To sum up, here’s a list of the best soccer players of all time:
- Lionel Messi
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Diego Maradona
- Johan Cruyff
- Michel Platini
- Alfredo Di Stefano
- Franz Beckenbauer
- Iker Casillas
It is a highly debated topic among fans to determine the best player in the sport of soccer. Each person who had the privilege of witnessing various legends of the game at different stages will have their own personal preferences. However, it is challenging to compare players from different positions and different eras of the sport’s evolution, as the game has evolved over time. A player who achieved impressive results in the past may not be accurately compared to players of today, and the same goes for players of the present being compared to those of the past.
Therefore, it is nearly impossible to definitively name the greatest player of all time or even just in the present moment. Still, we can identify those who are worthy of being considered in the discussion. Here’s an overview of those players with a valid argument to be considered among the best, both currently in 2022 and throughout the entire history of the sport.
Who is the best soccer player of 2022?
Determining the best soccer player can be subjective, and different people may have different opinions. However, there are a few ways in which one could make a case for a player being the best.
One such way is through the Ballon d’Or award, which is given to the best player in the game. In the 2021/22 season, the award was won by Karim Benzema of Real Madrid. He led the team to win the La Liga and Champions League titles, which was a major factor in his winning the award.
Another way is by looking at the player who is earning the most amount of money. Currently, the highest-paid player is Kylian Mbappe, who recently signed a new three-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain that could see the club pay him a staggering €630 million. He is considered one of the best young players in the game and has also graced the cover of the popular FIFA video game for the last two years.
Finally, one could argue that the best player is the one who has scored the most goals. In this case, the best player would be Cristiano Ronaldo, who holds the record for the most goals scored for club and country, with over 800. However, his rival, Lionel Messi, has also had a tremendous impact on the game and has collected a significant number of assists, which could be a factor in determining the best player. Additionally, the young striker Erling Haaland has made an incredible start to the Premier League season and is on pace to shatter the league’s single-season goalscoring record, making a strong case for him as the best player.
It’s worth noting that not only forwards can be considered the best players in the game. There have been many players from different positions who have been recognised for their exceptional skills. For example, Luka Modric, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2018, was known for his brilliant midfield play that led Croatia to the World Cup final. Another player who made a significant impact in the sport is Thibaut Courtois, the winner of the 2022 Yashin trophy. His exceptional goalkeeping skills earned him the Man of the Match award in the 2022 Champions League final. These players prove that being the best soccer player is not limited to just one position and that other positions, such as midfield and goalkeeper, can also make a significant impact on the sport.
Considering the women league:
Determining the best soccer player in the women’s game can also be challenging when using the same criteria as in the men’s game. One popular name in the women’s soccer world is Alexia Putellas, who has won back-to-back Ballon d’Or awards for her exceptional play and her contributions to the success of both Barcelona and Spain. Another player who has made a significant impact in the women’s game is Sam Kerr from Australia, who was awarded the title of Best International Women’s Soccer Player at the ESPYS in 2019 and 2022. These players demonstrate that the women’s game is just as competitive and exciting as the men’s game, with many talented players contributing to the sport.
Other factors that people might consider when determining the best player in the women’s soccer game include the contributions of still-active greats of the sport. One such player is Alex Morgan of the United States, whose exceptional goal-scoring ability remains an integral part of the number-one-ranked international team. Another player who has made a lasting impact is Brazilian superstar Marta, who holds the record for the most goals scored in a FIFA World Cup across both genders.
Megan Rapinoe, a teammate of Morgan on the US team, was awarded the Golden Ball at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, recognizing her as the tournament’s best player. Despite her playing days potentially drawing to a close, Rapinoe remains a popular figure in the sport, not only for her on-field excellence but also for her activism for women’s rights off the field.
The successful run of the England Lioness team at Euro 2022 has put a number of its players at the forefront of the women’s soccer world, including Beth Mead, who won the Player of the Tournament award, and Lucy Bronze, who was awarded the Silver Ball as the second-best player at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. These players are among the many talented individuals contributing to the growth and success of women’s soccer.
There are also talented young players in the women’s game, such as U.S. forward Catarina Macario. Macario made a mark on the game when she helped guide Lyon to a surprising victory in the Women’s Champions League final. Despite suffering a recent ACL injury, Macario remains a player to watch and is expected to make a strong comeback.
Best among the men football players:
In terms of all-time greats, the list is vast and varied. Currently, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are active in their careers and hold the top two spots for the most goals scored in the club and international play, solidifying their place as two of the greatest players to have ever played the game.
But, there have been many greats before them as well. South America is home to two of the greatest forwards of all time, with Argentina’s Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Pele being constantly debated by fans. Both players won the FIFA World Cup and brought great glory to their respective nations. Ronaldo Nazario, once thought to be Pele’s successor, was also considered one of the all-time greats, despite his career being cut short due to knee injuries.
Johan Cruyff revolutionized the game with his concept of Total Football and his unmatched technical abilities. Michel Platini, who later went on to become a disgraced UEFA executive, was once considered the greatest two-way midfielder of all time. German defender Franz Beckenbauer won two Ballon d’Or awards, despite playing a less glamorous position. Iker Casillas was a top goalkeeper, winning several European titles, including the World Cup, two European Championships, and three Champions League crowns.
Finally, Alfredo Di Stefano is considered the founding father of the striker position. He won the second-ever Ballon d’Or and was so good that Pele himself referred to him as the greatest striker of all time.