Ronaldo, Messi, Pele, Beckham: The most overrated footballers in history ranked by fans


Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, Lionel Messi, Frank Lampard... do they get too much hype?

In the world of footballing debates, the labels 'overrated' and 'underrated' are about as loaded as they come because the conversation is instantly about more than just their ability on the pitch.

Due to the simple fact that both those tags are related to how much fans sing their praises, it's sometimes inevitable that great players are called overrated and average ones are underrated.

'Overrated' and 'underrated' in football

And often that has nothing to do with the players themselves because it's not their fault that fans on social media might be hyping them up more than their performances would necessarily warrant.

So, yes, we're well aware that taking a peek at the 'most overrated footballers in history' is a little like walking into a minefield of controversy, but when has that ever stopped us?

And hey, it's the fans that we're looking to here because the voters over at have been making their opinions known on an interactive list of the 'Top Ten Most Overrated Athletes'.

Liverpool 2-0 Atletico Madrid Reaction (Football Terrace)

Most overrated footballers ever

Contrary to the title, the rankings do indeed extend beyond the 10 most-voted athletes and here at GIVEMESPORT, we've kept an eye on the list over the years to see what the people are thinking.

However, this time around we're casting all the non-footballers aside - yes, that includes you, NFL players - and focusing on who the poll names as the most overrated players in the beautiful game.

Of the one-hundred-plus athletes to have been put forward, 17 of them were football players and we've ordered them by how they stacked up in the vote overall, so check out the results below:

17. Tim Howard

16. Paul Scholes

15. Zinedine Zidane


14. Jack Wilshere

13. John Terry

12. Gheorghe Hagi

11. Farhad Majidi

10. Michael Owen


9. David Trezeguet

8. Thierry Henry

7. Carlos Tevez

6. Frank Lampard

5. Lionel Messi


4. Ronaldinho

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Pele

1. David Beckham


Beckham takes 'top' spot

Beckham? Beckham??? Yes, that's right, not only was 'Golden Balls' the highest-ranking football player, but he came top of the voting as the most overrated athlete, period, in the history of sport.

To be honest, it's a baffling result from where I'm stood because if anything, Beckham's celebrity status and cultural significance has seen his footballing ability become underrated in my eyes.

Sure, we're not saying that the Manchester United hero is up there with Ronaldo, Messi and Pele, but lest we forget that this is a treble-winner who once finished second in the Ballon d'Or voting.


Anyhow, it's clear that more than a few people aren't convinced by Beckham and the same can evidently be said of Pele, whose claims about scoring over 1,000 goals make him rather vulnerable.

Meanwhile, it's a little random to see Iran's Majidi placing so highly, while Owen and Wilshere have presumably been picked because of injury problems derailing their early-career hype.

As for why Howard is bringing up the rear and Zidane makes the cut in any way shape or form, we have absolutely no idea, but maybe we're proving them right by rating them so proudly now.



Either way, though, it seems pretty clear that people think Beckham is getting more hype than he deserves, which actually gives me a pretty good idea to make sure he loses the 'overrated' tag.

A proper mohawk merchant living off that Greece goal, that Becks, isn't he? It's bound to work...

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