there is..

    27. TimN says:

      No George Best…ridiculous. Pele even said Best was the greatest footballer he had ever seen. 137 goals for Manchester United from 1963-1974. Watch some old videos…one of the most skilled players on the ball EVER. He used to make defenders simply look stupid.

    28. AB says:

      the list is a buulshit…

      1. Maradona
      2. Pele
      other top 15 players can be

      Romario
      Roanldinho
      Roanldo
      Messi
      c.ronaldo
      ………..

    29. Daniel says:

      Ronaldo Luis – Brazil
      Ronaldinho
      Pele
      Maradona

      These are 4 legends
      and they are the same, There all good as each – other.

    30. jameel says:

      u are fucking pig c.ronaldo messi,drogba, and pele,eto are the best

    31. GS says:

      AND WHAT ABOUT STOICHKOV?

    32. Lalit S says:

      1. Pele (Brazil)
      2. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
      3 Christiano Ronaldo
      4. Ronaldinho (Brazil)
      5. R van nistelrooy (Real Madrid)
      6. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
      7. KaKa (Brazil)
      8. Robiniho (Brazil)
      9. Marsole Salas (Manchester United)
      10.Ronaldo (Brazil)
      11. Luis Figo (Portugal)
      12. Tierry Henry (France)
      13. Ranaldiniho (Brazil)
      14.Micheal Ballack (England)
      15. Wayne Rooney (Brazil)
      16. Miroslove Klose
      17. Kaka (Brazil)
      18. Zinedine Zidane (France)
      19. Paolo Rossi (Italy)
      20. David Villa (Spain)

    33. Ad17 says:

      here’s the real top 15 list
      1-pele
      2-cryuff
      3-maradonna
      4-eusebio
      5-beckenbauer
      6-charlton
      7-Van basten
      8-platini
      9-zidane
      10-muller
      11-ronaldo(brazil)
      12-messi
      13-rijkard
      14-guilt
      15-cristiano ronaldo

      i promise you some dumb idiot will say were’s lampard and rooney and gerrard and BLAH BLAH BLAH. EVERYONE on this list is exactly were they should be. How the hell can you put cristiano ronaldo and david villa above GODS lihe eusebio and cryuff?? look up your soccer players before you make your own list. freaking ignorant idiots.
      14-

    34. BOB JO says:

      WHERE IS CRESPO? THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME

    35. Mrchen says:

      1.Pele (3 times world cup winner and 1281 goals)
      2.Ronaldo( 94 and 02 world cup winner,98 world cup golden ball,best skills ever when played in 90s)
      3.Beckenbauer(74 world cup winner,great in 66,70 and 74 world cup)
      4.Puskás (Greatest Scorer ever)
      5.Stefano (one of greatest players with Pele and Puskas before 1980)
      6.Zico (Best No10 since Pele the king)
      7.Ronaldinho (In mid-00s when he played in Barca was very close to 90s fenomeno Ronaldo of Inter Milan)
      8.Platini (Best free kicks ever)
      9.Garricha (World Cup Greatness 58 and 62 world cup winner)
      10.Gerd Müller (Greatest German scorer )

      The Top 10 is right

    36. Joshi says:

      dont judge the greatest players by personal opinion…freaky hell Gigi Buffon win 4 time goal keeper of the year…sound stupid list for me if he not including in the list…best way…we all as fan cant judge this matter…

    37. garrincha says:

      1.Pele
      2.Mane Garrincha
      3.Alfredo di Stefano
      4.Diego Maradona

    38. garrincha says:

      :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :???: :?: :!: ;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol:

    39. Coops says:

      George Best N. Ireland, by far the greatest football player in the world ever, he had donkeys around him and still made a mockery of players and teams, great players and teams at that, Pele, Maradona, Cryuff, Zidan, Platini ect great players however they had the greates players in the world around them to feed them the ball, George best well as i said he had DONKEYS, the man was a magician wizard. Example David Becham has played in the World Cup but does that fact make him a more skilful player than George Best ? the answer is no Bekham couldent tie Georges shoes. There are hundreds of great players that havent played in this tournament that would have set the world alight simply because their team as a whole wasnt good enough.

    40. Jo23x says:

      The best 10 players of the world

      1. Zinedine Zidane
      2. Pele
      3. Maradona
      4. Ronaldo
      5. Romario
      6. Bobby Charlton
      7. Frank Lampard
      8. Roberto Carlos
      9. Erik Cantona
      10.Thiery “KING”
      Henry

    41. Mrchen says:

      80s Maradona
      90s Ronaldo
      00s Ronaldinho
      10s:C.ron/Messi

      Last 40 years 1970-2010 Ronaldo phenom

    42. Red devi says:

      I agree with TimN.george best is the best player ever.like pele himself said it.and wht if he never played im the world cup .thats because he remained faithful to wales.
      Maradonna good
      pele better
      George BEST

    43. mva910 says:

      All make’s interesting reading, but anyone who has the stupidity to pick Beckham or any modern English player is a idiot and knows little about football.
      The best I’ve seen
      Pele, goal scoring ability and creative skill, 3 world cups
      Garincha, pure skill 2 world cups
      Cruyff, master of controlling a game
      Maradona, ability to do the incredible
      Romario,scoring machine walk’s the ball into the net
      Zidane 3 times world player of the year
      Gerd Muller goal scoring machine
      Zico goal scoring machine
      Ronaldo
      Messi
      Matheaus
      Figo
      Rivaldo
      Falcao
      Ronaldinho
      Socrates
      Tostao
      Revelino
      Beckenbauer
      Van basten
      Nedved
      Cafu
      Sanchez
      Baggio
      Zanetti
      Kempas
      Almao
      Hagi
      Stoickhov
      Passerella
      Siemone
      Careca
      Davids
      Seedorf
      Battistuta
      Boban
      Suker

    44. TimN says:

      1. George Best (N. Ireland)
      2. Pele (Brazil)
      3. Garrincha (Brazil)
      4. Diego Maradona (Argentina)
      5. Johan Cruyff (Holland)
      6. Ronaldo (Brazil)
      7. Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
      8. Michel Platini (France)
      9. Gerd Muller (Germany)
      10. Roberto Baggio (Italy)

      Remember folks, we’re talking about the greatest EVER, not your favorite modern player…Ronaldo is the only modern player that I see belonging on at least the top 10.

    45. BIG JOBS says:

      a list that contains Scholes & G Neville but no Johnny Barnes? hahahahahahahaha joke!

    46. wessel says:

      you are all foregetting about Gaston Taument definately the best attacker from the past 10 years and certainly better than messi, maradonna or ronaldo

    47. wessel says:

      and who is the weirdo putting the usa guys in?

    48. wessel says:

      Kahn

      carlos cafu thuram maldini

      c.ronaldo zidane nedved ronaldinho

      Ronaldo messi

      Will win all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      (Taument was sick)

    49. wessel says:

      and george best would definately not appear to be all that you might take him for if you would place him in any mayor team anno 2010

    50. WhoKnows says:

      Guys Please mind the real talent and skills rather the nationality of a player or the nationa league where he played.

      1-Maradona (simply the best in every skill)
      2-Pelè(simply great)
      3-Cruyff (simply the modern football)
      4-Zidane (simply better ball touch ever..after Maradona)
      4-Baggio(simply genial and elegant)
      5-Platini (elegant as anyone else)
      6-Di Stefano (legend 1)
      7-Puskas (legend 2)
      8-Ronaldo (simply the best speed and progression)
      9-Muller (great scorer)
      10-Messi (simply the best today)