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Titans of the Turf: Finding Out the 5 Best Football Players in the World of All Time

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Football—a single word evoking a myriad of emotions For every fan, this beautiful game has bestowed cherished memories alongside the indelible scars of defeat. What is that one moment that truly binds you to this sport? Perhaps it’s the sight of Messi hoisting the World Cup trophy, or for others, it might be the lament that Ronaldo never secured such an honor. Beyond these iconic moments, do you know who the five best football players in the world have been in the course of football history? Join us as we step onto the pitch to take a nostalgic journey down memory lane, revisiting the records, triumphs, heartbreaks, and journeys of these legendary figures.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Goals: 855 goals
  • Trophies: 33
  • Country: Portugal
  • Clubs: 4
  • Debut: 2003

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, one of the best football players in the world the game has ever seen, was born on February 5, 1985. He is a Portuguese forward who captains both the Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr and the Portugal national team He’s renowned for winning five Ballon d’Or awards, three UEFA Best Player in Europe titles, and four European Golden Shoes, setting a record among European players. Ronaldo boasts over 1,100 professional appearances, including stints at Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and a return to Manchester United in 2021.

Notable achievements include winning his first major trophy, the FA Cup, with Manchester United in 2004. He secured La Liga titles with Real Madrid in 2012 and 2017, along with four UEFA Champions League titles. Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018, winning Serie A twice. In 2022, he helped Manchester United claim the FIFA Club World Cup.

Ronaldo’s individual accolades feature five Ballon d’Or wins, three UEFA Best Player in Europe titles, and four European Golden Shoes. He’s also the highest scorer in the UEFA Champions League (140 goals), the UEFA European Championship (14 goals), and the Portugal national team (123 goals).

In 2023, Ronaldo signed with Al Nassr, where he’s already scored 24 goals in 23 appearances, showcasing his enduring prowess as a top-tier athlete. His famous quote is “I’m not the best in the world; I’m not perfect. But I work hard every day to try to be the best.

2. Lionel Messi

  • Goals: 819 goals
  • Trophies: 42
  • Country: Argentina
  • Clubs: 5
  • Debut: 2005

Lionel Messi, born on June 24, 1987, in Rosario, Argentina, rose from humble beginnings to become a football legend. Diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency in 2000, Messi’s family relocated to Spain to facilitate his enrollment in Barcelona’s La Masia youth academy.

Messi made his senior debut for Barcelona in 2003 at the age of 16, quickly establishing himself as a pivotal player. His career boasts seven Ballon d’Or awards, the most in history, and he holds the record for the most goals scored for both Barcelona and Argentina. Messi has won more trophies than any other player and is the only one to score over 50 goals in ten consecutive seasons.

Internationally, he is Argentina’s all-time leading goalscorer with 86 goals. His crowning achievement was leading Argentina to victory in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, ending a 36-year drought.

In 2021, Messi left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, rebounding in 2022–23 with 28 goals and a Ligue 1 title. At 35, Messi remains among the world’s best, displaying unwavering excellence and a passion for winning, encapsulated in his famous quote: “I always try to give my best, both for my club and for my country. I want to win every game and every trophy that I play for.”

3. Josef Bican

  • Goals: 805 goals
  • Trophies: 11
  • Country: Czech Republic
  • Clubs: 8
  • Debut: 1933

Josef Bican, an Austrian-Czech football legend, was a prolific striker born in Vienna in 1913. He etched his name in history as one of the best football players in the world with the greatest goal scorers, netting over 800 goals in 530 matches during his career.

Beginning with Admira Vienna in 1931, Bican won the Austrian Bundesliga in 1934 and 1936. He later joined SK Slavia Prague, securing the Czechoslovak First League title in 1938 and 1940. Returning to Austria in 1945 with Rapid Wien, he claimed two more Austrian Bundesliga titles in 1946 and 1948. He retired from professional football in 1955.

Bican holds records as the all-time leading goal scorer in both the Austrian Bundesliga and the Czechoslovak First League. He also tops the goal charts for the Austrian and Czechoslovakia national teams. In 1934, Bican famously scored seven goals in a single match against France, a European record that stands today.

Josef Bican’s remarkable legacy endures, characterized by his incredible goal-scoring ability, versatility on the field, and unwavering respect from fans and opponents alike. He passed away in 2001 at the age of 88, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.

Reflecting on his philosophy of success, Bican once famously stated, “The secret of my success is simple. I train very hard, and I eat a lot of spaghetti.”

4. Romario

  • Goals: 768 goals
  • Trophies: 23
  • Country: Brazil
  • Clubs: 5
  • Debut: 1987

Romário de Souza Faria, born on January 29, 1966, is an iconic Brazilian striker, celebrated for his extraordinary goal-scoring ability. With an impressive career total of 772 goals in 994 matches, he ranks as the sixth-highest goal scorer in football history and the highest-scoring Brazilian footballer. His crowning achievement came in 1994, when he played a pivotal role in Brazil’s FIFA World Cup victory and was named FIFA World Player of the Year and a Ballon d’Or winner.

Romário’s illustrious journey spanned several clubs and continents. He won the Eredivisie title with PSV Eindhoven in 1989 and 1991 and, as part of Barcelona, secured La Liga and the Copa del Rey in 1994, along with the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In addition to his club successes, Romário claimed two Copa América titles with Brazil (1989 and 1997) and received the South American Footballer of the Year award in 1994. His influence extended beyond the pitch as he transitioned into politics, currently serving as a member of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies and also working as a commentator for ESPN Brasil. Inducted into the Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2013, Romário’s legacy as one of Brazil’s greatest footballers endures.

His memorable quote, “I’m not a genius, but I’m a genius at scoring goals,” reflects his confidence as a goal-scorer.

5. Pelé

  • Goals: 765 goals
  • Trophies: 26
  • Country: Brazil
  • Clubs: 2
  • Debut: 1957

Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is a retired Brazilian football legend known for his prolific career as a forward. He is regarded as one of the best football players in the world. He began his professional journey with Santos FC at just 15 years old, later earning his debut for the Brazilian national team. Pelé’s remarkable career includes three FIFA World Cup titles for Brazil (1958, 1962, and 1970), two Copa América titles (1959 and 1963), and FIFA Club World Cup victories with Santos (1962 and 1963).

Throughout his 21-year career, Pelé scored an astounding 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances, making him the all-time leading scorer for both Santos FC and the Brazilian national team. In 2000, he was named FIFA Player of the Century. One of his famous quotes emphasizes quality over quantity in scoring goals.

Pelé’s post-retirement activities include work as a television pundit, UNICEF ambassadorship, FIFA Ambassador Emeritus, and success as a businessman. He is the only player to have scored over 1,000 professional goals and has received numerous accolades, including the Ballon d’Or – Prix Special (1999), recognition by Time magazine (2000), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from US President Barack Obama in 2010. Pelé’s remarkable journey from poverty to a global icon serves as an enduring inspiration.

He has delivered iconic quotes throughout his career, one of the most famous being: “The difficulty, the extraordinary, is not to score 1,000 goals like Pelé – it’s to score one goal like Pelé.”


In conclusion, these best football players in the world of all time have undeniably left an enduring impact on every generation of football enthusiasts. Their influence will persist as a guiding light for the upcoming legends of the game. Their exceptional performance has set a towering benchmark for future footballers to strive toward. As we wrap up this nostalgic journey, we trust that these remarkable football players have etched their legacy even deeper into the hearts of aspiring athletes.

Tejas Tahmankar

ALSO READ: Top 10 Most Popular Football Clubs in the world



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