Biggest Football Legends Through the Years
Football is, without a doubt, the most popular sport in the world. It has more fans and spectators than any other sport around the globe, with billions of people tuning in to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and the English Premier League earning the title of most watched sports league, to watch, support and bet on (with Infogol help betting is made easy).
It’s also a sport that has provided us with numerous legends and sporting heroes over the years – these are some of the biggest legends the sport has ever seen.
While many fans will debate for hours over who is the greatest footballer of all time, few will deny that Pele is one of the finest talents to ever step onto the pitch. He’s the only player to have ever won three FIFA World Cups and was also a feared goal-scorer. He scored 1281 goals in 1363 games at club level throughout his career and remains the all-time leading goal-scorer in Brazil to this day.
Argentina last won the World Cup in 1986 and the man who got them there was Diego Maradona. A figure of incredible talent and controversy, he was notorious for his fiery temper but also for his skills on the pitch. He had amazing dribbling skills, brilliant passing ability and produced iconic moments on a daily basis. Maradona enjoyed time playing for Barcelona and Napoli, with record transfers at both clubs at the time along with league title wins with both teams as well.
Many Argentine players have been dubbed the next Maradona, but none have lived up to the mantle until Lionel Messi. Messi was snapped up early on in his career by FC Barcelona and it is with this club that he became the legend that he’s known to be now. With Barcelona, Messi has won nine La Liga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles and six Copa del Rey’s. He’s also the leading all-time goal scorer for the club – in 2011, he scored 50 goals in La Liga, an accomplishment that is the highest ever recorded in a single season. Messi has also won the Golden Shoe five times and the Ballon D’Or five times.
Messi’s biggest on-pitch rival is Cristiano Ronaldo – a footballing superstar who has changed the landscape of football and achieved incredible things in his career. Ronaldo began his career at Sporting Lisbon but it was with Manchester United that he achieved global fame, winning three Premier League titles and an FA Cup. It was with Manchester United that Ronaldo also earned his first UEFA Champions League win. He’s earned five Ballon D’Ors since 2008 and made the switch to Real Madrid in 2009 with a then-world record transfer fee.
He held on to the all-time leading goal scorer title for nine years and also set the record for the most La Liga hat tricks. He’s won the Pichichi trophy on three occasions and was Los Blancos’ best player, winning the league title in 2012 and 2017.