Top 100 Greatest Ever Footballers

It’s that time of the year again. The time when a random (ok, let’s call it ‘well-respected’ if you prefer) football publication makes an “All Time Best” ranking that never fails to create controversy and offend a few people.

FourFourTwo did one of those last month, this time it’s the turn of the ‘Association of Football Statisticians’ to make its Top 100, after studying every fact and figure from the beautiful game over the past 100 years.

Points are given for goals scored by forwards and clean sheets for defenders. Players also get awarded marks for trophies won, captaincy and the level they played at throughout their career.

It should come as no big surprise to see Pelé at nº1 spot (the Brazilian legend totalling 16,799.44 points), but the names and rankings further down the list are bound to raise some eyebrows. The analysis of The Sun highlights the biggest problems in English Premiership terms:

  • Manchester United legends George Best, Denis Law and Eric Cantona don’t make the top 100.
  • Ali Daei‘s 109 goals in 149 games for Iran puts him at 26th — ahead of players like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho.
  • Diego Maradona is ranked only 6th.

The publishers explain to The Sun that Best misses out because he never participated in a World Cup tournament, and had a fairly short career, while Ali Daei won his place by scoring 109 goals in 149 international matches for… Iran.

'Greatest Ever Footballers' by Headline publishersThe Daily Star takes a look the UK players, and finds out that England’s top star is Bobby Charlton in 23rd spot, two places above Scotland’s Kenny Dalglish. David Beckham is 44th, Kevin Keegan at 46th, Gary Lineker 56th, Welsh ace Ryan Giggs 62nd, and Michael Owen 68th. Alan Shearer misses out of the top 100.

Further analysis of the ‘Best 100’ reveals that the top 3 trio is 100% Brazilian (with Ronaldo 2nd and Romario 3rd… and Cafu closing down the Auriverde block at 10th). Figo is 4th, Zidane 5th, and other big names such as Platini (13th), Maldini (15th), Zico (16th), Gullit (18th) and Cruyff (21st) are excluded from the Top 10.

TThe most represented nation is France (with 16 players), followed by Brazil (11), Italy and Germany (10). England totals 7, Argentina 5 (Messi not included).

Also, in terms of overall football career, the most represented European league is the Serie A. Indeed, most of the Top 100 players worked at one point or another in Italy: Serie A totals at least 58 players in that ranking, closely followed by La Liga (44), and the EPL (36). Other represented leagues include the Bundesliga (22), the French Ligue 1 (22), the Dutch Eredivisie (20), and the Portuguese Superliga (5). As for South America, the Campeonato Brasileiro counts 11 players while the Argentine Apertura/Clausura only 8 (most of the Brazilian/Argentine stars obviously beginning their career back home). An interesting note is the total of 13 players who played in the MLS/USL (mostly at the end of their careers), making North America the destination of choice for footballers close to retirement.

As for the Italians, aside from the aforementioned Paolo Maldini the remaining 9 players in the list are Paolo Rossi (43rd), Alessandro Costacurta (49th), Dino Zoff (51st), Alessandro Del Piero (60th), Demetrio Albertini (64th), Giacinto Facchetti (75th), Franco Baresi (77th), Gianni Rivera (78th) and Roberto Baggio (79th).

The Top 100 is revealed in the book Greatest Ever Footballers, on sale next week by Headline publishers for £14.99 (€21.50).

Here’s the full list. Any thoughts?

1 Pele Pelé (Brazil)
2 Ronaldo Ronaldo (Brazil)
3 Romario Romário (Brazil)
4 Figo Luís Figo (Portugal)
5 Zidane Zinedine Zidane (France)
6 Maradona Diego Maradona (Argentina)
7 Matthaus></td>  <td>Lothar Matthäus </strong></td>  <td><strong>(Germany) </strong></td>  </tr>  <tr>  <td><strong>8 </strong></td>  <td><strong><img mce_tsrc= Lothar Matthäus (Germany)
8 Muller Gerd Müller (Germany)
9 Beckenbauer Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
10 Cafu Cafu (Brazil)

.

11 Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
12 Marco van Basten (Holland)
13 Michel Platini (France)
14 Rivaldo (Brazil)
15 Paolo Maldini (Italy)
16 Zico (Brazil)
17 Raúl (Spain)
18 Ruud Gullit (Holland)
19 Eusébio (Portugal)
20 Ferenc Puskás (Hungary)
21 Johan Cruyff (Holland)
22 Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina)
23 Bobby Charlton (England)
24 Jürgen Klinsmann (Ger)
25 Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)
26 Ali Daei (Iran)
27 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Ger)
28 Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
29 Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
30 Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
31 Dennis Bergkamp (Holland)
32 Frank Rijkaard (Holland)
33 Thierry Henry (France)
34 Pavel Nedved (Czech Rep)
35 Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
36 Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
37 Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
38 Sepp Maier (Germany)
39 Didier Deschamps (France)
40 Lilian Thuram (France)
41 Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
42 Hakan Åžükür (Turkey)
43 Paolo Rossi (Italy)
44 David Beckham (England)
45 Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
46 Kevin Keegan (England)
47 Marcel Desailly (France)
48 Oliver Kahn (Germany)
49 Alessandro Costacurta (Ita)
50 Clarence Seedorf (Holland)
51 Dino Zoff (Italy)
52 Patrick Kluivert (Holland)
53 Jari Litmanen (Finland)
54 Daniel Passarella (Arg)
55 Bixente Lizarazu (France)
56 Gary Lineker (England)
57 Ronaldinho (Brazil)
58 Sylvain Wiltord (France)
59 Bebeto (Brazil)
60 Alessandro Del Piero (Italy)
61 Davor Å uker (Croatia)
62 Ryan Giggs (Wales)
63 David Trezeguet (France)
64 Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
65 Patrick Vieira (France)
66 Jürgen Kohler (Germany)
67 Laurent Blanc (France)
68 Michael Owen (England)
69 Youri Djorkaeff (France)
70 Frank De Boer (Holland)
71 Emilio Butragueño (Spain)
72 Hugo Sánchez (Mexico)
73 Rudi Völler (Germany)
74 Djalma Santos (Brazil)
75 Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)
76 Kanu (Nigeria)
77 Franco Baresi (Italy)
78 Gianni Rivera (Italy)
79 Roberto Baggio (Italy)
80 Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
81 Gheorghe Popescu (Romania)
82 Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark)
83 Raymond Kopa (France)
84 Carlos Valderrama (Colombia)
85 Rui Costa (Portugal)
86 Gary Neville (England)
87 Edgar Davids (Holland)
88 Claudio Taffarel (Brazil)
89 Paul Scholes (England)
90 Diego Simeone (Argentina)
91 Bryan Robson (England)
92 Roy Keane (Rep of Ireland)
93 Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
94 Henrik Larsson (Sweden)
95 Fabien Barthez (France)
96 Michael Ballack (Germany)
97 Jan Koller (Czech Rep)
98 Edwin van der Sar (Holland)
99 Robert Pirès (France)
100 Johan Neeskens (Holland)

Marco Pantanella writes on the mCalcio blog

Sheffield F.C. Celebrates Their 150th Anniversary
Is the Carling Cup Growing in Reputation?
Euro 2016 special offer: Get 6/1 odds on England to beat Iceland - £10 stake wins you £70 (new customers only).

115 Comments

  1. Karl 7 November, 2007
  2. Georgk 7 November, 2007
  3. Andrei 7 November, 2007
  4. emilio calleja 7 November, 2007
  5. Shaheen Seedat 7 November, 2007
  6. Shaheen Seedat 7 November, 2007
  7. Erik 7 November, 2007
  8. Hugo Steckelmacher 7 November, 2007
  9. albertomanzi92 7 November, 2007
  10. Anthony 7 November, 2007
  11. Liverpool_Fan 7 November, 2007
  12. Andy @ Liquid Football 7 November, 2007
  13. Mads Man 7 November, 2007
  14. celtic_ireland11 7 November, 2007
  15. indianpunk 8 November, 2007
  16. Liverpool_Fan 8 November, 2007
  17. emilio calleja 8 November, 2007
  18. KingOfZamunda 8 November, 2007
  19. AMIR 8 November, 2007
  20. corey 8 November, 2007
  21. corey 8 November, 2007
  22. Abby 8 November, 2007
  23. manu for ever 8 November, 2007
  24. Karl 8 November, 2007
  25. JohnST 8 November, 2007
  26. Shaun Daley 8 November, 2007
  27. Shaun Daley 8 November, 2007
  28. Liverpool_Fan 8 November, 2007
  29. NiKOS 9 November, 2007
  30. Interista 9 November, 2007
  31. Kitch360 9 November, 2007
  32. Kitch360 9 November, 2007
  33. :) G.Mall.12 :) Hannah was sitting nxt 2 me 9 November, 2007
  34. ohmygosh 9 November, 2007
  35. Liverpool_Fan 9 November, 2007
  36. Mohammed 9 November, 2007
  37. THE ONE 10 November, 2007
  38. THE ONE 10 November, 2007
  39. Jose D Farias 11 November, 2007
  40. Jose D Farias 11 November, 2007
  41. Jose D Farias 11 November, 2007
  42. Jose D Farias 11 November, 2007
  43. Jose D Farias 11 November, 2007
  44. y888g8 11 November, 2007
  45. mitchd 11 November, 2007
  46. Liverpool_Fan 11 November, 2007
  47. dermot 13 November, 2007
  48. Keith Kaira II 14 November, 2007
  49. Liverpool_Fan 14 November, 2007
  50. Chox Papa 15 November, 2007
  51. kosmo 15 November, 2007
  52. Alan 17 November, 2007
  53. paul burns 18 November, 2007
  54. football mad 21 November, 2007
  55. TK 21 November, 2007
  56. Dancel 23 November, 2007
  57. Master PAK 23 November, 2007
  58. Luton Fan... bad times 24 November, 2007
  59. Alex A Nyaley 30 November, 2007
  60. Alex A Nyaley 30 November, 2007
  61. xx 1 December, 2007
  62. carter 4 December, 2007
  63. Ballack 100 5 December, 2007
  64. chelsea fan 5 December, 2007
  65. chelsea fan 5 December, 2007
  66. chelc 5 December, 2007
  67. chelc 5 December, 2007
  68. san tiago munez ftw 5 December, 2007
  69. orlando pirates fan 5 December, 2007
  70. gustV PANSEGROUW 5 December, 2007
  71. harry 8 December, 2007
  72. neba 9 December, 2007
  73. John 11 December, 2007
  74. Omar 12 December, 2007
  75. Shohan Khan 14 December, 2007
  76. Shohan Khan 14 December, 2007
  77. Alex 26 December, 2007
  78. emmanuel david 27 December, 2007
  79. Andrei Meza 27 December, 2007
  80. Andrei Meza 27 December, 2007
  81. chelc fan 30 December, 2007
  82. Arsenal1214 15 January, 2008
  83. **** 29 January, 2008
  84. twiny 5 February, 2008
  85. cosmos nzenna 5 February, 2008
  86. leno 8 February, 2008
  87. joe the owl 12 February, 2008
  88. joe the owl 12 February, 2008
  89. modern judge 24 March, 2008
  90. modern judge 6 April, 2008
  91. pascalletje 8 April, 2008
  92. gia 8 April, 2008
  93. Nichu AJ 19 April, 2008
  94. nicolas 24 April, 2008
  95. GEORGEWILL 3 May, 2008
  96. Cuckoo 7 May, 2008
  97. Scootso 7 May, 2008
  98. Christopher 10 May, 2008
  99. Christopher 10 May, 2008
  100. Ganzoo 13 May, 2008
  101. ramtin 22 May, 2008
  102. Ali 22 May, 2008
  103. IMBRAHIMOVIC 24 May, 2008
  104. Raz 24 May, 2008
  105. hyb 25 May, 2008
  106. r9forever 30 May, 2008
  107. YUSUF ABDUL AZEEZ.O 30 May, 2008
  108. abubakr abiola 2 June, 2008
  109. Maxoe 2 June, 2008
  110. Atom Smith 9 June, 2008
  111. Alexander 14 June, 2008
  112. soccer-holic 15 June, 2008
  113. sean kinsella 16 June, 2008
  114. Pinoccio 17 June, 2008
  115. prince charles 18 June, 2008