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Top 20 Soccer Players Ever

Since soccer is the world’s most popular sport there have literally been millions of players who have kicked a ball over the years. This makes the choosing of the 20 best soccer players ever a difficult task. Before the invention of the internet and YouTube, fans either had to watch their heroes in action live by showing up at the stadium or by tuning in to their local TV channels once or twice a week. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of existing film footage of some of the former greats and younger supporters will never be able to witness their magic.

Along with the rest of the world, the game itself has also changed over the course of time. Instead of seeing five forwards lined up on the pitch along with a trio of midfielders and two defenders in a 2-3-5 formation, many fans are now subject to defensive tactics and formations such as 4-5-1. In fact, there have even been occasions when managers didn’t even bother to play one single forward. The offensive way of thinking generally led to more goals and scoring chances in past decades and that’s why most of the world’s top players are known for their scoring exploits. Of course, the goaltenders saw a lot more shots in that bygone era and some of them stood out for their extraordinary agility while pulling off the most remarkable saves.

Just four of the top 20 players are still active and two of the list are goaltenders. There are three Brazilian and German players along with two each from Argentina, England, France, Germany and Portugal. There is also one player from each of Holland, Hungary, Italy, Northern Ireland, the Soviet Union and Spain.

20 Lev Yashin - Soviet Union

via tumblr.com

19 Gordon Banks - England

via tumblr.com

18 George Best - Northern Ireland

via youtube.com

17 Zico - Brazil

via La Presse

16 Xavi Hernandez - Spain

via beinsports.tv

15 Bobby Charlton - England

via eurosport.com

14 Ferenc Puskas - Hungary

via biography.com

13 Michel Platini - France

via themalaysianinsider.com

12 Zinedine Zidane - France

via sportskeeda.com

11 Alfredo Di Stefano - Italy

via toptenscentral.com

10 Lothar Matthaus - Germany

Allsport UK /Allsport

9 Johan Cruyff - Holland

via theguardian.co.uk

8 Franz Beckenbauer - Germany

via esquire.co.uk

7 Ronaldo - Brazil

AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

6 Eusebio - Portugal

via sportskeeda.com

5 Gerd Muller - Germany

via thesundaytimes.co.uk

4 Diego Maradona - Argentina

via yahoo.com

3 Lionel Messi-Argentina

via latinpost.com

2 Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

1 Pele - Brazil

via radioeverdade.com

Since Pele was born in October of 1940, his brilliance will be lost on most of today’s younger fans. However, most people who saw him play regard the Brazilian named Edson Arantes do Nascimento to be the best player to ever lace up a pair of football boots. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) voted Pele as the player of the century. He played professionally between 1956 and 1977 with Santos and the New York Cosmos and helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970. This makes him the only player in history to play for three World Cup winners. Pele scored a reported 1,281 goals during his career with 77 of them coming in 91 games for Brazil.

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Top 20 Soccer Players Ever