Best Soccer - Football Player of All Time
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Edison Arantes do Nascimento, KBE (born 23 October 1940), best known by his nickname Pelé usual is a retired Brazilian football player. While his birth certificate shows his first name as Edison, it is as Pelé that he has become a sporting legend. He is widely regarded by polls among football experts, former players and fans as the greatest footballer of all time.
In his native Brazil, Pelé is hailed as a national hero. He is known for his accomplishments and contributions to the game of football. He is also acknowledged for his vocal support of policies to improve the social conditions of the poor (when he scored his 1,000th goal he dedicated it to the poor children of Brazil). During his career, he became known as "The King of Football" (O Rei do Futebol), "The King Pelé" (O Rei Pelé) or simply "The King" (O Rei).
Spotted by football star Waldemar de Brito, Pelé began playing for Santos at 15 and his national team at 16, and won his first World Cup at 17. Despite numerous offers from European clubs, the economic conditions and Brazilian football regulations at the time benefited Santos, thus enabling them to keep Pelé for almost two decades until 1974. Pelé played as an inside forward, striker, and what later became known as the playmaker position. Pelé's technique and natural athleticism have been universally praised and during his playing years he was renowned for his excellent dribbling and passing, his pace, powerful shot, exceptional heading ability, and prolific goalscoring
Diego Armando Maradona (born 30 October 1960 in Lanús, Buenos Aires) is an Argentine former football player and the current manager of the Argentine national team. He is widely regarded as one of the best football players of all time. He finished first in an internet vote for the FIFA Player of the Century award, and he shared the award with Pelé.
Over the course of his professional club career Maradona played for Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys, setting world-record contract fees. In his international career, playing for Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. He played in four FIFA World Cup tournaments, including the 1986 World Cup where he captained Argentina and led them to their victory over West Germany in the final, winning the Golden Ball award as the tournament's best player. In that same tournament's quarter-final round he scored two goals in a 2–1 victory over England that entered football history, though for two very different reasons. The first goal was an unpenalized handball known as the "Hand of God", while the second goal was a spectacular 60-metre weave through six England players, commonly referred to as "The Goal of the Century".
Hendrik Johannes Cruijff; (born 25 April 1947 in Amsterdam), is a retired Dutch footballer and current manager. He won the Ballon d'Or three times—in 1971, 1973 and 1974, which is a record jointly held with Michel Platini and Marco van Basten. Cruyff was the most famous exponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
After his retirement from playing in 1984, Cruyff became highly successful as manager of Ajax and later Barcelona; he remains an influential advisor to both clubs. His son Jordi has also gone on to play football professionally.
In 1999, Cruyff was voted European Player of the Century in an election held by the IFFHS, and came second behind Pelé in their World Player of the Century poll. He came third in a vote organised by the French weekly magazine France Football consulting their former Ballon d'Or winners to elect their Football Player of the Century.
Franz Anton Beckenbauer (born 11 September 1945) is a legendary German football coach, manager, and former player, nicknamed Der Kaiser ("The Emperor") because of his elegant style, his leadership, his first name "Franz" (reminiscent of the Austrian emperors), and his dominance on the football pitch. He is generally regarded as the greatest German footballer of all time and one of the greatest and most decorated footballers in the history of the game.
Beckenbauer was a versatile player who started out as a midfielder but made his name as a defender. He is often credited as having invented the role of the modern sweeper or libero.
Twice selected the European Footballer of the Year, he appeared 103 times for West Germany and played in three World Cups. He lifted the World Cup trophy as captain in 1974, and repeated the feat as a manager in 1990. With the club Bayern Munich, he won three consecutive European Cups from 1974 to 1976, and the Cup Winners' Cup in 1967. Beckenbauer is the only player to captain three European Cup winning sides. He went on to become coach and president of the institution. He is also a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Sir Robert "Bobby" Charlton CBE (born 11 October 1937 in Ashington, Northumberland) is an English former professional football player who won the World Cup and was named the European Footballer of the Year in 1966. He played almost all of his club football at Manchester United, where he became renowned for his attacking instincts from midfield and his ferocious long-range shot. His elder brother Jack, who was also in the World Cup-winning team, was a former defender for Leeds United and coach.
He began to play for United's first team in 1956, and over the next two seasons gained a regular place in the team, during which time he survived the Munich air disaster of 1958. After helping United to win the Football League in 1965, he won a World Cup medal with England in 1966 and another Football League title with United the following year. In 1968, he captained the Manchester United team that won the European Cup, scoring two goals in the final to help his team be the first English side to win the competition. He has scored more goals for England and United than any other player. He had made more appearances for Manchester United than any other player (758), a record superseded by Ryan Giggs at the Champions League Final in Moscow on 21 May 2008. However, Charlton still owns the club record for most league appearances with 606, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest English players of all time.
Ferenc Puskás ( born Ferenc Purczeld Biró (German: Franz Purzfeld); 2 April 1927 – 17 November 2006) was a Hungarian footballer and manager who is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He scored a remarkable 84 goals in 85 international matches for Hungary, and 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. He was voted one of the greatest players of the 20th century by World Soccer magazine.
Puskás started his career in Hungary playing for Kispest and Budapest Honvéd. He was top scorer in the Hungarian League on four occasions, and in 1948, he was the top goal scorer in Europe. During the 1950s, he was both a prominent member and captain of the legendary Hungarian national team, known as the Mighty Magyars. In 1958, two years after the Hungarian Revolution, he emigrated to Spain where he played for the legendary Real Madrid team that also included Alfredo di Stéfano, Francisco Gento, Raymond Kopa, Héctor Rial, and José Santamaría and went on to play for Spain.
While playing with Real Madrid, Puskás won four Pichichis and scored seven goals in two European Champions Cup finals. In 1995, he was recognized as the top scorer of the 20th century by the IFFHS.
Michel François Platini (born 21 June 1955) is a French former football player, manager and current president of UEFA. Platini was a member of the French national team that won the 1984 European Championship, a tournament in which he was voted the best player and top goalscorer. He participated in the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups, reaching the semi-finals in the latter two. Platini, Alain Giresse, Luis Fernández and Jean Tigana together made up the "carré magique" (French for "magic square"), the group of midfield players that formed the heart of the French national team throughout the 1980s. He is also widely regarded as one of the best passers in football history as well as one of history's greatest free kick specialists and finishers. He holds the record for most goals (9) scored in European Championship final tournaments despite only appearing in one such tournament (1984). Despite being a midfielder, he held the national team top scorer record until striker Thierry Henry surpassed the 41 goals mark in 2007.
Gheorghe Hagi ( born February 5, 1965 in Sacele), is a former Romanian football player, born in an Aromanian family. He was famous for his passing, close control, long shots and was regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s.
Nicknamed "The Maradona of the Carpathians", he is considered a hero in his homeland as well as in Turkey. He has won his country's "Player of the Year" award six times, and is regarded as one of the best football players of the twentieth century.
He played for the Romanian national team in three World Cups in 1990, 1994 and 1998, as well as in three European Football Championships in 1984, 1996 and 2000. He won a total of 125 caps for Romania, being ranked second after Dorinel Munteanu, and scored 35 goals, being ranked first.
In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Romania by the Romanian Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years. Hagi is one of the few footballers to have played for both the Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
In March 2004, he was named among the top 125 living footballers by Pelé.
Eusébio da Silva Ferreira, GCIH, GCM ( born 25 January 1942), commonly known simply as Eusébio, is a retired Portuguese football forward of Mozambican origin. He is considered one of the best footballers of all-time,by the IFFHS. He helped the Portuguese national team reach third place at the 1966 World Cup, being the top goalscorer of the tournament with nine goals (six of which were scored at Goodison Park) and was elected the European Footballer of the Year in 1965. He played for Benfica for 15 years, and is the team's all-time top scorer.
Nicknamed "The Black Panther", or "The Black Pearl", Eusébio scored for Benfica 727 goals in 715 games. He is also known for his speed and his powerful, accurate right-footed strike. He is considered Benfica's and Portugal's most renowned player and the first world-class African striker. He was elected the 10th best footballer of the 20th century in a poll by the IFFHS. Pelé named Eusébio as one of the 125 best living footballers in his 2004 FIFA 100 list. In November 2003, to celebrate UEFA's Jubilee, he was selected as the Golden Player of Portugal by the Portuguese Football Federation as their most outstanding player of the past 50 years
Lev Ivanovich Yashin (22 October 1929 – 20 March 1990) was a Russian-Soviet football goalkeeper, considered by many to be the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the game. He was known for his superior athleticism in goal, imposing stature, amazing reflex saves and inventing the idea of goalkeeper sweeping. Yashin was voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.