Mal's 20 Greatest Ever Soccer, Football Players

Ability + Sportsmanship No Drug Users or Cheats included. In No Particular Order
Quiz by Malbaby
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Last updated: December 5, 2020
First submittedDecember 28, 2015
Times taken502
Rating1.38
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Hint
Answer
England
Stanley Matthews
Brazil
Pele
Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo
Argentina
Alfredo Di Stefano
Portugal
Eusebio
Northern Ireland
George Best
Hungary
Ferenc Puskas
Sweden
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Russia
Lev Yashin
Italy
Roberto Baggio
Hint
Answer
Netherlands
Ruud Gullit
Netherlands
Johan Cruyff
Argentina
Lionel Messi
Spain
Xavi Hernandez
England
Robert Charlton
Germany
Lothar Matthaus
France
Michel Platini
Hungary
Sandor Kocsis
Brazil
Ronaldinho
Germany
Gerd Muller
+3
Level 48
Dec 29, 2015
MARADONA IS THE BEST. THIS QUIZ IS THE WORST. SORRY.
+5
Level 70
Dec 29, 2015
Sorry Kontio100 .... but Sportsmanship and Drug Use cancelled out Maradona. Without question Maradona had great ability, but Football is a SPORT and as such your behaviour on and off the field should count for something. In this case it cancelled out Maradona.
+1
Level 43
Feb 15, 2016
I have a few hashtags here to list for maradona

#handofgod

#cameramakefacer

#drugger

+1
Level 45
Dec 30, 2015
Terrible choices
+3
Level 70
Dec 30, 2015
Sorry you feel that way Keiran090. Since 1944 I've seen all of these footballers play, some of them many, many times. I cannot believe a true football follower could look at this list and say they are terrible choices. Obviously when choosing 20 players there are some that do not make the list that were also great players, but in limiting the list to 20, choices have to be made. Who to include? who to leave out? those are the questions that have to be answered.
+1
Level 62
Feb 16, 2016
First of all you need to give som room for spelling. Cruijff is commonly spelled Cruyff. Also Di Stefano and Matthaus could use some other spellings.

Secondly I find some of these choices very odd. Ibrahimovic should definately not be here. He isn't even among the top 20 attackers. Xavi and Henry doesn't belong here either, and in my eyes neither does Ronaldinho ( he was a trully gifted footballer, but was to inconsistence, and had way to few good seasons).

To leave out Beckenbauer is very very strange. Zidane also belong up there.

+1
Level 70
Feb 16, 2016
I have already 6 different spellings available for Di Stefano and Matthaus, and 9 for Cruijff, I have now added a couple more. I am sure that I could add another ten or twenty more varieties of these names but someone, somewhere in the world will still come up with another version.......... As for my choices, again, I chose a list of 20 players who in my opinion are 20 OF THE BEST ever to grace the great game. If you asked 1000 different football supporters to choose their top twenty you would have 1000 different lists. That's life.
+1
Level 70
Feb 16, 2016
As for Beckenbauer, I very nearly chose him for the list but in the end left him out, he and Bobby Moore who also played very similar roles in great teams. Zidane was not considered because of his poor sportsmanship and poor role model influence.
+1
Level 62
Feb 17, 2016
As for the spelling, I tried some different ones for those 3 and none worked, so. I assumed that it you wanted the exact spelling, like in yor capitals quizzes. When you have so many different spellings, maybe I'm just not that good at spelling their names.

Of course not every one has the same opinion, and I have just given you my opinion on the list. I don't know about Zidane's poor sportsmanship, except the world cup final in 06 of course.

+1
Level 70
May 20, 2017
Fog91...... Just to give you some idea of the name choices you said you tried............ just for Johan Cruijff ......you could have tried Cruiff, Johan Cruiff, J Cruiff, Cruff, Cruyff .... I would love to know what you tried that didn't work.
+1
Level 70
Feb 17, 2016
Many names from different language peoples are tricky, as well as putting in different varieties of spelling you have to cater for people entering last names only or first names, initials and short names so eventually you have a list of many varieties of entries for each entry on top of the spelling. It's all good fun. ( In Zidane's case I think that head-butting an opponent is classed as bad sportsmanship, at least for me anyway)
+1
Level 57
Oct 6, 2016
I think Beckenbauer, Brazilian Ronaldo, Neymar and Zidane should be in this list but this is only my opinion
+1
Level 70
Oct 6, 2016
As you see from comments before, it is very difficult to choose 20 football players and please everybody. Even if I'd done my top 30 or 40 players someone would still say "How about so&so?" It all boils down to opinions and that is what makes the world go round.
+1
Level 66
Oct 9, 2016
Please accept Koscis for Kocsis.
+1
Level 70
Oct 9, 2016
Yes........ done.
+2
Level 65
Jan 27, 2017
Nice list, some different interesting names. My personal list:

Pelé, Maradona, Zidane, Messi, Puskas, Cruyff, Cristiano Ronaldo, Di Stefano, Eusebio, Garrincha, Van Basten, Ronaldo, Iniesta, Charlton, Platini, Beckenbauer, Yashin, Puyol, Buffon, Romario

+1
Level 70
Jan 27, 2017
Good list PotatoBoy, I can go along with your list also except for Maradona, who as I explained earlier I've not considered due to his cheating and drug use (even though he had great ability)
+1
Level 70
Jan 27, 2017
I might add that I am pleased to see you chose Garrincha in your list. I saw him play and he was a magic dribbler of the ball. I saw Stanley Matthews play many, many times and he also was a magic dribbler but I would not like to chose between the two for dribbling abilities.
+1
Level 70
May 27, 2017
In case you don't know Stanley Matthews ........... http://www.bbc.com/news/world-40030710
+2
Level 65
Sep 8, 2017
I confess I had never heard of him before. It's a very interesting article. I was born in 1990, so I haven't seen most players in this quiz in action. I can put together a list by the stories I hear, and Mathews surely earns a place in my list now. I'm very impressed that he has never been booked. Hard to imagine a player like that in the modern days.
+1
Level 70
Sep 24, 2017
Stanley Mattews ...... here it is
+1
Level 70
Jan 1, 2018
Pelé said Sir Stanley Matthews "taught us the way football should be played" that speaks volumes for the impact the former England international had on the game and, more specifically, the role of the winger. Praise does not come much higher.
+1
Level 40
Nov 6, 2017
Good Quiz. I don't agree with all of them, but those are definitely 20 of the greatest players ever.
+1
Level 70
Nov 6, 2017
Thanks FulhamFC, I suppose you might have added Johnny Haynes, he was one of the best passes of the ball I have ever seen. Many times I saw him 'Thread the Needle' with a fifty yard+ pass, wonderful.
+2
Level 59
Mar 7, 2020
Ah, yes, omitting Maradona and Zidane for sportsmanship when Ronaldinho and Best were both notorious for drinking and partying; what an example they are for young children, aren't they?

Henry cheated against Ireland by handling the ball to give France a crucial win for qualifying for the 2010 World Cup - sportsmanship at it's finest.

And to include Ibrahimovic is just laughable: there's no way he considered one of the 20 greatest players of all time, maybe 50 at a push; the man has an ego the size of the universe and treats people with no respect whatsoever.

By your logic, these footballers on your list shouldn't be there as they've had behavioural/sportsmanship problems.

Beckenbauer, Maldini, Scholes, Platini, Garrincha, Baresi, Zico, Kopa, Fontaine, Meazza, et cetera, would have all been more appropriate than Ibrahimovic.

+1
Level 70
Mar 8, 2020
Drinking and Partying?...... I don't think either of the players you mention, actually did much of that on the playing field...... The point is that this list is MY list of who I considered at that time to be 20 of my best and fairest players. I would not expect any football fan to have the same list.
+2
Level 59
Mar 8, 2020
But there's a massive gaping hole in your logic: why omit Maradona for reasons "Football is a SPORT and as such your behaviour on and off the field should count for something" when you literally have George Best in your list, who was notorious for his behaviour on and off the field (drinking and partying, missing games to party, misconduct on the field). George Best was probably the most troubled footballers to ever play so why add him but exclude Maradona, who is probably in most fans' list as in the top three best players of all time.

Again, Ibrahimovic shouldn't be in this list as he isn't in the top 20 best players of all time by ability, regardless of sportsmanship.

+1
Level 70
Mar 8, 2020
Kappadam....... what is your list of 20 of the Greatest?
+1
Level 59
Mar 9, 2020
In no particular order: Pelé, Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Ferenc Puskás, Di Stefano, Franco Baresi, Franz Beckenbauer, Lev Yashin, Johan Cruyff, Eusébio, Zinedane Zidane, Michel Platini, Gerd Müller, Paolo Maldini, George Best, Garrincha, Raymond Kopa, Giuseppe Meazza.

Notable exclusions that could well make it onto this list include: Henry, Scholes, Lampard, Xavi, Schmeichel, Fontaine, Bergkamp, Vieira, Keane, van Basten, Romario, Zico, Baggio, Charlton, Gullit, Ronaldinho, Matthaus, Kocsis. etc

I have included these players on the basis of their ability, influence on the game, records and statistics. I have not excluded players that have so much influence on the game purely for one incident such as the Zidane headbutt, as I feel it does a disservice to what he has achieved if you were to exclude him. Now please explain why you haven't applied your logic of sportsmanship to players such as Henry, Ibrahimovic, Best, if you care to omit Zidane and Maradona

+1
Level 70
Mar 9, 2020
Good list, as you can see we are not so far apart for the majority of selections, I might ask how you can leave out Stanley Matthews, but I know that people have different standards and reasons for their selections. I hope you can have the same understanding that we are all different in our priorities.
+1
Level 70
May 28, 2020
Henry has been replaced by Platini for his cheating against Ireland.
+1
Level 60
Dec 5, 2020
"Henry" is still a type-in for Platini.
+1
Level 70
Dec 5, 2020
OK i see that :o)
+1
Level 40
Sep 16, 2020
Good list, but Beckenbauer should be there imo
+1
Level 70
Sep 16, 2020
'raz0r ..... Beckanbauer was a great player and a gentleman, if you choose 20 players you have to omit some great footballers. I could have gone to my top 50 players easily. I started going to football matches in the 1940s and I have been a keen player and supporter since then.
+1
Level 77
Oct 7, 2020
My dad always said Jimmy Greaves was the best player he ever saw. I do hope he'd make your Top 50! Not just a good quiz, but an enjoyable read in the comments section!
+1
Level 70
Oct 7, 2020
Hi 'BazMcHat'........ Jimmy Greaves was a great player, a great goal scorer and very quick. I saw Jimmy play many times and I think his advantage was his speed, and he was not a tall, rangy sort of player but smallish and fast. HIs reactions were quick and decisive and that is why he scored so many, he reacted quicker than the defence. ...... he could have been in any ones best 20.
+1
Level 81
Nov 12, 2020
I entered "Cruyff" and it wasn't accepted. Re-took the quiz and found you have to enter his first name as well. Not sure that's the standard you want to enforce on a quiz.

Also, not accepting simply "Zlatan"? For shame!

Seriously, though, very interesting quiz. Familiar with almost all the names, though actually saw only a few play, as my football exposure is limited to anything since 1997 along with anything "New York Cosmos" from the 70s. The rest I've picked up just from an interest in the history of the game, mostly on the national level.

+1
Level 70
Nov 12, 2020
Hi 'Don'..... thanks for the comments, actually you could have tried ... Johan Cruyff / Cruiff / Johan Cruiff / J Cruiff / Cruff / Cruijff / and now I have entered 'Cruyff as well. (must be the most misspelt name in soccer :o)
+1
Level 70
Nov 12, 2020
I have put in 'Zlatan' also :o)
+1
Level 77
Dec 22, 2020
I'm curious to see where you'd rank Bergkamp, Henry, and Ronaldo (Nazario). Also surprised to not see any of the Italian defenders of more recent years; Baresi, Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro to name a few

It really is difficult to narrow things down to 20, especially when we take into context you've been watching the sport for such a long time. It's good to see names that younger players may not even recognize though

+1
Level 70
Dec 22, 2020
I loved Bergkamp as a player, I could easily have put him in my top 20, but then I leave out someone else. I would have him in my next 20 I suppose. Henry was a great player also and a top goal sneak, I loved the way he would make a false pass, catching the ball on the side of his foot and put everyone off with direction, again a great player. Ronaldo (Nazario) was a great player also, I only saw him play live once, but many times in film, tv etc. again great, in my next 20 for sure. (Maybe I should have done 'My favourite 100 players) .... :o)
+1
Level 47
Dec 24, 2020
Trolling quizz.

Nul

+1
Level 70
Dec 28, 2020
Interesting comment 'sipiro'
+1
Level 70
Mar 18, 2021
A (considerably biased) "guess my favorite players" quiz. Cool.
+1
Level 70
Mar 19, 2021
Hi 'Ferbin'....... I guess there is no such thing as an 'unbiased' opinion :O)
+1
Level 70
Mar 19, 2021
Typical poor excuse from those who don't even attempt otherwise. Also, why the quotes on my name? That comes off a bit disrespectful.
+1
Level 70
Mar 19, 2021
Hi, Firstly: I am not making an excuse I am stating a fact, opinion in the English language means a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. That being said any opinion is obviously biased to the individual stating that opinion as the opinion is prejudiced for or against someone or something. In this instance, the 20 Footballers I think as 'The Best' is biased against the several thousand that do not make the list.

Secondly: I'm sorry you feel the apostrophes around your Jetpunk name is somehow disrespecful, certainly not meant to be, you can see I always put an apostrophe around peoples Jetpunk names.

+1
Level 70
Mar 20, 2021
On the first point, even though it's ultimately true what you say (and yes, I'm quite aware of what the word "opinion" means), you can see how that relativistic approach is sterile for discussion, as you can preemptively dismiss any argument that way (even those based on fact), since experience is always subjective.

As for the second point, fair enough, I wasn't aware of that. No offense taken.

+1
Level 70
Mar 20, 2021
Hi, when I took on the job of naming 20 of my best footballers I knew I was going to please some and not others. Myself I like discussions about football and even with friends and family we do not always agree, but that is fine. What a poor world it would be if everyone agreed about everything. I would like to see your best 20 (and only 20) footballers, I bet I agree on some ...... and not on others. Good selecting:
+1
Level 44
Apr 22, 2021
Zico, Baresi, Beckenbauer, Maldini, Scholes would be on my list.

Is George Best really a good role model? or Ibrahimovic?

Does the sportsmanship only count for on the field? Messi and Ronaldinho have both been convicted for tax evasion. Platini expelled from UEFA for corruption.

If sportsmanship is so important, why not someone like Kaka who was and ambassador to the UN?

+1
Level 70
Apr 22, 2021
'siou' .... I like the players you mention, but when choosing only 20 players not every player you like can be named (what is your 20)....... also I am not trying to be the judge and jury of what constitutes poor sportsmanship, for instance I knocked out Maradona because how it affected me watching a person cheat and then claim God did it.
+1
Level 44
Apr 28, 2021
fair enough... I agree with 80% of your picks, I wouldn't have Maradona either because of the emphasis on sportsmanship.

I'd just like to know your logic behind picking George Best given how infamously unprofessional he was.

nice quiz though