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Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona: Top 50 Greatest Footballers Have Been Ranked

Messi, Ronaldo, Maradona: Top 50 Greatest Footballers Have Been Ranked

Diego Maradona has turned 60, but the Argentine idol hasn't quite got his birthday wish of being crowned the world's best ever player.

Football magazine FourFourTwo ranked the world's top 50 players and naturally the elite top 10 provides plenty of debate.

Maradona actually finishes in second place, with FFT assessing: "Just as he inspired Napoli to greatness beyond their natural level, he did so with Argentina at the World Cup in 1986. In retrospect and in truth, most of his teammates were merely adequate."

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Rich praise. Maradona can also take comfort from the fact that he finished one place in front of his long-time rival Pele, who blew out 80 candles on his own birthday cake earlier this month. "The most complete footballer the world has ever produced," reckon FourFourTwo of the Brazilian icon.

However snatching overall GOAT status from those legends is a player very much currently active: Barcelona genius Lionel Messi.

Some might still question his overall impact for national side Argentina, despite his record goal tally. But FFT implore you to ignore the stats and examine the "breathtaking way he controls games. Just watch him: then try to say there's been someone better."

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Fair enough. His old frenemy Cristiano Ronaldo is in fifth spot, hailed for his unrivalled focus and determination. But is only the second-highest European player on the list after Dutch genius Johan Cruyff.

Overall, Brazilians dominate as you'd expect. Including Pele, there's 11 in total in the top 50 - enough for a full team (although you'll have to tell Ronaldinho that he's got to go in goal).

The highest British player is George Best in 14th, just above his Manchester United teammate: England World Cup winner Bobby Charlton who lands in 19th spot.

There's also a Scottish star present, a man regarded as Liverpool's best ever player. No, not Charlie Adam; it's Kenny Dalglish. Of course it is.

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The top 50 is listed below, while you can read FourFourTwo's full reasoning for each entry here.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments.

50. Xavi

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49. Nilton Santos

48. Michael Laudrup

47. Rivellino

46. Juan Alberto Schiaffino

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45. Oleg Blokhin

44. Didi

43. Fritz Walter

42. Matthias Sindelar

41. Gianluigi Buffon

40. Kenny Dalglish

39. Nandor Hidegkuti

38. Gianni Rivera

37. Ruud Gullit

36. Paco Gento

35. Luis Suarez

34. Stanley Matthews

33. Gunter Netzer

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26. Valentino Mazzola

25. Carlos Alberto

24. Ronaldinho

23. Eusebio

22. Lev Yashin

21. Romario

20. Paolo Maldini

19. Bobby Charlton

18. Giuseppe Meazza

17. Gerd Muller

16. Zico

15. Franco Baresi

14. George Best

13. Marco van Basten

12. Michel Platini

11. Garrincha

10. Ronaldo

9. Ferenc Puskas

8. Zinedine Zidane

7. Franz Beckenbauer

6. Alfredo Di Stefano

5. Cristiano Ronaldo

4. Johan Cruyff

3. Pele

2. Diego Maradona

1. Lionel Messi

All imagery: PA Images


Topics: Football News, Football, Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Lists, Pele, Cristiano Ronaldo

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Alex Reid

Alex Reid is a writer at SPORTbible who’s previously strung words together for FourFourTwo, Boxing News, The Guardian and, yes, Cruise International (it’s about big ships, not Tom). Interests range from football and boxing to real sports like WWE and darts. He is not a cage fighter.