Messi or Maradona? Donovan or Dempsey? You resolve soccer’s GOATs in these nations


Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona? Is Pele the undisputed greatest from Brazil? Clint Dempsey or Landon Donovan? What concerning the No. 1 from England? After asking our writers to appoint essentially the most iconic gamers from all over the world, we would like you to vote as we attempt to settle a few of the sport’s greatest debates: Who’s the best male participant of all time from 13 key nations?

Arising with shortlists was no simple job, as first we needed to set up a transparent standards for GOAT candidacy. Our panel of writers took under consideration worldwide and membership accolades, in addition to issues comparable to historic significance and a participant’s relationship/reference to followers.

For instance, Hugo Sanchez makes Mexico’s checklist extra resulting from his membership accomplishments in Spain than his success with El Tri, and Alfredo Di Stefano, who performed for 3 totally different nations, is in Argentina’s high three resulting from his contribution towards the sport’s progress in South America.

Merely put, let the debates — and voting — start …

Soar to: Australia | Brazil | England | France | Germany | Italy | Mexico | Netherlands | Nigeria | Portugal | Spain | United States


Lionel Messi, FW (taking part in profession 2004-)

Notable accomplishments: World Cup second place (1), World Cup Golden Ball (1), Ballon d’Or (6), FIFA World Participant of the 12 months (1), The Greatest FIFA Males’s Participant (1), World Cup Dream Crew (1), Copa America Golden Ball (1), Argentine Participant of the 12 months (11)

Making a case for Messi: Maybe no participant within the historical past of the sport has been in a position to maintain such constant excellence on the highest degree for a decade and a half — and counting. With the ball tied to his left foot, Messi is a genius in tight areas, and appears to be watching the sport from the very best seat in the home, conscious of what’s occurring all around the pitch and making pivotal selections in a fraction of a second. True, there aren’t any senior titles with Argentina so as to add to all of the silverware he has gained with Barcelona — although he does have an Below-20 Cup title and an Olympic gold medal to his identify. Even so, he has scored extra targets for Argentina than anybody else and has carried them to 4 finals (one World Cup, three Copa Americas). With 640 targets for Barcelona, Messi wants solely 4 extra targets to interrupt Pele’s one-club aim file of 643.

Diego Maradona, MF (1976-1997)

Notable accomplishments: World Cup (1), World Cup Golden Ball (1), World Cup Silver Ball (1), World Cup Silver Shoe (1), World Cup All-Star Crew (2), World Cup All-Time Crew; FIFA Participant of the Century; Serie A (2), South American Footballer of the 12 months (2), Argentine Footballer of the 12 months (4)

Making a case for Maradona: Maradona may very well be his personal worst enemy, and his life and profession adopted a path as mazy as a few of his low centre of gravity dribbles, with drug issues and loads of controversy alongside the best way. However it’s uncertain that any participant, earlier than or since, has hit the heights in a World Cup that he reached in 1986. It got here at a time when he was unstoppable, even for many who tried to foul him. Standing simply 5-foot-5, he wanted distinctive bravery to carry out as he did so fantastically in membership soccer in Argentina and, most notably, in main Napoli to a pair of Serie A titles. Maradona’s profession featured varied peaks and valleys, however his greatest stretches are among the many greatest we have ever seen.

Alfredo Di Stefano, FW (1945-1966)

Notable accomplishments: South American championship (1), Ballon d’Or (2), World Crew of the Century; European Cup (5), La Liga (8)

Making a case for Di Stefano: The final and best product of the Forties golden age of Argentine soccer, Di Stefano helped Argentina win the 1947 Copa America, however that hardly scratches the floor of his affect. He helped get skilled soccer in Colombia up and operating starring for Millonarios, however that was a mere warm-up for what he would do in Europe. When the European Cup (now Champions League) was launched in 1955, the continent was nonetheless recovering from battle. It may have failed however thanks largely to Di Stefano, the guts and brains of Actual Madrid, it was a surprising success. Nominally a striker, he dominated the sphere as Actual gained the primary 5 variations of the competitors, imposing his approach, intelligence and can on throughout him. These years modified soccer and, by serving to enhance the picture of Spain, modified the course of post-war European historical past. No participant has been extra influential. — Tim Vickery




ESPN FC’s panel is unanimous in declaring Pele Brazil’s all-time greatest over Garrincha and Ronaldo.

Pele, FW (1956-1977)

Notable accomplishments: World Cup (3), World Cup Golden Ball (1), Ballon d’Or (7), World Cup Silver Ball (1), FIFA Participant of the Century, South American Footballer of the 12 months (1), Copa Libertadores (2), Brazilian league (6)

Making a case for Pele: Pele had all of it: energy, velocity, stability, imaginative and prescient, immaculate two-footed approach, aerial skill, cunningness, intelligence, an enormous match temperament, and a fearsome will to make sure he bought essentially the most out of his expertise. Earlier than Pele, Brazil had been all potential. By the top of his taking part in profession, they had been the undisputed world energy, each for the amount of titles and for the audacious and joyful approach wherein they had been achieved. From the exuberant skinny teenager of Sweden 1958 by means of to the excellent sensible previous owl of Mexico 1970, Pele was the soul of the attractive sport.

Garrincha, RW (1951-1972)



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