Top 8 Greatest European Players of all time
The European game has exposed us to some of the finest players the world has ever seen, from Beckenbauer to Ronaldo, and from Cruyff to Zidane, and we are here to find out who these men are. So come along with us as we attempt to establish who the all-time greatest European footballers are?!
For as long as football has been a popular sport in Europe, there has been a heated debate about who the greatest player in the history of the continent has been.
A number of the world’s finest footballers, like Johan Cruyff, Zinedine Zidane, and most recently Cristiano Ronaldo, are involved in the discussion, and compiling a list of only the Top 8 players would be one of the most difficult obstacles one could face in this area of sports soccer.
Nonetheless, we have accepted the challenge of determining who we believe to be the best players in European football.
The list of the Top 8 greatest European players of all time
. If one wants to construct such a list, one must analyze all of the eras of European football and consider the impact that these players had on the game, as well as the legacy that they left behind, in addition to the medals and honors that they have received over time. So, without further ado, let’s find out who these players are, shall we?
The All-Time Best European Top 8 Players
Normally, strikers and attackers receive more attention in lists such as the best European players of all time because of the number of goals they score and the impact they have on winning games.
However, we have tried our hardest to consider all areas of the pitch and have leaned towards players who have left a lasting legacy rather than those who shone brightly for a short period of time in the spotlight. Let’s start with one of France’s most celebrated player:
NO 1. Thierry Henry
Thierry Henry is a French footballer who plays for FC Barcelona (France)
Starting with a heavyweight, the King of Highbury himself, Thierry Henry, let’s get our list of the finest European soccer players started off right.
After graduating from the AS Monaco academy at the age of 20, Henry had already won a World Cup with France by the time he was 20 years old, and he went on to win nearly everything else in European football during his time with Arsenal and Barcelona.
In his role as a winger/striker, Henry’s influence on the game was apparent, both during his playing career and after he left the game, with dozens of players even today attempting to mimic his style of play.
In the aftermath of an unsuccessful transfer to Juventus, Henry was offered a chance at a new team.
in 2000, and it was during that season that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger decided to use him as a striker rather than his natural winger position, believing he possessed the characteristics of a great forward.
Henry quickly became acclimated to his new position, and the goals just kept rolling in. He would not have significant success with Arsenal until the 2001-02 season, when he scored 32 goals in all competitions to assist Arsenal in winning the Premier League and FA Cup double. His omission from winning the Ballon d’Or the following season became a source of controversy.
The following season, Henry had established himself as one of the top players in the world. He went on to play a significant role in Arsenal’s historic season in which they won the Premier League without losing a single game, a record that they extended to 49 games.
Despite the fact that he scored 39 goals in all competitions, he was awarded Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.
He became the first Arsenal player to win the European Golden Boot and finished second in the World Player of the Year competition.
He would be of great assistance to Arsenal when they reached the Champions League final two years later, which they ultimately lost, and he would eventually leave the club in 2007.
Thierry Henry scored 228 goals in 377 games for Arsenal throughout his professional career, earning the Premier League’s Golden Boot four times, making him the only player in history to do so. He went on to become the club’s all-time leading scorer.
The combination of his speed, tremendous dribbling skill, powerful right-footed attacks, and excellent vision enabled him to accomplish about everything a footballer can.
Although he shares a statue with Bergkamp and Adams in front of Arsenal’s home stadium, it is Henry’s contributions to football on the field and the legacy he has left behind that have truly immortalized him and cemented his place among the best European footballers of all time.
NO 2. Gerd Muller
Gerd Muller is a German Football Striker and philanthropist (Germany)
There is a lot of discussions these days about strikers who are breaking records and possessing exceptional finishing talents, but when the words “ideal striker” or “complete forward” are used, only one name comes to mind: Gerd Muller.
The recently deceased renowned striker serves as the gold standard that every striker in football strives to achieve, but rarely does it successfully.
He excelled at everything a striker should do, and he was instrumental in bringing about the best years for both Germany and Bayern Munich. He did it all with grace and elegance, and he will continue to be considered one of the best European players in 2021.
NO 3. Eusebio (From Portugal)
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When it comes to discussing the greatest European players of all time, one of the first names that comes to mind is that of the great Eusebio, a record-breaking player who helped to put Portugal on the map as a footballing powerhouse.
During Eusebio’s peak years in 1960, the striker assisted Benfica in reaching four European Cup finals, one of which they won. The following year, he assisted Portugal in finishing third at the 1966 World Cup, the country’s greatest finish to date.
Eusebio initially won the Ballon d’Or trophy during the 1965-66 season, which was perhaps his best season. He then went on to win the league with Benfica and reach the final of the European Cup. However, it was during the 1966 World Cup that Eusebio cemented his place in football history by scoring nine goals in the tournament and earning the Golden Boot award for the most goals scored in the campaign.
NO 4. Michel Platini
Michel Platini is the president of the European Commission (France)
Although his reputation has been permanently tarnished by his tenure as UEFA chairman, which resulted in his expulsion from the sport, there is no denying the impact Michel Platini has had on French football and European football in general, as he was the first French player to ever become a European superstar on that level and leave a legacy as one of the best European soccer players of all time.
Despite the fact that he is most known for his time at Juventus, Platini began his professional career in France, where he amassed over 100 appearances for Nancy and Saint-Etienne before joining Serie A heavyweights Juventus, where he spent the best years of his life.
In his prime, he was an offensive midfielder with a penchant for scoring goals, which earned him three consecutive Serie A Golden Boots from 1983 to 1985. The years 1983 to 1985, coincidentally, turned out to be the most productive of his professional life, as he accomplished the remarkable accomplishment of winning the Ballon d’Or for three consecutive years (1983-08, 1988-89).
NO 5. Ferenc Puskas
In his day, Ference Puskas was regarded as the first true superstar of the game, and even the most casual football fans were aware of his accomplishments.
For years to come, the Hungarian-born striker would set the bar for what it meant to be on top of a strike, and those criteria are still in use today.
Puskas, who is well-known for his exquisite goals, is one of the greatest goal scorers in history, both at club and international level, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest European footballers of all time.
Puskas began his professional career in his native Hungary, where he played for Kispest and Budapest Honved before joining Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1958.
The 31-year-old Puskas was already a superstar by the time he joined a great team that included the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano and Raymond Kopa.
He had led his country to an Olympic Gold medal in 1952 and then two years later to the final of the 1954 World Cup as the captain of Hungary’s infamous team of the era known as the Mighty Magyars.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, sealed Puskas’ position as one of the all-time greatest players when he helped the club win five La Liga titles and three European Cups in his first season with Los Blancos.
Before the Iranian Ali Daei eclipsed Puskas’ record in 2003, he was also the best goal scorer at the international level, having scored 84 goals in 85 matches for Hungary, a record which he held for the longest time.
With 806 goals in 793 official games, Puskas is the 4th top goal scorer of all time and is considered one of the best players in hockey history.
NO 6. Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer was a German footballer who played for Bayern Munich (Germany)
First and foremost on our list is none other than Franz Beckenbauer, who also happens to be one of the greatest Bayern Munich players of all time. With his commanding presence and elegant approach to the role of sweeper, the Emperor helped Germany establish a distinct discipline in their backline during the 1960s and 1970s.
This helped the German national team to achieve one of their most successful eras of football to date, and it is for this reason that Beckenbauer continues to be regarded as one of the greatest European footballers of all time.
After beginning his professional football career as a youth player with Bayern Munich, Franz Beckenbauer went on to spend the majority of his best years as a player with the club. The sweeper or libero was his original position on the pitch; however, he later transitioned to his now-famous position as a sweeper or libero. He went on to be incredibly effective in the task, and he is today renowned for having completely transformed the role of the modern sweeper in the process.
As a player, Franz Beckenbauer was a four-time Bundesliga champion and four-time DFB Pokal champion with Bayern Munich. He was also the captain of the finest generation of athletes in the world.
Played for Bayern Munich
The team included players such as Sepp Maier, Gerd Muller, and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and they managed to win an extraordinary three European Cup (Champions League) titles in a row between 1974 and 1976.
The German national team won the 1972 European Championship and the World Cup in 1974, cementing his place among the all-time greats of the sport.
After his playing career came to an end and he established himself as one of the greatest European footballers of all time, Beckenbauer transitioned into management, becoming one of just three people in history to have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager. A few years later, he guided Bayern to a Bundesliga title as well as a UEFA Cup victory.
Perhaps the most prestigious individual distinction that Beckenbauer won was his two Ballon d’Or medals, which he received after leading Bayern Munich and Germany to every trophy that was available and, as a result, having a significant impact on the game. There will never be another player like him, either for Bayern Munich or for the German national team.
NO 7. Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane is a French footballer who plays for Real Madrid (France)
Zinedine Zidane is widely recognized as one of the best football players of all time, owing to his grace, control, and intelligence in the game, as well as his accomplishments both individually and as a member of a team.
With his commanding presence in the midfield, it is no surprise that Zizou has risen to the top of our list of the greatest European soccer players of all time. After beginning his football career in Ligue 1 with Cannes and then moving on to Ligue 2, he is now a professional footballer.
Following in the footsteps of his countryman Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane became an overnight phenomenon when he decided to join Juventus. It was during his time at Juventus that he established himself as one of the greatest footballers of his generation.
Between 1996 and 1998, Zizou won two Serie A titles with Juventus, and during the summer of 1998, when France was hosting the World Cup, he emerged as the team’s most important player, guiding the Les Bleus all the way to the final, where they faced the defending champions, Brazil, in the final. It was at that point that
He demonstrated that he is a player for big games by scoring two goals and delivering France to the World Cup for the first time in their history.
In recognition of his contribution to France’s tournament as well as his stay at
In 1998, Zidane won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards, and he was named the best player in the world. His second FIFA World Player of the Year award came in 2000 after he helped France to victory at the Euros.
In 2001, he joined Real Madrid and became a member of the legendary Galacticos period of the Spanish football club. He scored the iconic volly-goal in the final of the Champions League in his first season with the club, and he went on to win his first Champions League trophy the following season.
Having won the FIFA World Player of the Year award three times, including the final time in 2003, Zinedine Zidane confirmed his position as one of football’s all-time greatest individual honors winners.
He did so in grand style, with the 2006 World Cup final serving as his final ever competitive encounter, after assisting France to the championship game.
Perhaps his final game served as a synthesis of his entire career, a career that was sublime, like the penalty kick he scored in that game, and passionate, like the red card he received at the conclusion of the game, like his final game. Since then, he has gone on to become one of the most successful managers in history, and his narrative of success continues to this day.
NO 8. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer who plays for Real Madrid (Portugal)
What could possibly be said about this individual that hasn’t already been said?! Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the greatest athlete to ever compete in football, is a force of nature, and he possesses a deep, burning passion to win and make his mark on the world that is rarely seen among athletes, with the exception of Michael Jordan.
It is this need that has elevated him to the top tier of European players in 2021, despite the fact that he is 36 years old.
But Ronaldo’s rise to prominence did not happen suddenly; he was simply another mediocre winger for Sporting Lisbon before being spotted by Sir Alex Ferguson, who immediately recognized his potential.
In the following years, he moved to Manchester United, where he established himself as a star by contributing to United’s almost complete dominance at the club level while also enjoying incredible personal success. But, as is always the case with Ronaldo, even this level of success was not enough for him, and he left Juventus to join Real Madrid, where he was searching for a fresh challenge and the opportunity to play among the best of the best.
It was during his time at Real Madrid that his competition with Lionel Messi propelled both players beyond what anyone could have believed a player could achieve, as they broke records game after game while averaging more than 40 goals each season on average.
Both players have stated in interviews on numerous occasions that their rivalry with one another has only made them better and has been a driving factor in both of them becoming great players and remaining two of the best soccer players in the world in 2021 despite their differences.
Ronaldo’s career has continued at Juventus and, more recently, at Manchester United, where he has won a few trophies while continuing to score a flurry of goals for the club he loves.
With five Ballon d’Ors, four European Golden Boots, two Best FIFA Men’s Player awards, one Puskas Award, and one FIFA World Player of the Year award, Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who is only rivaled by Lionel Messi, and because the Alien is not a European, this makes Cristiano Ronaldo the best European footballer of all time, and the best player in the world.
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