TheSportster.com

Top 25 Greatest Soccer Players You've Never Heard Of

Pele, Beckenbauer, Maradona, Cruyff, Zidane, Ronaldo, Messi; the greatest players of all time are household names, even to those who don't follow the beautiful game, or so you might think. The truth is, some of the greatest players that the world has ever seen have been reduced to mere footnotes in the grand history of soccer. This is a great shame given that some of the players on this list changed the game forever, even inventing new positions and styles of play.

Some of these players played before the dawn of the TV and in the days before millions across the globe watched soccer from the comfort of their own home; this was a phenomenon which largely occurred around the time of the 1966 World Cup. As such, the achievements of players before that time has been forgotten to a certain extend. Other players are heroes in the places in which they played, but for one reason or another never played on a major stage, and have thus been forgotten by the rest of the world.

Of course, you may have heard of some of the players on this list. Extreme soccer aficionados may have even heard of all these players, but the vast majority will only have heard of somewhere between none and a few of the great players on this list, who all deserve to have their stories and achievements known. Here are the top 25 greatest soccer players you've never heard of:

25 Josef Bican

via myfootballfacts.com

24 Robin Friday

via getreading.com

23 Nicolae Dobrin

via adevarul.ro

22 Magico Gonzalez

via fifa.com

21 Fernando Peyroteo

imortadofutebol.com

20 Kazimierz Deyna

via gazeta.pl

19 Dondinho

via wikimedia.com

18 Cha Bum-Kun

via youtube.com

17 Zeki Riza Sporel

via ajansspor.com

16 Dragon Dzajic

via kurir.rs

15 Lee Wai Tong

via ahalftimesreport.com

14 Gigi Meroni

via lastoriasiamonoirai.com

13 Arthur Friedenreich

via doentesportfutebol.br

12 Valentino Mazzola

via altervista.org

11 Lakhdar Belloumi

via eurosport.com

10 Mario de Castro

via hubspot.com

9 Imre Schlosser

via wikimedia.org

8 Nandor Hidegkuti

Universal/TempSport/Corbis

7 Georgi Asparuhov

via elenadimitrova96.com

6 Neil Franklin

via yatetowndev.co.uk

5 Vasilis Hatzipanagis

via ahalftimesreport.com

With nicknames like 'the footballing Nureyev' and 'the Greek Maradona', it is not difficult to realize what type of player Vasilis Hatzipanagis was. A gifted attacking midfielder, Hatzipanagis danced around defenders as if they weren't there. When New York Cosmos took on a World XI in 1984, the World XI included the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Mario Kempes, Peter Shilton, and none other than one Vasilis Hatzipanagis. Born in Tashkent, Hatzipanagis' only route out of the Soviet Union was a move to Greece.

4 Paulino Alcantara

via alancantara.com

3 Jose Manuel Moreno

via fifa.com

2 Sandor Kocsis

via fifa.com

1 Matthias Sindelar

via goldengenerations.com

Matthias Sindelar is a man whose story should be heard, even by those with no interest in football. Arguably the greatest of all the pre-war players, Sindelar played the game in an era where physical prowess was thought to be paramount. Yet Sindelar, who was nicknamed the 'paperman' due to his slight build, relied purely on technical excellence and footballing intelligence. He invented the withdrawn forward role which was never played so well until Hidegkuti mastered it in the 1950s.

It is said that people didn't only watch Austria Vienna games to watch the team, but rather to watch Sindelar, and learn how the game should be played. He was the star of the Austrian 'Wunderteam' and he scored goals against the greatest national teams of his day, including Hungary, Italy and England. He refused to play for Germany after Austria was annexed and died under very mysterious circumstances soon after making the decision. The Gestapo were known to have files on Sindelar and many believe they were responsible for his death.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in Soccer

Top 25 Greatest Soccer Players You've Never Heard Of