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World Soccer 100 Players of the Century


As part of the discussion of the greatest athletes from all sports, including soccer, here is one view of the greatest football (soccer) players of the 20th century. This list of the 100 greatest football players of the 20th century was published in the December 1999 issue of World Soccer, an English language football magazine.

Where is Messi? – This list is of the greatest players of the 20th century – so from the years 1900-1999. Messi made his full international debut in 2005, and like the majority of the current top players were not even on the scene when this vote was taken.

The list is based on a readers’ poll, in which the voters picked their top 10 players in order of preference, then points were assigned to each vote a player gained, 10 points for a 1st place vote, 9 points for a 2nd place vote etc.

As with all popular polls, the list suffers from some bias including the voters age and where they are from – it is not surprising to find a disproportionate number of English players and some more recent players who are possibly yet to reach their prime (in 1999 anyway). Anyway, these lists provide a starting point for discussions on the greatest soccer player ever, though an ending point may never be found. A better listing of the player of the century is based on votes by the eilte players themselves. You may also want to know that at www.jerseynumbertwelve.com we feel a little bit different with the list. Actually, for instance we feel and think that Maradona comes before Pele. However it is a splendid list.

Ranking Player Pts. National Team/s
1 Pelé 5499 Brazil
2 Diego Maradona 3949 Argentina
3 Johan Cruyff 3388 Netherlands
4 Franz Beckenbauer 2780 West Germany
5 Michel Platini 1854 France
6 Alfredo Di Stéfano 1541 Argentina; Spain
7 Ferenc Puskás 1537 Hungary; Spain
8 George Best 1190 Northern Ireland
9 Marco van Basten 1026 Netherlands
10 Eusébio Ferreira da Silva 1022 Portugal
11 Lev Yashin 821 U.S.S.R.
12 Bobby Charlton 680 England
13 Ronaldo 541 Brazil
14 Bobby Moore 539 England
15 Gerd Muller 498 West Germany
16 Roberto Baggio 486 Italy
17 Stanley Matthews 429 England
18 Zico 390 Brazil
19 Franco Baresi 371 Italy
20 Garrincha 361 Brazil
21 Paolo Maldini 345 Italy
22 Kenny Dalglish 334 Scotland
23 Gabriel Batistuta 300 Argentina
24 Eric Cantona 299 France
25 Gheorghe Hagi 293 Romania
26 Romario 257 Brazil
27 Jairzinho 248 Brazil
28 Zinedine Zidane 238 France
29 Ruud Gullitt 221 Netherlands
30 John Charles 212 Wales
31 Lothar Mathaus 202 West Germany, Germany
32 Gordon Banks 178 England
33 Jurgen Klinsmann 168 Germany
34 Dennis Bergkamp 150 Netherlands
35 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge 149 West Germany
36 Gary Lineker 134 England
37 Giuseppe Meazza 132 Italy
38 Rivelino 124 Brazil
39 Didi 123 Brazil
40 Ian Rush 109 Wales
=41 Peter Schmeichel 104 Denmark
Paolo Rossi Italy
43 George Weah 99 Liberia
44 Michael Owen 90 England
45 Just Fontaine 88 France
46 Duncan Edwards 86 England
47 Dino Zoff 80 Italy
48 Hristo Stoichkov 77 Bulgaria
49 David Beckham 74 England
50 Tom Finney 72
51 Rivaldo 71 Brazil
52 Claudio Caniggia 64 Argentina
53 Totao 63 Brazil
54 Frank Rijkaard 62 Netherlands
55 Jose Luis Chilavert 61 Paraguay
56 Kevin Keegan 60 England
57 Paul Gascoigne 57
58 Roger Milla 56 Cameroon
59 Michael Laudrup 55 Denmark
60 Andril Shevchenko 54 Ukraine
=61 David Ginola 53 France
Glenn Hoddle England
Socrates Brazil
=64 Roberto Carlos 52 Brazil
Alan Shearer England
66 Daniel Passarella 51 Argentina
67 Davor Suker 50 Croatia
=68 Dixie Dean 49 England
Sandor Kocsis Hungary
Juan Alberto Schiaffino Uruguay, Italy
Player National Team[s]
Christian Vieri Italy
=72 Mario Kempes 47 Argentina
Johan Neeskens Netherlands
Luigi Riva Italy
=75 Jose Nasazzi 46 Uruguay
Gunter Netzer West Germany
=77 Alessandro Del Piero 43 Italy
Carlos Valderrama Colombia
79 Ricardo Zamora 42 Spain
80 Enzo Francescoli 41 Uruguay
=81 Edgar Davids 40 Netherlands
Francisco Gento Spain
=83 Jim Baxter 38 Scotland
Falcao Brazil
Ryan Giggs Wales
Sepp Maier West Germany
=87 Zbigniew Boniek 37 Poland
Pat Jennings Northern Ireland
Gyorgy Sarosi Hungary
90 Giacinto Facchetti 36 Italy
=91 Alan Hansen 34 Scotland
Raymond Kopa France
Bryan Robson England
Matthias Sammer Germany
=95 Ladislav Kubala 33 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Spain
Neville Southall Wales
97 Gerson 32 Brazil
=98 Paulo Futre 31 Portugal
Preben Elkjaer Denmark
100 Bebeto 30 Brazil


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About Ediale Kingsley

Ediale Kingsley is the Founding Editor of Jersey Number Twelve and Head of the Trends & Sports desk at National Daily Newspaper. He thinks he is polygamous, married to three wives; Football, Laptop and Internet. When not writing, he is writing or prepping to write. These days he is everywhere talking, filming and showing-up football and films. This National Daily trained journalist went to school to be a graduate in accounting.

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