Football saw some fantastic players during the 20th century from across Europe but we’ve just had a look at 5 players which are thought to be some of the most technically skilled and influential players of the last Century.
5. Michel Platini
Former French international Michel Platini is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time partly due to his ability but especially due to his leadership skills on the pitch that was second to none during his day. He won the Ballon d’Or three times running in 1983, 1984 and 1985 while playing for Juventus. Although he was an attacking midfielder he also scored plenty of goals during his senior career scoring 224 goals in 432 appearances!
4. Franz Beckenbauer
German-born defender Franz Beckenbauer has to be one of the greatest defenders ever to play the game making 572 appearances but most notably 439 of these were for Bayern Munich where he won 13 trophies. In addition to this Franz won the Ballon d’Or twice in 1972 and 1976 and was the first defender to ever win the award. He also had a fantastic international career for West Germany winning the trophy as captain in 1974.
3. Johan Cruyff
Cruyff is undoubtedly one of the greatest players there ever has been, he even has a skill move named after him! He started his career playing for Ajax in the Netherlands and subsequently winning eight Eredivisie titles, three European Cups and one Intercontinental cup with them. He then moved to Barcelona in 1972 for a then world record fee and went on to win the La Liga during his first season with the club. Of course, he also picked up the Ballon d’Or three times in 1971, 1973 and 1974.
2. Diego Maradona
Although one of the most controversial players of all time, there is no doubt that the Argentine is one of the greatest players in history. The attacking midfielder adeptly named ‘The Golden Boy’ was often singled out on the pitch for being a danger man and his career starts back that up as he managed to score 259 goals in 491 appearances between 1976-1981. He won a host of club and individual trophies most notably though however is his world cup victory in 1986 where he captained Argentina in a victory over West Germany in the final and managed to pick up the golden ball as the tournaments best player.
When talking about the greatest players of the 20th century it’s hard to look past the Brazilian forward Pele. He has one of the greatest competitive goal scoring records across his career managing to score a huge 650 goals in 694 appearances for Santos and New York Cosmos. He is the only player to ever win three World Cups which he did with Brazil in 1953, 1962 and 1970 and in turn he is the nations all-time leading goal scorer managing to find the back of the net 77 times in 92 games. In addition to the Pele won the Ballon d’Or seven times!