Naming the ten best soccer players of all time is an inhuman task, as there will always be those contrasting your opinion.
However, courtesy of soccer news site FootballToday.com we have decided to trim the list down to a distinguished group of players who were/are too hot to handle at their peaks.
Without further ado, let’s cut to the chase.
#10 Paolo Maldini
In the era of overpaid, error-prone defenders such as Harry Maguire and Matthijs de Ligt, a player of Paolo Maldini’s qualities would probably cost $1 billion.
The man, the myth, the beast, there are so many superlatives you can use to describe one of the most elegant, yet toughest defenders to get past of all time.
With his ability to cover almost every position at the back and consistency week in, week out, Maldini is one of the best defensive players ever to have laced up a pair of boots.
The AC Milan icon made the job of keeping some of the world’s best-ever forwards at bay look simple.
#9 Michel Platini
Let’s just for a moment forget about the epic scandal surrounding Michel Platini’s controversial reign as the UEFA president and focus on his playing career.
At his peak powers, the Frenchman is arguably the most prolific scorer among midfielders of all time.
During his trophy-laden spell at Juventus in Serie A, Platini made light work of facing some of the best defenders ever to win three Golden Boot awards in a row.
Meanwhile, he played a prominent role in navigating France to their first-ever major football success by netting nine goals in a mere five matches at the 1984 UEFA European Championships.
Unfortunately, Ronaldo’s name is so synonymous with injuries and off-field controversies. But no one can deny R9 was a generational talent with all potential in the world to become the greatest of all time.
If it wasn’t for all of those nasty knee injuries, Luis Nazario de Lima could have made the top of this list, and please, dare to challenge it.
An elegancy, coupled with a blistering pace, dazzling dribbling skills and killer instincts in front of goal, was on course of making Ronaldo the most-complete striker to ever grace the game.
As a multi-functional striker, Ronaldo rebranded the centre-forward role on his own accord, setting the benchmark high for future generations.
#7 Franz Beckenbauer
Despite making his name as a centre-back, Franz Beckenbauer is perhaps the best all-around player in the history of the game, with his class and style of play stretching well beyond defensive realms.
Known as Der Kaiser, Beckenbauer was not only a superb defender and athlete but also a true leader on the pitch and a prolific goalscorer.
The legendary German captain is also one of only two defenders ever to win the Ballon d’Or, but he is the only one to do it twice.
Beckenbauer guided West Germany to European Championships and World Cup glory in 1972 and 1974, respectively.
He also led Bayern Munich to three European Cup triumphs, becoming the first player to make that feat as a captain of his side in the process.
#6 Johan Cruyff
Samba soccer stars like Mane Garrincha and Ronaldinho used to dazzle the world with quick feet and eye-catching dribbling skills, but to invent his own trade move, well it takes something special.
But who other than Dutch forward-cum-playmaker Johan Cruyff made sure to go down in the history books as one of the most evergreen figures in every sense of the phrase.
The epitome of the ‘Total Football’ era, Cruyff, made the aesthetic and results co-exist in a perfect symbiosis en route to earning a Godlike status in his native Netherlands.
For younger generations who may be unfamiliar with the Dutchman’s brilliance, better go on YouTube and type in ‘Cruyff turn.’
#5 Zinedine Zidane
Headbutting your opponent (Marco Materazzi) may not be the best way to highlight your farewell appearance.
However, that is how Zinedine Zidane chose to wave goodbye to the game he gave so much throughout an utterly impressive career.
When it comes to a playmaker, there is not much more one could have asked from Zizou in his prime, which was, truth to be told, his entire playing career.
The Champions League-winning half-volley against Bayer Leverkusen in 2001/02 aside, it is enough to take a glance at Zidane’s performance against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup to grasp his masterclass.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a polarising figure, depending on which side of the spectrum of liking him one stands, but no one can deny his career achievements.
Whether you like him or not, the Portuguese superstar has scored more goals than anyone else in the game’s history, winning everything except for the World Cup in the process.
Just try to name a player, other than Lionel Messi obviously, to have won five Ballon d’Or awards and inspired so many athletes, let alone ordinary people.
Manchester United fans have got to witness Ronaldo’s greatness again this season, and even though he is already 36, they can tell you he is still a one-man army.
Not many names are as synonymous with greatness as is one and only Edson Arantes do Nascimento Pele.
Bursting onto the scene as a 17-year-old teenager, Pele would go on to make 211 million Brazilian people proud and establish his native country as the soccer nation.
He was an integral part of the Selecao squad to win three World Cup titles, including back-to-back crowns in 1958 and 1962.
Pele carries the title as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century for a good reason as there will never be anyone like him ever again.
#2 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is a definition of the GOAT. And Twitter trolls arguing his status as the greatest of all time, please just hit a pause button for a second to consider this.
La Pulga was the architect of the most successful Barcelona generation of all time, taking La Liga and the rest of Europe by storm to earn a resounding seven Ballon d’Or awards.
Although he is not as prolific as Cristiano (by the tiniest of margins), Messi is playing the game like no one else.
The way he reads the game and dances his way past defenders is a work of art, something no one would even dare to question.
Messi is, indeed, something else, a God-blessed magician walking among the mortals.
#1 Diego Armando Maradona
Perhaps the only difference between Messi and great Diego Armando Maradona is that the latter led Argentina to their only World Cup title.
Yet, it is fair to admit Maradona did it almost single-handedly, in a way no one before or after him had and will.
But perhaps his World Cup success with La Albiceleste is not the only factor that has brought this wonderful player to the very top of this list.
In July 1984, Maradona joined Napoli, a downtrodden team, and turned them into the best side in arguably the toughest European league at the time.
His outstanding displays on the south coast of Italy made Maradona a God in Naples, a unique figure worshiped by the entire city even now, a year after his tragic death.