Top 10: Football icons

Ryan Giggs, Frank Lampard & Andres Iniesta are all icons of the beautiful game

Shantanu Gupta
Published 03/28/2013 15:54 by Shantanu Gupta, read by 13,427 people.

Modern day football has seen a few players who will always be respected by many football fans in the world, either for their humble attitude, their loyalty or just their pure brilliance. 

Here's a look at 10 icons in the modern day era: 

Andres Iniesta  

There are players who are hated just because they cannot stop being exceptional. Andres Iniesta has always been a consistent performer and is rarely seen losing the ball if it's in his possession. 

The Spanish international has always been humble on and off the pitch and has never shown any disrespect to anyone. The 28-year-old is too talented to be hated, but the midfield dynamo has broken many hearts with his late strikes in the World Cup final and also against Chelsea.

Ryan Giggs

The Welshman is the most decorated Premier League player ever. Arguably the best winger ever, Giggs has stunned the opponents with his electrifying runs down the wing. The list of adjectives is perhaps not long, not rich enough to describe what the Welsh prodigy means to his country, to Manchester United, to football itself. 

Only one incident, degraded his name but due to his on-field antics and his legendary professional career, the 39-year-old gets respect from coaches and opponents all around the world.

It’s hard to undermine his zero red card record and hate the player who has played at the top of his game for more than two decades.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is the heart and soul of Chelsea. The Englishman is the second highest goal scorer in the club’s history and can soon break the record before his contract runs out at Stamford Bridge. Lampard has been a loyal servant to the mighty Blues and is one of the stalwarts around whom the team is built. Frank hardly gets into a brawl on the field and is generally kind to the players on the other side too.

Iker Casillas

Iker Casillas, the baby faced shot stopper, has charmed his way into the hearts of fans all around the world. The Spaniard has been an inspirational skipper and is the most successful keeper for both club and country. Iker’s abilities and his smiling face attracts more and more people towards him.

Javier Zanetti

Zanetti is a legend, plain and simple. The 39-year-old has won it all with Inter milan and is regarded as one of the best skippers in the club’s history. The towering defender is loved all by all for his dedication to the game and true fans recognise his brilliance with the ball. The evergreen, versatile Argentine can play at right-back, left-back or midfield.

Solid on the ball and never shy of a tackle, the Inter captain is known for winning the ball back in his own half of the pitch and making strong runs to the opposing penalty box, hence his nickname 'El Tractor'. A record holder for club and country, Zanetti is Argentina's most-capped player.

Ronaldo (Brazilian)

The ‘phenomenon’ has played for Milan, Inter, Barcelona and Real Madrid, the fiercest rivals in their respective leagues. The legendary striker holds numerous records and was prolific goal machine.

His powerful runs and dribbling ability stupefied the fans and mesmerised many. He has set examples for other strikers and many consider him as one of the best strikers ever.


The 2007 FIFA Player of the Year has won hearts with his charisma and his undying passion for the game. Kaka won many individual and team trophies with Milan, before moving to Madrid. Kaka has always been a humble and respectful player. 

He is very rarely seen to confront the opponents and always keeps a broad smile even he is fouled. In recent years, Kaka, though still being a world class player, has seen the bench quite too often but the 30-year-old has never issued any statement against the club or coach.

Gianluigi Buffon

The skipper of both Juventus and the Italian national team, Buffon is definitely not the kind of player who can be ignored. The towering keeper is known for his outstanding shot-stopping and for being a vocal organiser of the defence and a key dressing room personality.

Buffon is well respected and is one of the most famous goal keepers in the world. He has often shown his respect for the fans and other players and is not condescending like many others.

Paolo Maldini

The name 'Maldini' was hardly an unknown one when 16-year-old Paolo made his debut for Milan back in 1985. Maldini was incredibly adaptable. Arguably the greatest left back of all times. In addition to being an incredible player, he is an incredible man. 

He is hugely respected by all, even Inter Milan fans who unveiled a banner showing their respect for him in his final derby game, a rare occurrence. He was widely viewed as true leader, and was, therefore, nicknamed 'Il Capitano'. 


Ronaldinho is one player who has worked miracles with the ball. The Brazilian showed us the unexplored realms of skills that a player can do with the ball. Always smiling, the samba king has scored some spectacular and memorable goals over the years.

Not a coach in the world would have denied Ronaldinho’s[in his prime] entry in his team. He was one of the most respected Barcelona players by the Bernabeu crowd. Ronaldinho turned heads with his sheer excellence in reading the game and beating six men to score goals. There wasn’t a thing Ronaldinho couldn’t do.


What will be your top 10?


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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