If you were to go down a list of famous soccer players, you would be reading all day. Every nation has had its fair share of great soccer players – even nations like America where soccer isn’t even a top-four sport. Players like Landon Donovan stand out in a big way. So, let’s speak about five of the greatest legends to ever grace the field. You can rank them if you want; these are in no particular order.
FIVE OF THE GREAT SOCCER LEGENDS EVER
Considered by most to be the greatest soccer player ever, Pele was the original one-named wonder. Pele was a three time World Cup champion (1958, ’62, ’70) and has a very impressive record of 760 official goals scored. He also won multiple championships with Santos, and his handles were impeccable. Unlike a lot of prima donna athletes of today, Pele was also considered a true teammate, playing a very unselfish brand of soccer.
Playing in the generation after Pele, Maradona was the player most likened to the Brazilian legend. Diego Armando Maradona is an Argentinean player who is considered amongst the greatest ball handlers in the game’s long history. In 1986, he hit the famous “Hand of God” goal in the World Cup, and also had two Series A titles to his credit in 1987 and ’90 respectively.
Three: Michel Platini
Michel Platini ended up being an odd journeyman of sorts, winning consistently with St-Etienne, Nancy and Jeventus, and even winning the Euro Championship in 1984 with France and the following Euro Cup with Jeventus. Platini wasn’t a scoring machine, but when it came to passing, the game has never seen better. He was like a point guard out there, making improbable assists on the regular.
Four: Johan Cruyff
Europeans probably recognize this name, as Johan is considered to be Europe’s version of Pele. A complete player, from his goal-scoring abilities to his passing and defense, Cruyff was a loud-mouthed, Ali-type of sorts who excelled in his 1960s and ’70s runs with Ajax and Barcelona. Johan was also a multi-position player, able to do well no matter his position on the pitch.
Five: Lionel Messi
Was the best saved for last? That’s your call. But we did save the most current player for last. Lionel Messi is still playing today at an incredibly high level, and most experts agree that he will eventually surpass Pele in the minds of most as the greatest player ever, if he manages to keep this same level of play up. At only 17 years old, Messi hit his first career goal, and in 2012, he shattered the single season goal mark by scoring 91. At only 27, this FC Barcelona player has many years ahead.
Is there a great player we left off the list? Somebody you feel should earn a mention here? It’s a subjective task, to be sure. With so many great players, it’s almost impossible to narrow the field to five. And the best part: More great players will keep rising through the ranks. You will notice that there are no USA players included here. Soccer just isn’t a priority in the United States. While Americans love watching soccer events and participating in legal soccer betting, they are not as devoted to playing. It is primarily