20 legends


Football legends

All the players listed on this website fall into the category of world class players and they are the greatest players of all time in their respective positions. But, only a handful can fall into the group of Legends. The following players are iconic figures that the footballing community has ever seen. Due to the spectacular football skills, they have risen to become household names even among those who have little interest in football. They have also revolutionised and expanded the game of football and have captured the worlds imagination-usually during the world cup. Important of all, they have inspired fans, amateur and professional football players. 

20. Zico

Attacking midfielder, Brazil and Flamengo, also Udinese during the 1970s and 80s

Zico is a Flamengo legend who was an iconic star of the Brazilian team which represented the country at the 1982 world cup and also earned himself a place among the stars of the tournament. He was a creative midfielder who combined flair and a unique eye for the post, attributes which enabled him to score many free kicks. Although he was a great star, his legend was dented by the team’s failure to lift the 1982 world cup trophy. The two world cup tournaments which followed also saw him fail to succeed due to a serious injury he had sustained during that period. During his stay at Flamengo, he and his team managed to clinch the Copa Libertadores before leading his team to a 3-1 triumph over Liverpool when the two sides clashed in the 1981 Intercontinental cup.

Part of the great 1982 team of Brazil

19. Marco Van Basten

Striker for Netherlands and Ajax and AC Milan in 1980s and 90s

He is the greatest player of the late 1980s and early 90s. Van Basten managed to earn himself the European Footballer of the year prior to his retirement at the age of 28following the onset of his injury problems. He is remembered for being a complete striker showing pace and excellent goal technique, attributes that enabled him to score from just about anywhere on the pitch. During his stay at Ajax, he featured in 133 games and scored on 128 occasions. He later moved to AC where he was instrumental in leading his side to clinch two European trophies in 1988 and 1989. He played alongside two fellow Dutch team mates Frank Rjkaard and Ruud Gullit both of whom played alongside him up to the time they won Euro 88 after they beat USSR in a final in which Van Basten scored one of the best goals to have ever been scored. Unfortunately, he missed AC’s 1994 cup European cup triumph and never participated in a world cup.

Part of the great AC Milan and Netherlands

18. Romario

Striker for Brazil and PSV, Barca and Flamengo

He is renowned for his great instinct for the goal and natural abilities to score; Romario was the best player at the world cup tournament of 1994. Thanks to his great skills, Brazil won the tournament against Italy in the final. He played for PSV on a five season spell before moving to Barcelona in 1993, a move which enabled him to feature in the European cup final of 1994. Despite Barca’s loss to AC, Romario still managed to emerge as European footballer of the year. his career only came to an end after he played for several Brazilian clubs. While playing for Vasco De Gama, he managed to score a brace against Manchester United in a match which ended 3-1 in favour of De Gama. His 1000th goal was scored at De Gama in 2007. A statue of him is also present at the club in honour of his great footballing talent. He scored 55 goals in 70 games, a feat that has made him one of Brazil’s best strikers. His deadly partnership with Ronaldo led to his side winning the Copa America tournament of 1997, but failed to make it to the 1998 world cup due to injury.

Part if a great Barcelona team between 1989 and 1994

17. Lev Yashin

Goal keeper for Russia and Dynamo Moscow of the 1950s and 60s

Although it appears normal to see goal keepers leaving their line to command their defence, score corners and came out of the box to counter attacks, this has not always been the case. It is all thanks to the influence of Lev Yashin who revolutionised the art of goal keeping while he was playing for USSR in the 1958 world cup. With his all black attire which earned him the nickname Black Panther, Lev Yashin was the iconic figure of the team, quite impressive with his athletic performance. He also prided himself as one of the best penalty savers, saving an astonishing 150 penalties in his career. The Black Panther won the 1960 European championship and featured in four world cups. Thanks to his exceptional goal keeping skills, he helped Dynamo Moscow to emerge triumphant in Soviet league on five occasions. He is the only goal keeper to have scooped the European footballer of the year in 1963 and also has an award for Best world goal keeper to his name.

16. Jose Andrade

Defensive Midfielder for Uruguay national team and the clubs Penarol and Nacional

Andrade is obviously the only one featuring on this list who you may not have heard of before, but he certainly deserves a place on the list. Renowned for his exceptional footballing skills which he displayed during the pre-world war era, he was the star of the 1920s Uruguayan national team. Thanks to him, the team emerged triumphant at the Olympic Games on two occasions, which FIFA recognises as a world cup since there was no world cup during the era lasting between 1920 and 1930. He also helped his country scoop three South American tournament trophies. In spite of suffering from several illnesses and being close to the finish line of his career, he was the main star who featured in the team that scooped the 1930 world cup.

Before Pele, Andrade was, according to the Guardian

Part of the great Uruguayan team between 1920 and 1930

15. Eusebio

Striker for Portugal and Benfica during the 1960s

This is the only player on this list whose origin is Africa. He was originally born in Mozambique, but played for his colonial masters Portugal. During his time, he managed to lead Portugal to the semis of the world cup hosted by England in 1966. He was undoubtedly the main star of the competition, scoring four goals when his side clashed with North Korea. During the 60s, Eusebio also met a lot of success at his club Benfica, where he starred in a European competition which led to his side winning the European cup trophy in 1962 after he spectacularly scored a brace to see off Real Madrid in the final. Thanks to his excellent footballing skills, Benfica managed to reach the European cup final on two more occasions. But, they lost on both occasions against Inter Milan in 1965 and Manchester United three years later. His exceptional footballing skills led him to be crowned the European footballer of the year in 1965. He remains one of the greatest football talents to have walked the earth and having scored a mind boggling 423 goals in 431 fixtures.

Part of a great Benfica team of the 1960s

14. Sir Bobby Charlton

Attacking midfielder for England Manchester United between the 1950s and the 1970s.

He is England’s best player ever and is still the leading goal scorer for his national side and his club. Bobby had a club career which is full of success; quite lucrative. His place in the team meant a lot although he was not the best of the side that later survived the Munich Air Disaster, but still continued to play for his club. Despite the setback, he managed to earn a key place in the team and became the captain of the side. It was during the same period that he managed to form an important part of the team’s “Holy trinity” constituting him, Denis Law and George Best. Despite being a forward, Bobby often dropped into midfield. But, he always managed to maintain a formidable scoring record, much to the shock of the entire football fraternity. Being two footed, he always managed to beat his opponents whenever the need arose and also stormed the goal with his usual long range shots with which he claimed numerous goals. He was a notable player for the England national side from the onset of his career. After his prolific role during the 1962 world cup, he inspired his side to win the trophy when they hosted it in 1966 and also scooped the player of the year award of the same year. After two years, he went on to win the European championship trophy with Manchester United, a feat which helped to put to rest the Munich ghosts.  Despite having been advanced in age, he still contributed greatly to the success of his national side and club. He remains a great legend for both country and club and also has a seat on his club’s board.

Part of the great team: Manchester United and England between 1962 and 1970

13. Michel Platini

Attacking midfielder for France, St Etienne and Juventus during the 1970s and 80s

Platini used to be a great inspiration to his national side and club during the 1970s and 80s. He was an excellent attacking midfielder with a staggering goal instinct. No doubt, his goal scoring record is one that any striker would wish to have. Platini also boasted of an excellent passing ability and scored many free kicks. His play was characterised by intelligence and great skill enabling him to organise his teammates all the way from the midfield up to the 18 yard box. Thanks to his excellence, he led his country to European glory in the 1984 Euro tournament and also won the European cup with Juventus during the same year. He was crowned world footballer of the year on three consecutive occasions. His performance in the 1982 and 1986 world cups was impressive leading his side to a semi-final place and earning a place in the two tournaments’ Team of the tournament. His most notable moment was leading France to win the 1984 Euro tournament in which he scored 9 goals and has remained the tournament’s top scorer despite featuring in the tournament on a single occasion.

Part of the great team: France of the 1980s

12. George Best

Played as a left/right winger for Manchester United and Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 70s

According to Pele, George Best is the greatest player of all time. You only have to watch a single footage of the Briton to dismiss your doubts. He was a great dribbler and had excellent goal scoring abilities. Best is also held in high esteem for being England’s first superstar and the greatest player of the Manchester United team which also features Charlton. He made a name for himself after he put up an exceptional performance at the European cup tournament which inspired his side to triumph in the 1968 competition. His exceptional performance at the tournament earned him a European Footballer of the year award. He was a natural player who believed in entertaining fans and was full of surprises; his teammates and fans hardly knew what to expect next. He combined his great style of play with imagination and was so brave that he never got intimidated by any hard player of the time. Perhaps, one can only imagine how best he could have fitted in today’s football considering the protection that referees give to players nowadays. Being two footed, he managed to play on both wings of the pitch and also made great tackles. During the 70s, Best almost maintained United’s great team status singlehandedly but could not endure the pressure any longer and became alcoholic. Surprisingly, he never played at any world cup tournament but enjoyed a lengthy Man United career which started when he was only 17 and ended when he was 27. After departing from Man United, he moved to the US where he continued to impress the crowds.

Part of a great Man United team of the 1960s.

11. Christiano Ronaldo

Winger/striker for Portugal, Man United and Real Madrid during the early first 15 years of the 2000s

He is a modern day spectacular talent that you definitely want to watch. Christiano Ronaldo was signed at the age of 18 after his side clashed with Man United in a friendly of a preseason tour. Sir Alex Ferguson could not hold himself from signing the young talent due to his impressive nature of football. Christiano is renowned for his excellent dribbling abilities and a unique pace that drives him past opponents. He also has an excellent instinct for the goal, an attribute that has enabled him to be on the list of some of the greatest goal scorers the football planet has ever witnessed. Coupled with his great instinct for the goal are his unique abilities to score goals from the spot and from various ranges each time he takes free kicks. These attributes combined, enabled Christiano Ronaldo to guide his club Man United to a European Champions league trophy in 2008, a year before Real Madrid signed him. Following his move to Real Madrid, his lit up La liga courtesy of his rivalry with Lionel Messi and guided his side to a tenth European Champions league trophy in 2014. Although Messi may be the greatest player today, Ronaldo has managed to rival him quite closely and has won the Ballon d’Or on three occasions, just two short of the Argentine Messi. Today, it is actually safe to say that Ronaldo is Portugal’s greatest player of all time. This is a feat that he has managed to realise after a life of dedication and hard work. Despite having featured in three world cup tournaments, Ronaldo has failed to impress in all of them, a life experience which has rendered him a lower position in this list.

Part of a great team: Manchester United between 1999 and 2009

10. Garrincha

Right winger, played for Brazil and Botafogo during the 1950s and 60s

He was born with deformed knees, a development that may have denied him a chance to play football. But, he miraculously survived and became one of the best players of all time especially in dribbling. He often tore apart teams from the right wing, impressing the crowd using his tricks and scoring a number of goals in the process while creating several others for his teammates. Up to this day, many believe that he was playing for his personal amusement as he often turned up for matches without knowing who his team was playing against. He was also fond of turning up for training only when he wanted to and would leave for his home village to drink and womanise during each afternoon.

But, his performance was never affected by his reckless life and often delivered on the pitch whenever it mattered. He managed to find a place in the Brazilian team which represented the nation in the 1958 world cup and proved to be a spectacular player. Thanks to him and the contribution from other stars, Brazil lifted the trophy. In 1962, Pele got injured and was sidelined from the pitch. But, Grrincha managed to take the leading role on the pitch and guided Brazil to another world cup trophy in 1962. His time at Botafogo was just as great and he managed to win several trophies and many international titles. But, his legs begin to fail him during his midsixties and his reckless lifestyle finally caught up with him. He died at the age of 49 and left behind an astonishing legacy. He is apparently more appreciated and loved in home nation compared to Pele.

Part of a great team: Brazil of the era between 1957 and 1963

9. ZinedineZidane

Attacking midfielder for France, Juventus and Real Madrid during the 1990s and 2000s

Zidane is recognised as one of the greatest attacking midfielders that the footballing planet has ever witnessed. He played with exceptional skills and unique ability to read the game in a fine way. No doubt, a slow motion film of him playing the game depicts that his football was excellent. In 1998, Zidane guided his French national side to world cup glory, something that even Michel Platini had failed. In all sincerity, Zidane had not really proved his worth until he scored twice against Brazil in the 1998 final. Two years later, Zidane was in the limelight again when he managed to lead France to European glory and becoming player of the tournament during that year. In the 2002 world cup and the Euro 2004, France failed to tick and suffered humiliation much to the dismay of their fans. A number of riots were even reported in some parts of the country in protest against the display of the team during the two tournaments. But, Zidane came back to the spotlight and guided his side to the 2006 world cup final. His discipline left much to be desired as he missed several games due to suspension. He and his teammates will obviously never forget his head-butt incident which cost France a victory during the final against Italy, a game which is remembered as the last match for the legend. But, he was already named player of the competition.

At club level, he first played recognised European football when he featured for Juventus during the 19996 season where he showed his class. Thanks to him, Juventus managed to win two league trophies and reached two European cup finals but failed to triumph in any of them. The year 2001 saw him move to Real Madrid where he turned out to be the club’s most important player. He gave assists, excellent passes and a marvellous instinct for the goal which enabled him to score excellent goals. In 2002, he scored stunner of a goal when he converted a flying volley in a final involving his side and Leverkusen. He remains one of the few players to have been crowned European player of the year on three occasions.

Part of the great teams: France, Juventus and Real Madrid of mid 1990s and 2000s.

8. Ronaldo

Striker for Brazil, Barca, Inter and Real Madrid in the 1990s and 2000s

Ronaldo is a player with a marvellous history, often intertwined with the world cup history. In 2002, he managed to reclaim his recognition as a great striker when he guided Brazil to their 5th world cup trophy, in a tournament in which he scored 8 goals and became joint top scorer with Germany striker Klose. He and Barcelona have a great history together. When he played for them in the 1996/97 season, he scored an astonishing 47 goals after featuring in 49 games while guiding his team to their Cup Winners cup glory. He had an amazing pace, his dribbling was spectacular and his ability to score goals was just phenomenal, skills which he had also acquired from his early futsal period. His career had actually yielded one of his best moments and he later proceeded to win the FIFA World player of the year award in 1996 when he was only 20 years old. Brazil enjoyed his presence in the team as he combined perfectly with Romario to guide his team to a Copa America trophy in 1997, a trophy he went on to scoop two years later. Following the end of his single season spell at Barca, he proceeded to join Inter where he impressed masses. In particular, he marinated his amazing goal scoring tally despite the intense defences he had to put up with. He also had an amazing ability to make good passes and score free kicks, attributes which inspired his club to win one UEFA Cup trophy. In 1998, he starred in the world cup tournament in France and ended up winning the Golden Ball, although his team lost to France in the final. Up to this day, some believe they were the best team of the tournament despite losing to France. Not much is known about what really happened in the final, but Ronaldo is known to have suffered a seizure which negatively impacted his performance and eventually led to his team’s loss of the game.

During his spell at Inter, Ronaldo suffered a serious injury on two occasions involving his knee tendons leading to two seasons of almost shear dormancy. But, he managed to recover from injury prior to the onset of the 2002 world cup. His great performance and amazing goal scoring abilities inspired Brazil to their 5th world cup trophy. Most of all, it was his great combination with Rivaldoand Ronaldinho that led to the success of the team. During the same year, he won another FIFA World player of the year and transferred to Real Madrid and formed an important part of the Galaticos. During his two year spell there, he impressed masses by maintaining his amazing goal scoring tally. In particular, he was at the centre of Real Madrid’s 6-5 aggregate triumph over Manchester United when the two sides clashed at Old Trafford after he scored a hatrick leading Real Madrid to salve 3 away goals courtesy of Ronaldo. Towards the end of the season, Ronaldo’s pace had started dying out due to his careless lifestyle and injury spells. He later played for AC Milan and several other clubs in Brazil before parting company with football in 2011.

Part of two great teams: Brazil 1998 to 2002 and Real Madrid in 1998 to 2005.

7. Alfredo di Stefano

Attacking midfielder for Argentina, Spain and Real Madrid during the 1950s

Di Stefano certainly deserved all his applause as a star player and leader of the pitch. He was an iconic figure of his club and remains one of the greatest that Real Madrid has ever had. During his spell at Real Madrid, he helped his side win five European trophies on five occasions, a feat that will probably never be repeated. His feat inspired several other players including Charlton and Eusebio who are both on the list. The play he displayed on the pitch attracted scores of fans to the pitch in a bid to see him and promoted the game across the world.

His first ascension to prominence came when he playing for Huracan on loan when he was still registered as a River plates player in his native country Argentina. In 1953, he was signed by Real Madrid after a series of tug of wars. While at Madrid, he mainly played as a centre forward. But, he often helped out his defence on many occasions. Somehow, this makes it challenging to categorise him based on his position, but the attacking midfield position suits him perfectly based on his unmatched hunger for the goal. He demonstrated completeness in his style of play and was able to tackle, burst forward and still manage to attack. Di Stefano managed to score an amazing 216 goals after featuring in 282 games for Real Madrid. He scored in all the five European cup finals which Real Madrid won between 1955 and 1960. During the same spell, he emerged winner of the European Footballer of the year award on two occasions.

Di Stefano did not replicate his outstanding club performance at international level. He played for Spain after he departed from Argentina but still never managed to play at a world cup. Nonetheless, his international career is not shy of success. He still managed to guide his Argentina side to the South American Championship of 1947 in a tournament in which he scored 6 goals in 6 games.

Part of a great team: Real Madrid between 1955 and 1960

6. FerencPuskas

Inside forward for Hungary, Honved and Real Madrid during the 1950s

Puskas remains one of the greatest players of all time and helped to invent the manner in which the game is played today. He managed to score a staggering 83 goals after appearing in 85 games for his national side Hungary. During his career, he also managed to score an astonishing 514 goals in 529 fixtures at club level making him the most prolific player of all time both at club and international level. This remarkable record is yet to be broken up to this day.

Puskas enjoyed two careers, which would undoubtedly earn him a place on this list of legends. He first captained a Hungary side which was popularly known as the ‘Magical Magyars’ during the 1950s. His side silenced the England fans when they beat them 6-3 at Wembley and another humiliating 7-1 when the two sides met in Budapest. The same side revolutionised the way football is played today by bringing to the foe withdrawn forwards, volatile positioning of players and transformed the manner in which football is played today. All these tactics were implemented by Puskas along with the combined efforts from his teammates and often adapted his team to new styles of play on the pitch in a bid to exploit opposition. Between 1950 and 1954, Hungary was definitely the best team in the world and remained unbeaten throughout the course of the period. They had a number of stunning triumphs involving several other great sides at a time both in the home and away games. In 1954, they appeared set to win the world cup trophy with 8-3 and 9-0 victories along the way, the first one being against West Germany. During the second game, Puskas suffered a fractured ankle, causing him to be out for the two games that followed. But, he amazingly featured in the final and scored a goal although his side never managed to win the trophy. This match was characterised by many questionable refereeing decisions which may have led to Hungary’s failure to win the trophy. In 1956, Hungary replicated their unbeaten run of the early 1950s. But, Puskas ended up being among the refugees when the Soviet Union collapsed following a series of wars and internal disputes. He was later banned by FIFA for 18 months and kept a low profile status in Italy. It appeared as though his career was about to end, but he earned a place in the first team side of Real Madrid. Amazingly enough, he continued to succeed and guided Real Madrid to two European, thanks to his 4 goals of the final in 1960. He went on to feature in another final and scored a hatrick of goals in the 1962 European championship final. But, his efforts were not enough to beat Benfica. Despite being old enough to retire, Puskas pushed on and managed to play in the 1964 final of the same competition.

Part of two great teams: Hungary of the 1950s and Real Madrid between 1955 and 1960

5. Lionel Messi

Right Winger and supporting striker for Argentina and Barcelona during the early 2000s up to 2015

He is the best player on the planet who is still playing the game of football today. Messi has had a lucrative career so far characterised by both success and intrigue. His creative and abilities to play from either the wing or central positions, dribbling players of any kind, setting up others and scoring goals are exceptional. Messi has exhibited an astonishing level of consistency in all the La Liga seasons that he has featured in so far managing to score 278 goals after featuring in 309 games. He is also among the few players to have scored more goals than the number of games played in three seasons including the 2011/12 season in which he scored 73 goals across all competitions. Messi has been crowned European footballer of the year on four occasions, a feat which he does not share with any other player and also remains the all-time top scorer of the European Champions League.

Although he has a remarkable performance at national level, he has still not managed to match it up with his club performance. This may explain why his country accolades are not as intense as the ones associated with Maradona. During the 2006 world cup, Messi was only 18 years but failed to make it in any starting line-up. During the next world cup, he played exceptionally well but still failed to score a goal and was not part of the team of the tournament. In 2014, he was impressive and guided his side to the final in which they lost to Germany during the last minute of extra time.

4. Franz Beckenbauer

Sweeper for West Germany and Bayern Munich in the 1960s and 70s

He is arguably the most achieving player for both country and club in a single career. During his time at Bayern Munich, he won three European cups on three consecutive occasions starting from 1974 to 1976. His country remembers him for his notable contribution to Germany’s success at the 1974 world cup. He also impressed in the two previous world cups despite his team’s failure to clinch the trophy. After retiring from active football, he assumed position of manager and guided Germany to another world cup triumph in 1990. He is also renowned for his ability to make the All Star Teams for the three world cups in which he taken part in. Der Kaiser was also named the best young player of the 1966 world cup.

Perhaps the most impressive part about him is the fact that he was the most influential player in all the world cup tournaments he had participated in both at international and club level. Astonishingly, he achieved all this from a central defensive position as opposed to attacking midfielder or forward. He prides himself as a genius, highly innovative and developing his attack from the sweeper’s position all the way to the front. His instinct for the goal and amazing abilities were also astonishingly great.

Part of two great teams: Bayern Munich and West Germany

3. Jahann Cruyff

Inside forward for the Netherlands, Ajax and Barcelona during the 1970s

JahannCruyff used to be a very skilful and highly innovative player and showed great thinking abilities along with leadership qualities both on and off the pitch. His close relations with coach RinusMichels led to the development of a system of football commonly referred to as the Total Football system. In this system, players get to interchange positions, attack with pace and came back to defend by covering up all space. While on the pitch, he implemented this system perfectly and inspired his side to major successes. He was an excellent dribbler, laid great passes and scored many goals courtesy of his own move only referred to as “Cryff turn”. His style of play was full of freedom and was also joyful to watch. Naturally a striker, he would still drop down to help his defence whenever the need arose.

Thanks to the Total Football system along with Cruyff’s own genius, he was able to propel Ajax to a status of being a heavy weight team in European and winning the European Championship trophy on three consecutive occasions between 1970 and 1973. Thanks to this achievement, he ended up being footballer of the year on three occasions. Most significantly, the system that he and his coach introduced would go on to revolutionise the way football is played today. His coach also took the same system along with a significant fraction of the Ajax players to the National team. No doubt, they produced wonders in the 1974 world cup and appeared set to clinch the trophy. But, they lost out to West Germany although Cruyff emerged the golden ball winner of the tournament. After a terrible experience with the media, he lost his place in the 1978 world cup which his side went on to lose to Argentina the hosts.

Part of the great teams: Ajax and Netherlands during the 1970s

2. Diego Maradona

Attacking midfielder for Argentina, Barcelona and Napoli during the 1980s and 90s

Although this list is full of stars that had played pivotal roles to see their teams emerge triumphant at certain world cup tournaments, no one can claim to have done so singlehandedly. During the 1986 world cup, Diego achieved this when he singlehandedly scored 5 goals and gave five assists in seven games. Although his teammates were classic players, they were not good enough to guide the entire team to success and would have certainly failed to do so in his absence. He played in the free midfield attacking role and often picked up balls, dribble players, set up chances and also scored whenever a chance presented itself. At times, he would even go on dribbling on his own from the centre to the opponent’s goal and did this in great style when he scored against England in the quarter final of the 1986 world cup. His goal against England is regarded as the world’s best goal to have ever been scored.

He has an astonishing level of influence on his team and remains a hero for his country beyond the limits of football. In 1986, he was named player of the tournament and was certainly a player to look out for during the 1990 and 1994 world cup tournaments. His importance on the pitch was often illustrated by the many defenders who ganged up on him.

To qualify his essence, Maradona also delivered each time he played for his club. Despite having a patchy career and almost appeared to have been over when he moved to Barcelona where he performed miserably, he still made a name when he played for Napoli. Napoli, a club that was initially underachieving managed to win two local league titles and a UEFA cup trophy. Perhaps his ability to use any means possible to score goals and coerce certain outcomes is what makes him a hero up to today (like when he used his hand to score against England). But, he also failed a doping test, lacked discipline and failed to play in the 1994 world cup after he was banned for doping.

1. Pele

Inside forward for Brazil and Santos from the 1950s to the 70s

Pele remains the greatest footballer that the world has ever seen. His play was characterised by exuberance and joy makes him the undisputed king of football. No doubt, he deserves to be the greatest ambassador of football today.

He is the only player to have managed to guide his national side to win the world cup trophy on two occasions; in 1958 and 1970, the injury he suffered in 1962 ended his tournament earlier than desired. At only 17, Pele was introduced in the Brazilian side and would go on to be the star of the tournament which was hosted by Sweden. He scored three goals to take his team to the final and scored a brace during the final to help his team emerge triumphant. In 1959, he was awarded the best player award in the South American Championship tournament in which he scored 8 goals. He demonstrated great vision, intelligence and a staggering ability to score great goals along with laying excellent passes. His pass to his teammate Carlos Alberto who scored the fourth goal in the 1970 final is up to this day the most reputable lay off in world football history.

In 1962 and 1963, he guided his club to Copa Libertadores triumphs and comfortably beat the 1962 European cup winners Benfica 5-2. He scored 650 goals in 694 appearances for his club, plus a further 1000+ which he scored for his club during friendly fixtures. No doubt, he is a true global icon who will forever be a great figure in the history of football.

Part of the great teams: Santos from 1962 to 1963, Brazil from 1958 to 1970

 

 


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