The football scene has seen some great names over the last century and these players contributed a lot to the history of football. From Pele and his World Cup glory to Cruyff and the “total Football” passing by Maradona and the “Hand of God” all the way to Messi and Ronaldo. All these names were essential to the well known and established football we love nowadays. Dive in to know the history of these players and their effect on history itself.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, (born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé, is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a forward. He is regarded by many in the sport, including football writers, players, and fans, as the greatest player of all time. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. That same year, Pelé was elected Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. According to the IFFHS, Pelé is the most successful domestic league goal-scorer in football history scoring 650 goals in 694 League matches, and in total 1281 goals in 1363 games, which included unofficial friendlies and is a Guinness World Record. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff was the most famous exponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in football history. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dutch football rose from obscurity to become a powerhouse in the sport. Cruyff led the Netherlands to the final of the 1974 FIFA World Cup and received the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. At the 1974 finals, he executed a feint that subsequently was named after him, the "Cruyff Turn", a move widely replicated in the modern game. Wearing the number 14 jersey, he set a trend for wearing shirt numbers outside the usual starting line-up numbers of one to eleven.
Diego Armando Maradona was an Argentine professional football player and manager. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972), nicknamed "Zizou", is a French former professional football player and current manager of Real Madrid. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker, renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, and played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid. At club level, Zidane won two Serie A league titles with Juventus, before he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years. In Spain, Zidane won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League, with his left-foot volleyed winner in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition's history. Zidane also won an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup with both teams.
Michael Ballack is a retired German footballer. He is among the top goal scorers in the history of the German national team. Ballack wore the number 13 shirt for every team he has played for, save for 1. FC Kaiserslautern. He was selected by Pelé as one of FIFA's 100 Greatest Living Players, and as the UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year in 2002. He won the German Footballer of the Year award three times – in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Ballack was known for his passing range, powerful shot, physical strength and commanding presence in midfield.
Francesco Totti (born 27 September 1976) is an Italian former professional footballer who played for Roma and the Italy national team. He is often referred to as Er Bimbo de Oro (The Golden Boy), L'Ottavo Re di Roma (The Eighth King of Rome), Er Pupone (The Big Baby), Il Capitano (The Captain), and Il Gladiatore (The Gladiator) by the Italian sports media. He played primarily as an attacking midfielder or second striker, but could also play as a lone striker or winger.
Brazilian former professional footballer and ambassador for Barcelona. He played mostly as an attacking midfielder, but was also deployed as a forward or a winger. He played the bulk of his career at European clubs Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and A.C. Milan as well as playing for the Brazilian national team.
Zlatan Ibrahimović is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a forward for LA Galaxy. Primarily a striker, he is a prolific goalscorer who is best known for his technique, creativity, strength, ability in the air, and his powerful and accurate striking ability. He is currently the third-most decorated active footballer in the world, having won 31 trophies in his career. He has scored over 520 senior career goals for club and country.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (born 22 April 1982, commonly known as Kaká) or Ricardo Kaká, is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. Owing to his performances at Milan where he was an elite playmaker, Kaká is widely considered one of the best players of his generation. With success at club and international level, he is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d'Or.
Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Italian club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team.
Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Ciro Immobile is an Italian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Lazio and the Italy national team.
Egyptian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Liverpool and the Egypt national team. Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed.