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Full List: Pele Ranked Above Messi As Football Greatest Player Of All Time

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As Pele turns 80, BBC Sport asked you to rate his achievements among some of the other GOATs


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The results have now been counted and Pele was ranked by you as the greatest, with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in second and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo in third.

BBC put the players in order of the results below, while you can still play for fun at the bottom of this page.

1: Pele (Santos, NY Cosmos & Brazil)

World Cup wins: 1958, 1962, 1970 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 7

International caps/goals: 92/77

A teenage dream who was the highest-paid and highest-profile sports star in the world in his pomp, Pele was a phenomenon.

Breaking on to the global scene aged 17 with a hat-trick in the World Cup semi-final and two more in the final,

Brazil’s leading goalscorer is one of just four players to have scored in four different World Cup tournaments (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970). Worldview: The Legacy Of Pele |

2: Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 4

Ballons d’Or: 6 League titles: 10

International caps/goals: 140/71

Lionel Messi

3: Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus & Portugal)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 5

Ballons d’Or: 5 League titles: 7

International caps/goals: 167/101

Cristiano Ronaldo

4: Diego Maradona (Argentinos Juniors, Boca Juniors, Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys & Argentina)

World Cup wins: 1986 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 3

International caps/goals: 91/34

What a player. If you haven’t seen it, please go and watch the recent documentary about his time in Naples. It’s superb.

Single-handedly (pretty much) dragged his Argentina team to World Cup glory, and carried Napoli to two Serie A titles.

Does that separate him from Lionel Messi? Up to you.

Diego Maradona at World Cup 1986: the archangel

5: Johan Cruyff (Ajax, Barcelona, LA Aztecs, Washington Diplomats, Levante, Feyenoord & the Netherlands)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 3 League titles: 10

International caps/goals: 48/33

A supremely gifted individual who was also all about the team – not winning a World Cup with his band of ludicrously good Dutch brothers in the 1970s may be the only blot on his copybook.

Produced one of the World Cup’s most famous moments, had a turn named after him, and went on to inspire Pep Guardiola and countless others when coaching Barca’s so-called ‘dream team’ of the early 1990s.

Johan Cruyff

6: Ronaldo (Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid, Milan, Corinthians & Brazil)

World Cup wins: 1994, 2002 European Cup/Champions League wins: 0

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 1

International caps/goals: 98/62

Wherever you end up ranking Ronaldo, we can all agree he would be higher if it wasn’t for horrific injuries.

At his peak, perhaps in his season at Barcelona or his first year at Inter before yet another setback, he was as close to unplayable as it gets.

It’s no wonder he broke the world transfer record twice by the age of 21.


7: Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich, NY Cosmos, Hamburg & West Germany)

World Cup wins: 1974 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 8

International caps/goals: 103/14

‘Der Kaiser’ won the World Cup as player and manager and is living proof you don’t have to be an attacker to rank among the very best.

A playmaker even from centre-back, Beckenbauer was equally at home in midfield or defence and made his debut on the left wing. What you call a total player.

He won three European Cups in a row for the dominant Bayern side of the mid-1970s.

Franz Beckenbauer – 10 of the best quotes about 'Der Kaiser'

8: Zinedine Zidane (Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid & France)

World Cup wins: 1998 European Cup/Champions League wins: 1

Ballons d’Or: 1 League titles: 3

International caps/goals: 108/31

Another player who didn’t win nearly enough honours, and much like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane re-imagined a position.

Before ‘Zizou’ the stereotypical number 10 was your playmaker but could be kicked out of the game, was there to be shot at.

Not a chance with Zidane, who combined the speed of thought and foot of a ballerina with the frame and menace of a cruiserweight.

At his best Zidane was so good I couldn’t even really tell you where he played.

A number 10, sure, but he’d often end up on the left, drop deep to take the ball from the defence or goalkeeper, and yet somehow still pop up in the area as well.

The Ultimate Galactico: How Zidane's 75 million euro move to Madrid helped  change the modern game |

9: Ferenc Puskas (Budapest Honved, Real Madrid & Hungary & Spain)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 3

Ballons d’Or: 0 League titles: 10

International caps/goals: 89/87

There is a legitimate case for stating the ‘Magic Magyars’ Hungary team of the 1950s was the best in the world.

They lost just one match in six years – which, unfortunately, happened to be the World Cup final.

That’s how good Ferenc Puskas was. He was 31 when he joined Real Madrid and still won five league titles, three European Cups and scored 242 goals.

He scored 514 goals in 529 matches in the Hungarian and Spanish leagues. Ridiculous really, isn’t it?

Plaque commemorates the day Puskás came to Liverpool -

10: Alfredo di Stefano (River Plate, Millionarios, Real Madrid, Espanyol & Argentina, Colombia & Spain)

World Cup wins: 0 European Cup/Champions League wins: 5

Ballons d’Or: 2 League titles: 13

International caps/goals: 41/29

Di Stefano won his fifth and final European Cup in 1960 – still only one player has more wins.

He scored in five finals in a row, and won them all.

And, yes, he played for three countries on the international scene. Beat that.

Alfredo Di Stefano: Did General Franco halt Barcelona transfer? - BBC Sport

Source: BBCSport


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