Football has been at the centre of considerable attention and acclaim since its rise in the early 20th century. The sport has more than four billion fans across the globe, a fanbase that surpasses that of all others combined. In football‘s history, there have been hundreds of star players that have left their mark on the game. Therefore, compiling a list of the best of the best is undeniably a daunting task. Nonetheless, there are athletes in this field that have eaten up the spotlight at the peak of their careers, making them resounding names in football. As a fan, not everyone might make the cut for you, but here are those that do for most:

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is described as a demi-god when it comes to football with a prolific resume that puts every player to shame. Messi has eclipsed every footballer that ever held the title of the greatest of all time with his frighteningly good skills. The Argentine star plays with such technical and artistic agility, which makes him the most talented and commanding forces we are lucky to witness on the pitch. Messi broke into the football world at the young age of seventeen and has since worked on every aspect of his game to make him a true master. Even his penalties that were questionable at one point have grown to become a tremendous highlight in his career along with his ball-passing superb. Even in his relative decline after a good run in his peak years, this legend still has angels singing in his quads and calves. 

Lionel Messi boasts numerous awards including seven La Liga Player of the Year, six Ballon d’Or, five European Golden Shoes, La Liga All-Time Top Goal Scorer, and Most Scored Goals in a Calendar Year. Also, he’s a big fan of online slots. His favorite game is eye of horus slot, which he plays in order to relax.


No word encapsulates Pele’s role in football history as accurately as “important” does. In a world where players compete to be the greatest of all time, Pele holds the title of the most important of all time. As a matter of fact, no argument would be raised if one said he is still the greatest footballer to have ever lived. As a young seventeen-year-old boy-wonder from Brazil, Pele was commanding the field with a resilience that was far ahead of his time, and his skills only became common among other players decades later. At the time of his peak (1958-1964), only a handful of footballers could reenact the same genius skills that have remained hallmark foot-works in the game today. Pele remains the first and only player to have led his team to three world cups, which is an accolade even Messi can’t brag.

Diego Maradona

Natural talent and an aggressive drive to win sent Diego Maradona right to the top of football fame during his peak between 1985 and 1990. This dangerously explosive player showed a form in the 1986 World Cup event that set a standard yet to be achieved by any player in the history of the game. At his time, Diego had it all. He joined the SSC Napoli and transformed the team into one of the best the European league had ever seen. This achievement is only the tip on the iceberg, which goes to explain why he is considered a god in his native land of Argentina.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristian Ronaldo is the only other current player alongside Messi on this list to be labelled among the most celebrated footballers. CR7, as he is popularly known, is nothing short of dominant in both the pitch and business world. Cristiano has had a few shortcomings in the entertainment world, but his playing prowess has managed to transform them into tools to elevate his legacy. Although Messi is considered an admirable athlete, he still ranks behind Cristiano as the most popular and marketable player in not only football but the entire sports industry. The star is especially famous for his superhuman jumps that have resulted in the most extraordinary headers in history.


This smiling assassin is often tagged as ‘the original Ronaldo’ to avoid confusion with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Brazilian player earned the nickname “The Phenomenon” during his peak between 1995 and 1998, and for good reasons. His explosive nature as the perfect forward made him so feared that no one wanted to be isolated with him in a one-on-one battle for the ball. Ronaldo claimed two Ballon d’Or trophies in his career and was the youngest footballer to receive FIFA World Player of the Year at only twenty years old. He is also recognised as the highest World Cup scorer after sending fifteen balls to the back of the net in the 2006 games.

Johan Cruyff

Johan Cruyff had his start in the sports realm with baseball at the age of ten before changing to football when he was fifteen. The firecracker was recognised as a promising player as he cruised through three consecutive European League wins. Cruyff’s potential shone to reveal his pure genius in the 1974 World Cup games. In football, it is considered nearly impossible to invent not only a new skill move but also one that sticks around to become part of modern football; Cruyff did both. The star created what is today known as the Cruyff turn, which is an evasive manoeuvre that left most of his opponents on the ground looking like clowns.

Johan is best associated with Barcelona, a club he joined after the World Cup and led them to their first league win in more than a decade. He later became a legendary coach for the same team and continued in his inventive fits. As a coach, Cruyff is best-known for the “Controlled Chaos’ gameplay approach that now sits as the centrepiece of his football era. Johan Cruyff is still regarded as the perfect specimen of a football player since he backed his God-given talent with mastered tactics that have helped generations of footballers after him.


On the list of most celebrated football players, there are other honourable mentions including Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, and Ronaldinho. These players earn their place among legendary athletes for varying contributions to the sport.