Football players come in all shapes and sizes. Their physical attributes can often, but not always, determine how and where on the pitch they play. From towering goalkeepers to target-man strikers, from miniscule midfielders to pocket-rocket wingers, here are the shortest and tallest football players playing professional men’s soccer today.
Tallest Football Players
Unsurprisingly, a goalkeeper tops the tallest football player list. Belgian giant Kristof van Hout currently plays for India’s Delhi Dynamos and is officially the tallest football player in the world. Measuring an impressive 2.08m (6ft 10 in), he barely has to raise his arms to reach the 8ft crossbar.
Croatian goalkeeper Vanja Iveša comes close to the Belgian giant alongside Chinese striker Yang Changpeng. Both measure 2.05m (6ft 8½ in). Changpeng, dubbed “China’s Peter Crouch”, had a trial for English Premier League side Bolton Wanderers in 2006, but never signed. He currently plays in China.
Next up are the Norwegians. Striker Tor Hogne Aarøy (2.04m) currently plays for Norwegian second division club Aalesunds FK. His fellow countryman and striker Øyvind Hoås (Hønefoss) is only a fraction shorter at 2.03m, as is Hasle-Lören IL defender Even Iversen and goalkeeper Kjell Petter Opheim. Completing the quintet is AS Monaco’s Lacina Traore also at 2.03m (6ft 8 in).
The world’s tallest football player list is wrapped up with a more familiar name in Serbian centre forward Nikola Žigic, who is a powerful striker for England’s Birmingham City measured at a height of 2.02m (6ft 7½ in).
To put these giants of the game into perspective, towering Stoke City striker Peter Crouch measures in at 2.01m (6ft 7 in).
Shortest Football Players
Height profiles for the world’s shortest football players seem to vary depending on the source – official club websites often differ from other soccer stats resources. However, Brazilian attacking midfielder Élton Jose Xavier Gomes, who plays for Saudi Arabia’s Al Fateh, would appear to take the accolade for top-flight football’s shortest player at only 1.58m (5ft 2 in).
A whole host of footballer’s measure in at between 1.60m and 1.63m (5ft 3 in – 5ft 4 in), many of them technically gifted South American midfielders like Elton. The Brazilian contingent of shortest football players comprises Madson (5ft 3 in), Carlinhos Bala (5ft 4 in) and Joãozinho (5ft 4 in).
From Argentina come Maximiliano Moralez (5ft 3 in), Diego Buonanotte (5ft 2 in), Juan Cuevas (5ft 4 in) and Franco Niell (5ft 4 in). Completing the Latin American connection are Ecuadorian midfielder Christian Lara (5ft 4 in) and Mexican Elgabry Rangel (5ft 4 in).
One of the few Europeans to challenge for a position amongst the world’s shortest soccer players is English midfielder Levi Porter. Porter, currently contracted to Shepshed Dynamo playing at the semi-professional Midland Football League, is 1.60ms (5ft 3in) tall.
Lionel Messi, World Football Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner, is not the tallest of footballers. However, at 1.69m (5ft 5 in) he is still some way off from joining the ranks of the world’s shortest football players.