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  • 01/21/2009, 05:24PM ET

BVOF #1 Heavyweight Contender TD - 10 All-Time best Soccer Players

Hyped78 (222-22-6) vs Somebody of Note (43-13-5)
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Active or retired, it's 10 players in no special order and of the positions you want (can repeat positions or not, it's up to you).

My 10:

- Pele - the Brazilian prolific scorer is usually considered #1 all-time; some feel that he is 2nd behind...

- Maradona - the argentinian with the "hand of god". Incredible technique and overall playmaking.

- Franz Beckenbauer - the Kaiser embodies the spirit of German soccer, having scored 60 goals for Bayern Munich and being a beast for the German national squad.

- Bobby Charlton - "Sir" Bobby had 199 goals for Man Utd, enough said.

- Zico - so many good brazilians to pick from. But Zico is usually regarded as the 2nd best brazilian ever, behind Pele.

- Lev Yashin - I decided to put a goalkeeper here. In doing so, I also decided to go with the best GK ever.

- Johann Cruyff - the best Dutch footballer ever, being a star for his country, Barcelona and Ajax.

- Alfredo Di Stefano - another star from Argentina. This time someone who scored 216 times for Real Madrid.

- Garrincha - widely regarded as the best dribbler ever.

- Platini - move aside Zidane, for Platini was the best french soccer player ever.


I have one change to make. The guy that I'm putting up isn't very well-known, but he's more than deserving of inclusion on this list.

Garrincha is OUT.
Ferenc Puskas is IN.

Puskas is without a doubt one of the top goal-scorers of all time, yet people don't know much of him because he played from 1943 until 1966. In 523 club matches, he recorded 509 goals, a remarkable feat in itself. That easily dwarfs Garrincha's 239 in 617.

However, the most spectacular tenet of Puskas' dominance are his international numbers. In his 84 international matches with Hungary he recorded 83 goals. That would be impressive scoring in any sport, but consider this: in international soccer, the competition is far tougher. To achieve this kind of sustained brilliance is remarkable. Garrincha only got 12 in 50.

This leads me to my argument against Garrincha. He may have been an incredible dribbler, but his international production is lacking. The fact that he has 34 fewer caps means that he wasn't as dominant... and if you want to be the best in the world, you need to be the best in your own country. Plus, there's the fact that the majority of his club appearances came with lower-tier Botafogo.


Puskas deserved contention for my top 10 and would certainly be in my top 20.

I still prefer Garrincha over him, and a part of your argument is flawed.

Let me start by saying that FIFA consider Garrincha as the 2nd best brazilian of all-time, only behind Pele.

That means that FIFA considers him to be above the likes of Falcao, Zico, Socrates, Romario, Rivelino, Tostao, and many others.

Being a star for Hungary (Puskas) isn't the same as being a star for Brazil (Garrincha).

Brazil is arguably the best national side in overall soccer history. Hungary is merely an after-thought.

You said that Garrincha's "international production is lacking".

Wrong. Garrincha is a 2-time world champion.

He was also awarded the "World Cup Player of the Tournament" in 1962, a WC in which he was also the best scorer.

His international production isn't lacking... in fact, he possesses more accolades than Puskas!

"lower-tier Botafogo"

Wrong again. The Brazilian league was very good in the 50s and 60s and Botafogo won multiple championships in those years.

He didn't leave Brazil as Pele didn't leave Santos to play for example in europe. At the time such a move was rare.


Botafogo IS lower tier. It may have been the titans of the Brazilian league, but not even you can argue that it's anywhere near Real Madrid... which was where Puskas played the largest part of his career, and scored 157 goals.

Let's be honest here, there's no way that Garrincha's production can even compare to Puskas', internationally OR on the club level.

Internationally, Puskas was a goal-a-game player. I don't care whether you're on the Brazilian, Hungarian, or Fijian national team, that's impressive. (And don't say that the Magical Magyars of Hungary were a lame outfit in the 50's. During Puskas' heyday, they won an Olympic Gold Medal, were the first team to ever beat England in the UK, made the 1954 World Cup championship, were the first team to ever beat the USSR in the Soviet Union, and embarked on a 33 game unbeaten run).

Internationally, though, Garrincha only had 50 caps, and scored only 12 goals. That's fewer caps and goals than everybody you mentioned, except for Falcao. If you're only good enough to accumulate 50 caps and 12 goals over 11 years of international play, then you can't be one of the greatest of all time. Making the cut is essential to greatness.


Of course Garrincha didn't score as many goals as Puskas did.

The explanation is very simple.

Garrincha played most of his career as a winger, not as a forward. And Puskas played his entire career as a forward.

So Puskas was primarily asked to score goals, while Garrincha was asked to create opportunities, make crosses (his crosses are, along with his individual technique, the best part of his game) and assists.

Two different roles, you cannot compare it like that.

You're not getting the part about playing for Botafogo.

Garrincha played for Botafogo just as Pele played for Santos, as Zagallo played for Flamengo, as Nilton Santos played for Botafogo, etc (I am using guys from the same era).

Bottom Line: brazilians moving to play in europe was the exception, not the rule, in the 50s and 60s.

And let's not forget that Pele played for Santos. Is he not considered the best player in the world? By your "Puskas in Real Madrid" standards he shouldn't be?

The Brazilian national league was very strong back then, very different from nowadays.

And you know what? The talent playing in Brazil was good enough to create the best national team in the world.


Yes, Puskas was asked to score more goals because of his position. However, that should in no way temper the insane heights that he reached with his goal scoring. Puskas scored 0.99 goals per international game. Let's compare it to the other FORWARDS on the list (and remember, internationally everybody played the same people):

Pele: 0.84
Maradona: 0.37
Cruyff: 0.69

And some other great strikers in soccer history...

Baggio: 0.48
Van Basten: 0.41
Ronaldo: 0.64

Puskas' numbers weren't just great. They're positively spectacular. The fact that he managed to sustain them over 84 caps is equally incredible.

The Brazilian League may have had talent to field one National Team... but La Liga had enough talent to field much more than that. The fact that they brought together oodles of talent from across the globe (including Argentina, Spain, France, Netherlands, and of course Hungary) puts them alone above the Brazilian League, which was all local.

Besides, Puskas' 0.97 goals per club match dwarf Garrincha.

The fact is that Puskas just did more than Garrincha, at the club and international level. His numbers are absurd, and that alone makes him deserve inclusion here.

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