Top 5: Legendary footballers from yesteryear

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Football is renowned for creating legends. The 'beautiful game' has had it's fair share of superstars, and the players below are just a handful of individuals that show why football received such a prestigious tag.

Forget about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, here are five of the finest legendary players from yesteryear to ever grace the pitch.

5. Zinedine Zidane

A French footballing legend who would always give his all. He is considered as one of the greatest ever living footballers, and is an icon to his native France. 

Zidane had a very decorated career, achieving pretty much everything at club level. He won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, two Serie A league championships with Juventus, an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup with both of the aforementioned sides. 

Zidane has also won the FIFA World Player of the year three times, and Ballon d'Or once. One of the best memories of the player was when he scored two headed goals in the 1998 World Cup final to see off the brilliance of Brazil, and provide France with World Cup success. 

Zidane retired from professional football after the 2006 World Cup, where France lost to Italy on penalties in the final. This was a match where Zidane's idea of a farewell was to get sent off before the end of the match by head-butting Italy's Marco Materazzi. Although it wasn't the fairytale ending that Zidane would have craved, it did not overshadow an illustrious career, and he is remembered for his brilliance on the pitch rather than one moment of madness.

He played an incredible 614 games for club and country, scoring 126 goals. He is currently Real Madrid's Director of Football, and once he receives the necessary qualifications, will become a coach for the Madrid youth team. 

Zidane was an absolutely amazing midfielder in his time, and is probably the greatest living French midfielder they have ever had. He will always be remembered for his footballing brilliance - along with his crazy head-butt.

4. Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore will always hold a special place in the heart of every England fan. He was a legend who will always be remembered for his solid defensive work and contributions towards cup success. 

Moore captained West Ham United for more than 10 years and was captain of the England team that won the 1966 World Cup. He won a total of 108 caps for England, which at the time of his international retirement in 1973 was a national record. 

Moore's total of 108 caps continued as a record for outfield players until the 28th March 2009, when David Beckham gained his 109th cap. However, unlike Beckham, Moore played every minute of every one of his caps, emphasising what a vital asset he was to the team. 

He appeared 816 times for club and country, chipping in with 28 goals in the process. He will remain, it seems, for the foreseeable future the only English player to have captained his country to victory in the World Cup. 

Moore was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1964, and the Players' Player of the World Cup in '66, showing how respected he was by the world. 

In his career he won the aforementioned World Cup, as well as a Cup Winners' Cup and an FA Cup. He was awarded the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year title at the end of 1966, the first footballer to do so, and remaining the only one for a further 24 years. 

Pelé considers him the greatest defender he ever played against, and I'm sure many others agree. 

It's a shame that there is no English defenders of Moore's pedigree still around, as England could really do with having someone of his class. I am sure that the younger English defenders coming through the ranks will look up to his footballing brilliance, and aspire to be like him.

3. Ronaldo

He was one of the best in the world in his prime, and is definitely one of Brazil's best ever players. Defences used to shake at the sight of the Brazilian hitman running towards them.

Ronaldo enjoyed an extremely prosperous career, staking a claim to be one of the best strikers of all time with his scintillating record of 342 goals in 482 games. The Brazil legend played for a range of top clubs, including Barcelona, AC Milan Real Madrid. 

On so many occasions Ronaldo showed the world why football was such an amazing sport. It's hard to forget the time he scored a brilliant hat-trick at Old Trafford against Manchester United in a tie which looked destined to be United's, in order to knock them out of the Champions League. 

Ronaldo achieved many things in his career, including winning the 1994 and 2002 World Cups with Brazil. He is one of only three men to have won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times. Similarly, he was included in the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest footballers compiled by another past legend, Pele. 

In 2010, he was voted's Player of the Decade in an online poll, gathering 43.63% of all votes, and was also included in the Team of the Decade. There is no doubting that Ronaldo's ability on the pitch will never be forgotten.

2. Gerd Müller

A German footballing giant. In his football career, he really showed strikers around the world how to score a goal. He was one of the most prolific goalscorers of all time with an incredible 556 goals in 618 games for club and country, 365 goals of those goals coming in 427 Bundesliga games. 

Müller is now 10th on the list of all time international goalscorers, despite playing fewer matches than every other player in the top 25. Müller held the world record for the most goals in a single calendar year, scoring 85 goals in 1972, until it was broken on the 9 December 2012 by the brilliant Lionel Messi.

In 1970, Müller was elected European Footballer of the Year after a very successful season at German giants Bayern Munich, scoring 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup. 

Müller held the all time goalscoring record in the tournament with 14 goals, a record that stood for 32 years until it was broken by Brazil's Ronaldo. 

In 2004, Pelé named Müller one of the 125 best living footballers in his FIFA 100 list.

1. Pelé 

Is there anything bad you can say about this man? He is the complete definition of legend, and represents everything that was good about the game. 

He is quite rightly regarded as the best player to ever grace this earth, as he was absolutely incredible in his day. In 1999, he was voted Football Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. In the same year French magazine France Football elected him player of the century. He was also elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic committee and Reuters News Agency in 1999. 

According to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, he is the most successful league goal scorer in the world with 541 league goals. In total, Pelé scored an absolutely outstanding 1281 goals in 1363 games, emphasising what a magnificent player he was. 

Pelé has gained the respect of so many people through his footballing masterclass on the pitch, and his kindness off the pitch too.

Pelé was a very dedicated professional, playing 605 games for the Brazilian club Santos, scoring 589 goals. There is no doubting that Pelé will always be remembered for his contribution towards football.

These are only a handful of footballing legends who graced the game, and there are many more who are worthy of a mention. Leave a comment below and tell us which football legends you look up to and why.


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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.

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