To celebrate this admittedly insignificant event, the staff at Total Footblog selected its 10 favorite players from every category except goalkeepers. We didn’t include goalkeepers because that such a tricky position to judge. A keeper’s stats can be greatly influenced by the quality of the defenders they stand behind. Field players were much easier, and easier is better when your blog generates no income. Besides, it’s 10/10/10, not 10/10/10/10.
And instead of identifying players as strikers, midfielders, and defenders, we opted to categorize them by the role they play since that often transcends the traditional positions they play. For example, Messi may be a midfielder, but most of the time he functions as a striker. Therefore we listed him as a scorer. Yeah, so much for opting for easier!
10 BEST SCORERS
1 – Pele
While he never played in Europe, Pele scored 1124 goals in 1184 appearances at the club level along with 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil. And let’s not forget that he won three of the four World Cups in which he played.
2 – Eusébio
Eusébio scored 727 goals in 715 appearances for Benfica. He also contributed 41 goals in 64 appearances for Portugal, and was the leading goal scorer in the 1966 World Cup (Portugal lost to England 2-1 in the semi-finals, despite a Eusébio goal).
3 – Ferenc Puskás
Puskás scored 515 goals in 533 European club appearances. Combine that with his 84 goals in 85 appearances for Hungary, and you can forget the fact that – despite scoring a goal in the final against West Germany – he never won a World Cup.
4 – Gerd Muller
Muller scored 398 goals in 453 appearances for Bayern Munich, topped only by his 68 goals in 62 appearances for West Germany. The Bomber scored 10 goals in the 1970 World Cup and went on to score four more in 1974, including the game winner in the final.
5 – Just Fontaine
Fontaine scored 166 goals in 200 appearances for Nice and Stade Reims, along with 30 goals in only 21 caps for France. Thirteen of those international goals came in six matches at the 1958 World Cup (France finished third), a record that still stands today.
6 – Romario
Despite being a bit of a twit (long before Twitter), Romario scored 132 goals in his 155 appearances for PSV and Barcelona, including four league titles and four cups. He also scored 55 goals in his 70 appearances for Brazil and helped them win the 1994 World Cup.
7 – Ronaldo
Cheeseburger jokes aside, Ronaldo racked up some impressive numbers for his club sides: Barca, PSV, Real Madrid, and the Milan brothers. He scored 217 goals in 298 appearances for these top-level clubs and 62 goals in 97 appearances for Brazil, including winning the 2002 World Cup. Despite having a great World Cup tournament in 1998, his poor performance in the final and in the entire 2006 World Cup tournament marred his reputation.
8 – Alfredo Di Stéfano
In his 11 years at Real Madrid, Di Stéfano scored 216 goals in 282 appearances, helping earn eight league titles, five European championships, and five cups. After a brief run with his native Argentina, he went on to score 23 goals in 31 appearances for Spain but never made it to the World Cup finals.
9 – Marco van Basten
Van Basten racked up 218 goals in 280 appearances for Ajax and AC Milan, including six league titles, two European championships, and 11 cups. While his 24 goals in 58 appearances for the Netherlands did not include any in a World Cup final, he did help them win Euro 1988 with a hat trick against England, the game winner in the semi-final against West Germany, and an amazing goal in the final against the Soviet Union.
10 – Lionel Messi
Although he’s only 23, Messi has already scored 134 goals in 221 appearances for Barcelona – not to mention 55 assists. And while he has yet to have much success with Argentina, scoring only 14 goals in 51 appearances, he has already won four La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, and seven cups with his club side.