The debate about the greatest player of all time always splinters off into sub-debates. For instance, do you base it purely on players you have seen? What about the fact that Messi hasn’t really won anything with Argentina? Well, we are putting those debates to one side to bring you our best players of all time list. In reverse order
If you were to look at the stats for Maldini it says that he averaged a tackle every other game. Which you might think is awful for a defender. The fact is that when you read the game as he did you didn’t need to tackle. Maldini remains one of the greatest defenders to have graced the game.
Northern Ireland’s greatest ever player (sorry Keith Gillespie). Man Utd’s darling may never have really got the opportunity to dazzle on the international stage but at club level, he won everything as part of the “Busby Babes”. On his day he was unplayable, and that was most days.
Starting as a forward, then a winger before virtually inventing the sweeper position. To this day nobody has done it better than Beckenbauer. Two-time world cup and one-time European cup winner with Germany. World player of the year twice and a host of achievements at club level. Undeniably one of the greatest of all time.
As influential as they come. Cruyff had a remarkable play style and is one of the most decorated footballers in history. Especially at club level where his records at Ajax and Barcelona are exemplary. He took his influence into his coaching career as well where he built dynamic and exciting teams. The inventor of the Cruyff turn a true innovator!
The French Maestro is another on the list that has had a massive influence as a coach. Managing Real Madrid to winning the Champions League on 3 occasions. As a player his touch was unrivalled and he controlled games like no other. Zizou also had a canny eye for the goal averaging roughly a goal every third game for France.
Controversially appearing lower on the list than his rival CR7! Messi is arguably one of the most naturally gifted players of all time. He is magic on the ball and his goalscoring record in La Liga for Barcelona is unbelievable. At club level, his accolades are too numerous to mention.
Not quite as naturally gifted as Messi. But Ronaldo makes up for it in the effort. Arguably one of the greatest athletes in the game. CR7 makes it ahead of Messi by having comparable league stats for Real but having carried a mediocre Portugal side to success in the European Championship. The mark of a true great.
Yes, he is controversial. But there are few with the mastery shown by the Argentine. In England we remember the “hand of god goal” but often forget the other goal he scored against us. Arguably one of the best individual goals ever as he made England look average.
The three-time world cup winner is basically football royalty. What he could do on the ball, for his time, was just a different class. He had an insane scoring record for Brazil. Netting 77 times in just 99 games and his club career was equally fruitful with him plundering 650 goals in less than 700 appearances.
The original Ronaldo. Much is made over whether Messi would cope outside of Spain. Ronaldo thrived everywhere he went. Holland, Spain, Italy. Like Pele he was naturally gifted, divine touch, speed, strength. He was the complete striker and therefore beats his fellow Brazillian to the number one spot.