For many, football is more than a sport – it is also passion and entertainment.
While many were successful, some football players made it a point to leave their mark. Having played for over 20 years each, the retired legends played actively for as long as their bodies allowed them.
Today, we’ve compiled a list of these stars. This list may look different for others, but like an online casino review, we made a practical decision with stats and information.
Read on as we explore some eight legendary soccer players who left their mark in the soccer industry:
Alfredo Di Stéfano ( 1943-1968)
Scoring in five consecutive European Cup finals, Alfredo Di Stefano gave other players a run for their money. He was born in Argentina to Italian immigrants and played contractually for three specific teams. Alfredo Di Stéfano’s skill was nothing short of exceptional.
Nicknamed Saeta Rubia, Alfredo sported outstanding fitness levels and contributed significantly to Real Madrid’s domination in the 1950s. He might have written history differently if he had joined Barcelona in 1943 instead of the Merengues.
Michel Platini (1973-1987)
Michel Platini was a star player for Nancy, St. Etienne, and Juventus. He won the European Championship with France in 1984 and the European Cup with Juventus the following year. The aggressive midfielder, one of the game’s greatest passers and a pro at free kicks, netted nine goals in that victory in 1984.
Christiano Ronaldo (2001-Present)
Christiano Ronaldo quickly snatches a spot in the soccer hall of fame. He has an impressive goal record since switching from Manchester United to Real Madrid, and at just 28, he scored his 400th career goal in January 2014.
Franz Beckenbauer (1964-1984)
Franz Beckenbauer transformed soccer when he moved from central mid-field to an attacking sweeper position in the 1970s. From the position, he controlled play by dribbling out of defense and attacking the team.
During his playing career, Beckenbauer earned the title of Der Kaiser (The Emperor) because his first name, Franz, resembled ancient Austrian emperors. In 1990, his West Germany Club beat Argentina to win the World Cup.
Johan Cruyff (1964-1984)
Johan Cruyff worthily bears the title of Europe’s greatest footballer. He starred for Ajax and Barca in the 60s and 70s, and was connected to the ‘Total Football’ movement.
Cruyff, who is nicknamed the flying Dutchman, won three European Cups with Ajax in 1971. He also coached Barcelona to the team’s first World Cup win in 1992 and led the Dutch to the World Cup Final, where they, unfortunately, lost 2-1 to West Germany.
Diego Maradona (1976-1997)
Diego Armando Maradona is one of the best dribblers in soccer history. He is best summed up by his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup and the breathtaking solo effort that followed.
Maradona admits that he did not always follow the rules and that one of his worst memories is being kicked out of the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for ephedrine.
Lionel Messi (1995-Present)
Lionel Messi’s size and build earned him the nickname ‘La Pulga’, meaning the Atomic Flea. He is agile, fast, and will tackle tall defenders easily. Fans are comparing him to soccer legend Pele, and he isn’t done yet.
Messi joined Barcelona at 13, made his debut at 17, and now regularly dazzles the Camp Nou supporters with his dribbling, passing, and goal-scoring prowess.
To give him his flowers, we must acknowledge that Pele was the greatest soccer player in history. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or Pele, won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970. Before briefly playing for the New York Cosmos, Pele spent the best years of his career with Santos, winning numerous championships.
Pele scored 760 goals and was an excellent striker and ball-handler who worked well with his teammates and played a highly crucial role in goal-setting situations.