Well, Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority. Football is not only a game; it is a passion, and madness at its extreme. Apparently China, and England claim that they are the inventors of Football, however, it does not matter. Because anyone can play Football and we have seen many famous Footballers across the globe. About 250 million players are playing this game in over 200 countries.
Moreover, the game has produced many heroes who grabbed immense love and respect. Here we are also going to list down the top 15 famous footballers who earned a huge name because of their hardwork.
1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés Messi who born on June 24, 1987, is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a striker. Also, he is the captain of the Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentine national team. He is often considered as the best player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time. Moreover, Messi has won a record of six golden balls and six European golden boots. He spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, where he won a record 34 trophies for the club, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and six Copas del Rey titles.
A prolific scorer and creative playmaker, Messi holds the record for most goals in the various leagues. He has scored La Liga goals (445), La Liga and European League seasons (50), La Liga hat-tricks (36), and UEFA Champions League (8). Also, he has assisted in La Liga (183), La Liga, and European League seasons (21) and America’s Cup (12). He has scored over 700 career goals for the club and national team.
Moreover, he is one of the most famous athletes in the world. Messi has the sponsorship of sportswear company Adidas since 2006 and has established himself as a leading supporter of their brand. According to France Football, he was the highest-paid soccer player in the world for five out of six years between 2009 and 2014. Also, he was the highest-paid athlete in the world by Forbes in 2019. Messi secured his name in the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine in 2011 and 2012. In February 2020, he earned the title of Laureus World Sportsman of the Year. He became the first-ever footballer as well as the first-ever team athlete to receive this award. Later that year, Messi became the second footballer to earn more than $ 1 billion in his career.
2. David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham, born May 2, 1975, is a former English professional footballer, current president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF and co-owner of Salford City. He played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, and for the England national team. Moreover, Beckham is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the USA, and France. He retired in May 2013 after a 20-year career, during which he won 19 major trophies.
Moreover, Beckham’s professional club career began with Manchester United, where he made his first-team debut in 1992 at the age of 17. For United, he has won six Premier League titles. The list also includes twice the FA Cup and the 1999 UEFA Champions League. He spent four seasons for Real Madrid, winning the La Liga championship in his last season for the club.
Also, Beckham has consistently ranked among the highest-paid footballers. Also, he was listed as the world’s highest-paid player in 2013, earning over $50 million in a year. He married Victoria Beckham in 1999 and they have four children. He remained the UNICEF Ambassador to the UK since 2005 and in 2015 founded 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Foundation.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is considered as one of the best and famous footballers in the world, and the greatest player of all time. He has won five golden balls and four golden boots in Europe, a record for a European player. During his career, he has won 30 major trophies. The list includes seven league titles, five UEFA Champions League, one UEFA European Championship, and one UEFA Nations League title. Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals (130) and assists (40) in the history of the UEFA Champions League. He is one of the few registered players to have played over 1000 professional games and scored over 700 career goals for the club and the national team. Also, he is the second player to score 100 international goals, and the first European to achieve the feat.
Moreover, Portuguese national team player, Ronaldo was named the best Portuguese player of all time in 2015. He made his debut in 2003 at the age of 18 and has since earned over 160 international appearances, including appearing and scoring in ten major tournaments. He became the best player in the Portuguese national team and the top scorer of his country in all history.
Apart from the above, he is one of the best-selling and famous footballers in the world. Ronaldo remained World’s Highest-Paid Athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017. While the World’s Most Famous Athlete by ESPN from 2016 to 2019. Time included him in its 100 Most Popular Athletes list, and influential people in the world in 2014. Ronaldo is the first footballer and only the third athlete to earn $ 1 billion in his career.
4. Diego Maradona
Diego Maradona is an Argentine football manager and retired one of the famous footballers. He is currently the coach of the Argentine club Primera División Gimnasia de La Plata. Also, he is widely famous as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was one of two joint recipients of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. Maradona’s vision, passing, ball-handling, and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5’5 inches), which gave him a low center of gravity. So, he was able to maneuver better than most other players. Moreover, he often overtook several opponents on the move. His presence and leadership on the pitch had a big impact on the overall play of his team, while opponents often made him stand out.
Apart from his creativity, he also had an eye for goals and was famous as a free-kick specialist. Also, Maradona received the nickname “El Pibe de Oro” (Golden Boy), which stuck with him throughout his career. Moreover, Maradona became the coach of the Argentina national team in November 2008. He led the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before retiring at the end of the tournament. Also, he coached Al Wasl Dubai club in the UAE Pro-League during the 2011-12 season. In 2017, Maradona became Fujairah’s coach before leaving at the end of the season.
In May 2018, Maradona became the new chairman of the Belarusian club Dynamo Brest. He came to Brest and joined the club to the office in July. From September 2018 to June 2019, Maradona was the coach of the Mexican club Dorados.
Neymar who born on 5 February 1992, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian national team. He is one of the best and famous footballers of the era. Moreover, Neymar rose to fame at Santos, where he made his professional debut at the age of 17. He helped the club win two consecutive Campeonato Paulista, Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores 2011 championships. While the latter became the first Santos footballer since 1963. Neymar was named South American Footballer of the Year twice in 2011 and 2012 and soon moved to Europe to join Barcelona.
Moreover, as part of the Barcelona attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, he won the La Liga triple continental championship. Also, he won the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League, and finished third in the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2015. He then scored an internal double in the 2015-16 season. In 2017, Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain for 222 million euros, making him the most valuable player in history.
While In France, Neymar won three league titles, two French Cups, and two League Cups, including a triple domestic match and the Ligue 1 Player of the Year title in his debut season. Neymar is one of the most outstanding athletes in the world; SportsPro named him the world’s top-selling athlete in 2012 and 2013. While ESPN named him the world’s fourth-largest athlete in 2016. In 2017, Neymar was listed by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. By 2018, France Football ranked Neymar as the third highest-paid football player in the world, and in 2019 Forbes ranked him as the third highest-paid athlete in the world.
6. Wayne Rooney
Wayne Mark Rooney who born on 24 October 1985 is an English professional footballer and captain of the championship club Derby County. He has played most of his career as a striker but also played in a variety of midfield roles. Rooney, considered by many to be one of the best players and famous footballers of his generation. He is the record scorer for England and Manchester United. Rooney joined the Everton youth team at the age of 9 and made his club debut in 2002 at the age of 16.
Moreover, Rooney spent two seasons at Merseyside and then moved to Manchester United for £ 25.6m in the 2004 summer transfer. The window where he won 16 trophies and became the only English player, along with teammate Michael Carrick. As they won the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, League Cup, UEFA Europa League, and FIFA Club World Cup. Also, He scored 253 goals for United in all competitions. Hence he became the top scorer of all time. He scored 183 goals in the Premier League the most scored by any club. Rooney’s 208 Premier League goals make him the Premier League’s second all-time top scorer. He also has the third-highest assists in the Premier League with 103.
Further, Rooney won the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year awards in the 2009-10 season. While he has also won the Premier League Player of the Month award five times in his career. He finished fifth in the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or vote and was named in the 2011 FIFA FIFPro World XI. He has won the Goal of the Season award three times in the BBC’s Match of the Day poll. Bike kick against urban rivals Manchester City won the Premier League 20 seasons award for best goal.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimović
Zlatan is a Swedish professional footballer, striker of the Serie A, Milan club. Ibrahimovic is considered one of the best strikers of his generation as well as one of the famous footballers. He is one of the most decorated active footballers in the world, having won 31 trophies in his career. Also, he has scored over 550 career goals and has scored in each of the past four decades.
Ibrahimovic began his career at Malmö FF in 1999 and signed with Ajax two years later. At Ajax, Ibrahimovic gained a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising forwards and left two years later to join Juventus. He excelled in Serie A in partnership with David Trezeguet before joining internal rival Inter Milan in 2006, where he won the Capocannonier (Serie A top scorer) in 2008-09 and won three consecutive Serie A titles.
In the summer of 2009, he moved to Barcelona as part of one of the most expensive transfers in the world. Before returning to Italy the following season, joining Milan. With them, he won another Serie A title in the 2010–11 season before joining Paris Saint-Germain in July 2012. In four seasons in France, Ibrahimovic won a number of trophies. These include four consecutive Ligue 1 titles and was Ligue 1’s top scorer in three seasons. While in October 2015, he became PSG’s all-time top scorer. In 2016, he moved to Manchester United free of charge and won the FA Community Shield awards, the Football League Cup, and the UEFA Europa League in his first season. Ibrahimovic joined the American club LA Galaxy in 2018. Two years later he returned to Milan.
Ibrahimovic was named to FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2013 and was named UEFA’s Team of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2014. In 2013, he finished in a peak fourth place in the FIFA Ballon d’Or. While In 2015, UEFA named him the best player to have never won the UEFA Champions League, while in 2019, FourFourTwo magazine named him the third-largest player ever to win a competition.
In December 2014, the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter named him the second greatest Swedish athlete in history after tennis player Bjorn Borg. Off the pitch, Ibrahimovic is known for his cocky personality and outspoken comments, as well as addressing himself in the third person.
8. Paolo Maldini
Paolo Maldini is a former Italian professional footballer who played as a left-back and center-back for Milan and the Italian national team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders and one of the famous footballers of all time. As captain of Milan and the Italian national team, he got the nickname “Captain” for many years. Maldini held the record for most Serie A appearances (647) until 2020. He is currently the CTO of Milan and is also a co-owner of the USL Championship Miami FC.
Moreover, Maldini spent all 25 seasons of his Series A playing career for AC Milan before retiring at the age of 41 in 2009. He has won 25 trophies with Milan; five UEFA Champions League titles, seven Serie A titles; one Italian Cup, five Supercoppa Italiana titles; five European Super Cups, two Intercontinental Cups; and one FIFA Club World Cup. Maldini won the Best Defender at the UEFA Club Football Awards at the age of 39 and also received the Serie A Defender of the Year award in 2004. After retiring in 2008–09 season, Milan took off his shirt number 3.
Maldini finished second to George Weah in the 1995 FIFA World Player of the Year nomination. He also finished third in the Ballon d’Or in 1994 and 2003. In 2002, he selected as the defender of the FIFA World Cup Dream Team; and in 2004, Pele named him one of the 100 Greatest Living Players in the FIFA World. Maldini held the record for 174 UEFA club appearances. So, his stats make him one of the famous footballers.
Ronaldinho is a former professional Brazilian footballer and ambassador of Barcelona. He played mainly as an attacking midfielder but also played as a striker or winger. Often regarded as one of the famous footballers of his generation; also is one of the greatest players of all time. Ronaldinho received two FIFA World Player of the Year awards (in 2004 and 2005) and the Ballon d’Or in 2005. As a global sports icon, he was renowned for his technical skills and creativity; thanks to his agility, speed, and dribbling, as well as his use of tricks, feints, overhead strikes, glanceless passes, and precision in free throws.
While internationally, Ronaldinho made 97 appearances for the Brazilian national team; scoring 33 goals and representing his country in two FIFA World Cups. He was an integral part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning teams in Korea and Japan; starred alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo in the attacking trio. He also earned a spot in the All-Star Team of the FIFA World Cup. As a captain, he led Brazil to their second FIFA Confederations Cup title in 2005 and was named Best Man of the Match in the final. Ronaldinho scored three goals in the tournament, bringing his total to nine, making him the tournament’s top scorer of all time.
10. Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is a German professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal as an attacking midfielder. However, he can also act as a winger. He is known for his technical skills and creativity; thanks to his agility, subtlety, and versatility as an attacking midfielder. Undoubtedly, he is one of the best and famous footballers of the modern world. Ozil began his senior career as a member of Schalke 04 from his hometown in the Bundesliga and left two seasons later to move to Werder Bremen for 5 million euros. He gained attention in the 2009-10 season, finishing first in assists in major European and domestic competitions, 25 of which earned him a € 15 million transfer to La Liga club Real Madrid.
At the club, Ozil won the Copa del Rey in his first season before registering a league record of 17 assists in a winning season. After Özil finished second in La Liga over rivals Barcelona in 2012-13, Özil moved to England to join Premier League club Arsenal in a then-record club deal of £42.5 million (50 million euros); which made it the most expensive German players of all ages. During his first season, Özil helped end Arsenal’s nine-year drought by winning the 2014 FA Cup. He later won two more FA Cup campaigns. Ozil also recorded the second-most assists (19) in the Premier League season in 2015-16.
Internationally, Ozil made 92 appearances for the German national team, scoring 23 goals and making 40 assists. He also received a record five German Player of the Year awards. Ozil has represented his country in three FIFA World Cups as well as two UEFA European Championships and has been an integral part of both the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2012; where he starred in both tournaments as the best assistant. Ozil also played a key role in Germany’s victorious campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Following the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Özil retired from international competition, claiming discrimination and disrespect from the German Football Association (DFB) and German media.
11. Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta Lujan who born on May 11, 1984, is a Spanish professional footballer. He plays as a center midfielder and is the captain of the Japanese club, Vissel Kobe. He spent most of his career at Barcelona, where he served as captain for three seasons. Iniesta is considered one of the best and famous footballers of his generation and one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Iniesta went through La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy, after migrating early from his place of birth; and impressed him from an early age. He made his main team debut at the age of 18 in 2002. While he began playing regularly during the 2004-05 season and remained with the team until 2018.
Iniesta has been an integral part of Barcelona, winning two historic triples in 2009 and 2015, and his 35 trophies; including nine La Liga wins, and four UEFA Champions League titles, make him the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time. Moreover, Iniesta played for Spain Under 16, 19 and Under 21 national team before making his international debut in 2006. He helped Spain win Euro 2008 by playing in all matches and making it to the tournament team.
Iniesta was also a key player in the winning Spanish team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup; he scored the winning goal in the final against the Netherlands, for which he was named Man of the Match and was selected to the All-Star Game of the tournament. At Euro 2012, Iniesta led Spain to its second consecutive continental crown; was again selected as the best player in the final match against Italy, and was named player of the tournament. Iniesta won a selection FIFA FIFPro World XI nine times and has been selected to the UEFA Team of the Year six times.
He secured his place in EURO XI in the entire history of UEFA. He won the 2012 UEFA Player of Europe award and was named the World’s Best Playmaker by IFFHS in 2012 and 2013. Iniesta finished second to Lionel Messi at the 2010 FIFA Golden Ball and finished third in 2012.
Xavier Hernandez Creus who born on January 25, 1980, is famous for his nickname Xavi. He is a Spanish football manager and former player who is the manager of the Qatar Stars League Al-Sadd Football Club. Moreover, he is highly regarded for his humble personality and team ethic; Also Xavi is regarded as the epitome of the passing tiki-taka style and is widely famous as one of the best and famous footballers. He joined La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy, at the age of 11 and made his first-team debut against Mallorca in August 1998.
In total, he played over 700 matches, a record for the club, and scored 85 goals. Xavi is the first player in club history to play 150 European Championship and FIFA Club World Cup matches together. With Barcelona, Xavi won eight La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions League titles. Moreover, he earned the third spot in the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year rankings before finishing third behind his successor; the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, he finished second to Lionel Messi in the UEFA Player of the Year nomination. European Prize. In 2015, he left Barcelona for Al-Sadd, where he won four trophies before retiring in 2019.
Xavi won the award of the IFFHS Playmaker Award four times; including three in a row between 2009 and 2011. He was a member of the UEFA Team of the Year five times (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and also get a place in FIFA FIFPro World XI six times: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. In 2012, Xavi got the award of the Prince of Asturias Prize and won 32 trophies in his career; making him the second most decorated Spanish player in history; behind former teammate Andres Iniesta. Following his retirement, Xavi moved on to coaching and became manager at Al Sadda in 2019.
13. Robin Van Persie
Robin van Persie was born on 6 August 1983 and is a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a striker. Considered one of the best strikers and one of the famous footballers of his generation, he is the Netherlands’ top scorer in history. Van Persie made his Feyenoord debut in the 2001-2002 season, which ended with a victory in the 2002 UEFA Cup final; he was also named Dutch Football Talent of the Year. After five years at Feyenoord, he fell out with manager Bert van Marwijk and joined the English club Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75 million as a long-term replacement for compatriot Dennis Bergkamp. At Arsenal, Van Persie won the Community Shield in 2004 and the FA Cup in 2004-2005. In 2011, he scored a club record of 35 goals and was the club captain in the 2011–2012 season before joining rivals Manchester United in July 2012.
In his first season, he won the 2012–13 Premier League. He became the league’s top scorer with 26 goals, winning his second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot. After representing the Netherlands at the under-17, under-19, and under-21 levels, Van Persie made his international debut in 2005 in a friendly match against Romania. A month later, he scored his first international goal in a 4-0 win over Finland. Van Persie made over 100 appearances for the Netherlands and scored 50 goals, making him the top scorer of all time. He represented his country in 2006, 2010, and 2014 FIFA World Cups as well as in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.
14. Vyacheslav Malafeev
Vyacheslav Aleksandrovich Malafeev, born on March 4, 1979, is a Russian football official, former goalkeeper player. He is a player of one club, spent all 17 professional seasons at Zenit. From 2016 to 2020, he worked as an assistant to the director of sports at Zenit. Vyacheslav Malafeev began attending the Smena football school at the age of nine. In 1997, he started playing for the Zenit-2 farm club in the third division. He got the chance to play for Zenit in the Premier League in 1999 when Roman Berezovsky was suspended. Later, Malafeev became Zenit’s first goalkeeper in 2001 and one f the famous footballers, when Berezovsky left the club. In the end, Malafeev became the goalkeeper of the first choice, ahead of Kamil Chontofalski, and won the UEFA Cup in 2008, maintaining a draw against the Rangers.
On November 19, 2003, Malafeev made his debut as the goalkeeper of the national team in the playoffs of the Euro 2004 qualifying tournament against Wales. He was chosen as the second goalkeeper after Sergei Ovchinnikov and ahead of Igor Akinfeev. Malafeev participated in Euro 2004 after Ovchinnikov’s red card in the match with Portugal and in the start of Greece. After Euro 2004, Malafeev became the first goalkeeper of the Russian national team, replacing Ovchinnikov. After a long injury in May 2005, Malafeev gave way at the gates of Zenit and Russia to Kamil Chontofalski and Igor Akinfeev, respectively.
In 2007, after a long injury, Akinfeev played in two Euro 2008 qualifying matches against Andorra and Croatia but sat to the bench in favor of Vladimir Gabulov. After Zenit’s successful campaign in the UEFA Cup, he lost in a narrow duel to Igor Akinfeev for the first place in the goalkeeper of the Russian national team at Euro 2008. Nevertheless, he remained the second goalkeeper, ahead of Gabulov.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, born October 23, 1940, is more famous as Pele. He is a former Brazilian professional footballer who played as a striker. Undoubtedly, he is one the famous footballers as well as the greatest player of all time. He was one of the most successful and popular sports personalities of the 20th century. During his playing days, Pele was for a time the highest-paid athlete in the world.
In 1999, Pele earned the honor of the best player of the century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS); and one of two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the Century award. In the same year, the International Olympic Committee selected Pele as the “Athlete of the Century”. Also, they included him in the list of the 100 most important people of the 20th century. According to the IFFHS, Pele is the most successful top division scorer of all-time; scoring 541 goals in 560 games. He scored 1,279 goals in 1,363 games including friendly games, a Guinness World Record.
Throughout his career, Pele scored almost a goal per game on average; and also knew how to hit the ball with any foot, as well as predict the movements of opponents on the field. Mostly a striker, but he was also able to fall deep and play a playmaker role, helping with his vision and passing as well as with his dribbling skills to get around opponents. In Brazil, he is famous as a national hero for his achievements in football and for his outspoken support for policies that improve the social conditions of the poor. Pele has received several individual and team awards for his performances on the field. He has record achievements, and his legacy in the sport.
After going through the above paragraphs, now you will be well aware of famous footballers. Footballs is a game of everyone. So, who worked hard with dedication can get a status of celebrity as we have seen players in the above list.