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Our football GOAT list ranks the legends and sparks the age-old debate. Find out who takes the crown!
Football, the beautiful game, has witnessed the rise of numerous legends who have left an indelible mark on the sport. From iconic goals to breathtaking skills, these players have enthralled fans worldwide and raised the bar of excellence in football.
In this post, we pay homage to the greatest of all time, the true football GOATs.
One such legend is Diego Maradona, whose mesmerizing dribbles and unforgettable ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 1986 World Cup made him a household name.
Maradona’s sheer skill and ability to single-handedly change the outcome of a game earned him a place among the immortals of football.
Another giant of the game is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. With an unwavering dedication to his craft and an insatiable hunger for success, Ronaldo has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is deemed possible in football.
His athleticism, goal-scoring prowess, and leadership skills have made him one of the most influential players of his generation.
Lionel Messi, too, has carved his name in the annals of football history. The diminutive Argentine maestro possesses an unmatched ability to maneuver through defenses with effortless grace and precision.
Messi’s agility and technique make him a nightmare for any opponent, and his numerous accolades speak volumes about his impact on the sport.
Football fans everywhere have debated over who is the greatest of all time. Find out who holds the title of the GOAT of football history, and why it’s well-deserved.
What I intended to do originally with this article was to rank the GOAT of football history. But I realised that it could become controversial.
As we all know, GOAT or G.O.A.T. is an acronym for ‘Greatest Of All Time’. A tag reserved for individuals deemed to be the undisputed master in their various sports.
Football Goat List
To be considered GOAT, the individual must also maintain a consistently high level of achievement.
With that in mind, what I have done now is just to list the top 10 Greatest Footballers of All Time in no particular order.
10Pelé – Brazil
Should Pelé be the number one on our Football Goat List? He is regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled “the greatest” by FIFA. In 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee and was included in the Time list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.
In 2000, Pelé was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century. He has 3 World Cup titles to his name and is Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer 3 goals ahead of Neymar on 74.
He also holds the record for the youngest ever player to win the FIFA World Cup aged 17 years and 249 days. He had 775 goals in 840 official matches in his career.
9Michel Platini – France
Platini is a former French professional footballer who played for Nancy, Saint-Étienne and Juventus throughout his club career.
Michel won the Ballon d’Or 3 times in a row (1983, 1984, 1985) and was the top scorer in Serie A for the 1983, 1984 and 1985 seasons.
The Frenchman scored 103 goals in 222 appearances for Juventus in all competitions. Internationally Platini scored 41 goals in 72 caps for France and won the UEFA European Championship in 1984 as well as the top scorer and best player of that tournament.
8George Best (1946–2005) – Northern Ireland
Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer who spent most of his club career at Manchester United where he won the Football League First Division in 1964–65 and 1966–67, the Charity Shield in 1965 and 1967 and the European Cup in 1968. George won the Ballon d’Or in 1968.
The Irishman scored 179 goals in 470 appearances for Manchester United in all competitions during his 11 years at the club. Internationally He scored 9 goals for Northern Ireland in 37 caps.
Best had a problem with Alcoholism and sadly passed away on the 25th of November 2005 due to complications from the immunosuppressive drugs he needed to take after a liver transplant in 2002.
7Alfredo Di Stéfano (1926–2014) – Spain
Alfredo Di Stéfano is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He is best known for his achievements with Real Madrid, where he won the La Liga 8 times and the European Cup 5 times as well as the Ballon d’Or in 1957 and 1959 and Super Ballon d’Or in 1989.
Di Stéfano was the Argentine Primera División top scorer in 1947, the Campeonato Profesional top scorer in 1951 and 1952, the La Liga top scorer in 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958 and 1959 and the European Cup top scorer in 1958 and 1962.
He has a club career total of 487 goals in 669 appearances with 308 of those with Los Blancos. Internationally, Alfredo initially played for Argentina in 1947 but was banned from further playing for Argentina by FIFA for account of his appearances for the Colombia XI without ever holding a Colombian passport two years earlier.
But in 1956 after he had acquired Spanish citizenship he was cleared to play for Spain and he went on to score 23 goals in 31 caps for Spain.
He passed away on 7 July 2014 at the age of 88 after suffering a heart attack 2 days before.
6Lionel Messi – Argentina
Lionel Messi is an Argentine professional footballer who plays for Paris Saint-Germain in the French Ligue 1 and captains the Argentina national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Messi played for Barcelona for 17 years before making his move to P.S.G in 2021. Lionel scored 672 goals in 778 games for Barcelona winning 34 trophies including 10 La Liga titles and 4 UEFA Champions League titles. Messi holds the record for the highest number of Ballon d’Or awards (7), the record for the highest assists in football history, the record for the highest goalscorer in La Liga and Barcelona.
He won the European Golden Shoe in 2009–10, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2016–17, 2017–18 and 2018–19, the Pichichi Trophy in 2009−10, 2011–12, 2012−13, 2016–17, 2017−18, 2018–19, 2019–20 and 2020–21 seasons.
Internationally, Messi has 86 goals in 162 appearances for Argentina. He won the Copa America in 2021 and the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball in 2014.
5Johan Cruyff (1947–2016) – Netherlands
Johan Cruyff is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of football as well as one of its best managers ever.
He played most of his club career at Ajax where he scored 273 goals in 375 appearances winning 8 Eredivisie titles, 3 European Cups, 1 European Super Cup and 5 KNVB Cups. He also has a La Liga and Copa Del Rey title to his name.
The Dutchman won the Ballon d’Or in 1971, 1973 and 1974. Internationally, Cruyff has 33 goals in 48 caps for Netherlands.
He sadly passed away on the 24th of March 2016, in a clinic in Barcelona after suffering from lung cancer which had metastasized to his brain a week before.
4Diego Maradona (1960–2020) – Argentina
Diego Maradona was an Argentine professional football player who played notably for Napoli and Barcelona.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in World football. Diego joined Barca in 1982 and won 3 trophies with Barcelona before making his move to Napoli in 1984 where he won 5 trophies including 2 Serie A and 1 UEFA Cup. He scored 115 goals in 259 appearances for Napoli and 38 goals in 58 appearances for Barcelona.
Maradona won two Ballon d’Or in 1986 and 1990 and was the Serie A top scorer for the 1987-88 season.
Internationally, he scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina and won the World Cup in 1986 scoring 5 goals and making 5 assists in that tournament including the goal against England that won goal of the century in 2002.
3Franz Beckenbauer – Germany
Franz Beckenbauer is a former German professional footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest people to ever play football.
Beckenbauer started his career at Bayern Munich and played there for 13 years winning 14 trophies including 4 Bundesliga titles, 4-DFB Pokal titles and 3 European Cups (now called the UEFA Champions League).
The former German International scored an impressive 75 goals in 584 appearances for Bayern and also won two Ballon d’Ors in 1972 and 1976.
Internationally, Franz scored 14 goals in 103 caps for Germany and won the 1974 World Cup with his side defeating Netherlands 2-1 in the final.
2Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal
Could he be the number one on our Football Goat List? Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Manchester United in the Premier League and captains the Portugal national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Ronaldo has played for notable clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus. He scored 118 goals in 292 games for Manchester United winning 9 trophies there including 3 Premier League titles and 1 UEFA Champions League title.
For Real Madrid, he scored 450 goals in 438 games winning 15 trophies including 2 La Liga titles and 4 UEFA Champions League titles. For Juventus, he scored 101 goals in 134 games winning 5 trophies including 2 Serie A titles.
Ronaldo has 5 Ballon d’Or and has won the European Golden Shoe in 2007–08, 2010–11, 2013–14 and 2014–15, the Premier League Golden Boot in 2007–08, the Pichichi Trophy in 2010–11, 2013–14 and 2014–15 and the Capocannoniere in the 2020–21 season.
Internationally, the Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer has 117 goals in 189 caps for Portugal and is also Portugal’s all-time top scorer. Cristiano won the European Championship in 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2018-19.
1Ferenc Puskás (1927–2006) – Hungary
Ferenc Puskás was a Hungarian professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Puskás played for Budapest Honvéd and Real Madrid throughout his career.
He played for Budapest Honvéd for 13 years scoring 375 goals in 356 games in the NB I league before moving to Real Madrid in 1958 and staying there for 6 years scoring 244 goals in 262 games in La Liga.
With Budapest Honvéd he won the Hungarian League 5 times, With Real Madrid, he won 10 trophies including 5 La Liga titles and 3 European Cups (now known as the UEFA Champions League).
Ferenc won the Pichichi trophy in 1959–60, 1960–61, 1962–63 and 1963–64 seasons and was also the European Cup top scorer in 1959–60 and 1963–64 seasons.
Internationally, Puskás scored an astonishing 84 goals in 85 caps for Hungary and won the Summer Olympics in 1952. He is Hungary’s highest goalscorer of all time. Ferenc Puskás died on the 17th of November 2006 of pneumonia.
Wrapping Football Goat List
That’s the Football Goat List I have for you. These football GOATs have not only entertained us on the field but have also inspired millions around the world. Their determination, work ethic, and resilience serve as a shining example for aspiring footballers. Their relentless pursuit of greatness reminds us that with passion and dedication, anything is possible.
As we celebrate the legends of football, let us cherish the memories they have given us and look forward to the future stars who will carry the torch. Let us continue to revel in the magic of the beautiful game, where dreams are made and heroes are born.
In conclusion, to you, who is the real GOAT in football, and why are they deserving of this title?
This article was updated 4 weeks ago