Who is truly the greatest player of all-time, or ‘GOAT’ as we know it? Find out here as fans finally answer the question that has eluded us for decades.
Especially in the last decade, fans have been pondering whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi are worthy recipients of the greatest player of all-time (GOAT) title. It’s drawn out many endless and frustrating debates.
Before those two superstars burst into the scene, however, there were plenty of other worthy candidates. The older generation of supporters, for example, can still recall Pele and Johan Cruyff’s exploits like it was yesterday. It sets up an interesting dilemma on who is the GOAT.
Fortunately, fans have given us a final answer through a poll on Ranker which sprung up surprises we could never have foreseen.
So, without further ado, we give you the 100 greatest players in the history of the beautiful game.
100 to 91
|93||Sir Stanley Matthews|
What we appreciate most about the first 10 on the list is that it contains a mixture of present players and legends from back into the mid-20th century, like Stanley Matthews. It’s a nice touch adding the 1956 Ballon d’Or winner into the mix.
The two active players here are Manchester City captain David Silva and former Barcelona full-back Dani Alves. Both of them were among the greatest players of the 2010 decade and deserve a spot here.
No surprises either to see the Premier League’s record goalscorer Alan Shearer. However, 2004 Ballon d’Or winner and Juventus legend Pavel Nedved may feel a little hard done by.
90 to 81
|86||Edwin van der Sar|
|83||Ruud van Nistelrooy|
|82||Angel Di Maria|
Laudrup, in particular, was a big hit during his stellar career from 1981 to 1998. He enjoyed league success with Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid while carving out a reputation for skilful yet elegant style of play.
80 to 71
|72||Robin van Persie|
Eight of the 10 players on this list are forwards.
The most questionable inclusion on this list is probably Hernan Crespo. Aside from scoring 26 goals in 32 league games for Lazio in 2000/01, his career never really lived up to its potential.
Petr Cech deservedly features strongly in this list following his exploits for Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League.
70 to 61
We got ourselves another mixed list here in four strikers, four midfielders and two defenders.
Seeing Fernando Torres as the 67th greatest player of all-time is a bit of a surprise, considering his dramatic loss of form in the 2010s decade. While Michel Platini probably deserves to be higher up in the list.
The Frenchman is regarded as one of the best in history and won three Ballon d’Or awards during his five-year stay at Juventus. His scandalous dismissal as the UEFA president probably turned votes against him, though.
But it’s good to see Manchester United greats Paul Scholes, Eric Cantona and Sir Bobby Charlton up there.
60 to 51
|60||Alessandro Del Piero|
So the first real interesting one is how fans voted Frank Lampard better than Paul Scholes. it’s certainly a debatable one, although Lamps’ scoring feats for Chelsea probably gave him the nod.
Good to see some active players in Isco, Eden Hazard and Thomas Muller make the cut here as well.
50 to 41
|41||Alfredo Di Stefano|
We’re not sure how Eusebio made it to only 46th-place. Seems like a harsh call to us.
The Portuguese legend was a beast inside the box and had a lethal right foot. He was even a Ballon d’Or winner himself in 1965 and held the mantle of Portugal’s record scorer until Cristiano Ronaldo emerged.
The legendary Alfredo Di Stefano should also be much higher up this list after scoring 308 goals in 396 games for Real Madrid. While Thiago Silva’s 48th-place is a bit too generous.
40 to 31
Six of these entries play or used to for Real Madrid in Kroos, Kaka, Casillas, Bale, Eto’o and Puskas. The latter was the biggest deal out of the lot of them, with a staggering 242 goals in 262 matches for Los Blancos.
Although we’re not sure about Bale making it as the 33rd greatest player in history. Seems a bit too much to us.
30 to 21
So the verdict on who is the greatest English central midfielder of the 2000s decade has been answered, with Liverpool icon Gerrard coming out on top. Not sure Scholes or Lampard will be happy about that one!
Also featuring in this list is Bayern Munich and Germany legend Muller, who broke countless scoring records in his prime. Although David Beckham sitting ahead of the German in 22nd is a confusing one.
20 to 11
Ok, things are finally beginning to get a little more serious with a few big names already out of contention for the GOAT crown.
Ibrahimovic and Neymar, especially, won’t be happy to only sit 18th and 19th, respectively. We’re not sure either if Modric is really a better player than Xavi despite winning the 2018 Ballon d’Or.
Props to Buffon, though for making it up to 11th-place on the list.
10 to 1
First of all, don’t blame us for this list – it’s the voters on Ranker who called it!
How Messi and Ronaldo are only fifth and sixth respectively is beyond us. While surely Zidane and Johan Cruyff deserved to be a little higher up?
Of course, the most baffling and controversial one has to be Andrea Pirlo. We admit he was a great player – but the GOAT? for real?