Football was created many centuries ago, but the greatest players of the game were only produced in the 20th and 21st centuries.

There have been too many world-class talents in football - and by choosing just ten, many amazing footballers will be left out.

So here's a long honorable mentions list to some of the greatest footballers ever:

Lionel Messi 


Cristiano Ronaldo 

George Best 

Ferenc Puskas 

Sir Bobby Charlton 

Enzo Francescoli 

Franco Baresi

Michel Platini 

Marco Van Basten


Oliver Kahn 

Roberto Baggio 

Ryan Giggs 


Francisco Gento 


Paolo Maldini 

10. Lev Yashin | Dynamo Moscow and Soviet Union 

Yashin is considered the greatest goalkeeper of all time. He was nicknamed the 'Black Spider' as he was so agile in goal. Yashin made over 150 penalty saves in his incredible career, also claiming 270 clean-sheets. He has also scored once for Dynamo Moscow.

9. Alfredo Di Stefano | River Plate, Millonarios, Real Madrid etc. 

Di Stefano was one of the most versatile forwards ever. He sometimes slipped into a midfield role adding depth to Real Madrid when he was at the club.

Di Stefano's stint at Madrid coincided with the greatest period in their history as they went on to win many European titles, as Di Stefano pulled the strings and finished moves. 513 career goals is not a bad tally for a versatile forward.

8. Gerd Muller | 1861 Nordlingen, Bayern Munich, FLS and West Germany

The greatest international goalscorer of all time, Muller averaged more than a goal per game for the Germans. His club career was nothing short of spectacular too, as he shined at Bayern. Muller ended his illustrious career with 723 goals, a tally many strikers can only dream of. 

7. Bobby Moore | West Ham, Fulham and England 

Moore was arguably one of the greatest defenders ever and Pele described him as the hardest defender to get past. Moore captained England to a rare World Cup triumph in 1966 and he also earned legendary status at West Ham, scoring 24 goals there. He was the European Footballer of the Year runner-up in 1970. 

6. Eusebio | Sporting De Lourenco Marques, Benfica, Portugal etc.

Eusebio was the most lethal club striker of all time. He averaged more than a goal per game for many seasons at Benfica as he paved his way to legendary status. He won the Footballer of the Year award in 1965 and with 626 career goals Eusebio was the best player Portugal ever produced.

5. Franz Beckenbauer | Bayern Munich, New York Cosmos and West Germany

Beckenbauer was one of the most inspirational footballers ever. He led by example and could manage and play at the same time. He had a good goalscoring record for a defender and secured 22 trophies in his career. He won the Ballon d'Or twice in his great career. 

4. Zinedine Zidane | Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid and France

Hailed as one of the greatest midfielders ever, Zidane's dribbling and passing were better than any other footballer of his time. He may not have been the most prolific goalscorer but he was innovative in his style of play and he had a magical presence on the pitch.

He led France, Real Madrid and Juventus to many trophies and his goal in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen was one of the best ever. A three-time winner of the Ballon d'Or and a three-time runner-up for the award, Zidane is one of the greatest players of all time.

3. Johan Cruyff | Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands etc.

Cruyff was one of the greatest and smartest players to grace the game. His tactical mindset made him a step above his opponents and he was very versatile, too. The creator of Total Football, Cruyff was a fairly prolific goalscorer and scored many high-quality goals.

He transformed Barcelona helping them become the team they are today and he also won 24 trophies as a player. A three-time winner of the Ballon d'Or, and with 401 goals to his name from midfield, Cruyff was better than most footballers.

2. Diego Maradona | Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Argentina etc.

Maradona is hailed by many as the greatest ever but finishes as runners up in this list. His personal life had its flaws but on the pitch he could do things one can only dream of.

As an  attacking midfielder, Maradona scored quite a few, also leading Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986. The number 10 was retired by Napoli for Maradona's incredible contribution to their development.

Maradona also scored arguably the greatest goal of all time, when he dribbled past almost all the England players before scoring a sublime goal in the 1986 World Cup finals.

1. Pele | Santos, New York Cosmos and Brazil

Many say he wasn't tested in a tougher league but even if he were to be in a tougher league he'd have excelled as much as he did in Brazil.

Sometimes an attacking midfielder and other times a forward, Pele was the greatest goalscorer ever and I doubt anyone will score as many goals as he did.

He led Brazil to three World Cup triumphs and is also their all-time top scorer. With 1229 career goals, will there ever be a player who could score as many goals as Pele? Very doubtful.

He won trophies, he scored important goals and he never caused any major controversy. It's safe to say that Pele was the greatest ever player to grace the game.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here:

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: