The most popular sport in the world, football has had some true heroes who have transcended the game itself and cemented their legacy in the minds of football fans forever. Is picking only the top 10 footballers from such a great pool of talented players even possible?
In this article, we have attempted to do just that and while it has been no easy task, we have tried to break down the selection into 3 main factors: Ability to win matches singlehandedly, Longevity and performance under pressure.
A sportsman's true mark of excellence is the ability to step up under pressure and deliver when it matters the most consistently. Hence the last 2 factors have been given slightly more importance.
Now, without much ado, let us dive into the list and take a look at the 10 greatest football players of all time:
France might well consider their greatest ever player to be Zinedine Zidane, but before the current Real Madrid manager had weaved his magic, Les Blues had another improbably talented playmaker - Michel Platini.
Credited with making France a global superpower in football, the diminutive playmaker enjoyed a long and fruitful career for both his club and country. Operating as a number 10 and an advanced playmaker, Platini often reserved his best for the biggest matches scoring a number of crucial goals in extremely important matches.
Winner of the Ballon d'Or trophy 3 years in a row (1983,84,85), the Frenchman reached the peak of his game when he guided the French national team to the European Championship title in 1984.
Scoring an incredible 9 goals in just 5 games for Les Blues in the 1984 Euros, Platini playing in his home country captured the country's imagination with his stunning performances. He was so good that even Pele could not resist complimenting him:
"He didn't run a lot like Cruyff and didn't depend on his physique, but I liked how he was the brain organising things on the pitch. He was a player who used his head in the broader sense. The way he shone with France and Juventus, and his capacity for taking free-kicks, made him the European footballer of the 1980s."
Having guided France to their first ever major international trophy and winning League titles with both Juventus and St Etienne, Platini enjoyed a long and fruitful career and retired when he was still at the top of his game in 1987.
Platini's impact on his countrymen can perhaps best be summed up by Zidane's quotes:
"When I was a kid and played with my friends, I always chose to be Platini. I let my friends share the names of my other idols between themselves."
However corrupt he might have been as a football administrator, there is no doubting Platini's class as a footballer.