Football has witnessed several great players over the 100 plus years of existence. Yet, some are so good that they define new standards of greatness. There have been only a handful of such great footballers. Here are the top five.
Lionel Messi might defy the idea of a conventional footballer playing in Europe. Growth deficiency as a child meant that the forward only stands at 5 ft 7 in. Yet, he has been able to convert this disadvantage into his biggest strength. His low centre of gravity coupled with blistering pace and skill means that it takes more than a couple of players in order to stop Messi at his brilliant best. An incredible 518 goals in 615 career appearances speaks volumes about the quality of the player.
Some may feel that Messi has not been tested enough in various leagues, but he remains as one of the top scorers in the Champions League. An incredible array of five Ballon d’Or awards coupled with numerous other individual accolades are aspects that majority of the players can only dream about. Perhaps, the only criticism of Messi may be the lack of international titles.
Cristiano Ronaldo has gone from being regarded as one of the best Portuguese footballers into the best in the world over the last five years. His incredible marketability and earning potential has not taken away his focus on the game. Ronaldo’s stupendous search for perfection has seen him score almost a goal per game over a career spanning more than a decade. In many ways, he could be the complete footballer since football betting advice expects him to score goals in almost every game. Unsurprisingly, more football advice at Oddsdigger tend to back Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or awards.
Few players managed to achieve great success with club and national team, while also managing to excel when it comes to personal statistics. Yet, Ronaldo has achieved this Holy Grail with years of hard work and dedication. His record of four Ballon d’Or awards highlight his individual performances, while he has also managed to lift the European Championship with the Portuguese national team.
Pele is widely regarded as one of the icons of the game. His achievements at club level may not be huge, as he largely spent the majority of his club career in Brazil with Santos. However, he gained his reputation as one of the greatest players in the world has ever seen by transforming Brazil into a global force. Pele represented Brazil between 1957 and 1971. He came up with an incredible 77 goals in 92 appearances, while managing to win the World Cup honour an incredible three times.
He has famously scored 1000 goals in his career, although no official record exists in order to verify the authenticity of this regard. Yet, the word ‘beautiful game’ was widely coined because of Pele. Since retiring, he has been working as the global ambassador for the game. Pele also has the nickname of being the King of Football.
Diego Maradona came to the fore after the era of Pele and quickly established himself as one of the greatest players of all time. The small physical frame of the Argentine did not prove to be a hindrance, as he managed to quickly establish himself as an untouchable entity on the field.
Over the years, Maradona has gone on to create some of the greatest goals in the history of the game while there have also been some infamous ones along the way. Unlike Pele, Maradona managed to establish himself in European football, although it was likely due to the globalisation of the game.
Maradona is known for his excellent dribbling skills, speed, vision, and ball control. A veteran of four World Cups, he managed to win the 1986 World Cup for Argentina in style. He has been crowned with various individual honours including a place in the FIFA 100 list.
Few modern players have managed to put a smile on the face of football fans like Ronaldinho. The Brazilian did not realise his full potential in terms of trophies and honours, as he managed to produce his best only for a couple of years. Yet, he transformed the way people thought about great footballers.
Even in just a handful of years, Ronaldinho managed to amass trophies like the Champions League and FIFA World Cup to display his greatness.
Yet, one of the biggest examples of Ronaldinho’s legendary quality was seen at the Santiago Bernabeu when Real Madrid fans stood up to applaud a Barcelona player. Few players would be able to receive such a recognition.
The title of being the greatest footballer is a subjective one. Yet, these names have managed to carve a special place for themselves in the history of the sport with their incredible quality.