Some of the Greatest Soccer Players Ever and What Made Them GreatWe used to sell a VHS tape that was one of my favorites. The title was "World Cup's Greatest 11". It showed 42 of the greatest players who played in the 1958-1978 Soccer World Cups, compared them by position and selected the best 11. What made it so good was that it showed the highlights of some of the best players to ever play soccer. I don't think that video ever got transferred to DVD and we don't sell it any more, but we still have a Detailed Review of it on SoccerHelp. There is a Detailed Review of every DVD we sell. Below is a list of some of the best players ever to play in the soccer World Cup between 1958 and 1978 and why they were great. You've probably heard of some of these players, but unless you are a soccer historian, you probably haven't heard of all of them. Note that only great players who played in the World Cup are listed. I know of at least one of the greatest players of all time who played in the 1958-1978 period, but who isn't on the list because he never played in a World Cup. If you like soccer trivia, can you guess who it is? I'll put the answer at the end of the article. The following is copied from the SoccerHelp Detailed Review of the video and spotlights 24 of my favorite players of all time:
Below is a List of the Greatest Soccer Players 1958-1978
Who is the best soccer player of all time?
The Greatest Player Who Never Played in a World Cup 1958-1978?
Who was the "Little Bird" who was 5'7" tall, born with deformed legs and became one of the World's best soccer players?
Who was the short, stocky striker called "Der Bomber"?
Which Keeper wore all Black & was called the "Black Octopus"?
Who was the only man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager?
Which Center Midfielder was Knighted?
Who is the only player beside Pele to score in 4 World Cups?
Whose goal is called the "greatest of all time"?
Who scored 13 goals in one World Cup?
Which Keeper made the best save ever and when he was in the goal it was "as safe as the banks of England"?
Who was called the "Kaiser" and is the best Sweeper ever?
Answer to "Who Was the Greatest Player 1958-1978 Who Never Played in a World Cup?" George Best who played from 1963-1984. He was 16th in the World Player of the Century election, Pele named him one of the 125 best living soccer players in his 2004 FIFA 100 list, and Best was named 19th in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. In his native Northern Ireland the admiration for him is summed up by the saying: "Maradona good; Pele better; George Best." There is a great article on Wikipedia. In case you're wondering, Diego Maradona's first World Cup was 1982. He was selected to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists.
- Juste Fontaine, who scored a record 13 goals in the 1958 World Cup, even though France lost to Brazil in the semi-finals when Pele scored 3 goals. In the third place match, Fontaine scored 4 goals to beat West Germany 6-3. He was a great dribbler with excellent acceleration and would be a star today. Some consider him the best French player ever, but the consensus is that Platini was better.
- Helmut Rahn (Germany 1954-58). He scores some of the best long goals you have ever seen. He had tremendous power and accuracy with curving shots. A big guy, but a very good dribbler.
- Florian Albert of Hungary was a great dribbler who demolished Brazil in 1966.
- Garrincha (the "Little Bird", Brazil 1958-66) was one of the greatest dribblers ever, but also a great scorer with headers and long drives. His real name was Manuel Francisco dos Santos; Garrincha (his nickname) means songbird. He was 5' 7" and born with deformed legs (the left one bent inwards and the right one was shorter and curved outwards). Brazil never lost a game when he and Pele played together. He was selected as a Forward to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists, along with Pele and Maradona.
- Uwe Seeler scoring with the most incredible header you have ever seen (no kidding, you won't believe it). Seeler is the only player besides Pele to score in 4 World Cups.
- Djalma Santos (Brazil 1958-66) played as a Fullback. His defensive containment and passing were fantastic (there are great clips of his play). An athlete on par with Pele. What a team Brazil had with he, Garrincha and Pele. If your son or daughter is a defender and age 12 or older, have them watch the highlights of Santos. He made Pele's list of the Top 125 best living soccer players
- Franz Beckenbauer (The "Kaiser", Germany 1966-1974) is considered to be one of the greatest players ever and is considered a soccer genius. He is known as the greatest Sweeper of all time and invented the role of the attacking sweeper by making long runs out of the back. The only man to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager. Watch his long runs out of the back to score. He was selected as a Defender to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists. Ranked as the fourth best player of the 20th Century by World Soccer Magazine.
- The clips of Paul Breitner (Germany 1974-78) are spectacular. Although a defender, his dribbling, runs and shooting are breathtaking.
- Bobby Moore (England, 1962-70) doesn't look as smooth as Santos, but his passing was great and his tackling was sure. His tackles against Pele and Jairzinho in 1970 were fantastic. Captain of the 1966 team that won the World Cup. He was selected as a Defender to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists.
- Carlos Alberto (Brazil). His goal in 1970 against Italy is called the greatest of all time. (I think they mean the build up of the goal more than the shot). He was selected as a Defender to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists.
- Gaetano Scirea (Italy 1978). Great shots from 25-30 yards out. He was a sweeper who would be a star today and could play defender, midfield or forward for any team.
- Bobby Charlton (England 1962-70). One of the greatest center midfielders and a hero when England won the World Cup in 1966. Some great long power shots are shown, including one of his most famous goals. He was so good that Franz Beckenbauer was assigned to him as a dedicated marker in the 1966 Final and later said "England beat us in 1966 because Bobby Charlton was just a bit better than me". A member of the International Soccer Hall of Fame, he was knighted in 1994. He worked very hard as a youngster to have a quick burst of speed (he was an early practitioner of speed training and worked with his grandfather, who trained professional sprinters) and George Best said " I have never seen anyone go past players as easily as he did". Scored 245 goals for Manchester United, had 106 international "caps" (games in which he played for England) and scored 49 international goals.
- Michel Platini (France 1978) - a great passer and ball handler. He was selected as a Midfielder to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists. Ranked as the fifth best player of the 20th Century by World Soccer Magazine
- Johan Cruyff (Holland 1974) was one of the greatest players ever. Many great clips of his dribbling skill including the "Cruyff Move" . He was selected as a Midfielder to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists. Ranked as the third best player of the 20th Century by World Soccer Magazine.
- Lev Yashin (The "Black Octopus", "Black Spider" and "Black Panther", Russia Soviet Union 1958-62). Yashin was tall and always wore black and many believe hs is the best soccer goalkeeper of all time. It is said that Yashin invented the role of the Keeper as a rear Sweeper and he had an amazing 150 career penalty kick saves. He was voted the best Keeper of the 20th century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics and was the only goalkeeper ever to win the European Footballer of the Year Award (1963). Yashin died in 1990, which is why he didn't make Pele's list. He was selected as the Goalkeeper on the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists.
- Gordon Banks (England 1966-70) was the Keeper when England won the World Cup in 1966, giving up only 3 goals. In 1970, he made a save on a header by Pele that is regarded the best save ever (this is shown). They said that when he was in the goal it was "as safe as the banks of England".
- Sepp Maier (the W. German Keeper from 1970-78) is fantastic. He was thin and unathletic-looking, but very brave, with quick reflexes and made great decisions about when to come out of the goal. Based on the video clips from World Cup matches, he would get my vote. His play had a lot to do with W. Germany winning the 1974 World Cup. (Of course, it didn't hurt that Beckenbauer, Muller and Breitner were on that team). He is generally recognized to be one of the 10 best Keepers of all time and was on Pele's list of the Top 125 best living players.
- Eusebio (Portugal 1966) was one of the greatest forwards to ever play.
- Teofilo Cubillas (Peru 1970-78). Magic. A great finisher.
- Rivelino (Brazil 1970-74). Great clips including an amazing free kick around a wall and one thru the wall where his teammate ducks.
- Jairzinho (Brazil 1966-74). Incredible skill and speed. Played with Pele and Rivelino. 6 great goals are shown, including one where he dribbles thru 3 defenders. In the 1970 World Cup he scored in every round and the final, the first time that was ever done. He would be a superstar today. I think he is better than Ronaldo.
- Mario Kempes (Argentina 1974-78). A tough, fast striker who led Argentina to winning the 1978 World Cup. Played superbly in heavy traffic in the Penalty Box
- Gerd Muller ("Der Bomber", W. Germany 1970-74) was short and stocky but played extremely well in front of the goal. He was always in the right place and was known as the "ultimate goal mouth predator". He held the record for the most goals in World Cup history (14) until it was broken by Ronaldo in 2006 (15).
- Pele (Brazil 1958-1970) is generally recognized as the best soccer player ever. What made him great was that he was the total package. A fantastic athlete. He was selected as a Forward to the 11-member World Team of the 20th Century that was selected in 1998 by a panel of 250 international soccer journalists
See prices for our iron on Motivational Soccer Patches