20th Century Football Players

Vote for Your Favourite 20th Century Football Players

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 1 
David Beckham
(English Former Professional Footballer Who was One of the Greatest Midfielders of His Generation)
David Beckham
182
Birthdate: May 2, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
David Beckham is a former English footballer who was football superstar on-field and a heartthrob off-field. A former player for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Milan, among others, Beckham was a free-kick specialist, a brilliant crosser of the ball and the first English player to win league titles in four countries. His passion for football, charisma and fashion style have made him an international sensation.  
 2 
Diego Maradona
(One of the Greatest Football Players in the History of the Sport)
Diego Maradona
135
Birthdate: October 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lanús, Argentina
Died: November 25, 2020

Nicknamed The Golden Boy, Diego Maradona is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. Thanks to his popularity and controversial personal life, which includes drug abuse issues and addiction to cocaine, Diego Maradona became a world-renowned counterculture icon. He was also an iconic figure in popular culture.

 3 
Zinedine Zidane
(French Professional Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Zinedine Zidane
85
Birthdate: June 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Castellane, Marseille, France

Amongst the greatest footballers of all time, Zinedine Zidane led France to victories in the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000. Later, the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year took up the position of Real Madrid manager and carved yet another success story by winning major titles like Champions League and UEFA Super Cups.

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 4 
Ronaldo
(Brazilian Retired Professional Footballer Who Played as a Striker)
Ronaldo
86
Birthdate: September 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who played as a striker. Widely considered one of the greatest players of all time, he played for Brazil in 98 matches, scoring 62 goals. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times. He retired in 2011 and has since established himself as a successful businessperson.

 5 
Thierry Henry
(Former French Professional Football Player, Coach and One of the Greatest Strikers of All Time)
Thierry Henry
51
Birthdate: August 17, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Les Ulis, France

A football coach, Thierry Henry began his career as a player with Monaco team and later also played for Arsenal and Barcelona. A lethal striker, he became a record goal scorer for both France and Arsenal. He played a crucial role in the French victory in 1998 FIFA World Cup and Arsenal’s win in Premier League and the FA Cup.

 6 
Pep Guardiola
(Former Spanish Football Player Who is Considered One of the Greatest Managers of All Time)
Pep Guardiola
93
Birthdate: January 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Santpedor, Spain

A football addict from beginning, Pep Guardiola went on to become a key player with the Barcelona and the Spanish National team. He played a crucial role in winning major titles like the La Liga and an Olympic gold medal. After retiring as a player, he became a coach and is widely regarded as one of the world's best coaches. 

 7 
George Best
(Northern Irish Professional Footballer Who Played as a Winger)
George Best
49
Birthdate: May 22, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Died: November 25, 2005
Manchester United winger/midfielder George Best was the 1968 European Footballer of the Year and was placed sixth on the FIFA Player of the Century list. A skilled dribbler, the Northern Irish player was also known for his stunning good looks and his affinity for women and alcohol. 
 8 
Alan Shearer
(One of the Best Strikers of His Generation and One of the Greatest Players in Premier League History)
Alan Shearer
39
Birthdate: August 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gosforth, England
Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has also worked as a BBC football pundit and a football manager. The Euro 1996 Golden Boot-winner has also represented Southampton and Blackburn Rovers, winning the 1994-1995 Premier League with the latter. With 260 goals, he became the Premier League’s leading goal-scorer.
 9 
Eric Cantona
(One of the Greatest Footballers of His Generation)
Eric Cantona
46
Birthdate: May 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France

Eric Cantona is a French actor, filmmaker, and former football player. During his playing career, Cantona was a key player for the popular football club Manchester United and is often credited with reviving the club's reputation as a footballing force. Nicknamed King Eric by Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona continues to enjoy an iconic status within the club.

 10 
Francesco Totti
(Italian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder and as a Forward)
Francesco Totti
47
Birthdate: September 27, 1976
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian footballer Francesco Totti is known for his 25-year stint with Roma. Nicknamed “The Golden Boy” and “The Gladiator,” he led Roma to win the Serie A and the Coppa Italia. He was also part of the 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning Italian team. He was named to Pele’s FIFA 100

 11 
Gary Lineker
(One of the Greatest English Football Strikers)
Gary Lineker
49
Birthdate: November 30, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leicester, England

Gary Lineker is a British former football player who currently works as a sports broadcaster. Considered one of the greatest British strikers of all time, Gary Lineker is the third-highest goal-scorer for England. During his 16-year playing career, Lineker never received a red or yellow card, due to which he was honored with the FIFA Fair Play Award in 1990.

 12 
Patrick Vieira
(French Professional Football Manager and Former Player)
Patrick Vieira
49
Birthdate: June 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dakar, Senegal

Patrick Vieira is a football manager and former footballer. Vieira, who was an important member of the France national team, is currently serving as the manager of Crystal Palace Football Club which competes in the Premier League. Widely regarded as one of the best players of his time, Vieira helped his team win its first FIFA World Cup in 1998.

 13 
Luís Figo
(One of the Best Portuguese Football Players of All Time)
Luís Figo
26
Birthdate: November 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Almada, Portugal
Portuguese former footballer Luís Figo has had successful stints with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan. He made a La Liga record with 106 assists, the second-highest in the league. He participated in two World Cups for Portugal and was named the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.
 14 
Rivaldo
(Brazilian Former Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder)
Rivaldo
24
Birthdate: April 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: State of Pernambuco, Brazil
Brazilian former footballer Rivaldo is known for his powerful strikes and has had successful stints with the clubs Barcelona and Milan. He is the seventh-highest goal-scorer for Brazil and was part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning team. Post-retirement, he appeared in the film I Am Not Salvador
 15 
Roberto Baggio
(Italian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as an Attacking Midfielder or as a Forward)
Roberto Baggio
30
Birthdate: February 18, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Caldogno, Italy
Italian former footballer Roberto Baggio is the only Italian to score goals in three World Cups, in 1990, 1994, and 1998. He was the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1993. Nicknamed “The Divine Ponytail" for his peculiar hairstyle, he also became the Goodwill Ambassador of the UN’s FAO.
 16 
Roberto Carlos
(Brazilian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as a Left-Back)
Roberto Carlos
17
Birthdate: April 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Garça, São Paulo, Brazil

A major force behind Brazil’s World Cup win in 2002, Roberto Carlos was born into a poor peasant family and grew up working on his family farm. He soared to fame during his 11-season stint with Real Madrid, winning four La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions Leagues with them.

 17 
Romário
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Romário
29
Birthdate: January 29, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
One of the most prolific goal scorers in the history of football, Romario has had an engaging and electric presence both on and off field. He starred in Brazil's 1994 FIFA World Cup triumph and was named the Player of The Tournament, earning a Golden Ball. He later turned to politics after he bid adieu to the field.
 18 
Gerd Müller
(One of the Greatest Football Goal Scorers of All Time)
Gerd Müller
27
Birthdate: November 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nördlingen, Germany
Died: August 15, 2021
German footballer Gerd Müller, also known as "Bomber der Nation," had a successful stint with Bayern Munich. His score of 85 goals in a single year was broken by Lionel Messi after 4 decades. He scored the winning goal for West Germany in the 1974 FIFA World Cup.
 19 
Franz Beckenbauer
(One of the Greatest Football Players in the History of the Sport)
Franz Beckenbauer
29
Birthdate: September 11, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: January 7, 2024
German former footballer Franz Beckenbauer spent most of his career with Bayern Munich, winning championships such as the European Cup. He won the World Cup for West Germany twice, first as a player in 1974 and then as a manager in 1990. He was also a Sky Germany analyst.
 20 
Johan Cruyff
(One of the Greatest Football Players & One of the Best Managers Ever)
Johan Cruyff
24
Birthdate: April 25, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: March 24, 2016
Dutch midfielder/forward Johan Cruyff pioneered the idea of Total Football, along with coach Rinus Michels. The first three-time Ballon d'Or-winner was known for his signature move, the Cruyff Turn. He made it to FIFA 100 and ranked second only to Pele in an official World Player of the Century poll.
 21 
Alfredo Di Stéfano
(Argentine Professional Footballer and Coach Who Played as a Forward)
Alfredo Di Stéfano
21
Birthdate: July 4, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Barracas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died: July 7, 2014

Alfredo Di Stéfano was an Argentine-born Spanish football player and coach. Counted among the greatest football players of all time, Di Stéfano is remembered for his association with Real Madrid, where he played a major role in the club's domination of La Liga and the European Cup during the 1950s. In 2004, he was included in Pele’s FIFA 100 list.

 22 
Ferenc Puskás
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Ferenc Puskás
19
Birthdate: April 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: November 17, 2006
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 23 
Paolo Maldini
(Italian Former Football Player Who Played as a Defender)
Paolo Maldini
20
Birthdate: June 26, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Paolo Maldini is an Italian former professional footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest ever defenders. He played primarily as a left-back and central defender and was affiliated with Milan and the Italian national team. Currently, he is serving as the technical director for Milan. He is also the co-owner of the USL Championship club Miami FC.  

 24 
Oliver Kahn
(German Football Executive and Former Professional Player Who Played as a Goalkeeper)
Oliver Kahn
21
Birthdate: June 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 25 
Peter Schmeichel
(Danish Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Goalkeeper)
Peter Schmeichel
28
Birthdate: November 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gladsaxe Municipality, Denmark
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 26 
Didier Deschamps
(Former Footballer Defensive Midfielder)
Didier Deschamps
22
Birthdate: October 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bayonne, France

Didier Deschamps is a French former professional football player turned manager. He played as a defensive midfielder for many clubs, such as Marseille, Juventus, Chelsea, and Valencia. He was also a French international. He began his managerial career in 2001 and has been the manager of the France national team since 2012. Former tennis player Nathalie Tauziat is his cousin. 

 27 
George Weah
(25th President of Liberia and the First African Former Professional Footballer to Become a Head of State.)
George Weah
26
Birthdate: October 1, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Clara Town, Liberia
George Weah, who has been the president of Liberia since 2018, was once a star footballer. The striker was named the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year, and played for clubs such as A.C. Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. Following his retirement, he established the Congress for Democratic Change.
 28 
Mia Hamm
(American Former Professional Soccer Player and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist)
Mia Hamm
10
Birthdate: March 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Selma, Alabama, United States
 29 
Bobby Charlton
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Bobby Charlton
13
Birthdate: October 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ashington, Northumberland, England
Died: October 21, 2023

Widely considered one of the greatest players ever, Bobby Charlton was an important member of the England national football team that emerged victorious at the 1966 FIFA World Cup. The recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Ballon d'Or, Charlton received a knighthood in 1994. 

 30 
Hristo Stoichkov
(One of the Greatest Bulgarian Football Players of All Time)
Hristo Stoichkov
18
Birthdate: February 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Bulgarian footballer/coach Hristo Stoichkov’s temper and ugly fights with players have earned him nicknames such as The Raging Bull and The Dagger. The Ballon d'Or-winning player started his career at 11 with a local club. He then graduated to CSKA Sofia and Barcelona and was named to FIFA 100, too.
 31 
Ole Gunnar Solskjær
(Norwegian Professional Football Manager and Former Player Who Played as a Forward)
Ole Gunnar Solskjær
29
Birthdate: February 26, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kristiansund, Norway

Former Norwegian football player, Ole Gunnar Solskjær was one of the most successful players of Manchester United and scored 126 goals for it. He famously scored the winning goal against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final to secure a treble for the Manchester United. Post retirement, he began his coaching career and is currently the manager of Manchester United.

 32 
Pavel Nedvěd
(Former Czech Footballer Who Played as a Midfielder)
Pavel Nedvěd
27
Birthdate: August 30, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cheb, Czech Republic
Pavel Nedvěd is a Czech retired football player who achieved international recognition when he helped his national team reach the final of Euro 1996. Counted among the greatest footballers of his generation, Nedvěd is also considered one of the most successful footballers to have ever emerged from the Czech Republic. Pavel Nedvěd has been named in Pele's FIFA 100 list.
 33 
Didier Drogba
(Ivorian Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Striker)
Didier Drogba
21
Birthdate: March 11, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 34 
Patrick Kluivert
(Retired Dutch Football Striker)
Patrick Kluivert
15
Birthdate: July 1, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Patrick Kluivert was one of the star Dutch footballers of his time who played as a striker for clubs such as Ajax, Barcelona, and AC Milan. The UEFA Euro 2000 Golden Boot winner has also managed teams such as Netherlands and Cameroon. He later held administrative positions at Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

 35 
Carlo Ancelotti
(Italian Former Professional Footballer Regarded as One of the Greatest Managers of All Time)
Carlo Ancelotti
21
Birthdate: June 10, 1959
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Reggiolo, Italy

Carlo Ancelotti had humble beginnings as a midfielder in Italian club football. He was part of the Italian national squad in two World Cups and one UEFA Euro, and is one of three managers who have won the UEFA Champions League thrice, twice with Milan and once with Real Madrid.

 36 
Gheorghe Hagi
(Legendary Romanian Footballer and Owner of Liga I Club 'Farul Constanța')
Gheorghe Hagi
13
Birthdate: February 5, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sacele, Romania

Known to fans as The Maradona of the Carpathians, Gheorghe Hagi is considered the most successful Romanian footballer of all time. An attacking midfielder, he began his career with FC Constanța, before playing for teams such as Real Madrid, Brescia, and Barcelona. Post-retirement, he managed the Romanian team.

 37 
Lilian Thuram
(French Professional Footballer Who Played as a Defender)
Lilian Thuram
26
Birthdate: January 1, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France

French former footballer Lilian Thuram, who is now a renowned author, with books on racism such as White Thinking to his credit. His 142 appearances for the French national team made him the most capped player of his country, while he was part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup-winning squad.

 38 
Miroslav Klose
(German Former Football Player Who Played as a Striker)
Miroslav Klose
16
Birthdate: June 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Opole, Poland
Born to a footballer father and a handball player mother, Polish-born German striker Miroslav Klose soared to fame with clubs such as Bayern Munich and Lazio. Germany has won all games in which Klose has scored. Germany’s all-time top goal-scorer, Klose scored 5 goals in his first World Cup itself.
 39 
Ruud Gullit
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Ruud Gullit
14
Birthdate: September 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ruud Gullit is a Dutch former football player. Considered one of the greatest players in the history of football, Gullit was known for his versatility as he could play as an attacking midfielder, forward, or midfielder. During the 1988 UEFA European Football Championship, he led his national team to its first title.

 40 
Alessandro Del Piero
(Italian Former Professional Football Player Who Played as a Deep-Lying Forward)
Alessandro Del Piero
21
Birthdate: November 9, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Conegliano, Veneto, Italy

Alessandro Del Piero is an Italian former football player. Renowned for his creativity, he is often counted among the best players of his generation. He is also widely regarded as one of Italy's greatest players of all time. A prolific goal-scorer, Del Piero scored 346 goals during his playing career, making him the second-highest Italian goal-scorer of all time.

 41 
Javier Zanetti
(Argentine Former Professional Footballer Who Played as a Defensive Midfielder)
Javier Zanetti
11
Birthdate: August 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Javier Zanetti is an Argentine retired professional football player. He is best known for his contribution to Inter Milan's successful 2009–10 season, during which the club achieved a treble. Counted among the greatest players of his generation, Javier Zanetti also helped his national football team win a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

 42 
Andrea Pirlo
(Italian Professional Football Coach and Former Player Who Played as a Midfielder)
Andrea Pirlo
23
Birthdate: May 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Flero, Italy

Italian professional football coach and former player. Andrea Pirlo, is currently the head coach of football club Juventus. As a player, he was known for his ball control. He retired after playing 116 matches for the Italian national football team. He was elected into the Italian Football Hall of Fame in 2019.

 43 
Michel Platini
(Former French Football Player, Manager and 6th President of UEFA (2007 - 2015))
Michel Platini
19
Birthdate: June 21, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jœuf, France

Michel Platini is a former football player, administrator, and manager. Widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, this French footballer won the prestigious Ballon d'Or award three times during his glorious playing career. Michel Platini also played a key role as France's national team coach before he was banned from football by the FIFA Ethics Committee.

 44 
Bobby Moore
(Captain of the England Team that Won the 1966 FIFA World Cup)
Bobby Moore
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barking, Essex, England
Died: February 24, 1993
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 45 
Davor Šuker
(Iconic Croatian Former Footballer and Sports Administrator)
Davor Šuker
8
Birthdate: January 1, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Osijek, Croatia

Legendary Croatian former footballer Davor Šuker has also headed the Croatian Football Federation as its president. His illustrious career saw him spend successful stints at both Real Madrid and Arsenal. He was also part of the 1998 FIFA World Cup third place-winning Croatian squad and remains Croatia’s all-time top goal-scorer.

 46 
Mikel Arteta
(Spanish Professional Football Manager and Former Player)
Mikel Arteta
19
Birthdate: March 26, 1982
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Sebastián, Spain
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 47 
Garrincha
(One of the Greatest Football Players of All Time)
Garrincha
6
Birthdate: October 28, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pau Grande, Magé, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died: January 20, 1983
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
 48 
Lev Yashin
(One of the Greatest Goalkeeper in the History of Football)
Lev Yashin
9
Birthdate: October 22, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 20, 1990
Legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin was nicknamed the Black Spider or the Black Panther for his signature all-black attire. He played in four World Cups and later also served as the deputy chairman of the Football Federation of his country. He became the only goalkeeper to win the Ballon d'Or.
 49 
David Villa
(Football- Striker for Spain)
David Villa
9
Birthdate: December 3, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Langreo, Spain
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 50 
Marco van Basten
(One of the Greatest Football Strikers of All Time)
Marco van Basten
8
Birthdate: October 31, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Dutch footballer Marco van Basten is known for his successful stints at Ajax and Milan and won the Champions League thrice with the latter. However, an ankle injury cut his career short. The three-time Ballon d'Or winner later took over as the manager of Ajax and the Dutch national team.