The Top 250 Players of All-Time: 30-21

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!

30. Carlos ALBERTO

POSITION: Defender; 

NATION: Brazil (53/8); 

CLUB(s): Fluminense (BRA), Santos (BRA), Flamengo (BRA), New York Cosmos (USA), California Surf (USA); 

CLUB HONOURS: 3x Campeonato Carioca, 2x Taça Guanabara, 1x Recopa Sul-Americana, 1x Taça de Prata, 4x Paulista Championship, 4x NASL Soccer Bowl Championships, 4x Eastern Division National Conference, 1x Trans-Atlantic Cup Championships; 


"For many people, the abiding image of the great Brazil side that claimed the 1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico™ is its attacking quartet of Tostao, Jairzinho, Pele and Rivellino - and understandably so. To be fair, however, immense credit is also due to the rest of the squad, and in particular Carlos AlbertoTorres. And though as team captain, the Brazilian would have the privilege of raising the Trophy, fate decreed that a moment of Carlos Alberto brilliance in that defeat of Italy would enthrall the watching world and forever be associated with the occasion. 

After a sumptuous build-up involving no fewer than eight Auriverde players, Carlos Alberto powered the sweetest of right-foot strikes into the bottom left-hand corner to seal a 4-1 win. Unquestionably one of the most-repeated goals in FIFA World Cup history, the strike ensured iconic status for one of the finest right-backs the game has ever seen. It was as if, in an instant, the player was granted footballing immortality. "That's right. In my home I have a huge photo of the precise instant I struck the ball. If I had to choose one moment to encapsulate my career, that would be it.""


29. David BECKHAM

POSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: England (115/17); 

CLUB(s): Manchester United (ENG), Preston North End (ENG), Real Madrid (SPA), Los Angeles Galaxy (USA), Milan (ITA), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA; 

CLUB HONOURS: 6x Premier League, 2x FA Cup, 4x Community Shield, 1x UEFA Champions League, 1x Intercontinental Cup, 1x La Liga, 1x Supercoppa de Espana, 2x MLS Cup, 4x MLS Supporters' Shield, 3x MLS Western Conference Regular Season, 3x MLS Western Conference Playoffs, 1x Ligue 1;

David Beckham will go down as one of English football's all time greats. But what sets Beckham apart has been the way he helped take football to a whole new level. The former England captain helped make football sexy, made football the new rock and roll and helped turn a whole new generation into football fans.

In fact, Beckham ushered in a new era in football. From the moment he launched that incredible shot from the halfway line down at Selhurst Park to single-handedly firing England to the World Cup finals in 2001, no-one else has been able to Bend It Like Beckham.

Films have made been made about him. Beckham has become an icon rather than a football star. And yet at the heart of everything is a truly gifted player with a wonderful charm and gift to ensure there is no-one else quite like him."

Daily Mirror

28. ZICO

POSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: Brazil (71/48); 

CLUB(s): Flamengo (BRA), Udinese (ITA), Kashima Antlers (JAP);

CLUB HONOURS: 6x Rio State Championship, 4x Brazilian Serie A, 1x Copa Liberdatores, 1x Intercontinental Cup, 1x J-League

"After Garrincha and Pele, Zico was the greatest player of all time."
Joao Saldanha

"After Pele the best was Zico."
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

"Star of the first Brazilian team to come into my orbit and the very essence of what Brazilian football seemed to be about: making passes with the outside of the boot, bending the ball and scoring sensational free-kicks with a No.10 on his back."
Matt Barlow  Daily Mail

27. Lev YASHIN

POSITION: Goalkeeper; 

NATION: Soviet Union (78/0); 

CLUB(s): Dynamo Moscow

CLUB HONOURS: 5x Soviet League, 3x Soviet Cup;

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x European Championship

"Nicknamed the "Black Spider" because it seemed like he had eight arms to save everything, Lev Yashin was a fiercely passionate goalkeeper with amazing reflexes and jaw-dropping athleticism.
In 2000, he was named as the greatest goalkeeper of the 20th century in a poll conducted by IFFHS. I'm going one better, and naming him the greatest goalkeeper of all time."
Barney Corkhill - Bleacher Report 

"There are relatively few players whose sheer brilliance have helped revolutionise the game of football, but former Russia No1 Lev Yashin is unquestionably one of them. Pre-Yashin, goalkeepers routinely spent the 90 minutes waiting patiently between the sticks to be called into action, with the former Soviet Union stalwart one of the first custodians to stamp his authority on the entire defensive third.

For Yashin, mere shot-stopping was not enough: he was constantly barking orders at his defenders, coming off his line to intercept crosses and charging out to meet onrushing attackers, thus commanding his penalty area with real aplomb. The Moscow native attributed his success, in part, to his hatred of conceding goals.

"What kind of a goalkeeper is the one who is not tormented by the goal he has allowed?" he said. "He must be tormented! And if he is calm, that means the end. No matter what he had in the past, he has no future.

Yashin was not just a great keeper, but also one of the biggest characters the sport has ever seen. Bursting on to the world football scene at the 1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden™, the first to be broadcast internationally thanks to the Soviet satellite Sputnik II, Yashin’s popularity grew rapidly thanks to his imposing displays and abundant charisma. Dressed head to toe in black and able to smother even the fiercest of efforts, his nickname of the 'Black Spider' only enhanced his iconic status."


26. Kenny DALGLISH

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: Scotland (102/30); 

CLUB(s): Celtic (SCO), Liverpool (ENG); 

CLUB HONOURS: 4x Scottish First Division, 4x Scottish Cup, 1x Scottish League Cup, 6x Football League First Division, 2x FA Cup, 4x Football League Cup, 7x FA Charity Shield, 3x UEFA European Cup, 1x UEFA Super Cup

"Arguably no person has defined the club quite like Kenny, nor offered such a personal contribution to the cause - the stylish forward gave more than a decade of playing service at the pinnacle of his powers and managed the Reds on two separate occasions.

As a player, Dalglish had everything: the sharpest of football brains, perfect vision and a creative touch which brought not only a plethora of goals for himself, but even more for those around him. Comparisons to contemporary stars are deserved and Kenny's name should rank alongside the greatest to ever play the game.

A humble character in every sense, Kenny was a team player who took equal pleasure from creating an opportunity for a teammate as he did from finding the target himself. Just ask David Johnson and, even more so, Ian Rush - beneficiaries of this world-class attacker.

As discussed previously in this series, the Reds have been fortunate to enjoy a succession of well-oiled strike partnerships during the club's history - but none can match the telepathy between Dalglish and Rush.

For all of his breathtaking ability on the football pitch, though, Dalglish was and is adored for much more - his strength of character in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989 will never be forgotten by Kopites. He will always be the King."
Liverpool Players Who Shook The Kop - #1, 2006

25. Ferenc PUSKAS

POSITION: Inside Left; 

NATION: Hungary (85/84), Spain (4/0); 

CLUB(s): Budapest Honved (HUN), Real Madrid (SPA); 

CLUB HONOURS: 5x Hungarian League, 5x La Liga, 1x Copa del Rey, 3x UEFA European Cup, 1x Intercontinental Cup; 

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x Olympic Gold Medal, 1x Central European Champions, 1x Balkan Cup,1x FIFA World Cup Runner up

“He had a roly poly physique but a wonderful left foot and he was a brilliant finisher. I would put Puskas in any list of all time greats.”
Sir Tom Finney

"He had a full career in Hungary and he repeated it in Spain with Real Madrid. That's why he is not only world class, but he belongs to the realm of dreams."
Gyula Grocsis

"We saw a style of play, a system of play that we had never seen before. None of these players meant anything to us. We didn't know about Puskás. All these fantastic players, they were men from Mars as far as we were concerned...They called Puskás the 'Galloping Major' because he was in the army - how could this guy serving for the Hungarian army come to Wembley and rifle us to defeat? But the way they played, their technical brilliance and expertise - our WM formation was kyboshed in ninety minutes of football."
Sir Bobby Robson
24. Alfredo DI STEFANO

POSITION: Forward; 

NATION: Argentina (6/6), Spain (31/23) , Colombia (4/0); 

CLUB(s): River Plate (ARG), Hurican (ARG), Millonarios (COL), Real Madrid, Espanyol (Both SPA)

CLUB HONOURS: 2x Primera Division, 4x Colombian Championship, 1x Copa Colombia, 8x La Liga, 1x Copa Del Rey, 5x European Cup, 1x Intercontinental Cup;


"Having wowed everybody at Real Madrid in friendly encounters between the Spanish giants and Millonarios, particular in the match held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Los Blancos' foundation, the signing of the La Saeta Rubia became something of an obsession for the capital club.

Finally, after a complicated transfer wrangle involving Los Merengues' fierce rivals FC Barcelona, Di Stefano pulled on the white shirt of Madrid for the first time in a friendly against Nancy on 23 September 1953. His talent, determination and leadership skills revolutionised the team which, inspired by the Argentinian, quickly became the era's most successful club on both the domestic and European stage.

"The younger generations that have never seen [Ferenc] Puskas play don't know what they've missed. A lot of people think that he just had a good shot, but no, he could play, he was intelligent. And let us not forget that he was already 30 by the time he arrived in Spain," recalled Di Stefano. "What a forward line we had! [Raymond] Kopa, [Hector] Rial, Puskas and [Paco] Gento. I don't think that there's ever been a more complete frontline in the history of the game."

The coveted Ballon d'Or, presented by France Football magazine to the man voted the best player in Europe, was awarded to Di Stefano in 1957 and 1959, yet Di Stefano never ceased to insist that it was all down to the team around him. "Football's not designed for silent types. Being a genius won't make any difference if you don't gel with your team-mates," he said, neatly summing up the footballing philosophy of a player who scored 418 goals in 510 games for Real Madrid, with 307 of these strikes coming in competitive matches."

23. XAVI Hernandez

POSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: Spain (130/13) As of 1st April 2014; 

CLUB(s): Barcelona (SPA)

CLUB HONOURS: 8x La Liga, 2x Copa Del Rey, 6x Supercopa de Espana, 3x UEFA Champions League, 2x UEFA Super Cup, 2x FIFA World Club Cup;

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 2x UEFA European Football Championship, 1x FIFA World Cup, 1x Olympic Silver Medal

“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are truly exceptional players. But it all depends on how you view the game. The way I look at it, Xavi deserves it not because he’s the best, but because he’s the type of player whose hard work allows others to come to the fore.”
Johan Cruyff

"Xavi is a player who has the Barcelona DNA, someone who has the taste for good football, someone who is humble and someone who has loyalty to this club. From the first moment I saw him play, I knew he would become the brain behind Barcelona for many years to come. He plays very, very well... much better than I ever played even when I was at my best."

Pep Guardiola

22. Andres INIESTA

Andres IniestaPOSITION: Midfielder; 

NATION: Spain (95/11) As of 1st April 2014; 

CLUB(s): Barcelona B, Barcelona (Both SPA); 

CLUB HONOURS: 7x La Liga, 2x Copa del Rey, 6x Supercopa de Espana, 3x UEFA Champions League, 2x UEFA Super Cup, 2x FIFA Club World Cup; 

INTERNATIONAL HONOURS: 1x UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship, 1x UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship, 2x UEFA European Football Championship, 1x FIFA World Cup 

"I would not mind giving the Ballon d'Or to Andres. He deserves it for how well he and the team are doing."
Lionel Messi

"In a big game teams always need their big players to step up to the plate and deliver, many big names often go missing in such matches. The likes of Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo have too often been criticised for not delivering when it matters. However somebody who has emerged lately as someone who can always be counted on is Andres Iniesta.

The World Cup final isn’t the first time either that Iniesta has played well when it’s matter as he was good in the Euro 2008 final and was probably the best player on the pitch in the 2009 Champions League final. However Iniesta has never seemed to have gotten the recognition he deserves, this could be in part to his documented shy personality and that he tends to stay away from the media if possible. Prior to the World Cup all kinds of billboards and posters adorning the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo, Kaka and Messi were spread all of South Africa. Yet Iniesta was nowhere to be seen, maybe now he will get the deserved plaudits after scoring the only goal of the World Cup final.

His talents haven’t gone un-noticed by everybody as former team mate Samuel Eto’o said of the midfielder: “Iniesta is the best player in the world, whenever he’s on the pitch he creates a spectacle.”"

Charlie Rowling - Football Fan Cast

21. John CHARLES

POSITION: Defender/Striker; 

NATION: Wales (38/15);

CLUB(s): Leeds United (ENG), Juventus (ITA), Roma (ITA), Cardiff City (WAL), Hereford United (ENG), Merthyr Tydfil (WAL); 

CLUB HONOURS: 3x Serie A, 2x Coppa Italia, 2x Welsh Cup

"He, too, came from South Wales, he, too, was the youngest player to represent his country and he, too, caused a global storm when his transfer abroad broke records.

John Charles became an all-time idol at Juventus and Gareth Bale will have been a sensation at Real Madrid if he makes half the impact Charles did in Italy.

In 1997 — 40 years after his signing — Charles was voted the greatest-ever Juventus purchase, ahead of Zidane, Platini, Boniek and Brady. Four years later, Charles was then acclaimed Serie A’s greatest-ever import, this time leaving Maradona, Van Basten and Liedholm behind.

Bale can take inspiration from Swansea-born Charles, who was 18 on his Wales debut. Bale, from Cardiff, was only 16 when John Toshack picked him for Wales — the former Real Madrid manager later recommending Bale to Barcelona, saying: ‘I’d never seen a player like him.’

Due to injury, Charles missed the Wales-Brazil quarter-final. Brazil won 1-0. Pele scored but noted ‘the great John Charles’ was missing.  The praise was unceasing for a man dubbed the Gentle Giant in Italy due to his sporting nature. Charles was never booked or sent off in his 23-year career. He once rounded the goalkeeper in a Turin derby but kicked the ball out because the keeper was injured.

Torino fans besieged Charles’s house that night; he invited them in and gave them wine. In his last full season in England with Leeds United, 1956-57, Charles scored 39 goals in 41 appearances. He would also help out at the back. The team was christened Charles United."
Michael Walker - Daily Mail

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


This shows you should never let the people's choice decide - most of them haven't got a clue. The IFFHS did it a few times with their player of the year contest. Voting through the internet. There were 5 or 6 Egyptians in their Top 10.
The Football History Boys said…
For sure, but we wanted to see what people thought - doesn't reflect our personal lists but the usual suspects are all there - and there are no Egyptians in the top 10! Haha

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