Football is not an exact science, it is a passion, it is typhus, it is emotions. Footballers are often loved and make millions of people dream. In the history of football, there have been many champions and some more or less have contributed to making the game of football the most loved sport in the world. Making a list of the strongest players in history is not easy for this reason. Every person has his or her favourite and objectivity is practically impossible. We have tried to make a ranking that, aware of this, does not have the presumption of being universal. So let’s find out who, in our opinion, are the 10 strongest players ever.
10 George Best (Northern Ireland)
When it comes to genius and profligacy, one can only think of George Best. The Northern Irish footballer, a symbol of Manchester United in the ’60s and ’70s, is one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. Speed, excellent technique and so much irreverence are the main qualities of this real myth. His private life, made of excesses, has made his character even more loved. To understand George Best’s scope, just land at the Belfast airport named after the Northern Irish champion, who died prematurely in 2005. His palmarès includes a Champions’ Cup, two English championships and a Fa cup, as well as the Ballon d’Or, won in 1968.
9 Zinedine Zidane (France)
The French three-quarter player has enchanted millions of fans around the world with his games at the turn of the 90s and 2000s. His drunken feints and his fine technique have made many people fall in love with football. Juventus and Real Madrid were the teams to which he linked the most beautiful pages of his career. The homeworld championship won with his France, with which he also won a European, is perhaps the highest point of his career, while the Berlin final lost against Italy, with the famous episode of the header at Materazzi, is definitely the lowest point. His palmarès is very thick: 2 Italian and 1 Spanish championship, 1 Champions League, 2 Intercontinental, 1 European Super Cup at club level. A World Cup and a European Championship with the national team and the Ballon d’Or won in 1998.
8 Franz Anton Beckenbauer (Germany)
The Kaiser (the emperor) changed the role of the defender to a level never seen before. He was the symbol of West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s with whom he won a World Cup and a European Championship, and of Bayern Munich with whom he won 3 Champions’ Cups, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup, 5 German Championships and 4 German Cups. An excellent technique, not common to a defender, and a vision of extraordinary game combined with a great determination have made him the defender symbol of the period. Together with Matthias Sammer, he is the only defender to have won the Ballon d’Or (2 1972, 1976).
7 Paolo Maldini (Italy)
He’s one of the strongest and most successful defenders of all time. In his 25 years of career, he has put 26 trophies on the wall including 5 Champions League/Cup Champions, 5 European Super Cups, 2 Intercontinental, 1 World Cup for clubs 7 Italian championships. He linked his name to Milan, which in two periods between the ’80s and ’90s and then at the beginning of the century was the strongest and most successful team in the world. Speed, athleticism, the vision of play and flexibility are its best characteristics. The only drawback in his career was never having won any trophy with the national team, he was close to it several times in 1990 and 1994 at the World Cup and in 2000 at the European Championships, but twice the penalty kicks (semi-final in 1990 and final in 1994) and once the Golden Goal denied him this joy.
6 Johann Cruyff (Netherlands)
He was a football aesthete, technical, elegant and concrete, was the emblem of Dutch total football of the ’60s and ’70s. In his career he has enchanted the fans of Ajax with whom he won 3 Champions’ Cups, 1 Cups of the Cups, 1 Intercontinental, 1 European Super Cup and 8 Dutch Championships, and the fans of Barcelona with whom he won 1 Champions’ Cup, 1 Cup of the Cups, 1 European Super Cup and 4 Spanish Championships. In his career, he has also played and won in Feyenoord 1 Dutch Championship and 1 Dutch Cup. Memorable the challenge in the world final of 1974 with Franz Beckenbauer, lost by 2 to 1. Together with Michelle Platini and Marco Van Basten is in the third position for the number of Golden Pollons won (3), only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have done better than them (5).
5 Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Together with Lionel Messi, he is the symbol of the last decade. Athletic, fast and technical, Cristiano Ronaldo is a nightmare for the defences of all Europe. For seven seasons now he has been the symbol of one of the most famous clubs in the world: Real Madrid. Since playing with the Galàcticos he has scored 248 goals in 227 games and 74 goals in 70 appearances in the Liga Champions League, a crazy average for everyone. His palmarès is respectable: 4 Champions League, 4 World Club Championships, 2 European Super Cups just to mention the international trophies. He led his Portuguese team to the conquest of the French European Championship, a feat that had not been achieved by another great Portuguese player, Eusebio, or by the generation of the Figo and Rui Costa phenomena. If that were not enough, he also won 5 balls of gold like Lionel Messi.
4 Marco Van Basten (Netherlands)
Nicknamed the swan of Utrecht, it was certainly the most elegant striker in history. He was one of the most symbolic players of Milan in Sacchi, with whom he won 2 Champions’ Cups. Memorable is his goal scored in the 1988 European final, won by Holland on the Soviet Union thanks to his fundamental contribution. Unfortunately, a serious ankle injury forced the Dutch striker to retire at the age of 30, after 2 years of the ordeal in which it was more the days when he was away from the field than those in which he was able to express all his talent. Despite his premature retirement, he can count on: 2 Champions’ Cups, 2 Intercontinental Cups, 2 European Super Cups, 1 Cup Winners’ Cup, 4 Italian Championships, 3 Dutch Championships, 1 European Cup and 3 Golden Balls.
3 Lionel Messi (Argentina)
When you think of football today you think of Lionel Messi: agile, concrete and spectacular and the essence of football. With its, Barcelona enchants crowds around the world and makes even the most difficult plays simple. To understand the strength of the flea, numbers are enough: 364 goals in 399 matches in La Liga, 97 goals in 121 Champions League appearances, 4 Champions League, 3 European Super Cups, 3 World Club Championships, 7 Spanish Championships, the Olympic gold medal in 2008 with Argentina and 5 Golden Balls. To become number one he only needs one trophy, the most important one being the World Cup with his Argentina, a goal that failed in 2014 but could be won in this 2018.
2 Pelé – Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazil)
There are no adjectives to define Pelé’s career. He is the only player to have won 3 editions of the World Cup, a record that hardly anyone can match. Physical strengths and excellent technique are the best qualities of O Rei (The King) who in his career has mainly done one thing: to score. He scored 1281 goals in 1363 games (officially 761 goals in 825) a figure that seems unattainable. The only thing you can do to his career is not to have ever faced European football, but we are talking about other times when it was not so easy to play on the other side of the world.
1 Diego Armando Maradona (Argentina)
Maradona or Pelè is the question that all football fans have been asking themselves for years. We have opted for the fact that in his career he has dealt with European football, and in particular with the Italian championship where in the ’80s, all the greatest players of the time played. Maradona was an excellent player in terms of skill and technique, pure poetry. His goals are memorable, especially the goal scored in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup, later won, against England. On that occasion, he managed to dribble practically the entire English team, including the goalkeeper, before depositing the ball in the net. In his career, he won 1 World Cup, 1 UEFA Cup, 1 Spanish Championship, 2 Italian Championships, 1 Argentine Championship. He never won the Ballon d’Or just because at that time the prize was reserved exclusively for European players.