You’ve read through Sportskeeda’s list of the Top 20 Greatest Footballers to grace the beautiful game. There are those who deserved to get into this top 20, but didn’t. They are deserving legends in their own right. We looked at five players who missed the cut. Here are five more who just missed out on the Top 20:
Of all the foreign strikers that have graced the English Premier League, there is no one who has made such a huge impact on the game as Thierry Daniel Henry. Whether it was the back heel goal against Charlton or the over the top goal against Manchester United, you could only admire the audacity the Frenchman brought to the game.
Arsene Wenger, having already worked with Henry while at Monaco, initially bid for him in the January transfer window of 1999. But Juventus outbid Arsenal and landed Henry, thwarting Wenger. But that was only for 6 months as Henry was unsettled at Juventus and when Wenger again came calling in the summer, he signed for Arsenal. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Whenever there is a discussion of the most fearsome strike partnerships in football, Henry and Bergkamp always make the list. The Dutchman’s unrivalled vision and genius worked in perfect tandem with the mercurial Frenchman and his audacity in front of goal, resulted in wrecking of teams week in, week out. Apart from this heavenly combination, he also struck up a great understanding with Robert Pires and Ashley Cole, making it the deadliest left hand sides in world football. He won several plaudits during his time at Arsenal, including playing a part in the legendary unbeaten season. He finished as Arsenal’s all time top goal scorer before moving on to Barcelona, where he realised his long cherished dream of winning the champions league.
Unlike other legends, who tend to miss out on international honours because of countrymen who are not on the same level, Henry is one of the rare few who has done it on the international scene as well. Getting his first cap in a game against South Africa, he played in 6 of the 7 games in the 1998 world cup and only missed the final. But he played a crucial part by scoring 3 goals to help France become the world champions. He also played a crucial part of the Euro 2000 campaign, which France once again won, doing the double.
With such major accomplishments to his name, Thierry Henry is surely one of the legends to have missed out being in the top 20.
In an age when players are constantly on the move from one club to another in search of money, trophies and glory, when people repeatedly talk about football losing its soul, it is players like Raul that reinforce the idea that there is still hope in this crazy game.
Raul played for the Atletico Madrid youth team before switching to the Real Madrid youth team, where he signed his professional contract. He started in Real Madrid C, where he made an immediate impression, scoring 13 goals in just 7 games. Seeing his quality, the then Real Madrid coach, Jorge Valdano, picked him in place of the legendary Emilio Butragueno. With his performances and quality, he kept Emilio out of the team and went on to become an integral part of the club.
Raul was part of a golden generation for Real Madrid when the club won numerous trophies on their way to becoming the best club of the century. He won 6 La Liga titles and 2 Intercontinental Cups, but the most fabulous achievement that few players can boast of, is his tally of 3 champions league medals. During his time at Real Madrid, he never received a red card. After 16 fruitful years at the club, Raul left Real Madrid to go to Schalke, where he won the German cup. After the completion of his 2 years contract, he moved to Qatari side Al Sadd, where he now plies his trade.
While he has achieved a lot in club competitions, the same cannot be said of his international career. Even though he was an integral part of the national team, he was unable to inspire them to reach greater heights. He was captain of the Spanish team for 4 years, from 2002 to 2006, but could not help in stopping their trophy drought. Nevertheless, his name will always be part of the elite group of players who have done great things in the world of football.
England has produced a lot of mid-fielders throughout the years, but none have come close to match the accomplishments of Sir Bobby Charlton. Widely regarded as the greatest midfielder England has produced, he was one of the major reasons England could win the 1966 world cup and have the star on their jerseys.
Sir Bobby Charlton started his career with Manchester United and remained there for the majority of his career. In his very first season, he scored 12 goals from only 14 appearances, underlining his quality and won the First Division title that season, while narrowly missing out on the FA Cup.
There are 2 things with which Sir Bobby Charlton will always be associated with. He was one of the survivors of the Munich Air Disaster that killed a majority of his team mates, and was instrumental in getting the club back on track. With Sir Matt Busby returning to manage Manchester United, he helped United win 2 titles in 3 years. He also won the FA Cup after his 3rd appearance in the finals of the 1962-63 season. Most importantly, his last trophy playing for Manchester United, and indeed his club career, was the 1967/68 European Cup, when United beat Benfica at Wembley. He scored twice in that game to finally lay to rest the ghosts of the events that took place 10 years earlier.
The other thing with which he will always be associated with, is his contribution towards England winning its one and only trophy in the international football arena. He guided England towards a world cup victory in the 1966 world cup, which was held in the country. While Geoff Hurst may have grabbed all the headlines with his controversial goal, it was Sir Bobby Charlton who had lit up the tournament with his exceptional displays. Even though he had a quiet final when he went head to head with Franz Beckenbauer, there was no denying that England Charlton to thank for the world cup victory. He was a deserving winner of the 1966 Ballon d’Or
When the topic is about prolific goal scorers, the names of Pele and Maradona are bound to be the first ones to pop up. But the next name after that would always be of Gerd Muller. He may be 8th in the list of all time top goal scorers, but he has played in lesser matches than all the other strikers in the top 15.
If you have to rate a player by the number of trophies that he has won, then there would be very few players who can come anywhere close to Gerd Muller. He has won everything that is there to win in football. In fact, if you take a look at his list of honours, you would know exactly how many trophies a German player can win! He won the German Bundesliga and the German Cup 4 times. He won the Euro in 1952 and the world cup in 1974. But out of all these stats, the best would be being part of the Bayern Munich team that won a hat-trick of European cups in 1974, 1975 and 1976. This is something that happens very rarely and Gerd Muller was a very important player for the club during this time.
Despite finishing 3rd in the 1970 world cup, he was voted as the European footballer of the year and awarded the Ballon d’Or. Muller has had many records to his name. In only 62 appearances for Germany, Muller managed to score 68 goals. In only 2 world cups, he managed to score 14 goals, which was the highest number of goals (at that time) that a player has scored in the world cup. In fact, this record stood until as recently as 2006, when Ronaldo surpassed Muller. But it needs to be noted that it took Ronaldo 4 tournaments to do it while Muller got the goals in only 2.
As it always happens with greatness, life after football was not kind to Gerd Muller. He became addicted to alcohol, but thankfully was saved from further destroying his life after his old team mates at Bayern convinced him to go into rehabilitation. Since coming out, he has been working as a coach for the Bayern Munich II side.
There are times when one wonders if Brazil can ever produce the archetype defender whose only business is to hoof the ball out of danger and to make crunching tackles on opposition players. But when their defenders themselves are flair players, one can only assume how their wingers and attackers would play.
One such player who has always captured the hearts of fans all the world over, is Ronaldinho. He is one of the few players who have represented Brazil in all the age groups at the international level. He started his club career with Gremio. While Arsenal wanted to sign him in 2001, that move did not happen because of work permit issues. Instead, Ronaldinho joined Paris Saint-Germain that summer. While his time in France was not what you would call excellent, with his rifts with the manager, he still had an important role to play in the team. His move to Barcelona proved to be the best bit of business for both, the player and the club. With Barcelona, he won two consecutive La Liga titles, in the years 04/05 and 05/06. He also won the Champions League in 05/06. Later, he moved to AC Milan, where he won the 10/11 Serie A.
In the international arena, Ronaldinho was part of the 3-man-offence, along with Ronaldo and Rivaldo, that won the World Cup in 2002, which incidentally, is the last time Brazil featured in a World Cup final. He captained the Brazil team that won the 2005 confederations cup. While Brazil had an array of attacking players in the 2006 world cup, the team, along with Ronaldinho, fared poorly and got knocked out by France.
Ronaldinho won the 2005 Ballon d’Or and is one of the few players to have won back to back FIFA World Player of the Year awards (2004, 2005). He has entertained fans with his magic on the field and it has been rightly said that no matter which team you support, Ronaldinho is one player that you can never hate.