These guys kick balls… literally. It’s what they do for a living, and have been living extravagantly because of it, as they continue to strengthen their already super-strong legs to also kick any obstacle or anyone, who would dare stand in the way of the success they religiously aim for. Who among these kickers and stompers is the greatest football player of all?
He has the kind of tenacity and leadership that any great coach would certainly hold firmly on to, if he were to aim for global recognition. Piotr was perhaps the best 2-way player to grace the football fields. While most football superstars were super-quick with the ball at their feet, he was remembered for his attitude which was known to be unflagging at all times. He would have run over a kitten to get to the ball, setting aside the fears of any fan that he was there for some sort of siesta time. He later on brought those same traits as a coach, leading DC United to the 2004 championship.
Alfredo Di Stefano
Even though he had a career that was plagued by an enormous case of bad timing, Di Stefano was nonetheless considered the greatest player of his generation. He was declared by Real Madrid fans and the media as well as some sort of a legend. He is best known for helping the team win 5 consecutive European cups in the late 50s and early 60s. Unfortunately, he was never given the opportunity to be in a World Cup match. Argentina, his country of birth, declined to participate in both the 1950 and 1954 World Cups, which deprived him of the chance to play in the most prestigious event known to football.
While just a 21-year old kid, he had already been a pro-kicker for 5 years, leading the victories of Manchester United during the early years of the 50s. During those times, he already made 18 international appearances for European matches. However, just before he could step into a World Cup field, the plane he’s boarding along with his team crashed, which was supposed to bring them into a European Cup match. Like Alfredo Di Stefano who never had the chance to be in a World Cup, Duncan Edwards is a classic example of a player being cut down just as he stepped into the halls of fame and greatness.
While some football players are known for their speed, accuracy and vitality, some players are simply known for their longevity in the field and in the game in general. In that regard, no other player is ever more recognized than this guy from the Middle East. With a total of 181 international appearances, he was responsible for an array of heroics that led his team to great victories most notably during the 1990 Asian Cup. Al Deayea had been in 4 world cups and is a title holder of the dubious distinction of conceding the most goals in the history of football finals.
Having proven that he is still a toughie even as he was reaching 50, this guy was the oldest player to appear for England. When he reached his 30s, he was asked by his handlers if he could still carry on for a few more years. He didn’t give them just a few years, he gave them another 2 decades. When asked about his secret for such vigor, his answer was simple: tough training regimen, a truckload of discipline, abstinence from the likes of tobacco and liquor and even food… for at least a day every week. His greatness lie far beyond his skill in his chosen sport, but in his capacity to pit himself equally against younger men who were supposed to be more fit and agile than he is.
The intense game of football is known as a game for full-grown men, but such a notion didn’t stop this fella from breaking that stereotyping. Just 2 months short of his 14th birthday, this wee lad is recorded as the youngest football player ever to play internationally. He debuted during the Togo’s World Cup qualifier match against Zambia in 2001. Although some sources claim that he was actually 16 when he made his worldwide breakthrough, Mamam remains an outstanding record holder in the perspective of the all-knowing FIFA institution.
If you are assigned as a “keeper” for your team, you belong to the underappreciated lane by default. But if you get to know Mr. Yashin, you might think again because he is one of the few who eventually proved that being a keeper can be the most important player on the field. Dubbed as the “Black Spider” because of his fondness for black outfits, he helped revolutionize the position in the sense that he was one of the first players to command the entire 18-yard perimeter. This Moscow native became a global star for his fascinating reflexes and is believed to have saved more than 150 penalty kicks in a career that spanned for 22 years. For this achievement, he was awarded as European Player in 1963, and was the only player to win such a title.
Great expense often stem from high expectations. In the case of Mr. Zidane, he was in fact transferred from Juventus to Real Madrid for 46 million euros, which make him the object of the most expensive football transfer fee ever spent. So was he worth every price of the penny? He was. He led Real Madrid to their 9th UEFA Champions League crown in 2002 and the La Liga title in 2013. Zidane might be remembered most for his infamous head-butt on Italian Marco Materazzi, but he deserves to be more recognized as one of the best football players, notwithstanding the fact that he is one of the most expensive.
A master of the checkered ball with his visage, passing methods and pace-changes, he is the lone guy that you can’t afford to give any ample room. A 3-time Best XI selection, he reached a record of 112 goals which led his team DC United into the 2008 season with an all-tops record. After recovering from a back injury that nearly put his career to an end, Moreno played a major influence behind his team’s first 3 championships, and rediscovered his best stance, leading DC United to their fourth title in 2004. His 112-goal remains unparalleled as the greatest number ever recorded in the history of the football league.
Any sports league need to have a “face personality,” and if boxing has Muhammad Ali, baseball has Babe Ruth and basketball has Michael Jordan, David Beckham is definitely the one for football. He is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France. He was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 200 which makes him more than worthy to be a global ambassador for the sport and for being declared as a British cultural icon. Being excellent in his craft has consistently ranked him among the highest earners in football, and in 2013 he was listed as the highest-paid player in the world. In that same year, he announced his retirement after a 20-year career in which he won 19 trophies along with plenty other recognitions.
Who among them should be ranked as No. 1?