Football is one of the most famous sports, worshipped and treasured by tons globally. Football players win numerous titles during their careers, but scarcely just a few are under the category – God of Football. Multiple consider Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to be the God of Football. But the most prominent footballers of all time are Diego Maradona also known as the Hand of God by the football universe and Pele. 

The game of football gave birth to legendary players of all time. Following is the list of the leading prominent footballers of all time. 

Top 10 Finest Football Players in the World of All Time 

Country Name Goals 
BrazilPele1279
ArgentinaDiego Maradona293
ArgentinaLionel Messi 803
PortugalCristiano Ronaldo 834
Netherlands Johan Cruff296
France Zinedine Zidane152
BrazilRonaldo357
Brazil Ronaldinho Gacho 230
Germany Franz Beckenbauer72
Argentina Alfredo Di Stefano302

God of Football – Pele 

Pele, actual name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is one of the most prominent footballers of all time and was named “the greatest” by FIFA, also renowned as the God of Football in the world. He was a complete machine when it came to scoring a goal. During his prime time, he was the most popular and highest-paid footballer globally. Pele began his football career at the very tender age of 16 years. 

He began attaining fame when he scored a hat trick against France in the 1958 World Cup Semifinal. Immediately after his extraordinary performances, he was declared a national treasure by the government of Brazil. To date, Pele is the sole football player who is always kept at the very top of the list of the most prominent football players of all time. 

The God of Football Pele Eminent Awards 

A brilliant dribbler, scorer, forward, and player with a supernormal level of field vision, Pele attained numerous acclaimed awards. 

  • Pele was crowned with the title Football Player of the Century by FIFA. 
  • In the year 1978, he attained the International Peace Award. 
  • In 1980, a French daily newspaper, L’Equipe, named him the Athlete of the Century. In 1999, the International Olympic Committee honored him with the same title. 
  • In 1993, Pele was welcomed into the National Soccer Hall of Fame. 
  • Also, 2014 observed the grand launch of the Pele Museum in Santos, Brazil. 
  • Besides these accomplishments, he also featured in numerous documentaries and published his autobiography, which became a bestseller. 
  • The soundtrack for Pele: Birth of a Legend is amid his numerous musical compositions, released back in 1977. The movie has seized the meteoric rise of Brazilian legend and proceeds to motivate numberless youngsters to date. 

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The Golden Boy – Diego Maradona 

Diego Maradona is one of the most prominent football players in the football universe. Renowned for his artistry, Diego was a tremendously skilled football player. He was without a doubt the icon who showcased his leadership skills on the field that would leave every viewer in bewilderment. Maradona made his entrée at the age of 14 years, being the youngest football player from Argentina. He made his team extremely proud multiple times, winning the 1986 WC. 

International Career Goals 

Competitions Games Assists Goals 
International Friendlies 36414
World Cup 2188
Copa America 124
World Cup qualification813
Artemio Franchi Trophy 1

If Maradona’s club stint had attained him numberless fans around Europe, it was his global career that immortalized him across the globe. Whether it be his Hand of God winner or brilliant solo run against England, every 15 of his goals is still engraved in the memories of many. Maradona had 13 assists and 29 goals for the Argentina senior team, which also included a FIFA WC title during his time as captain. 

The King of Football – Lionel Messi 

Messi is an invincible football player from Argentina. Following Diego, Messi has taken the title of the finest football player from Argentina. Messi was proclaimed FIFA World Player five times in 2015, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009. 

Messi is a brilliant passer when playing football on the field. He is a professional in making his way through crammed defenses. Discussing his numberless achievements, during the 2011-12 football season, he scored an unimaginable 73 goals. He took Argentina to the WC glory for the very first time in 36 years. Messi was awarded the Golden Ball award for being the finest player in the tournament. 

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A Football Legend – Cristiano Ronaldo 

Ronaldo is the ideal example of what you can attain through football. From living in an extremely poor area to now living in mansions, Ronaldo without a doubt has come an extremely long way. With his passion, determination, and never-diminishing ambition for football, he is currently considered one of the most prominent footballers of all time. Discussing his goals career, he has scored 721 club goals and 123 goals for the Portugal National Team. 

Dutch Maestro – Johan Cruyff 

Earlier Dutch football player and coach Johan Cruyff is renowned for winning the Ballon d’Or award thrice. Also, in 1999, Johan Cruyff was agreeably the European Player of the Century. His effortless winning logic is when you have the ball, the other team can’t score. It all comes down to positioning and organizing. Football is all about control, which means controlling the ball on the field. It was never a bland moment with Cruyff on the football field. 

Pele vs Maradona – God of Football 

There is no official title for the God of Football. Tons might argue that Maradona is the God of Football. Even though Maradona won just 1 WC for Argentina in the year 1986, he did so all on his own, whereas, Pele had a great team while winning the WC. 

Pele has won 3 WCs for Brazil in 1966, 1962, and 1958. Pele was named as a goal-scoring machine. A brilliant footballer to grace the game of football, he is the sole player to score more than 1,200 goals. The flabbergasting stats associated with this acclaimed player have a significant impact on the success of his club as well as the country. Pele’s goal-scoring dominance is greater as compared to Maradona: 

World Cup StatsMaradonaPele
Goals 812
Tournaments 44
Appearances 1421
Goals per Game 0.380.86

Pele vs Messi vs Ronaldo – God of Football 

Ask a millennial about the current football star. The answer would be Ronaldo or Messi. Every football enthusiast must have engaged in the debate on who is the God of Football. One of the best footballers, Johan Cruyff, once said that the only player to outdo the boundaries of logic was Pele. 

World Cup Statistics Lionel Messi Cristiano RonaldoPele
Country ArgentinaPortugal Brazil 
Goals 8038341283
Assists 353236231
Goals per game 0.800.730.86

In recent times, without a doubt, Ronaldo and Messi have captivated millions. Both are excellent players and have hammered upwards of 800 club goals. But a remarkable differentiator is WCs, where Cristiano Ronaldo is considered an underachiever as he has not won any.  Another main cause why a majority of football buffs will still clamor for the brilliance of Pele. 4 WC appearances, out of which 3 wins, and a Guinness World Record of 1283 goals in 1363 matches, are the records of Pele that will stay unmatched for decades. 

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At any age that a majority of countries considered too young to drive or vote, Pele scored two times in a 1958 WC. taking into consideration that the WC is the most coveted event in football, it is an unattainable feat. Pele won 3 World Cup titles, was the youngest scorer at the age of 17 years in a World Cup, and was the leading scorer of the Brazil National Football Team. 

A Quote on God of Football Diego Maradona – “The best player there has ever been, better than Pele. I watched him closely in Italy every week and he was at a different level to everyone else. Some of the things he did were unbelievable. He could control the ball without looking, which meant if the pass was on, he would take it.” — Ruud Gullit

FAQs – What is the God of Football

  1. Which football club did Pele play for? 
    Pele played for Santos and New York Cosmos. 
  2. Who is the richest footballer internationally? 
    Lionel Messi is the richest footballer globally. 
  3. Which occurrence shows Pele’s influence as a global star? 
    One such astonishing occurrence took place in 1967 when Pele’s club team arrived in Nigeria. In the time of the Civil War, a 48-hour cease-fire was declared so that all could watch him play.
  4. Who is considered the God of Football in India? 
    Sunil Chhetri is considered the God of Football in India. As of 13th December 2023, he has scored 93 goals in over 143 international appearances. 
  5. Has Pele’s autobiography ever been written? 
    Indeed, it’s known as Pele: the Autobiography and presents the magnificent journey of the player. 
  6. Who is considered the GOAT of football in 2023-24?
    Messi and Ronaldo have been the 2 names for the title of GOAT of Football. Both are recognized for their tremendous and successful performance in football. Discussing who has the most commendable award – the Ballon d’Or award, granted to the eminent football player, to date, Messi has won this title eight times while Ronaldo has just won the same title 5 times. 
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