When a supervisor has to select between two very good players in the similar place, the Big Book of Football Cliches says we will have to at all times seek advice from this “selection headache” as a “good problem to have”.
Having weeks looking to slim down each male footballer ever into an inventory of 100, we at FourFourTwo now realise simply what nonsense this is. Selection turns into near-impossible conundrum as you realise simply what number of exceptional footballers there were, throughout continents and throughout many years.
Frankly, lets do every other record of 100 nice players to not even make the reduce. But finally, we are had to select the players we really feel had been essentially the most influential of their specific period, essentially the most memorable, the players who awed us with their ability and their achievements. In brief, the 100 best footballers ever. Feel unfastened to tell us your ideas @FourFourTwo (opens in new tab)…
100. Gheorghe Hagi
With one of the odder occupation trajectories amongst modern day greats, Hagi spent the best phase of a decade as an impossibly prolific attacking midfielder in Romania’s most sensible flight, ahead of two hit-and-miss years at Real Madrid and later a identical spell at Barcelona.
Sandwiched between his time on the two Spanish giants used to be a heartwarming two years in Italy, the place he used to be phase of Mircea Lucescu’s ‘Little Romania’ contingent at Brescia. He continued relegation in his first season however stayed dependable to the membership in spite of higher gives, and fired them again into Serie A.
Aged 30 and supposedly winding down against retirement, he joined Galatasaray, the place he spent a laughably fruitful half-decade cementing living-legend standing and hoovering up every other 10 medals.
Career spotlight: USA 94, when Romania reached the quarter-final of the World Cup (knocking out Argentina at the method), impressed by way of Hagi and his magical left foot.
99. Mario Kempes
Only 4 Argentines had been topped as most sensible scorer in La Liga, and Kempes is one of them. He used to be feared as a burly and efficient striker for Valencia, scoring at will, particularly in 1976/77 and 1977/78. Kempes additionally led the membership to a European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph in 1980.
However, he’s best recognized for his explosive finishes all through the 1978 World Cup on house soil. He nabbed six targets and used to be most sensible scorer of the event.
Career spotlight: How about scoring two targets in a World Cup last for a spotlight? Kempes netted two times in opposition to Holland, together with the all-important winner in additional time.
The child of Brazil’s ultimate World Cup-winning squad with out getting onto the pitch, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite grew up within the shadows of samba superstars ahead of emulating them on his personal trail. He gained the general Ballon d’Or ahead of the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly ruled football and dazzled along with his incredible imaginative and prescient and usually South American dribbling talents.
Milan fanatics adored him. There used to be not anything that Kaka could not do with the ball at his ft, as he danced his method thru defences and led this nice membership to summits. Injuries ravaged his time at Real Madrid however the mystique of this guy is apparent: he is merely one of essentially the most gifted footballers of the fashionable age, with iconic moments throughout his occupation.
Career spotlight: An era-defining show in opposition to Manchester United within the Champions League semi-finals, with the entire international observing. Tearing aside one of the greatest-ever England aspects singlehandedly used to be as surprising because it used to be fascinating.
97. George Weah
So a long way, Africa’s handiest Ballon d’Or recipient, George Weah is now president of Liberia. He’s at all times led from the entrance.
King George used to be a twister of a footballer and one of essentially the most exciting footballers in complete pelt ever to play the sport. He may just tackle swathes of defenders and blast previous them with electrical tempo, whilst his completing, technical skill and creativity had been all very good. He lit up Monaco, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, profitable titles and plaudits a lots to transform one of essentially the most influential and cherished African footballers ever to play the sport.
Career spotlight: A wonderful solo target in opposition to Verona through which Weah slightly gave the look of he used to be breaking a sweat whilst frolicking thru all of the opposition backline. It typified his category, bluster and horrifying particular person skill: are you aware how tricky that used to be to do in Nineties Italy?
96. Javier Zanetti
If he is not the best right-back the sector has noticed, he could have remained a world-class performer for longer than every other particular person in this record.
During 19 years at Inter, which adopted his early membership occupation in Argentina and got here amid some of the Milan aspect’s maximum risky years, he made a club-record 858 appearances and gained 16 trophies ahead of retiring elderly 40. The stamina and footballing mind that made him such an excellent full-back had been complemented by way of a technical skill that supposed he additionally later excelled in midfield.
Career spotlight: Captaining Inter to the Treble in 2010, which ended their 45-year wait to regain the European Cup.
95. Djalma Santos
Nominated by way of former team-mate and compatriot Pele in his record of the 125 best footballers, the two-time World Cup champion used to be the primary Brazilian to gather 100 global caps. He began only one sport within the 1958 World Cup however used to be nonetheless selected because the best full-back of the event. So that will have to had been some show.
Along with left-back Nilton Santos, Djalma Santos hardly ever held again, beginning the Brazilian custom of attacking defenders and offering a template for the placement’s long term.
Career spotlight: In the general of the 1962 World Cup in opposition to Czechoslovakia, Santos arrange the general target scored by way of Vava for Brazil.
94. Luis Figo
One of essentially the most idolised and despised players in historical past – even by way of the similar set of fanatics at other issues in his timeline.
Luis Figo used to be the archetype of what a Galactico must be, so it should not be a wonder that Real Madrid moved heaven, Earth and the rules of nature to obtain him. Deft, subtle and sleek, whilst succesful of unpredictability – as England discovered from his long-range stunner at Euro 2000 – Figo used to be a participant of brilliance and consistency. His 106 assists are the second-most in La Liga historical past, at the back of Lionel Messi.
Career spotlight: Landing the 2002 Champions League along his star-studded buddies in opposition to Bayern Munich. See: paying large cash to your competitors’ players works.
(*100*)93. Sandor Kocsis
Arguably the best header of a ball ever, Kocsis scored at improbable fee. He discovered the web 75 occasions in 68 video games for his nationwide aspect, profitable the Olympic event in 1952, and averaged greater than a goal-per-game in his seven seasons at Honved, profitable 3 league championship titles.
Kocsis moved to Barcelona in 1958 and gained La Liga in his first two seasons in Catalonia, even if his spell there used to be unfortunately interrupted by way of accidents.
Career spotlight: Kocsis used to be the highest scorer with 11 targets on the 1954 World Cup, the place an imposing Hungarian group must have gained the trophy, however misplaced to West Germany within the last.
92. Peter Schmeichel
Before new-fangled ways pressured goalkeepers to sprint against the midway line and behave as ersatz playmakers, Schmeichel used to be the king of the keepers, the prototypical elite-level goalie. Everything that contributed to fighting a target he had in abundance: measurement, presence, aggression and the unyielding skill to bellow his again 4 into form.
Most of all, despite the fact that, he used to be simply so exhausting to attain previous. His ‘starfish’ way become well-known and used to be accountable for numerous point-blank probabilities going inexplicably unconverted. As smartly as merely being large, his reflexes had been astoundingly fast – and now not simply as soon as a shot have been taken however ahead of, too: he’d smother the ball at a striker’s ft ahead of the participant had even realised he used to be thru on target.
Career spotlight: Hoovered up medals as a stalwart of Alex Ferguson’s first nice Manchester United aspect, however none can have supposed as a lot or been as spectacularly fantastic as his European Championship win with a impulsively assembled Denmark aspect in 1992.
91. Giacinto Facchetti
In the 1970 World Cup Final, Brazil noticed the long run. He used to be enjoying at left-back for the opposition, who O Canarinho had been busy beating 4-1 on the time.
Italy’s Giacinto Facchetti invented the fashionable full-back. Converted by way of Inter trainer Helenio Herrera from a centre-forward right into a right-footed left-back, Facchetti equipped the deep-lying attacking thrust in a defence-first catenaccio gadget which ruled Italian football from the mid-Sixties for 3 many years.
“Those who copied me copied me wrongly,” Herrera later stated of his Inter aspect. “I had Picchi as a sweeper, yes, but I also had Facchetti, the first full-back to score as many goals as a forward.”
In an 18-season occupation comprising 629 Nerazzurri appearances and 75 targets, Facchetti gained 4 Serie A titles, two European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and Euro 68 with Italy. Forget Carlos Alberto, Roberto Carlos or every other buccaneering Brazilian: that is the place the full-back as a weapon started.
Career spotlight: Being phase of the primary Italian aspect to protect the European Cup in 1965.