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FIFA Weekly names the top ten players in world history, with Pele edging out Maradona at the top.
Pele Pips Maradona in 10 Best Players in History
02/25/2014
 
The official FIFA Weekly publication issued a list of the best players in history. Only one currently active player is among the top ten, Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi.

Messi is the second Argentine to share the podium alongside compatriot Diego Maradona and other players that had an outstanding career throughout their life.

The list presided by Josep Blatter made a ranking of the best 10 players in history and omitted very important players. Brazil and France are the only other two nations with two players in the top ten. Germany, Italy, Hungary and Romania have one each. 

There are many big surprises in this ranking, for example the omission of Brazilian Ronaldo who is the World Cup's top scorer of all time. Mexican forward Hugo Sanchez is another that did not make the list. The ex Real Madrid and Pumas player was one of the best strikers during the decade of the 80s and is one of the best players in the history of both Pumas and Real Madrid. He won 5 Pichichi awards as the best striker in La Liga for five consecutive years.

There will of course be differences of opinion on these rankings. Brazilian Pele ranks number one over Argentine ex Napoli player Diego Maradona. Leo Messi ranks seventh just behind legendary Brazilian star from the seventies Roberto Rivelino, who won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico alongside Pele. 
10.- George Hagi (Romania): Nicknamed 'The Maradona of the Carpathians', Gheorge Hagi is considered as the best player in the history of Romania, one of the best playmakers of the 80s and the best player in the history of Turkish club Galatasaray. He played for the Romanian National team in three World Cups in 1990, 1994 (where he was picked in the World Cup All-Star Team) and 1998, as well as in three European Football Championships in 1984, 1996 and 2000. Hagi is Romania's top scorer along side compatriot Adrian Mutu with 35 goals.


9.-
Roberto Baggio: Robeto Baggio is considered by many as the most talented Italian playmaker in history. He had a tremendous career in clubs Juventus and Inter Milan. He played three World Cup for Italy in 1990, 1994 (where he made the World Cup All-Star Team and lost the final against Brazil) and 1998. Baggio received the France Football Ballon'd'Or in 1993 as the best European Player of that year and became one of the most influential Italian players in history. He is nicknamed 'Il Divino' (The Divine). 


8.- Lothar Matthäus: 
Maradona himself once said the Lothar Matthäus was the most difficult rival he ever faced. This German historic player had a very prolific career both with his National Team and throughout his club years. The German 'Tank'  was the key player in Germany's 1990 World Cup Championship and played five World Cups in total (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1998). He won the 1980 European Football Championship and pled three more (1984, 1988 and 2000). He is considered to be one of the best footballers in the history of Germany along side legendary players like Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller.


7.- Lionel Messi:
It seems like the Argentine Barcelona player still needs to prove he is the best by winning a most desired World Cup which has escaped him throughout his career. The Barcelona forward began his dominance in the 2005-2006 season with FC Barcelona and he has never stopped growing since.

Messi is the only player in history who has won four Ballon d'Or awards in a row (2009-2012). He has the record of most goals scored in a natural year (93) and has won everything there is to win with Barcelona. The Argentine has a big opportunity to silence remaining doubters in this year's world cup, played on his doorstep in Brazil. 


6.- Roberto Rivelino: 
Key player in the 1970 Brazil World Cup Champions who are considered to have played the best football of the 20th Century. Rivelino is also considered to be one of the best playmakers in history and many believe that without him, Pele would've never won the World Cup in Mexico. He never played in European Football but despite this, he is considered one of the top Brazilian players in history.


5.- Michel Platini: 
Before Zinedine Zidane became what he is right now, there was French midfielder Michel Platini who gave France their first ever National Trophy in the European National Championship in 1984. Platini became the first player to win three Ballon d'Or award in a row (1983-1985) and one of only two players that have completed that impressive achievement. Platini never won a World Cup mainly because he lived in the same era as Diego Maradona. The Argentine became the Frenchman's most feared enemy both in World Cups and in Italian Serie A.


4.- Ferenc Puskas: 
Known as the best Hugarian player in history, Ferenc Puskas was a big part of the 1960s football. He formed part of the all powerful Real Madrid where he shared the field with another football legend that is missing this ranking: Alfredo Di Stefano. Puskas is known to have one of the best goal scoring average in history. With Hungary he scored 84 goals in 85 matches and throughout his club career he managed to score 514 goals in 529, hence the 'Puskas Award' that FIFA made in his honor.


3.- Zinedine Zidane: 
Considered as the best French player in history, 'Zizou' made a huge impact in the world of soccer when he started playing in the Ligue 1 and moved to Italian club Juventus. But he reached his top level till 1998 when he won the World Cup played in his country with two headers that beat Brazil in the final. After winning France's first and only World Championship, Zidane led France to win their second European Football Championship in 2000 where they beat Italy on penalty kicks. 

But his career was far from over. Zidane was still eager to win a Champions League. Back when he played with Italian club Juventus he lost a final against Real Madrid. It was the Spanish club that hired the Frenchman for a record 76 million euro ($104 million) and gave the 'Merengue' club their 9th UEFA Champions League by scoring a beautiful volley against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 final at Glasgow. 


2.- Diego Maradona: 
The Argentine astro is considered by many as the best ever. Much debate has piled up around both him and Pele because the Brazilian never played in European Football. But despite all of this Maradona managed to play in four World Cups. He won the 1986 Mexico final and reached the 1990 final with his team, where he lost against Lothar Matthäus' Germany. Maradona also became the best player in the history of Italian club Napoli, where he became a legend by making his club better than Michel Platini's Juventus back in the 80s. Many soccer experts and historic players see Maradona's ability with the ball as 'simply the best' and don't hesitate when they name him as the best player in history.


1.- Edson Arantes do Nascimento 'Pele': 
Considered by many as the best player in history, Pele is the only soccer player who has won three World Cups in the history of this sport. He was the MVP and top scorer of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and became the youngest player to win the tournament as the best player with only 17 years of age. By the Chile 1962 World Cup, Pele was part of the Brazilian team that won the tournament but he fell injured in the group stage and missed the rest of the tournament, however he became Champion with the help of compatriot Mane 'Garrincha'.

But the best was saved for last in the 1970 Mexico World Cup, Pele was a key player in the 1970 Championship with a Brazilian team that became legend by playing what is now known as the best football of the 20th Century. It was in this World Cup that Brazil earned the status of the Best Team in history and Pele completed a dream retirement from his National Team as a Champion.
Photo: Kari Heistad / Prost Amerika
 
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