Skip to main content

The Top 250 Players of All-Time: 40-31

In February 2013 up in the attic bedroom of our student house, Gareth ThomasBen Jones and Ollie Jackson after another prolonged football debate decided it was time we did something about the question, 'Who is the best player in the World?'. Housemate Liam suggested setting out to find the greatest 50 players of all time, this swiftly grew to 100, 150 and 200 before we settled on 250. Our original website is still there to answer the debate but we furthered our work to blogging about the beautiful game starting up

Missed the last installment? Here it is!

40. Ruud GULLIT

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: Netherlands (66/17); 

CLUB(s): HFC Haarlem (NED), Feyenoord (NED), PSV (NED), Milan (ITA), Sampdoria (ITA), Chelsea (ENG);

CLUB HONOURS: 1x Eerste Divisie, 3x Eredivisie, 1x KNVB Cup, 3x Serie A, 1x Coppa Italia, 2x Supercoppa Italiana, 2x European Cups, 2x UEFA Super Cup, 2x Intercontinental Cup, 1x FA Cup

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x European Championship

"He was one of the most unpredictable of Sacchi's side, capable of incredible actions, supported by his powerful physique. Strong in the air and on the ground, during his first year as a Rossoneri, Gullit won a League Title. Despite his meniscus and knee injuries he won another two League Titles and numerous cups including two UEFA Champions League and two European/South American Cups. Gullit won the Golden Ball in the 1987 and he dedicated his victory to Nelson Mandela, a demonstration of his anti-racist commitment." 
AC Milan - " Hall of Fame"

39. Eric CANTONA

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: France (45/20); 

CLUB(s): Auxerre (FRA), Martigues (FRA), Marseille (FRA), Bordeaux (FRA), Montpellier (FRA), Nîmes (FRA), Leeds United (ENG), Manchester United (ENG)

CLUB HONOURS: 2x Ligue 1, 1x Coupe de France, 1x Football League First Division, 4x Premier League, 2x FA Cup, 4x Charity Shield

"He was the only player I saw who the manager never had a go at. We all went to a film premiere and were told to wear black ties. Eric turned up in a cream lemon suit with Nike trainers. The manager told him that he looked fantastic!" Andy Cole - Manchester United Teammate

"“Le Roi”.“Le Dieu”. Or good old – but never, ever, plain old – Eric. Whatever you want to call Monsieur Cantona, the Frenchman’s four-and-a-half seasons at Old Trafford are the stuff of legend.No.7 shirt collar as stiffly upright as if it had been starched, that imperious look, theatrical swagger and poise, Eric Cantona was born to play for Manchester United – and, even better, he was pinched from across the Pennines to do so."
Manchester United - "Legends"

38. Giancinto FACCHETTI

POSITION: Defender; 

NATION: Italy (94/3); 

CLUB: Inter Milan (ITA)

 CLUB HONOURS: 4x Serie A, 1x Coppa Italia, 2x European Cup, 2x Intercontinental Cup

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x European Championship

"Giacinto Facchetti could perhaps most aptly be described as the Pele of the defensive arts. He will forever be remembered as the man who brought fullbacks out of their shells and, while playing under that great architect of catenaccio Helenio Herrera, became the first attacking European of his position in the modern era..
Elegant both on and off the pitch, Facchetti was also a one-club man, rising through the ranks at Inter Milan from player to president and performing every role with the same degree of modesty and dignity. In short, Giacinto Facchetti was class personified."

37. Bobby CHARLTON

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: England (106/49); 

CLUB(s): Manchester United (ENG), Preston North End (ENG), Waterford (IRE)

CLUB HONOURS: 3x Football League First Division, 1x FA Cup, 4x Charity Shield, 1x UEFA European Cup, 3x FA Youth Cup


"It was the late 1960s. England had won the World Cup and Manchester United the European Cup. All over the world there were children who could speak only two words of English. One was "Bobby", the other was "Charlton", such was the esteem in which he was held." quoting TV pundit Jimmy Hill

36. Franco BARESI

POSITION: Defender; 

NATION: Italy (82/2); 

CLUB: Milan (ITA) 

CLUB HONOURS: 3x UEFA Champions League, 2x Intercontinental Cup, 3x UEFA European Supercups, 6x Serie A, 2x Serie B, 4x Italian Supercup, 1x Mitropa Cup


"In 1999 the No.6 shirt of AC Milan’s Franco Baresi was retired. That same year, he was named Milan’s best player of the twentieth century. More recently, he was officially named as Italy’s player of the century too. These are extraordinary accolades to be given to a defender. But then, Baresi was no ordinary defender." 
Adam Bate -

"He made a mockery of the idea you have to be big, strong and quick to be a great defender. He didn’t rely on his size - he was only 5ft 10in - or his power but he was a brilliant organiser and what he lacked for in pace, he made up for with organisational skills. The way he read a game would keep him one step ahead of the opposition. He was fantastic on the ball. He’d start AC Milan’s attacks by surging out of defence. Brilliant."
Jamie Carragher

35. Ryan GIGGS

POSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: Wales (64/12);

CLUB: Manchester United (ENG)

CLUB HONOURS: 13x Premier League, 4x FA Cup, 4x Football League Cup, 9x FA Community Shield, 2x UEFA Champions League, 1x UEFA Super Cup, 1x Intercontinental Cup, 1x FIFA World Club Cup

"The Ryan Giggs story goes on - and on and on - and still his powers refuse to wane. No longer the daring, dashing left-winger who tormented full-backs, but a calming influence and one of the sharpest passers around. Although his legs may have lost the explosive acceleration, his brain remains ahead of his younger rivals and his ability to produce telling crosses and assists has never been better. In summary, the Welshman is a phenomenon and a footballer to be treasured and talked about in revered tones long after he eventually decides to hang up his boots." Manchester United

34. Luis FIGO

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: Portugal (127/32); 

CLUB(s): Sporting (POR), Barcelona (SPA), Real Madrid (SPA), Inter Milan (ITA)

CLUB HONOURS: 1x Taca de Portugal, 4x La Liga, 2x Copa Del Rey, 3x Supercopa de Espana, 1x Champions League, 2x Super Cup, 1x Cup Winners' Cup, 1x Intercontinental Cup, 4x Serie A, 1x Coppa Italia, 3x Supercoppa Italia

"Figo was peerless at dribbling and taking on opponents, and his perfect assists were a luxury for all of the forwards who played with him. He was a leader on the pitch who helped Real Madrid to win honours and further their legendary status." Real Madrid


POSITION: Midfielder / Forward; 

NATION: Brazil (74/34); 

CLUB(s): Santa Cruz (BRA), Mogi Mirim (BRA), Corinthians (BRA), Palmeiras (BRA), Deportivo La Coruña (ESP), Barcelona (ESP), Milan (ITA), Cruzerio (BRA), Olympiacos (GRC), AEK Athens (GRC), Bunyodkor PFK (UZB), São Paulo (BRA), Kabuscorp (AGO), São Caetano (BRA)

CLUB HONOURS: 1x Brazilian Série A, 2x Campeonato Paulista, 2x UEFA European Supercup, 2x La Liga, 1x Copa del Rey, 1x UEFA Champions League, 1x Coppa Italia, 1x Campeonato Mineiro, 3x Greek Super League, 2x Greek Cup, 3x Uzbek League, 2x Uzebekistani Cup

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x FIFA Confederations Cup, 1x Copa América, 1x FIFA World Cup, 1x Umbro Cup

"During his near 25 year playing career, Rivaldo played more than 800 times at club level, scoring more than 350 goals in the process. He also won 74 caps for his country and scored 34 goals, eight of which came at the FIFA World Cup. He remains among fans and experts as one of the greatest attacking midfielders of his generation, maybe of all time. And in his pomp with Barcelona, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane stated that Rivaldo was the player he most wanted his team to sign."

32. Dino ZOFF

POSITION: Goalkeeper; 

NATION: Italy (112/0); 

CLUB(s): Udinese, Mantova, Napoli, Juventus (All ITA)

CLUB HONOURS: 6x Serie A, 2x Coppa Italia, 1x UEFA Cup

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x FIFA World Cup, 1x UEFA European Championship

"Dino Zoff is regarded among many to be one of the greatest goalkeepers to have graced the game. He set many records in his career, one of the most notable being for the longest time without conceding a goal in international tournaments – 1142 minutes between 1972 and 1974." Forza Italian Football

31. Michael LAUDRUP 

POSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: Denmark (104/37); 

CLUB(s): KB (DEN), Brondby (DEN), Juventus (ITA), Lazio (ITA), Barcelona (SPA), Real Madrid (SPA), Vissel Kobe (JAP), Ajax (NED)

CLUB HONOURS: 1x Serie A, 1x Intercontinental Cup, 5x La Liga, 1x Copa del Rey, 2x Spanish Super Cup, 1x UEFA European Cup, 1x UEFA Super Cup, 1x Eredivisie, 1x KNVB


"Videos of the playmaker on youtube would show his classic touch of the ball, his astonishing speed, those thunderstrike long range goals blasted from 35-40 yards out, those magnificent feet, inch-perfect passes and a four-dimensional dribbling ability."

"Who is the best player in history? Laudrup." Andres Iniesta

Voted for by the public between August and December 2013! Missed some? - click here!

Popular posts from this blog

Ardiles and Villa: Footballing émigrés | @RichEvansWriter

Military events in the South Atlantic – even at a distance of 8000 miles – had a profound impact on a celebrated pair of international footballers in the 1980s.  @RichEvansWriter  takes up the story: Ossie Ardiles & Ricardo Villa at Tottenham Hotspur When one thinks of footballers and war, images of khaki-clad figures of yesteryear tend to spring to mind – the kind of ‘moustached archaic faces’ that Philip Larkin details in his poem MCMXIV. However, footballers do not have to be participants to be affected by conflict. Indeed, as with any civilians, they may well be unwitting victims with no stake in political events beyond their control.  In certain instances, football risks turning into an extension of the battleground – where players, subject to barbarous words and threats, become targets of abuse. Such was the case in 1982 with Ricardo Villa and Ossie Ardiles – then both of Tottenham Hotspur – whose fates (at least in the short term) were determined by events unfolding on the o

The Crest Dissected - AS Roma

It’s been a good while since I’ve done a Crest Dissected but after a bit of a summer break and time at the BBC ( Cardiff and Swansea pieces) it’s time to get back down to TFHB writing! So following FC Barcelona , PSG , AS Monaco  and US Women’s Soccer this week I’m going to take a look at AS Roma and their intriguing history.  In the summer of 1927 an Italian Fascist, Italo Foschi , was behind the merger of three older Italian Football Championships clubs all based in Rome, Alba-Audace , Roman and Fortitudo . The purpose of the move was to compete with the well established clubs, especially in the Northern cities but Lazio were not behind the move meaning the Derby della Capitale rivalry was there from the beginning and Associazone Sportiva Roma was born. AS Roma immediately endeared themselves to the masses by taking on the capital’s colours, red and yellow, something Lazio did not consider as they favoured the greek myth of Olimpia and the colour blue. Romulus an

Football By Decade: 1960s

Following the immense changes to football in the 1950s, the subsequent decade was sure to reap the benefits of alterations to style, tactics and appreciation. The 1960s is when the game went truly global, of course towards the latter half of the previous ten years  the European Cup had been introduced by UEFA, only to be completely dominated by Real Madrid, winning the tournament 5 times in a row. However, as we will see the 1960s brought a wider change in world culture and a social revolution effecting even football, a sport which often sees itself as exempt from global issues. Firstly we are to look at British football. English sport at least had been dramatically and even brutally forced to rethink its entire ethos after the 1950s which had highlighted a long-term outdated nature to tactics and methods of play. We at the Football History Boys have not been short on explaining this - the 6-3 drubbing by Hungary in 1953 and embarrassing early World Cup exits in 1950 and 1958