Who is the Best Football Player in the World? Top 20 Players of All Time

These players are currently among the best in the world, and they all have unique skills and qualities that set them apart from their peers.

Home / Betting Basics / Who is the Best Football Player in the World? Top 20 Players of All Time

Table of Contents

The World’s Best Football Players

Football, the beautiful game, is one of the most popular sports on the planet. It has been played in some form or another for centuries but only in modern times has it truly become a global phenomenon. Football is watched and enjoyed by millions around the world, with players from all corners of the globe competing at an elite level to be crowned ‘The Best Player in The World’. But who currently holds that crown? Who are considered to be among the greatest footballers of all time? This article takes a look at twenty of these legendary players, past and present, to gauge who might be considered as ‘the best player in the football world’.

Criteria for Determining the Best Football Player in the World

Technical Skills (Dribbling, Passing, Shooting)

When considering who might be the best football player in the world, some of the most important criteria is technical skill and ability. This technical ability includes dribbling, passing, shooting from different ranges and with both feet as well as ball-control and agility. All players listed have mastered these skills to a high degree and are considered amongst the best in this regard.

Tactical Awareness (Positioning, Decision-Making)

Tactical acumen is also highly valued when it comes to evaluating a player’s quality. This includes positioning, decision-making and being able to take into account the bigger picture when it comes to team tactics. All players on the list have been considered as some of the finest tacticians in the history of world football.

Physical Attributes (Speed, Strength, Stamina)

Physical attributes are also important, and all the players listed have been noted for their speed, strength and stamina. Being able to combine these physical elements with technical skill and tactical acumen is a hallmark of the best players in the world.

Achievements and Awards (Individual and Team)

Of course, achievements and awards are also considered when making the list. This includes individual and team honors as well win trophies such as personal awards such as Ballon d’Or or FIFA World Player of The Year. All players listed have won some kind of award for their performance at a club or international level.

Top 10 Best Football Players of All Time

Each of these players has left a unique impact on the game of football. Pelé set the standard for attacking play with his speed, skill, and goal-scoring ability. Maradona dazzled football fans everywhere with his incredible close control and creativity, while also leading Argentina to World Cup glory. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the sport in the 21st century with their incredible individual talents and ability to consistently score goals. Cruyff revolutionized football with his Total Football style of play, while Zidane was a master of the midfield with his incredible vision and control. Beckenbauer was a commanding leader on the pitch, while Ronaldo was a prolific goal-scorer who thrilled fans with his incredible speed and skill. Platini was a creative force in midfield, leading Juventus and France to multiple titles, and Best remains a true icon of the sport despite his personal struggles off the pitch.


Considered by many as the greatest player in football history, Pelé won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He scored over 1,000 goals in his career, including a hat-trick in the 1970 World Cup finals. Pelé was known for his incredible speed, agility, and powerful shot.

Pele the football Legend

Diego Maradona

Maradona is widely regarded as one of the most skillful players to ever grace the football pitch. He led Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986, scoring the infamous “Hand of God” goal against England and the “Goal of the Century” against Belgium in the same tournament. Maradona was a master dribbler, with incredible close control and a knack for creating chances.

Diego-Maradona-football legend

Lionel Messi

The former Barcelona captain and Argentina national team player, is a 7-time Ballon d’Or winner and widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. He has won numerous domestic and international titles with Barcelona, including four Champions League titles. Messi’s incredible dribbling skills, close control, and goal-scoring ability make him a constant threat on the pitch.

Lionel Messi wallpaper

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards and numerous domestic and international titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. He is known for his incredible athleticism, powerful shot, and ability to score from almost any position on the pitch. Ronaldo has also scored a record-breaking 134 goals in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo the richiest footballer

Johan Cruyff

A Dutch legend, Cruyff revolutionized football with his Total Football style of play. He won three Ballon d’Or awards and led Ajax and Barcelona to multiple domestic and international titles. Cruyff’s ability to read the game and dictate play made him a true genius on the pitch.


Zinedine Zidane

Zidane was a master of the midfield, with incredible vision, control, and passing ability. He led France to World Cup glory in 1998, scoring two goals in the final against Brazil. Zidane also won numerous domestic and international titles with Juventus and Real Madrid, including three Champions League titles as a coach.

Zinedine Zidane vs. Bayer Leverkusen 2002

Franz Beckenbauer

Known as “The Kaiser,” Beckenbauer was a commanding center-back for Bayern Munich and the West Germany national team. He won three European Cups with Bayern and led West Germany to World Cup glory in 1974, scoring in the final against the Netherlands. Beckenbauer was known for his elegance on the ball, tactical awareness, and leadership.

Franz Beckenbauer FC Bayern München Fußballer des Jahres 1976


The Brazilian Ronaldo, or “El Fenomeno,” was a prolific goal-scorer and one of the most exciting players of his generation. He won two World Cups with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, scoring eight goals in the latter tournament. Ronaldo’s incredible speed, skill, and finishing ability made him a constant threat to opposing defenses.


Michel Platini

Platini was a creative midfielder for Juventus and the French national team. He won three Ballon d’Or awards and led Juventus to numerous domestic and international titles. Platini also led France to victory in the 1984 European Championships, scoring nine goals in the tournament.


George Best

Best was a Northern Irish winger who played for Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. He won two football league titles and a European Cup with Manchester United, and was known for his incredible dribbling skills and ability to score spectacular goals. Best was also notorious for his off-field antics, which often overshadowed his brilliance on the pitch. Despite his personal struggles, Best remains one of the most talented footballers of all time.


These players have all had their share of memorable moments and achievements on the field. From Pelé’s hat-trick in the 1970 World Cup final to Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal against England, these players have left an indelible mark on football history. Messi and Ronaldo have both broken numerous records with their incredible goal-scoring ability, while Cruyff’s Total Football style of play is still studied and admired by coaches around the world. Zidane’s goals in the 1998 World Cup final and his incredible volley in the 2002 Champions League final are among the most iconic moments in football history. Beckenbauer’s leadership and tactical awareness were crucial to Germany’s World Cup victory in 1974, while Ronaldo’s eight goals in the 2002 World Cup helped lead Brazil to the title. Platini’s nine goals in the 1984 European Championships remain a record to this day, and Best’s incredible dribbling skills and ability to score spectacular goals continue to inspire fans and players alike.

Current Best Football Players in the World

Criteria for Selection

The selection of the best players is not a simple task. Various criteria are considered to ensure a comprehensive and accurate evaluation. The following factors were taken into account:

Short-Term FormAssessment of recent performances
Long-Term PerformanceEvaluation of sustained excellence
Trophies WonSuccess at club and international level
Strength of LeaguesCompetitiveness of the player’s league
Individual StatisticsGoals, assists, clean sheets, etc.
Overall Impact on the GameLeadership, tactical awareness, inspiration

Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham, currently playing for Real Madrid, has quickly established himself as one of the best young football players in the world. At such a tender age, Bellingham has already showcased immense talent and potential, making a significant impact on both the domestic and international stages.

Known for his exceptional all-round abilities, Bellingham possesses a physical presence that allows him to dominate midfield battles. His ball-carrying skills and precision passing contribute to his team’s attacking prowess, while his defensive capabilities make him a formidable opponent.

As a rising star in the football world, Bellingham has captured the attention of fans, coaches, and pundits alike. His performances have drawn comparisons to some of the game’s greatest players, and his potential for future stardom is unquestionable.

Key Attributes of Jude Bellingham:

  • Physical Presence: With an imposing physique, Bellingham possesses the strength and agility to outmuscle opponents and win crucial duels.
  • Ball-Carrying Skills: Bellingham’s ability to dribble past defenders with ease enables him to create scoring opportunities and generate excitement on the pitch.
  • Precision Passing: His exceptional vision and accuracy in passing allow Bellingham to dictate play, create openings, and set up his teammates for success.
  • Potential Future Star: At such a young age, Bellingham’s trajectory indicates that he has the potential to become one of the brightest stars in the football world. His talent, work ethic, and determination set the stage for a highly successful career.

In the next section, we will explore the achievements and skills of another exceptional player, Luka Modric, who continues to shine on the football stage with his timeless talent and midfield brilliance.


Luka Modric

Luka Modric, a veteran player for Real Madrid, is an experienced player and a midfield maestro. Despite his age, Modric continues to exhibit timeless talent on the pitch. Known for his exceptional skills, football intelligence, and impeccable control, Modric is a force to be reckoned with in midfield.

Modric’s vision and passing ability are second to none, allowing him to orchestrate the team’s play and set the tempo in midfield. His contributions to the game go beyond statistics, as he consistently displays leadership and a deep understanding of the game. Modric’s presence on the field is instrumental in driving Real Madrid’s success and inspiring his teammates.


Vinicius Junior

Vinicius Junior, a young talent for Real Madrid, possesses a remarkable combination of pace and skill that has already made a significant impact on the field. At such a young age, Vinicius has shown immense potential and flashes of brilliance, leaving defenders in awe of his explosive speed and quick feet. His ability to control the ball with finesse makes him a formidable opponent, capable of causing havoc in the opponent’s defense.

With his exceptional talent and promising future, Vinicius Junior is undoubtedly on the path to becoming a star in the football world. His performances for Real Madrid have garnered attention globally, leaving fans and pundits excited for what lies ahead.

StrengthsPotential Areas of Improvement
Explosive pace
Quick feet and agilityExceptional ball control
Consistency in finishing
Decision-making in key momentsDefensive awareness

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski, a prolific goal scorer and striker, has cemented his position as one of the world’s best football players. Currently playing for Barcelona, Lewandowski possesses the remarkable ability to consistently find the back of the net, leaving opposing defenses helpless.

With his lethal finishing and intelligent movement off the ball, Lewandowski terrorizes defenders and poses a constant threat in front of goal. His goal-scoring prowess is unmatched, as he has proven time and again that he has the ability to change the course of a match single-handedly.

In addition to his remarkable goal-scoring ability, Lewandowski also possesses exceptional leadership qualities. His presence on the pitch inspires his teammates and instills fear in his opponents.

As one of the best strikers in the world, Robert Lewandowski’s impact on the game cannot be underestimated. His performances continue to captivate audiences and solidify his status as one of the greatest football players of our time.

Robert Lewandowski

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland, currently playing for Manchester City, is a young talent who has taken the football world by storm with his extraordinary goal-scoring abilities. His physical presence, lightning-fast speed, and clinical finishing make him a nightmare for defenders. Haaland’s record-breaking performances and consistent goal-scoring form have solidified his reputation as a goal-scoring machine.

Physical PresenceHaaland’s imposing physical stature gives him an advantage in aerial duels and makes it difficult for defenders to dispossess him.
SpeedHaaland’s lightning-fast pace allows him to exploit spaces and outpace defenders, creating scoring opportunities.
Clinical FinishingHaaland’s ability to finish chances with precision and composure is exceptional, making him a reliable source of goals.

Haaland’s performances have garnered attention from top clubs around the world, and his potential for further growth and success is undeniable. As a young talent with a relentless hunger for goals, Haaland has positioned himself as one of the top football players to watch in 2023 and beyond.


Harry Kane

Harry Kane, a prolific goal scorer and versatile attacker, has established himself as one of the most lethal players in the world. With pinpoint accuracy and incredible finishing abilities, Kane consistently finds the back of the net, making him a constant threat for opposing defenses.

Versatility and Attack:

Kane’s versatility as an attacker sets him apart from others in his position. He has the ability to play as a lone striker, as well as drop deep and contribute to the build-up play. This dynamic style of play allows Kane to adapt to different game situations and impact the game in various ways.

Leadership and Teamwork:

Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Kane is also known for his exceptional leadership qualities and teamwork. He leads by example on and off the pitch, rallying his teammates and driving them to success. Kane’s ability to create scoring opportunities for his teammates and work cohesively with the team make him a valuable asset on any field.

This comprehensive player analysis highlights Harry Kane’s exceptional goal-scoring abilities, versatility as an attacker, and his leadership qualities. His contributions to the game have cemented his place among the world’s best players.

Harry Kane’s AttributesDescription
Prolific Goal ScorerKane has an exceptional ability to find the back of the net consistently, with incredible accuracy and precision.
Versatile AttackerHe can excel in various attacking positions, adapting his style to different game situations.
LeadershipKane possesses exceptional leadership qualities, inspiring and motivating his teammates on and off the pitch.
TeamworkHe is known for his ability to work cohesively with his teammates, creating scoring opportunities for others.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne, an influential player for Manchester City, is widely regarded as one of the best playmakers in the game. His exceptional vision, passing ability, and creativity on the field consistently create scoring opportunities for his teammates. De Bruyne’s all-around skills and ability to control the game make him one of the top midfielders in the world.

Kevin De Bruyne’s Key Attributes:

  • Vision: De Bruyne possesses an extraordinary ability to anticipate opportunities and make accurate passes, often setting his teammates up for scoring chances.
  • Passing Ability: His pinpoint precision and range of passing allow him to create space and break through opposition defenses.
  • Creativity on the Field: De Bruyne’s ability to think outside the box and execute innovative plays has become one of his trademarks.

Kevin De Bruyne’s Passing Ability Stats:

SeasonAssistsPass Completion Rate (%)

De Bruyne’s impressive passing ability is reflected in his consistent assist numbers and high pass completion rate, highlighting his impact on the team’s attacking play.

Kevin De Bruyne football player

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe, a star player for PSG, has impressed the world with his incredible speed, agility, and goal-scoring ability. His performances on the international stage, including his World Cup heroics, have solidified his status as one of the best football players in the world. Mbappe’s electrifying skills and potential for even greater success make him a fan favorite.

Kylian Mbappe the footballer

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, now playing for Al Nassr, is widely regarded as an iconic player and one of the greatest football players of all time. With numerous individual accolades and a remarkable goal-scoring record, Ronaldo has left an indelible mark on the game.

Despite his age, Ronaldo continues to defy expectations and perform at a high level, showcasing his incredible athleticism and relentless desire to win. His longevity in the game is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and passion for football.

Ronaldo’s goal-scoring ability is unparalleled, and he has consistently proven himself as one of the most prolific scorers in football history. His technical skills, agility, and aerial prowess make him a constant threat to opposing defenses.

Throughout his career, Ronaldo has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. He has won numerous league titles, domestic cups, and prestigious international tournaments.

Off the field, Ronaldo’s influence extends beyond football. He is known for his philanthropic efforts and his commitment to making a positive impact on society.

In summary, Cristiano Ronaldo’s status as an iconic player is well-deserved. His goal-scoring recordlongevity in the game, and overall contribution to football cement his place among the greatest players of all time.



These players are currently among the best in the world, and they all have unique skills and qualities that set them apart from their peers. Each of them has achieved remarkable success at both club and international level, proving that they are capable of playing at the highest levels. However, while it is difficult to definitively decide who is the best footballer in the world, these players certainly deserve recognition for their incredible accomplishments.

No matter how one looks at it, there are many great footballers around today and throughout history who have made an immense impact on the sport. From Pele’s trickery in the 1970 World Cup final to Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal against England and Ronaldo’s eight goals in the 2002 World Cup, these moments have all inspired generations of footballers and fans alike. Ultimately, it is impossible to choose a single greatest footballer of all time — but the players on this list can certainly be regarded as some of the best the sport has ever seen.

lottabet banner 728x90

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is currently considered the best football player in the world?

Lionel Messi is currently considered the best football player in the world. Messi’s exceptional skills, including his dribbling ability, vision, and scoring prowess, have earned him this recognition. He has consistently performed at a high level for his club and country, contributing significantly to their success.

What makes a football player the “best” in the world?

The best football players in the world possess a combination of physical and technical skills, as well as tactical knowledge. They also have great vision, composure, and decision-making abilities that allow them to make effective decisions on the pitch. Additionally, they often have strong mental toughness and a winning mentality that helps them stay focused and motivated throughout their careers.

Who are some of the top contenders for the title of best football player of all time?

Some of the top contenders for the title of best footballer of all time include Pele, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Johan Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho. All of these players have achieved remarkable success at both club and international level, making them some of the most iconic footballers in history.

What are some of the most important individual awards that football players can win?

The Ballon d’Or is widely considered to be the most prestigious individual award in football. Other important awards include the Fifa World Player of the Year, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, Premier League Golden Boot and Playmaker Awards, Zamora Trophy and Pichichi Trophy.

Can a player be considered the best in the world without having won a major international tournament?

Yes, a player can still be considered the best in the world without having won a major international tournament. Many of the greatest players in history never had the chance to compete for international honours and were instead judged on their performances at football club level. Examples include George Best, Alfredo Di Stefano and Michel Platini who are all widely regarded as some of the greatest footballers ever.

How do the best football players in the world compare in terms of their statistics (goals scored, assists, etc.)?

The best football players in the world tend to have impressive goalscoring and assist-making records. For example, Lionel Messi has scored 668 goals and assisted 285 more in 751 appearances for Barcelona, while Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 770 goals and provided 222 assists in 974 appearances for various clubs. Additionally, Pele scored a total of 1281 goals throughout his career with Santos and the Brazilian national team, making him one of the highest goalscorers ever.

Is it fair to compare players from different eras when determining who is the best football player of all time?

Yes, it is fair to compare players from different eras when determining who is the best football player of all time. While certain factors such as tactics and technological advancements have changed over time, the fundamentals of the game remain largely unchanged. As such, it is possible to accurately assess a player’s ability relative to their peers in other generations.

Who is the No 1 player in football history?

Determining the “No 1 player in football history” is subjective and varies based on personal opinions. Legends like Pelé, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo are often part of the conversation.

Who is better, Messi or Pele?

Comparing Messi and Pelé is subjective, as they played in different eras and styles of football. Both are football legends with unique skills. Preferences vary, and opinions on who is “better” depend on individual perspectives.

Who is the best player in the world, Messi or Ronaldo?

The debate between Messi and Ronaldo as the best player in the world is ongoing. Both players have achieved incredible success and have distinct playing styles. Personal preferences and team allegiances often influence opinions on who is the “best.”

Rudra Chanda