The world of football is fraught with stiff competition, scandals, scoring records, heartbreaking loses, and championship games for the ages. This list breaks down the 10 of the best football superstars in the world that ever stepped on the football field. Each player was gauged based on impact and big games played.
Without further ado, here’s the top 10 lists of the best football players:
10 – Edinson Cavani
|Born||February 14, 1987 (age 27), Salto, Uruguay|
|Spouse||Maria Soledad Cavani (m. 2007–2013)|
|Salary||10 million EUR (2013)|
|Current Teams||Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (#9 / Forward), Uruguay national football team (#21 / Forward)|
Il Matador, as he is fondly called, has scored 94 goals in 192 matches since he debuted in Serie A half a decade ago. The out-of-this-world scorer is lethal with the ball but dazzles like a ballerina with his swift and graceful moves. His exciting play has endeared him to fans, and his feats during last year’s Champions League were unforgettable.
9 – Yaya Toure
|Born||May 13, 1983 (age 31), Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire|
|Salary||15 million USD (2012)|
|Current Teams||Ivory Coast national football team (#19 / Midfielder), Manchester City F.C. (#42 / Midfielder)|
Yaya Toure’s physique is imposing but behind its bruising size, Toure has awed peers and fans alike with his dazzling athleticism and refinement of technique. He paces himself and lets the game come to him to maximize his talents.
8 – Andrea Pirlo
|Born||May 19, 1979 (age 35), Flero, Italy|
|Spouse||Deborah Roversi (m. 2001)|
|Salary||3.5 million EUR (2014)|
|Current Teams||Italy national football team (#21 / Midfielder), Juventus F.C. (#21 / Midfielder)|
Pirlo’s trademark beard makes think he is a wise old sage. Pirlo weaves his wizardry on the court with his pinpoint strategies and crisp decision making. His playmaking has been on-point during the crucial stages of the European Championship.
7 – Robin Van Persie
|Born||August 6, 1983 (age 30), Rotterdam, Netherlands|
|Spouse||Bouchra van Persie (m. 2004)|
|Salary||12.2 million GBP (2013)|
|Current Teams||Manchester United F.C. (#20 / Forward), Netherlands national football team (#9 / Forward)|
His troublemaker days are behind him and now his career has taken the forefront. Van Persie has blossomed into a potent striker since the departure of Thierry Henry. Van Persie is a footballer to watch out for.
6 – Radamel Falcao
|Born||February 10, 1986 (age 28), Santa Marta, Colombia|
|Current Teams||AS Monaco FC (#9 / Forward)|
The Tiger is slowly stalking his prey and waits for the perfect moment to strike. That’s how one can describe Falcao’s game. Falcao is a devastating scorer no matter what part of the body he uses. If you like running numbers here’s a few you should think of: 50 goals in a year and a goals by minute ratio that trumps both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, enough said.
5 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic
|Born||October 3, 1981 (age 32), Malmö|
|Salary||15 million EUR (2014)|
|Current Teams||Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (#10 / Forward), Sweden national football team (Forward)|
There’s nothing quite like watching a maestro masterfully take control. Zlatan combines brute force and grace like no other. His leadership and one of a kind talent has delivered eight straight league wins with five teams.
4 – Andres Iniesta
|Born||May 11, 1984 (age 30), Fuentealbilla, Spain|
|Spouse||Anna Ortiz (m. 2012)|
|Salary||5 million EUR (2012)|
|Current Teams||Spain national football team (#6 / Midfielder), FC Barcelona (#8 / Midfielder)|
Iniesta is a magician with the ball. You never know how he’ll make that pass or where the ball will end up in but Iniesta will weave his magic one way or another. His crisp passing, magical dribbling, and precise decision making, make him a threat on the field. His masterful control of the game is exemplified in his game winning goal during the World Cup final. No words can do justice to the player that Andres Iniesta is.
3 – Xavi Hernandez
|Born||January 25, 1980 (age 34), Terrassa, Spain|
|Spouse||Núria Cunillera (m. 2013)|
|Salary||9.225 million EUR (2012)|
|Current Teams||FC Barcelona (#6 / Midfielder), Spain national football team (#8 / Midfielder), Catalonia national football team (Midfielder)|
Xavi Hernandez is a one of a kind player. With the increasing number of taller and bulkier footballers, Xavi seemed out of place but his steady control and deep understanding of the game has helped propel his teams to a high level of excellence. Xavi has a proven winning record exemplified by two European Cups, two European Championships, and a World Cup.
2 – Cristiano Ronaldo
|Born||February 5, 1985 (age 29), Santo António, Portugal|
|Children||Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.|
|Salary||21 million EUR (2014)|
|Current Teams||Real Madrid C.F. (#7 / Forward), Portugal national football team (#7 / Forward)|
Cristiano Ronaldo is a relentless scorer that is fearless and skilled. He only has one thing in mind as he steps on the court that is to score and score again. Ronaldo can score from any distance at any angle with a skill that is out of this world. Ronaldo’s scoring prowess is only matched by the number one player on this list.
1 – Lionel Messi
|Born||June 24, 1987 (age 26), Rosario, Argentina|
|Partner||Antonella Roccuzzo (2008–)|
|Salary||65 million USD (2014)|
|Current Teams||FC Barcelona (#10 / Forward), Argentina national football team (#10 / Forward)|
At the top of the list is a truly spectacular player and all-time great. The debate surrounding Messi has shifted from world’s best current player to is he the best player of all-time? Messi’s adept skill with the ball is unrivaled. A prolific scorer, Messi can turn any angle into a scoring option. Messi has held the scoring crown in the Champions League four years running. To show his remarkable prowess, Messi has score 90 goals and handed 29 assists in 2012 alone.