10 Famous Footballers Before Cristiano Ronaldo 

If you’re a lover of soccer (football), you would have heard of Cristiano Ronaldo (a.k.a. C. Ronaldo, CR7) who’s popularly referred to by his fans as the G.O.A.T in football. Although, Ronaldo seems deserving of the title due to his dedication, discipline, and exceptional skill, it’s still a topic that’s quite controversial in the world of football.

Before the reign of Ronaldo, Messi, or Mbappe, some kings blazed the field of football making their own remarkable and indelible trail before their retirement. Read on to find out who these legends are and some of their most remarkable achievements of their career.

1. Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, professionally known as Pelé  was a Brazilian professional footballer. During his professional years, he won three World Cups (1958, 1962, 1970) and he’s widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. 


He died on the 29th of December, 2022 at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil with a whooping net-worth of $100M! A legend I stan.

2. Diego Maradona

Diego Maradona is an Argentine superstar who is famous for his “Hand of God” goal and the “Goal of the Century” at the 1986 World Cup. He had a remarkable club career with Napoli and Barcelona and he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. He died on the  25th of November 2020, at Dique Luján, Argentina.

3. Johan Cruyff

Hendrik Johannes Cruijff, internationally known as Johan Cruyff, was a Dutch professional football player and manager. He was regarded as one of the greatest players in history and as the greatest Dutch footballer ever, having won the Ballon d’Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. He later became  a successful coach at  Barcelona.

He was a pioneer of “Total Football” and played for Ajax and Barcelona before his retirement.

4. George Best

George Best was a Northern Irish professional footballer who played as a winger, spending most of his club career at Manchester United in the 1960s. He became a football icon due to his impeccable dribbling skills and flair.

He was named European Footballer of the Year In 1968 when he helped Man United become the first English club to win the European Cup.

5. Alfredo Di Steffano 

Alfredo Di Stéfano Laulhé was a professional footballer and coach regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He played for Real Madrid all his career and won a total of eighteen trophies in eleven seasons and 308 goals in all his games before retirement. 

He was given the 1959 Ballon d’Or the best football player in Europe as judged by a panel of sports journalists from UEFA member countries. 

6. Eusebio

Eusébio da Silva Ferreira (a.k.a. the “Black Panther”, the “Black Pearl” or “O Rei”)  was a Portuguese footballer who appeared on the field for world cup matches six times, leaving an indelible mark on the pitch before his final appearance. 

Eusebio scored about 733 goals in all 745 games across competitions in his career and he is considered one of the greatest players of all time.

7. Bobby Charlton

The history of football cannot be complete without Bobby Charlton being mentioned in its pages. Sir Bobby Charlton was an English professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder, central midfielder, and left winger throughout his career.

He was famous for his attacking instincts, stamina, accurate long-range shot, among other quality traits. His career spanned from 1953 to 1983 in Manchester United and he died on the 21st October 2023 as one of the club’s legends. 

8. Franz Beckenbauer


Franz Anton Beckenbauer (a.k.a. Der Kaiser) is a German former professional football player and manager. In his entire career, Beckenbauer won 103 caps and scored 14 goals for West Germany. He spent most of his career serving Bayern Munich and he’s the only surviving legend in this compiled list.

9. Garrincha

Manuel Francisco dos Santos, (a.k.a. Mané Garrincha, or Garrincha) was a Brazilian professional footballer who is regarded as one of the greatest dribblers to have ever lived. Although he died early at 49 years of age, he played 50 international matches between 1955 and 1966 for Brazil at the beginning of his career.  

10. Lev Yashin 

Lev Ivanovich Yashin (a.k.a. the Black Spider or the Black Panther), was a Soviet professional footballer and greatest professional goalkeeper in the history of football. He was known for his positioning, acrobatic saves, athleticism, and imposing presence on a goal. 

In General,

These players all played with the last of their strengths for the success of the game of football worldwide. Their priceless contribution to the game will forever be remembered in the history of football. Is there anyone we missed out in this list? Comment down below so we can learn about them together. 

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