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THE LIST: The greatest players in the history of football, Nos 10-1
Published : 05 Jun 2009 14:38:18
Lionel Messi staked his claim to be regarded as greatest player in the world with a sublime performance in the Champions League final. The Barcelona forward was in breathtaking form as he guided the Spanish giants to victory over Manchester United in Rome. Messi's display again prompted comparisons with his Argentina hero Diego Maradona, one of the game's true superstars. But just who are the greatest players to ever grace the sport? In our latest List, Sportsmail's team of experts have selected the Top 50 footballers in history. SPORTSMAIL'S GREATEST FOOTBALLERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME - Nos 10-1 10 Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) The elegant yet dominant midfielder was twice European footballer of the year and captained West Germany World Cup glory in 1974. 9 Alfredo Di Stefano (Argentina) Di Stéfano, nicknamed 'Blond Arrow' was the force behind Real Madrid's domination of European football in the 50s. Helping them to five - that's FIVE - successive European Cup victories. 8 Sir Bobby Charlton (England) The engine room of England's victorious World Cup winning side of 1966, and remains the national side's all-time top goal scorer. 7 Michel Platini (France) Top goal scorer and voted best player at the European Championships of 1984. Regarded as one of the best passers and finishers of all time. 6 Ferenc Puskas (Hungary) Scored 84 goals in 85 games for Hungary and 157 goals in 182 games for Real Madrid. Puskas definitely knew where the goal was. 5 Zinedine Zidane (France) FIFA World player of the year three times, World Cup and European Championship winner. 'Zizou' was always famed for using his head and, in the end, he used it a bit too much. 4 George Best (Northern Ireland) Perhaps the greatest British footballer to ever live, Best never played at a World Cup but made up for this involving himself in many extra-curricular 'activities.' 3 Johan Cruyff (Holland) The Dutch master was the catalyst for a great era in his country's football history. So good, he even had a football turn named after him. Nice. 2 Diego Maradona (Argentina) A career dotted with magical moments and controversy in equal measures, no better highlighted than at Mexico in 1986, when his 'Hand of God' goal was followed minutes later by one of the greatest goals of all time. 1 Pele (Brazil) Officially the greatest player of all time. Why? Helping Brazil to three World Cups is more than enough for this footballing legend.