Diego Maradona would have celebrated his 61st birthday on October 30, 2021.
The legendary Argentine footballer sadly passed away in November 2020 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Buenos Aires.
The football world mourned the passing of one of the game’s most colourful characters and unquestionably one of the greatest players in history.
Maradona is best remembered for inspiring Argentina to glory at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico.
He also led an Napoli to their only two Serie A title in 1987 and 1990.
But where does El Diego rank on the pantheon of all-time greats in the eyes of football fans?
Over on Ranker, the 50 greatest footballers have all time have been ranked, with a massive 3.5 million votes cast.
Let’s take a closer look at the results:
50. Hristo Stoichkov
49. Dennis Bergkamp
48. Alessandro Del Piero
46. Andrea Pirlo
45. Philipp Lahm
44. Eric Cantona
43. Ryan Giggs
42. Oliver Kahn
41. Toni Kroos
Legends everywhere and we’ve only just started.
Cafu may feel a little hard done by to only make 47th place considering the Brazilian is the only player to appear in three World Cup finals.
40. Frank Lampard
39. Paolo Maldini
38. Bobby Charlton
37. Sergio Ramos
35. Samuel Eto’o
34. Sergio Aguero
32. Roberto Carlos
31. Steven Gerrard
Sergio Aguero above the likes of Paolo Maldini, Bobby Charlton and Romario is likely to raise eyebrows.
Steven Gerrard was obviously a fantastic player for Liverpool but to see him in 31st place on this list shows just how highly regarded is by football fans across the world.
30. Roberto Baggio
29. Franz Beckenbauer
28. Luis Suarez
27. Manuel Neuer
26. Luis Figo
25. Didier Drogba
24. Iker Casillas
23. Wayne Rooney
22. Thierry Henry
21. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
It’s not a shock to see any of these superstars on the list. All were magnificent footballers at their peak.
Thierry Henry is arguably the greatest player in Premier League history and is perhaps a little unfortunate to find himself out of the top 20. Then again, the same can be said for Franz Beckenbauer, one of the best defenders in history.
20. Carles Puyol
19. David Beckham
18. Francesco Totti
17. George Best
16. Lev Yashin
14. Peter Schmeichel
11. Gianluigi Buffon
The thing that stands out here is Pele in 13th(!) place - below Neymar! The Brazilian icon has been regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time over the past few decades, but perhaps his reputation suffers because there’s not as much footage of the three-time World Cup winner in action compared to other players on this list. For some, the fact that he never played in Europe also counts against him.
David Beckham in such a high position on the list is surprising. The former England captain was an excellent player but the 19th best in history? That seems *very* generous.
10. Johan Cruyff
9. Andres Iniesta
8. Gerd Muller
7. Luka Modric
Luka Modric the seventh best footballer in history? The Croatian midfielder has been sensational for Real Madrid since joining the Spanish giants from Tottenham in 2012, but there’s no way that he should be above Gerd Muller, Andres Iniesta and Johan Cruyff.
Ronaldinho in sixth place feels about right based on pure talent. The Brazilian is arguably the most skilful footballer that we’ve ever seen.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo
4. Zinedine Zidane
2. Lionel Messi
1. Diego Maradona
But it’s the late Maradona who tops the fans’ rankings, edging out his compatriot Lionel Messi to finish in pole position.
Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be happy to see himself down in fifth place, behind his former boss Zinedine Zidane and namesake Ronaldo Nazario, but there won’t be many complaints to see the great Maradona top of the pile.
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