Best XI of all time

Diego Maradona, Pele & Zinedine Zidane are widely regarded as some of the greatest footballers of all time

Campbell Yates
Published 04/18/2013 11:51 by Campbell Yates, read by 37,177 people.

With so many great players gracing football over the decades, it is hard to choose just 11.

Nevertheless, here is my choice for the 11 best players of all time.

Goalkeeper: Lev Yashin | USSR

Lev Yashin, who kept 270 career clean sheets with Dynamo Moscow, is the only goalkeeper in history to win the Ballon d'Or award. He gained 78 caps for the USSR and was nicknamed the "Black Spider" as it seemed like he had eight arms to save shots.

Right-back: Cafu | Brazil

Cafu is Brazil's most-capped player of all time. Playing until the age of 38, he won two World Cups, two Confederations Cups and two Copa Americas with his national team.

Playing most of his career in Italy with Roma and AC Milan, Cafu definitely enjoyed his best spell at the San Siro, winning one Champions League and a Serie A title. Cafu is definitely worthy of his place on this list.

Centre-back: Franz Beckenbauer | Germany

There was no real competition for the greatest defender ever to grab his place on this list. An integral part of Bayern Munich's team of the early 1970s, winning four Bundesliga titles and three European Cups in a row. Beckenbauer also led his country to World Cup success in 1974 and became the only man to repeat this feat as a manager.

Centre-back: Bobby Moore | England

England's only ever World Cup-winning captain was a rock at the back. Pele described Moore as the greatest defender he ever played against. He won an FA Cup with West Ham as well as being named the FWA Footballer of the Year in 1964.

Left-back: Paolo Maldini | Italy

How can you leave a man who has won seven Serie A titles and an unbelievable five European Cups off this list? He played his whole 25-year career at AC Milan and is the record appearance holder for both his club and his country.

Right-wing: Garrincha | Brazil

Brazil only ever lost one game with Garrincha on the field, and he has 50 caps. He was part of the 1958 and 1962 World Cup winning Brazil sides, being the top scorer and Player of the Tournament in '62.

Garrincha was lucky to be playing football at all after being born with several defects, including his left leg being about two-and-a-half inches shorter than the right.

Centre-midfielder: Johan Cruyff | Netherlands

"Total Football" describes Cruyff better than anything else. Cruyff was that elegant and confident with the ball, it seemed to be just an extension of his body.

He won nine Dutch League titles, six Dutch Cups, a La Liga, a Spanish Cup and three consecutive European Cups during his club career. With his national team, he reached the 1974 World Cup final only to be beaten by West Germany.

Centre-midfielder: Zinedine Zidane | France

Despite the way he ended his career, Zizou remains a role model for any young midfielder. The free running, free-scoring midfielder won two Serie A titles, a La Liga and a Champions League in his club career but his greatest success came with France.

He became a French hero as two headed goals saw France win the 1998 World Cup over Brazil - still their only World Cup win. He also won the 2000 European Championship with his nation.

Left-wing: Francisco Gento | Spain

As the captain of Real Madrid, his accomplishments towers over almost every footballer. He won 12 La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups and a record six European Cups.

He was part of probably the best forward line ever alongside Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo di Stefano, so it was no real surprise that his trophy cabinet is so extensive.

Striker: Diego Maradona | Argentina

Hated by almost every Englishman, his "Hand of God" may have been cheating, but his true quality was shown later in that game when he scored one of the greatest goals ever in a World Cup. The latter being voted Goal of the Century.

He helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup. During his time at Napoli, he almost single-handedly made them into a major European force, winning two Serie A titles, an Italian Cup and a UEFA Cup with the Italian side.

Striker: Pele | Brazil

With 1281 goals in 1363 FIFA recognised games, he is the most prolific goalscorer ever. Pele scored 92 hat-tricks, scored four goals in 31 games, five in six games and once scored eight goals in one game.

He is the youngest ever winner of the World Cup and has the most medals ever won with three World Cups victories. He scored 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil - a record that still hasn't been broken


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.

Most Shared

Social Activity

You are logged into Facebook (Logout)

Social Activity (On/Off):

Most Commented

Most Read