TOP 5: Greatest Footballers Of All Time

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Top 5: Greatest footballers of all time. 

Now, I’m sure we are gonna have a fight about this list. So, I have my gloves on and my karate outfit ready. And just to inform you, I have a black belt. Gucci black belt I mean. But we can do this the peaceful way – I name my top five, and then you have a chance to name yours in the comment section. Don’t take it personally if your favorite soccer star isn’t listed… remember, it’s a list comprising the greatest of all time and not the greatest in the Chinese League. It was hard to come up with this list per the caliber of talents I had to consider. But a decider in the selection process was partly based on trophies and awards. 

So, here we go… 

  1. Zinedine’Zizou’  Zidane: 

If you had a chance to watch the 1998 World Cup, you are sure to remember the phenomenon called – Zidane. Hands down for this bald genius. He was an ace attacking midfielder and partly one of the key reasons France won the World Cup in 1998. And even as a coach, this guy is killing it. The stats are here to prove why he made top five: 

  • FIFA World Cup: Winner (1998) 
  • FIFA Ballon d’Or – Winner (1998) 
  • Best Player in Europe: Winner (2002) 
  • Champions League – Won with Real Madrid in the 01/02 season. 

Zidane has won about 23 trophies and awards… For a full list, Click here 

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo: 

Did a Real Madrid fan just insult me ‘cos I made C. Ronaldo number 4? Remember I have a black belt.  

Oh, only a few footballers can still be rocking the game of soccer this hard at 33, and Cristiano Ronaldo is the best of them all. It’s hard to talk about football for the last 10 years without talking about ‘Christy’ as some call him.  And he’s also prolly the only player who comes close to being the kind of business-brand David Beckham was. His good looks, fantastic skills and social-media-fueled beef with Lionel Messi has made him a household name that we may never forget in this generation. 


  • FIFA Ballon d’Or:  Winner (2008, 2013, 2014, 2016, 20017) 
  • Best Player in Europe: Winner (2008, 2014, 2016, 2017) 
  • Champions League: Winner (2008, 2014, 2016, 2017) 

This guy is probably the most decorated footballer in the history of soccer. For a list of all trophies and awards, click here 

  1. Lionel Messi: 

Every now and then, we find that golden child that was born to play a particular sport. For Basket Ball, it was Jordan, for Swimming, it is Michael Phelps. Although I’m not a big fan of Lionel Messi and honestly think that C. Ronaldo should be higher than him on this list per the amount of trophies won, I cannot dispute genius when I see it in someone. This young man was born to play soccer. Many will say he should be number one on this list without any contest. NO. Until he wins the world cup, you cannot tag him the greatest footballer of all time. Save your anger, don’t bother, ‘cos I really don’t care what you think… This is my list.  


  • FIFA Ballon d’Or: Winner (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015) 
  • Best Player in Europe: Winner (2009, 2011, 2015) 
  • Champions League: Winner (2006, 2009, 2011, 2015) 

For a list of all trophies won by Messi, Click here 

  1. Diego Maradona: 

Maradona has inspired many of the greatest football talents we have seen in the last 20-25 years. He was a phenomenon to watch and an exciting gift to soccer. Having been the poster boy of soccer for a long time, we remember his feats on the pitch; the great goals, dribbles, solid stamina and some form of deceits too – remember the hand of god? That was a famous goal that sent England packing in the 1986 World Cup, and Maradona scored it with his hand. Annoying.  


  • World Cup: Winner (1986) 

For a full list of trophies and awards, click here 

  1. Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento also known as Pele has to be one of the most prolific goal scorers of all time. He scored 1281 goals in 1363 games. And no matter how you feel about his style of play, I think he deserves the number one spot for many reasons, the major reason being that out of everyone that made this list, Pele is the only one to have won the World Cup three times.


  • FIFA World Cup: Winner (41958, 1962, 1970)
  • For a list of all trophies won by Pele: Click here 

This has been an age-old question in the minds of many soccer lovers… Who is greatest footballer of all time? Well, I answered the question without breaking a sweat. Thank me later. Kudos to all the exceptional footballers like Ronaldo De Lima, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Luis Figo, Eden Hazzard (tongue out) etc. You have a list? Tell me your top 5 in the comments section.

Richard Oti is a creative writer, poet and blogger.

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