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England Player Honours -
World Soccer Players of the Century

 

 

World Soccer 100 Players of the Century
[England Players Highlighted]
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
1 Pelé [Edson Arantes do Nascimento] 5499 Brazil

92/77

2 Diego Maradona 3949 Argentina 90/34
3 Johan Cruyff 3388 Netherlands 48/33
4 Franz Beckenbauer 2780 West Germany 103/13
5 Michel Platini 1854 France 72/41
6 Alfredo Di Stéfano 1541 Argentina; Spain 8/6; 31/23
7 Ferenc Puskás 1537 Hungary; Spain 84/83; 4/0
8 George Best 1190 Northern Ireland 37/9
9 Marco van Basten 1026 Netherlands 58/24
10 Eusébio Ferreira da Silva 1022 Portugal 64/41
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
11 Lev Yashin 821 U.S.S.R.  
12 Bobby Charlton 680 England  
13 Ronaldo 541 Brazil  
14 Bobby Moore 539 England  
15 Gerd Muller 498 West Germany  
16 Roberto Baggio 486 Italy  
17 Stanley Matthews 429 England  
18 Zico 390 Brazil  
19 Franco Baresi 371 Italy  
20 Garrincha 361 Brazil  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
21 Paolo Maldini 345 Italy  
22 Kenny Dalglish 334 Scotland  
23 Gabriel Batistuta 300 Argentina  
24 Eric Cantona 299 France  
25 Gheorghe Hagi 293 Romania  
26 Romario 257 Brazil  
27 Jairzinho 248 Brazil  
28 Zinedine Zidane 238 France  
29 Ruud Gullitt 221 Netherlands  
30 John Charles 212 Wales  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
31 Lothar Mathaus 202 West Germany, Germany  
32 Gordon Banks 178 England  
33 Jurgen Klinsmann 168 Germany  
34 Dennis Bergkamp 150 Netherlands  
35 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge 149 West Germany  
36 Gary Lineker 134 England  
37 Giuseppe Meazza 132 Italy  
38 Rivelino 124 Brazil  
39 Didi 123 Brazil  
40 Ian Rush 109 Wales  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
=41 Peter Schmeichel 104 Denmark  
Paolo Rossi Italy  
43 George Weah 99 Liberia  
44 Michael Owen 90 England  
45 Just Fontaine 88 France  
46 Duncan Edwards 86 England  
47 Dino Zoff 80 Italy  
48 Hristo Stoichkov 77 Bulgaria  
49 David Beckham 74 England  
50 Tom Finney 72  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
51 Rivaldo 71 Brazil  
52 Claudio Caniggia 64 Argentina  
53 Totao 63 Brazil  
54 Frank Rijkaard 62 Netherlands  
55 Jose Luis Chilavert 61 Paraguay  
56 Kevin Keegan 60 England  
57 Paul Gascoigne 57  
58 Roger Milla 56 Cameroon  
59 Michael Laudrup 55 Denmark  
60 Andril Shevchenko 54 Ukraine  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
=61 David Ginola 53 France  
Glenn Hoddle England  
Socrates Brazil  
=64 Roberto Carlos 52 Brazil  
Alan Shearer England  
66 Daniel Passarella 51 Argentina  
67 Davor Suker 50 Croatia  
=68 Dixie Dean 49 England  
Sandor Kocsis Hungary  
Juan Alberto Schiaffino Uruguay, Italy  
Player National Team[s] Apps/Gls
Christian Vieri Italy  
=72 Mario Kempes 47 Argentina  
Johan Neeskens Netherlands  
Luigi Riva Italy  
=75 Jose Nasazzi 46 Uruguay  
Gunter Netzer West Germany  
=77 Alessandro Del Piero 43 Italy  
Carlos Valderrama Colombia  
79 Ricardo Zamora 42 Spain  
80 Enzo Francescoli 41 Uruguay  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
=81 Edgar Davids 40 Netherlands  
Francisco Gento Spain  
=83 Jim Baxter 38 Scotland  
Falcao Brazil  
Ryan Giggs Wales  
Sepp Maier West Germany  
=87 Zbigniew Boniek 37 Poland  
Pat Jennings Northern Ireland  
Gyorgy Sarosi Hungary  
90 Giacinto Facchetti 36 Italy  
No. Player Pts. National Team[s] Apps/Gls
=91 Alan Hansen 34 Scotland  
Raymond Kopa France  
Bryan Robson England  
Matthias Sammer Germany  
=95 Ladislav Kubala 33 Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Spain  
Neville Southall Wales  
97 Gerson 32 Brazil  
=98 Paulo Futre 31 Portugal  
Preben Elkjaer Denmark  
100 Bebeto 30 Brazil  

Notes

As the year 2000 approached, World Soccer, the English international football magazine established in 1960, conducted a poll of its readers to choose the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.  Voters picked their top 10 players in order of preference.  Points were assigned to each vote a player gained, 10 points for a 1st place vote, 9 points for a 2nd place vote and so on down to 1 point for a 10th place vote.  World Soccer published the poll results in its December, 1999 issue.  Predictably, Pele ran away with 1st place.

Polls of this sort commonly suffer twin defects; they give disproportionate weight to the views of younger football fans, who are much more likely to vote than their elders and yet much less likely to have as broad a perspective, and to the views of fans in the country where the publisher of the poll is located.  While it is based in England, World Soccer has a worldwide readership, and its readers are relatively sophisticated football fans.  As the magazine itself noted, "Despite the enormous growth in media coverage of the game since the advent of colour TV, nearly all the Top 10 were in their prime many years ago."  It also claimed that "in general our voters opted for" choices representing "long-lasting class rather than fly-by-night tabloid-and-telly hysteria" and that the poll results "bear out the view" that "our readers are more discerning than those of other football magazines."  

Nevertheless, the entire list of players selected as the top 100 demonstrates beyond doubt that the usual defects flawed the World Soccer poll, albeit perhaps not as severely as most popular polls.  World Soccer itself noted, "The majority of nominations were for English players, which is hardly a shock in view of the magazine's base."  Moreover, the inclusion of some players who had only recently begun to shine, the exclusion of stellar stars of the past and the relative placement of both past and present stars were often bewildering.  

The voters' marked preference for the recent put beyond the pale even some of England's most celebrated players of the past.  While Michael Owen and David Beckham, still beginning to establish themselves as England stars when the vote was taken, finished in the top 50, Jimmy Greaves, England's greatest modern-day scorer with 44 goals in 57 internationals and 357 goals in 516 top-division league games, collected just 24 points and was not among the top 100.  Neither Tommy Lawton, 14 points, nor Wilf Mannion, 3 points, two members of England's fabled post-Second War forward line, secured enough votes to reach the top 100, and, as World Soccer observed, the failure of a third, Stan Mortensen, to gain even a single point although he scored more than 300 goals, including 23 in only 25 internationals, "was one of the biggest surprises of the entire vote."  

Yet, skewed as it was, the top 100 selection could have been much worse.  At least the two wingers on that marvelous post-war England forward line, Stanley Matthews and Tom Finney, were voted into the top 50.  And, despite World Soccer's English base and the resulting English bias, no England player finished in the top 10, the least controversial portion of the poll's results.  Three--Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Stanley Matthews-- were in the top 20, but they deserved those positions.  Six more--Gordon Banks, Gary Lineker, Michael Owen, Duncan Edwards, David Beckham and Tom Finney--finished in the top 50, and there were at least two and perhaps three or even four question marks there.  Another six finished in the top 100--Kevin Keegan, Paul Gascoigne, Glenn Hoddle, Alan Shearer, Dixie Dean and Bryan Robson--great players all, but perhaps not all deserving a spot among the 100 greatest.  

Both England and Brazil had 15 players in the top 100, Italy, 11 (1 of them shared), Germany, 8, Holland, 7, Argentina, 6 (1 of them shared), France, 6, Spain, 5 (3 of them shared), Hungary, 4 (2 of them shared), Wales, 4, Denmark, 3, Scotland, 3, and Uruguay, 3 (1 of them shared).

Many other England players drew votes but placed outside the top 100, some of them, to put it charitably, singularly peculiar choices.   They were, in alphabetical order: Tony Adams, 6 points, Alan Ball, 7, Gary Bailey, 5, John Barnes, 23, Len Barry, 8 (or, since World Soccer gave no first name or initial, could that be the then uncapped Gareth Barry?), Cliff Bastin, 6, Peter Beardsley, 3, Colin Bell, 17, Roger Byrne, 8, Sol Campbell, 21, Allan Clarke, 2, Ray Clemence, 16, Andrew Cole, 6, Tony Currie, 2, Brian Deane, 4, Tony Dorigo, 2, Ted Drake, 6, Robbie Fowler, 10, the uncapped former England squad member Steve Froggatt, 5, Charlie George, 1, Jimmy Greaves, 24, Geoff Hurst, 22, Paul Ince, 5, Tommy Lawton, 14, Steve McManaman, 28, Wilf Mannion, 3, Phil Neal, 6, Gary Neville, 1, Stuart Pearce, 11, Paul Parker, 2, David Platt, 4, Charlie Roberts, 5, David Seaman, 5, Len  Shackleton, 6, Lee Sharpe, 4, Peter Shilton, 16, Frank Swift, 8, Peter Thompson, 3, Phil Thompson, 3, Dennis Tueart, 1, Chris Waddle, 1, Ray Wilson, 17, Frank Worthington, 5, Billy Wright, 15, Ian Wright, 14.  One other English player, "Howells," no first name or initial given, received 8 points.  While there have been several English players named Howells, none of them were ever capped at senior level.

The complete list of players who received votes but finished outside the top 100 in rough alphabetical order:

Ardiles (Arg) 14, Ademir (Bra) 13, S Al-Owairan (Sau) 10, Albert (Hun) 10, Amoros (Fra) 10, Archibald (Sco) 10, Albert (Blg) 9, Atmatsidis (Gre) 8, Adams (Eng) 6, Alemao (Bra) 6, Anelka (Fra) 6, Abedi Pele (Gha) 5, Aldridge (Ire) 5, I Allchurch (Wal) 5, Asparoukhov (Bul) 5, J L Andrade (Uru) 3, Antognoni (Ita) 3, Awukoso 3, Ayala (Chl) 2, Almeyda (Arg) 1.

Bergomi (Ita) 27, Blokhin (Rus) 27, Brady (Ire) 25, Bremner (Sco) 24, J Barnes (Eng) 23, D Blanchflower (NI) 20, Butragueno (Spa) 18, Basler (Ger) 17, Bell (Eng) 17, Bierhoff (Ger) 16, Bozsik (Hun) 16, Ben Barek (Fra/Mor) 10, Bosman (Blg) 10, Bourdeau 10, Bratseth (Nor) 10, Baljic (Bos) 9, Barry (Eng) 8, Bettega (Ita) 8, Bosman (Hol) 8, R Byrne (Eng) 8, Ball (Eng) 7, Blind (Hol) 7, Bastin (Eng) 6, Benetti (Ita) 6, Binder (Aut) 6, Boniperti (Ita) 6, G Bailey (Eng) 5, Bonner (Ire) 5, Barthez (Fra) 3, Beardsley (Eng) 3, Briegl (Ger) 3, Budai (Hun) 3, Burruchaga (Arg) 3, Balakov (Bul) 2, Boban (Cro) 2, Buzansky (Hun) 2, Belanov (Rus) 1, Blanc (Fra) 1.

Cubillas (Per) 28, Czibor (Hun) 24, Claudio Lopez (Arg) 23, Campbell (Eng) 21, Clemence (Eng) 16, Cafu (Bra) 12, Cannavaro (Ita) 10, Carlos Alberto (Bra) 10, Careca (Bra) 9, Chiesa (Ita) 9, Clodoaldo (Bra) 8, Coluna (Por) 8, Carbajal (Mex) 7, J Collins (Sco) 7, Cabrini (Ita) 6, Caldow (Sco) 6, Campos (Mex) 6, Carey (Ire) 6, Ceulemans (Blg) 6, Coimbra (Por) 6, A Cole (Eng) 6, Croy (Ger) 6, Causio (Ita) 5, Combi (Ita) 5, Cabanas (Par) 3, Conte (Ita) 3, Chumpitaz (Per) 2, A Clarke (Eng) 2, D Cooper (Sco) 2, Currie (Eng) 2, Colak (Tur) 1, Jordi Cruyff (Hol) 1.

Detori (Hun) 29, Dzajic (Yug) 24, Denilson (Bra) 19, Dunga (Bra) 17, Domingas (Bra) 14, Desailly (Fra) 10, Duff (Ire) 10, Dilman (Tur) 9, Donadoni (Ita) 9, F De Boer (Hol) 6, Deyna (Pol) 6, Drake (Eng) 6, Dumitrescu (Rom) 5, Daei (Irn) 4, Deane (Eng) 4, Del Sol (Spa) 4, Dorigo (Eng) 2, Dasayev (Rus) 1.

Eder (Bra) 14, Edmundo (Bra) 10, England (Wal) 9, Effenberg (Ger) 1, Elder (NI) 1, M Etcheverry (Bol) 1.

Ferrara (Ita) 19, K-H Forster (Ger) 16, Friedenreich (Bra) 11, Fowler (Eng) 10, Figueroa (Chl) 9, Figo (Por) 7, S Froggatt (Eng) 5, Frantzeskos (Gre) 2, Fortunato (Ita) 1.

Greaves (Eng) 24, Gentile (Ita) 22, Gilmar (Hun) 15, Giles (Ire) 14, Gilzean (Sco) 9, Giresse (Fra) 9, Grosics (Hun) 9, Gaetjens (USA) 8, Guardiola (Spa) 7, Goycochea (Arg) 6, Georgiatos (Gre) 3, E Gray (Sco) 3, Gamarra (Par) 2, T Gemmell (Sco) 2, George (Eng) 1, B Gonsalves (USA) 1.

Hierro (Spa) 26, Hassler (Ger) 25, Hurst (Eng) 22, Hidegkuti (Hun) 21, Luis Hernandez (Mex) 20, Higuita (Col) 14, Haller (Ger) 12, Hakan Sukur (Tur) 10, Held (Ger) 8, Howells (Eng) 8, Haan (Hol) 7, Hanappi (Aut) 6, Harder (Ger) 6, Hamman (Ger) 5, M Hughes (Wal) 3, Hellstroem (Swe) 2, Hermann (Swi) 2, Hoeness (Ger) 2, Hamm (USA) 1.

Ikpeba (Nig) 10, Ince (Eng) 5, F Inzaghi (Ita) 2, Illgner (Ger) 1.

J Johnstone (Sco) 23, Jorginho (Bra) 11, Juninho (Bra) 11, James (Sco) 8, Jordao (Por) 7, Julinho (Bra) 7, Junior Baiano (Bra) 5, Josimar (Bra) 4, Jardel (Bra) 3, R Johnstone (Sco) 3, Jurion (Blg) 3, Jarni (Cro) 1.

Kohler (Ger) 29, Kanu (Nig) 25, R Koeman (Hol) 25, Krol (Hol) 14, Kopke (Ger) 13, Roy Keane (Ire) 12, Kluivert (Hol) 12, Kipiani (Rus) 9, Kirkwood (Sco) 7, Kostic (Yug) 6, Kucukandonyadis (Tur) 6, Kiriakov (Rus) 5, Kahn (Ger) 3, Kanchelskis (Rus) 3, Konsel (Aut) 2, Krankl (Aut) 2, Kalb (Ger) 1, Keller (USA) 1, Kirsten (Ger) 1.

Lacatus (Rom) 24, B Laudrup (Den) 24, Labruna (Arg) 21, Leonidas (Bra) 19, Lawton (Eng) 14, H Larsson (Swe) 12, Lentini (Ita) 10, Liddell (Sco) 10, Lato (Pol) 8, Luzhnyi (Ukr) 8, Leonardo (Bra) 5, Leboeuf (Fra) 4, Liedholm (Swe) 4, Letchkov (Bul) 3, Lubanski (Pol) 3, Lerby (Den) 2, Lorimer (Sco) 1, Luis Enrique (Spa) 1.

McManaman (Eng) 28, S Mazzola (Ita) 25, Mancini (Ita) 17, McInally (Sco) 15, McCoist (Sco) 12, Moreno (Arg) 12, Marzolini (Arg) 10, Masopust (Cze) 9, V Mazzola (Ita) 9, Meredith (Wal) 9, D Mackay (Sco) 7, McNeill (Sco) 7, Majid Abdullah (Sau) 6, Moller (Ger) 6, C Maldini (Ita) 5, McGrath (Ire) 5, Mihajlovic (Yug) 5, Moravcic (Cze) 5, Murdoch (Sco) 5, J McIlroy (Ire) 4, Montero (Uru) 4, Mostovoi (Rus) 4, Maddix (Jam) 3, Mannion (Eng) 3, Mijatovic (Yug) 3, McGrain (Sco) 2, W Miller (Sco) 2, Morena (Uru) 2, Machlas (Gre) 1, Martin Vazquez (Spa) 1, Monti (Arg/Ita) 1.

Nicol (Sco) 10, Nikolaidis (Gre) 9, Neal (Eng) 6, Niyilasi (Hun) 6, Nakata (Jap) 1, Nedved (Cze) 1, G Neville (Eng) 1, Nevin (Sco) 1.

Ortega (Arg) 29, Oliseh (Nig) 28, Overath (Ger) 16, Ocwirk (Aut) 7, F Omam-Biyik (Cam) 6, Okocha (Nig) 2, Oktay (Tur) 2.

Piola (Ita) 17, Gheorghe Popescu (Rom) 17, Pearce (Eng) 11, Planicka (Cze) 11, Pirri (Spa) 10, Piyapong (Tha) 10, Petit (Fra) 9, Petrescu (Rom) 5, PreudŐhomme (Blg) 5, Papaioannou (Gre) 4, Parvin (Irn) 4, Pedernera (Arg) 4, Platt (Eng) 4, Peruzzi (Ita) 3, Polster (Aut) 3, P Parker (Eng) 2, Parola (Ita) 2, Hugo Perez (USA) 1, Prosinecki (Cro) 1.

Rivera (Ita) 29, Rensenbrink (Hol) 15, Rui Costa (Por) 12, Rufai (Nig) 8, Rosenthal (Isr) 7, Rosler (Ger) 6, C Roberts (Eng) 5, Rava (Ita) 3, Ramos (USA) 2, Redondo (Arg) 2, Rep (Hol) 2, Ravelli (Swe) 1, J Robertson (Sco) 1.

Sindelar (Aut) 29, Stam (Hol) 29, Suarez (Spa) 29, N Santos (Bra) 28, Scirea (Ita) 28, Salas (Chl) 27, Schuster (Ger) 27, Savicevic (Yug) 23, Simeone (Arg) 21, Hugo Sanchez (Mex) 19, Schillaci (Ita) 18, D Santos (Bra) 17, Solskjaer (Nor) 17, Shilton (Eng) 16, Leonel Sanchez (Chl) 13, Seeler (Ger) 12, Santamaria (Uru/Spa) 10, Scifo (Blg) 10, W Steel (Sco) 10, Savrakos (Gre) 9, Schlosser (Hun) 9, Slijvo (Yug) 9, Sono (SAf) 9, Spiegler (Isr) 9, Stabile (Arg) 8, Stojkovic (Yug) 8, Streltsov (Rus) 8, Swift (Eng) 8, Sekularac (Yug) 7, Skoblar (Yug) 7, Shackleton (Eng) 6, Sarti (Ita) 5, Seaman (Eng) 5, Schumacher (Ger) 4, Sharpe (Eng) 4, Stulfauth (Ger) 2, Schroif (Cze) 1, Simoes (Por) 1.

Trautmann (Ger) 26, Thuram (Fra) 13, Tardelli (Ita) 8, Torres (Por) 6, Taffarel (Bra) 4, Tigana (Fra) 4, Toshack (Wal) 4, Peter Thompson (Eng) 3, Phil Thompson (Eng) 3, Thon (Ger) 3, Tueart (Eng) 1.

Ugarte 13.

Vialli (Ita) 26, Van der Sar (Hol) 23, Varela (Uru) 18, Voller (Ger) 17, Veron (Arg) 16, Van Hanegem (Hol) 13, Vava (Bra) 11, Viola (Bra) 7, Van Breukelen (Hol) 6, Vierchowod (Ita) 6, Van Beveren (Hol) 4, Van Tiggelen (Hol) 2, Villa (Arg) 1. 

R Wilson (Eng) 17, W Wright (Eng) 15, I Wright (Eng) 14, J White (Sco) 8, Wenger (Fra) 6, Worthington (Eng) 5, F Walter (Ger) 3, Worns (Ger) 2, Waddle (Eng) 1, Wynalda (USA) 1.

Yorke (T&T) 18, A Young (Sco) 7, G Young (Sco) 6, Yeboah (Gha) 5, Yekini (Nig) 1.

Zubizarreta (Spa) 29, Zola (Ita) 26, Zamorano (Chl) 7, Zagallo (Bra) 6, Zenga (Ita) 6, Zalayeta (Uru) 5, Zanetti (Arg) 2.

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