Football, being one of the most beloved and passionately followed sports globally, often sparks heated discussions about who stands as the greatest player of all time. The question of who is the best football player is subjective, encompassing various factors that contribute to a player’s greatness. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of this debate, exploring legendary figures of the past and the modern-day titans who continue to shape the game.

Exploring the Criteria for the Best Football Player

When evaluating the best football player, several criteria come into play. It’s not merely about scoring goals or showcasing exceptional skills on the field; it’s a combination of factors that define greatness.


A player’s technical abilities, including dribbling, passing, shooting, and overall tactical understanding, play a crucial role in determining their stature in the football world.


Consistency in performance over an extended period is another key aspect. Great players don’t just have occasional moments of brilliance but maintain a high level of performance throughout their careers.

Impact on Team Performance

The influence a player has on their team’s success is undeniable. Great players elevate the performance of those around them and often prove to be the difference-makers in crucial matches.

Legendary Figures in Football History

Throughout football’s rich history, several players have left an indelible mark on the sport, earning legendary status.


As one of the most iconic figures in football history, Pele’s flair, and goal-scoring prowess captivated audiences worldwide. His three FIFA World Cup titles with Brazil solidify his place as one of the greatest of all time.

Diego Maradona

Maradona’s unparalleled dribbling skills and memorable performances, including the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal, make him a legend in the footballing world.

Johan Cruyff

Cruyff’s innovative style of play and influence as both a player and a coach revolutionized the game, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire generations.

Modern-Day Greats

In the contemporary era, a new breed of footballing superstars has emerged, each making their mark on the sport in unique ways.

Lionel Messi

Messi’s exceptional dribbling, vision, and goal-scoring ability have propelled him to the summit of footballing greatness. His numerous individual awards and records speak volumes about his extraordinary talent.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo’s athleticism, versatility, and goal-scoring prowess have earned him a place among the footballing elite. His relentless pursuit of excellence and winning mentality have set him apart on the global stage.

Neymar Jr.

Neymar’s electrifying playing style and creativity have made him one of the most exciting players to watch. While his career has been marred by injuries at times, his talent and impact on the game are undeniable.

Factors Influencing the Debate

The debate over the best football player is influenced by various factors, including individual achievements, team success, and the style of play.

Individual Achievements

Accolades such as the Ballon d’Or, Golden Boot, and FIFA World Player of the Year awards often factor into discussions about a player’s greatness.

Team Success

While individual brilliance is essential, a player’s contribution to their team’s success, including winning major trophies and championships, also weighs heavily in the debate.

Style of Play

The aesthetic appeal and effectiveness of a player’s style of play can shape perceptions of their greatness. Whether it’s Messi’s mesmerizing dribbles or Ronaldo’s powerful strikes, each player brings a unique flair to the game.

Controversies and Debates

The debate over the best football player isn’t without its controversies and heated arguments, particularly when comparing players from different eras or pitting rivals against each other.

Messi vs. Ronaldo

The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo has fueled countless debates among football fans worldwide. While Messi’s elegance and playmaking abilities are often contrasted with Ronaldo’s athleticism and goal-scoring prowess, both players have carved out their legacies in the annals of football history.

Legacy Beyond the Field

A player’s impact off the field, including philanthropic efforts, social influence, and ambassadorial roles, also contribute to their overall legacy and standing in the footballing community.

who is the best football player whogohere

The best football player in the world as of May 2024 is Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain and France. The 24-year-old striker has been consistently dominant, scoring over 30 goals in Ligue 1 for the past three seasons and winning the World Cup with France in 2022.

Other top players in 2024 include:

  • Erling Haaland (Manchester City and Norway)
  • Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid and England)
  • Lionel Messi (Inter Miami and Argentina) – won his 8th Ballon d’Or in 2023
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City and Belgium)
  • Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid and Brazil)
  • Lautaro Martínez (Inter Milan and Argentina)
  • Rodri (Manchester City and Spain)
  • Son Heung-min (Tottenham and South Korea)
  • Harry Kane (Bayern Munich and England)

While Mbappé edges out the competition, the race for the title of best player is wide open with many world-class talents in their prime. The 2024 European Championship and Copa América this summer will likely play a major role in determining the Ballon d’Or winner.


In conclusion, the question of who is the best football player is complex and multifaceted, with no definitive answer. From legendary figures of the past to the modern-day icons who continue to dazzle audiences, football’s rich tapestry is woven with the stories of extraordinary talent and unparalleled skill. Ultimately, the beauty of the debate lies in its subjectivity, allowing fans to celebrate the diverse array of players who have graced the beautiful game with their brilliance.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Is the debate over the best football player purely subjective?
    • The 2024 European Championship and Copa América this summer will likely play a major role in determining the Ballon d’Or win
  2. What sets the modern-day greats apart from legendary figures of the past?
    • Modern players benefit from advancements in training, technology, and global exposure, but they also face higher expectations and scrutiny.
  3. Why is the Messi vs. Ronaldo rivalry so significant in football history?
    • The Messi vs. Ronaldo rivalry transcends individual preferences, capturing the imagination of fans and spurring endless debates about greatness.
  4. Do off-field activities influence a player’s legacy?
    • Absolutely. A player’s impact beyond the pitch, including charitable work and advocacy, can enhance their legacy and endear them to fans worldwide.
  5. Will there ever be a definitive answer to the question of who is the best football player?
    • Unlikely. The beauty of football lies in its subjectivity, allowing fans to celebrate a diverse array of talent and engage in spirited debates for years to come.

Last Update: June 1, 2024