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Football’s GOAT: Who Is Soccer’s Greatest? | Rafaela

Choosing the greatest football player of all time is a controversial exercise. Soccer has thrown up so many huge talents, it is hard to pick the finest.

Lunes, 25 de Mayo de 2020 | 14:59 (actualizado a las 13:31)
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Who Is Rated Football’s GOAT?

Choosing football’s greatest player of all time is bound to result in conflicting conclusions. Soccer has been around for a long time, is played in many environments, and has undergone rule changes over the decades. This is not a recipe for consensus.

How is it possible to compare a player from, say, Sir Stanley Matthews’ era with a modern star like David Beckham? It isn’t; not scientifically. But being sports fans is more about feelings than science, so we are going to do it anyway!

Here are our GOAT choices from three distinct eras of football.

The Dark Ages

Not quite that far back, but the 1950s is still a long time ago. In 1958, Brazil beat Sweden to win the World Cup for the first time, and two of the greatest players that historyhas ever seen were in that team. One was Garrincha, the nickname of Manuel Francisco dos Santos. He led Brazil to another World Cup championship four years later, playing in the 1962 final against Czechoslovakia despite a high fever.

If Garrincha has been somewhat forgotten over the years, it may be because he was overshadowed by his team-mate at both those World Cups. Although Garrincha passed away in 1983, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka “Pelé”, is still going strong in 2020, 50 years after he became the only player ever to win three FIFA World Cups. He achieved this feat in 1970, which is why he is Brazil’s major GOAT contender from this time.

Back In The Day

Many football fans alive today still remember the Eighties, but for the majority of young supporters, the era of Madonna may as well be the age of Elvis. Even so, Diego Maradona will always be revered by Argentinian fans for his “Goal of the Century” in the 1986 game against England.

England fans, of course, hate him for his earlier goal in the same match, which he claimed was caused by the “hand of God”, but which was in fact the “hand ball of Maradona”. But he is Argentina’s GOAT from that era, just as Ronaldo would be for Brazil in the Nineties. That’s Ronaldo de Lima, of course, not Cristiano Ronaldo. But speaking of Cristiano Ronaldo…

Modern Match: Messi V Ronaldo


If we are talking about modern football, there is no doubt which two players are going head-to-head for the title GOAT: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Both earn fortunes off the pitch through endorsement deals, have been part of highly priced transfersand make a mint on the pitch: Ronaldo for Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus, and Messi for Barcelona. The sums they take home are enormous, and are even bigger than what you could win when playing online games for real money.

The Ballon d’Or goes to the player considered the best in the world every year, and both Ronaldo and Messi have won it five times; a joint world record. They’re also equal in terms of the number of Champions League winners’ medals they have scooped: both have four.

The only point of distinction is the European Golden Shoe: Ronaldo has won four, but Messi has done so five times. Which, happily, allows us to declare him the GOAT in the modern era.



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