The 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time

    Warning: the following article will annoy you. The following article will trigger you. The following will make you think ‘how in under God did he get this SO wrong? This is ridiculous!!!!!’ 

    But maybe, just maybe, it’s not SO wrong. 

    Maybe this list ranking the 50 greatest footballers to ever lace up a pair of boots and do some weirdly wonderful things with a ball, is actually 100% correct. 

    Because there was method in the following madness. The following list was carefully collated with each of the following footballers’ ‘peaks’ in mind. 

    This list is not just the ‘Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time’, it’s a ranking of the highest peaks each of these ‘Greatest Footballers of All Time’ reached. 

    So before you angrily tweet me or angrily WhatsApp your friends your disgust, please bear the aforementioned in mind and TRY (all I’m asking is you try) and enjoy reading 90min’s top 50 footballers of all time.


    ​50. Luka Modric

    Luka Modric

    Peak: 2014-18

    Major Achievements: 2018 Ballon d’Or, 2018 UEFA Men’s Best Player of the Year, 2018 the Best FIFA Men’s Player, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball 2018, four UEFA Champions Leagues.

    We start off with a man who did the impossible in 2018: in the Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo-era, he won the Ballon d’Or. 

    Luka Modric’s ending of the decade of dominance of football’s greatest individual was more than deserved. At the very peak of his powers, Modric led an unfancied Croatian outfit to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final AND won approximately a billion (well, four) UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid. 


    49. John Charles

    John Charles

    Peak: 1957-60

    Major Achievements: Third place Ballon d’Or, 1956/57 Serie A top scorer, three Scudetti & two Coppa Italia.

    Aaron Ramsey – weirdly – isn’t the first Wales international that Italian giants Juventus have signed in their trophy-laden history. The first was a man who was not only a forward capable of scoring 28 goals in a single Serie A season (1957/58 season to be exact), but could also do a more than admirable job at centre-back when necessary. 

    As one of the most versatile and talented British footballers of all time, John Charles is now rightfully remembered as THE greatest Welsh player ever. 

    Yes, he was better than Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale. Yes, he was better than David Vaughan…everyone was.


    48. Hugo Sanchez

    Fussball: WM 1994 in den USA, NOR - MEX 1:0

    Peak: 1986-90

    Major Achievements: 1990 European Golden Shoe, five-time Pichichi winner, five La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey. 

    Look at that kit. Just take a moment to look at that Mexico kit above. It’s a thing of beauty. An Arc de Triomphe of woven fabrics.

    Ok, so now look at that player who’s wearing the kit. That guy is called Hugo Sanchez (great name, right?) and he is one of the greatest goalscorers in La Liga history. 

    Hugo Sanchez scored an obscene amount of goals during his peak – 157 in four seasons to be exact. The Mexico international was one of the most natural finishers of his generation, and deservedly makes this list of the greatest footballers of all time. 


    47. Jairzinho

    Brazilian forward Jairzinho is carried by fans aft

    Peak: 1970

    Major Achievements: 1970 World Cup, only player to score in every game of a World Cup, ‘Best Body on the Planet’ FIFA award (not sure what this is but it sounds great).

    You read that major achievement right. 

    No, not the ‘Best Body on the Planet’ one – something which you can probably see on Google images, feel free to check it out. 

    Jairzinho is the only player in FIFA World Cup history to score in every single game of the tournament. 

    He did so while guiding the greatest football team of all time to a FIFA World Cup triumph. Decent. 


    46. Omar Sivori

    Peak: 1958-61

    Major Achievements: 1961 Ballon d’Or, 1959/60 Capocannoniere, three Scudetti, two Coppa Italia titles. 

    Before there was a Lionel Messi. 

    Before there was a Diego Maradona. 

    Before there was a Mario Kempes. 

    There was an Omar Sivori. 

    An Argentine (and Italian for a while) forward who led Juventus during their formative years as a European powerhouse under the stewardship of the great Umberto Agnelli. 

    With Sivori in the famous number ten jersey, La Vecchia Signora won three Scudetti and two Coppa Italia titles. 


    45. Paolo Rossi 

    Peak: 1982

    Major Achievements: 1982 Ballon d’Or, 1982 World Cup, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball 2018, 1977/78 Capocannoniere, two Scudetti, one Coppa Italia title, one European Cup. 

    Paolo Rossi’s one year peak was so astounding that he has more than earned his place among the 50 greatest footballers of all time. 

    Rossi emerged from the depths of a lengthy ban for his ‘alleged’ involvement in Totonero, to become the iconic figure of Gli Azzurri’s 1982 World Cup triumph. 

    A hat-trick against a seemingly unbeatable Brazil team, two against a oddly good Poland team, and a goal in the final against an always exceptional West Germany team; it’s fair to say that Rossi had a good tournament…a really, really, really good tournament. 


    44. Paul Breitner 

    Peak: 1974-81

    Major Achievements: 1981 Ballon d’Or runner-up, 1974 World Cup, 1972 UEFA European Championships, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, five Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal titles, one European Cup.

    One of the top 50 footballers of all time with one of the top five afros of all time. 

    Paul Breitner could do it all. 

    Name something, and he could probably do it. 

    ‘Score in a World Cup final?’

    Yeah. Easy work. 

    ‘Man mark the best wingers in the world?’

    Yeah, of course.

    ‘Make a souffle?’

    Yeah, probably. 


    43. George Weah

    Peak: 1993-96

    Major Achievements: ​1995 Ballon d’Or, three-time African Footballer of the Year, two Scudetti, one Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de France, one FA Cup. 

    Ok, so in most other ‘Greatest Footballers of All Time’ lists, George Weah probably wouldn’t make the cut, because there was a period of time in which he was at Chelsea and Manchester City and was, well, pretty terrible. 

    However, with this being a list of the GOATs at their peaks, Weah makes the cut. 

    At his best, Weah was unstoppable. A rare combination of physical prowess and unbelievable technical ability, the now Liberian president (yes, LIBERIAN PRESIDENT) was the most complete forward of the 1990s. 

    If you don’t believe me, just watch his ​goal against Hellas Verona. It’s a face melter.


    42. Kaka

    Kaka

    Peak: 2005-09

    Major Achievements: 2007 Ballon d’Or, 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, two-time Serie A Footballer of the Year, two-time Time 100 list member, 2002 FIFA World Cup, one Scudetti, one UEFA Champions League, one La Liga, one Copa del Rey. 

    Ok, so in most other ‘Greatest Footballers of All Time’ lists, Kaka probably wouldn’t make the cut, because there was a period of time in which he was at Real Madrid and was, well, pretty terrible.

    However, with this being a list of the GOATs at their peaks, Kaka makes the cut.

    At his best, Kaka was unstoppable. A rare combination of physical prowess and unbelievable technical ability, the former Brazil international was the most complete attacking midfielders of the 2000s.

    If you don’t believe me, just watch his ​goal against Manchester United. It’s a face melter.


    41. Lev Yashin 

    Peak: 1956-64

    Major Achievements: 1963 Ballon d’Or, Olympic gold medal, 1960 UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, five Soviet Top League t​itles, Order of Lenin. 

    Lev Yashin is one of the most important footballers of all time, as he basically invented goalkeeping. 

    A leader, an innovator, and a ‘spider’ (which is a compliment – swear), the greatest testament to Yashin’s talent is the fact that he is the only goalkeeper to ever win the Ballon d’Or. Ever. 

    Impressive. 


    40. Gunnar Nordahl 

    Peak: 1950-55

    Major Achievements: Olympic gold medal, five-time ​Capocannoniere, two Scudetti. 

    There’s one thing that defines Gunnar Nordahl’s career: goals.

    Gunnar Nordahl scored goals. A lot of them. 

    The Swedish forward scored so many goals between 1950 and 1955 that he won the Capocannoniere in four of these seasons, and became AC Milan’s all-time record goalscorer.

    He also held the record for most goals scored in a single Serie A season for 66 years…until a certain Gonzalo Higuain came along. 


    39. Kevin Keegan

    Peak: 1977-79

    Major Achievements: 1978 & 1979 Ballon d’Or, 1981/82 PFA Players’ Player of the Year​, three Football League First Division titles, one FA Cup, one European Cup, two UEFA Cup titles, one Bundesliga. 

    “I tell ya, honestly, I’d love it if we beat them! Love it!” 

    When you read Kevin Keegan’s name that interview is what came to mind isn’t it? 

    Don’t lie, of course it is. 

    But if you can, just for a moment, put aside the aforementioned rage induced rant and the subsequent bottling of the Premier League title race, you’ll see just how incredible a footballer Keegan really was. 

    In fact, Kevin Keegan was one of the greatest English footballers of all time. 

    He won the Ballon d’Or twice. TWICE. 

    Keegan also became English football’s undisputed greatest ever export during his time a Hamburger SV; where he was lauded as a ‘saviour’ for winning the Bundesliga title in 1979.


    38. Hristo Stoichkov 

    GERMANY V BULGARIA

    Peak: 1990-94

    Major Achievements: 1994 Ballon d’Or, 1990 European Golden Shoe, five-time Bulgarian Footballer of the Year, one UEFA Champions League, five La Liga titles, ​one Copa del Rey.

    Imagine being so good at football that you could single handedly drag Bulgaria to a World Cup semi final. 

    Imagine being THAT good at football.

    Well, that’s how good Hristo Stoichkov was in 1994. 

    Scoring six goals in the the 1994 FIFA World Cup – including one in each of the knockout rounds – Stoichkov came within touching distance of taking an eternally unfancied Bulgarian outfit to the final; earning himself the Ballon d’Or in the process. 

    On top of this incredible international achievement, Stoichkov – particularly between 1990 and 1994 – enjoyed a pretty impressive club career too. 

    Teaming up with Romario at Barcelona in his prime, Stoichkov became one of the most feared forwards in Europe, and helped the ‘Dream Team’ to a UEFA Champions League triumph in 1991/92.


    37. Gianluigi Buffon 

    Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon reac

    Peak: 2002-06

    Major Achievements: 2006 Ballon d’Or runner-up, 2006 FIFA World Cup, 12-time Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year, 2002/03 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, two-time Pallone Azzurro, 2016/17 Serie A Footballer of the Year, 11 Scudetti, five Coppa Italia titles, one UEFA Cup.

    The greatest goalkeeper of all time? According to 90min, he is. 

    Put simply, no goalkeeper has ever been better for longer than Gianluigi Buffon. And no one ever will. 

    At his best, he would only concede two goals (one a freak Cristian Zaccardo own goal, the other a Zinedine Zidane penalty) on route to a World Cup triumph, at his worst he was one of the top three goalkeepers in Europe. 

    There will never be another Gianluigi Buffon.


    36. Johan Neeskens 

     - Barcelona

    Peak: 1971-78

    Major Achievements: 1974 & 1978 ​FIFA World Cup runner-up, 1974 FIFA World Cup Silver Boot, three European Cups, two Eredivisie, two KNVB Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, one Copa del Rey.

    The ‘two guard’ for the great Netherlands, Ajax and Barcelona teams of the 1970s, Johan Neeskens may have always been in the shadow of Johan Cruyff, but his talent cannot be underestimated. 

    Neeskens was the brutally hard working ying to Cruyff’s beautifully artistic yang, and it’s more than fair to say that without one Johan, there couldn’t have been the other. 


    35. Xavi Hernandez

    Xavier Hernandez,Ognjen Vukojevic

    Peak: 2008-12

    Major Achievements: ​2010 FIFA World Cup, 2008 & 2012 UEFA European Championship, 2008 UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament, 2005 La Liga Spanish Player of the Year, four UEFA Champions Leagues, eight La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey. 

    The fulcrum of two of the greatest football teams of all time. 

    A winner of literally every single trophy that has ever existed. 

    A player that ‘changed football’.

    Yeah, Xavi Hernandez was pretty good. 


    34. Luis Suarez

    Peak: 1960-65

    Major Achievements: 1960 Ballon d’Or, two European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, three Scudetti, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey. ​

    ​No, not that Luis Suarez. Don’t be silly. 

    This isn’t the Uruguayan Luis Suarez who may end up being remembered more for biting people than being a great goalscorer. 

    This is the Spanish Luis Suarez who, during the first half of the 1960s, dominated European football with a revolutionary Inter side. 

    In this fruitful period the real Suarez won the Ballon d’Or, three Scudetti and a whopping two consecutive European Cups. 

    Oh, and he didn’t bite a single person (that we know of). Good guy.


    33. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

    Fussball: WM 1986 in Mexiko

    Peak: 1979-84

    Major Achievements: ​1980 & 1981 Ballon d’Or, 1980 German Footballer of the Year, three-time Torjägerkanone, 1980 UEFA European Championship, two European Cups, two Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal. 

    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge may better known as one of the scarier members of the Bayern Munich board to younger readers of this article; to the older readers however, the German is remembered for being one of the most fearsome forwards of the 1980s. 

    Always the bridesmaid and never the bride at the World Cup – he was a beaten finalist on two occasions – but a winner in literally every other competition he ever played in. 

    A scarily good forward, a scarily good leader and…actually, just a downright scary man. 


    32. Andres Iniesta 

    Spain's midfielder Andrés Iniesta (back)

    Peak: 2008-12

    Major Achievements: 2010 FIFA World Cup, 2008 & 2012 UEFA European Championships, four UEFA Champions Leagues, nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey, 2012 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award. 

    Is Andres Iniesta the most likeable footballer on this list? 

    Yes, yes he is. 

    Is he also the most successful footballer on this list? 

    Well, he’s certainly right up there. 

    Andres Iniesta won everything. Everything. 

    – The World Cup: check.

    – UEFA European Championships: check. 

    – UEFA Champions League: check. 

    – Great Spanish Bake-Off: probably check. 

    He did with style too, as one of the most skilful footballers of his generation in fact. 


    31. Rivelino 

    Peak: 1968-74

    Major Achievements: 1970 FIFA World Cup, 1970 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, two Campeonato Carioca titles. 

    We’ve all seen the words ‘Joga Bonito’, and we all enjoyed ​those Nike ads, but it’s fair to say that none of us really understood what ‘Joga Bonito’ actually means (unless you speak Portuguese).

    But if you take the time to watch some YouTube highlights of Rivelino or find some full game tapes from the 1970 FIFA World Cup (they’re out there, believe me, illegally so, but they’re out there), you’ll understand just what ‘Joga Bonito’ really is. 

    It’s the beautiful game; something that no one has ever personified quite like Rivelino did. 


    30. Bobby Moore

    Bobby Moore,Geoff Hurst,Martin Peters,George Cohen

    Peak: 1964-70

    Major Achievements: 1966 FIFA World Cup, 1970 Ballon d’Or runner-up, 1964 FA Cup, PFA Player of the Century, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team.

    I don’t know if you know this but England won the World Cup in 1966.

    Oh, you know that already? Because English people shoehorn the fact that their country won the World Cup into every single conversation ever? Yeah, it is annoying.

    To be fair though, winning the World Cup is an incredible achievement, and it’s one that would not have been possible without one of the greatest defenders and leaders of all time: Bobby Moore.

    A class act both on and off the pitch, Moore has been rightfully immortalised in statue form outside of Wembley Stadium.


    29. Socrates

    Fussball: WM 1986 in Mexiko

    Peak: 1976-84

    Major Achievements: Three Campeonato Paulista, 1983 South American Footballer of the Year, 1980 Bola de Prata, 1976 Campeonato Paulista top scorer.

    The Che Guevara of football.

    A man as important off the field the as he was on it – he democratised Corinthians, creating a voting system for the club’s decision making process – the ‘Doctor’ is one of the most significant figures in Brazilian football history.

    He was also bloody brilliant with a ball at his feet…despite being a chain smoker. A rare mix of elegance and power, Socrates was the perfect all-round midfielder.

    I mean, look at this goal. Stunning. 


    28. Sandor Kocsis

    Peak: 1950-55

    Major Achievements: Olympic gold medal, 1954 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, 1954 FIFA World Cup runner-up, 75 goals in 68 caps for Hungary, two La Liga titles, four Hungarian titles.

    – Sandor Kocsis scored 75 goals in 68 international appearances for Hungary.

    – In 1954, Sandor Kocsis scored 23 goals in 14 international appearances for Hungary.

    – At the 1954 FIFA World Cup, Sandor Kocsis scored 11 goals in five games.

    All of the aforementioned facts exemplify one simple thing: Sandor Kocsis scored goals. A shocking amount of goals. 


    27. Lothar Matthaus

    Lothar Matthaeus,Pierre Littbarski

    Peak: 1988-92

    Major Achievements: 1990 Ballon d’Or, 1991 FIFA World Player of the Year, 1990 FIFA World Cup, 1980 UEFA European Football Championship, two UEFA Cups, seven Bundesliga titles, one Scudetto, three DFB-Pokal titles. 

    Lothar Matthaus has the biggest ego on this list: that really is saying something.

    But the size of his ego is almost justifiable. Put simply, Matthaus was the most complete player of his generation – a generation that just so happened to spawn the likes of Michel Platini, Diego Maradona, Zico etc.

    A natural born winner, and a natural born world shaker (his goal against Yugoslavia at the 1990 FIFA World Cup definitely registered on the richter scale), Matthaus could, and did, do it all. 


    26. Ronaldinho 

    Barcelona's Ronaldinho of Brazil signs a

    Peak: 2004-06

    Major Achievements: 2005 Ballon d’Or, 2004 & 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2005/06 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, 2004 & 2005 FIFPro World Player of the Year, one UEFA Champions League, two La Liga titles, one Scudetto. 

    “The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long” is a quote that perfectly encapsulates Ronaldinho’s career.

    Between 2004 and 2006, the world bore witness to something truly special: a footballer who played the beautiful game with genuine joy.

    The flicks, the tricks, the gold boots, the smile, the ​f​aked Nike ad, Ronaldinho was a walking advertisement for everything good about football. 


    25. Ruud Gullit

    Ruud Gullitt

    Peak: 1986-90

    Major Achievements: 1987 Ballon d’Or, two-time Dutch Footballer of the Year, 1988 UEFA European Championship, two European Cups, three Scudetti, three Eredivisie titles, one Coppa Italia, one KNVB Cup.

    At this very moment in time, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the most dominant force in sport. Before the ‘Greek Freak’, that title was held by Shaquille O’Neill. And before ‘Big Shaq’, it was held by AC Milan legend Ruud Gullit.

    In the late 80s, Gullit was the unstoppable force that led an unstoppable AC Milan juggernaut that dominated European football.

    Deservedly winning football’s equivalent of the MVP award (1987 Ballon d’Or), the Dutch international was football’s equivalent to a triple-double machine. 

    He. Could. Not. Be. Stopped. 


    24. Bobby Charlton

    Billy Bremner,Bobby Charlton

    Peak: 1963-67

    Major Achievements: 1966 Ballon d’Or, 1966 FIFA World Cup, 1966 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1967/68 European Cup, three Football League First Division titles, 1962/63 FA Cup. 

    Remember how good Frank Lampard was?

    ‘Yeah?’

    Great.

    Bobby Charlton was like Frank Lampard, only 100x better.

    The best player in the best England team of all time, Charlton was good – really, really, really good.


    23. Giuseppe Meazza 


    Peak: 1934-38

    Major Achievements: 1934 & 1938 FIFA World Cup, 1934 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, three Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, ​three Capocannoniere.

    So good they named the most famous stadium in the world after him, Giuseppe Meazza is the first – the OG – legend of Italian football.

    A mythical figure on the peninsula, those who know say Meazza is the greatest Italian footballer of all time; those who don’t say he’s the 23rd best player of all time. 


    22. Raymond Kopa

    Peak: 1956-59

    Major Achievements: 1958 Ballon d’Or, 1961 French Player of the Year, 1958 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, three European Cups, two La Liga titles, four Ligue 1 titles.

    Raymond Kopa is one of three geniuses of French football…you’ll read more about the other two soon, bear with me.

    A proverbial name in the top three of Ballon d’Or voting throughout his peak years, Kopa was the creative force that enabled Ferenc Puskas and Alfredo Di Stefano (you’ll read more about those two soon as well, bear with me) to score a boatload of goals for Real Madrid in the 1950s and 60s. 

    He also helped guide Real Madrid to three European Cup triumphs.

    So yeah, by all accounts, a good footballer. 


    21. Romario 

    BRAZIL V SWEDEN

    Peak: 1990-94

    Major Achievements: 1994 FIFA World Player of the Year, 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1994 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1994 World Cup All-Star Team, 1989 & 1997 Copa America, one La Liga, three time Eredivisie, 1993/94 Pichichi winner.

    According to Romario, Romario scored over 1,000 goals.

    That’s a lot of goals.

    And while that might not actually be true, there’s no doubting the fact Romario was an incredible talent.

    The ‘King of the Lob’ was one of the most composed and clinical goalscorers of the 1990s, who was also – most importantly – a big game player.

    A 1994 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball award here, a Clasico hat trick there, Romario was a man for the big occasion. 


    20. Eusebio 

    WORLD CUP EUSEBIO

    Peak: 1962-68

    Major Achievements: 1965 Ballon d’Or, 1966 European Golden Boot, 1968 & 1973 European Golden Boot, 1962 European Cup, 11 Primeira Liga titles, five Taca de Portugal titles. 

    Like Romario, Eusebio was a supreme goalscorer. Unlike Romario, Eusebio didn’t exclaim that he’d scored over 1,000 career goals; but he came pretty close to doing so.

    For the perfect exemplification of the ‘Black Panther’s’ talent, see his four goals in Portugal’s come-from-behind win over North Korea in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

    And before you brush it off as ‘only North Korea’:

    1) Bear in mind the implications of thinking that. Things could get scary for you and your family.

    2) Remember that North Korea – back in 1966 – were actually really good. This game was in the World Cup quarter finals, and North Korea were coming off the back of a famous win over Italy. Oh, and North Korea were actually three goals to the good before Eusebio decided to beat them single handedly. 


    19. Marco van Basten 

    UEFA European Championship 1988 - VI Archive

    Peak: 1988-92

    Major Achievements: 1988, 1989 & 1992 Ballon d’Or, 1992 FIFA World Player of the Year, 1989, 1990 & 1992 UEFA Best Player of the Year, 1984/85 Dutch Footballer of the Year, two Capocannoniere, 1988 UEFA European Championship, two European Cups, three Scudetti, three Eredivisie, three KNVB Cups. 

    It’s a testament to Marco van Basten that he won three Ballons d’Or, and is (due to injuries) still considered to be a ‘what could’ve been’ story. That’s how good Marco van Basten was.

    Both technically sublime and extremely powerful in equal measure, Van Basten was the perfect number nine.

    He could, and did, score every sort of goal you can imagine.

    ‘Headers?’

    Yes.

    ‘Right foot?’

    Yes.

    ‘Left foot?’

    Yes.

    ‘Overhead kicks?’

    Yes.

    ‘Volleys?’

    Oh. My. God. YES.


    18. George Best

    George Best

    Peak: 1966-71

    Major Achievements: 1968 Ballon d’Or, 1967/68 FWA Footballer of the Year, 1967/68 Football League First Division top scorer, 1968 European Cup, two Football League First Division titles.

    Without doubt, the coolest footballer on this list. Hands down. It’s a non-contest.

    Affectionately known as the ‘fifth Beatle’, George Best is perhaps remembered more for his off-the-field antics as opposed to his on-the-pitch achievements. However, that’s not to say he wasn’t an extraordinary talent.

    Because he 100% was. In fact, he’s the most naturally gifted footballer the British and Irish Isles have ever produced. EVER.

    A Ballon d’Or and European Cup winner, Best peaked early in his career, but what a peak it was.

    “Pelé called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life.”


    17. Zico 

    Peak: 1979-82

    Major Achievements: Five-time Bola de Prata winner, three-time South American Footballer of the Year, top scorer in Flamengo’s history, 1981 Copa Libertadores Best Player, 1981 Copa Libertadores, 1981 Intercontinental Cup, three Campeonato Brasilerio Serie A titles. 

    Zico latches on the ball near the halfway line, and loops a seemingly aimless pass into the left hand side of the penalty area. To normal humans, such a pass looked aimless, but Zico saw an opportunity. Moments later Flamengo were 1-0 up against the greatest Liverpool team of all time.

    30 minutes later, Flamengo were three goals to the good courtesy of another two Zico assists.

    An hour later, they were world champions.

    That’s who Zico was. A genius who saw the game in a different way. A genius who could conjure something from absolutely nothing. A genius that made everyone around him better.

    Flamengo’s greatest ever goalscorer.

    Flamengo’s greatest ever playmaker.

    Flamengo’s greatest ever player. 


    16. Franco Baresi 

    Roberto Baggio of Juventus and Franco Baresi of AC Milan

    Peak: 1987-94

    Major Achievements: AC Milan Player of the Century, Serie A Player of the Century, 1982 FIFA World Cup, six Scudetti, three European Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, 1989 Ballon d’Or runner-up.

    Unlike a lot of the players on this list, the ‘peak’ criteria means that we’ve had to drop Baresi down a few places. After all, what stands out about the Italian is his incredible consistency throughout his 20 year career.

    Nevertheless, Baresi still makes it into 90min’s top 20 footballers of all time, because if you look at the years in which the defender was at the ‘peak’ of his powers he was impossible to get past.

    Literally impossible.

    It couldn’t be done.

    And what such defensive dominance led to, was a metric f**kton of trophies. 


    15. Cristiano Ronaldo 

    Cristiano Ronaldo

    Peak: 2012-16

    Major Achievements: 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 & 2017 Ballon d’Or, 2008, 2016 & 2017 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2014, 2016 & 2017 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, four-time European Golden Shoe winner, two-time PFA Players’ Player of the Year, UEFA Champions League all time top goalscorer, Real Madrid’s all time top goalscorer, five UEFA Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles, three Premier League titles, one Scudetto, two Copa del Rey, one FA Cup, one UEFA European Championship. 

    Ok, ok, ok, I get it. You’re upset.

    But there’s no need to be upset.

    Really, it’s all going to be ok. You’re going to be annoyed at the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is only 15th in 90min’s Greatest Footballers of All Time list for three or four hours tops, and then go back to your day. You might go back to work. You might do the ironing. You might even bake a cake.

    It will ALL BE OK.

    Ronaldo is simply another player who – like Franco Baresi – is hurt by the criteria of this list. That by no means means we don’t think he is a fantastic footballer. He is. The stats prove it. The goals prove it. The five Ballons d’Or prove it. CR7 is one of the best players of his generation. A player who has found the net with such consistency that a 40 goal season is actually somewhat disappointing.

    It will ALL BE OK. 


    14. Ferenc Puskas

    Peak: 1950-54

    Major Achievements: European Player of the 20th Century, Olympic gold medal, 1954 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1960 Ballon d’Or runner-up, 1954 FIFA World Cup runner-up, four-time Pichichi winner, four-time Hungarian league top scorer, two-time European Cup top scorer, three European Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, five La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, five Hungarian League titles. 

    If you’ve seen any footage of Ferenc Puskas, you probably seen a few blurry clips of a rather fat fella scoring an obscene amount of goals for Real Madrid and thought:

    “Jeez, is that how long ago did Gonzalo Higuain play for Real Madrid?”

    I can assure that, despite Puskas finding the net scarily frequently at Los Blancos, his peak came much before that. He wasn’t always that stocky.

    In the early 1950s, he was at the peak of his physical powers, and leading the one of the most exceptional football teams of all time.

    The Magical Magyars’ star man was, in many ways, the perfect footballer. Strong, skilful, a goalscorer and, maybe most importantly a leader.

    Want to actually see how good Puskas was?

    Check out his goal against England in the ‘Match of the Century’. After latching onto the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, the forward dragged the ball back, leaving Billy Wright for dead, before firing into the roof of the net. That goal is how good Puskas was: absolutely exceptional. 


    13. Paolo Maldini 

    Italian football club AC Milan defender

    Peak: 1994-2003

    Major Achievements: Most Serie A appearances of all time, most AC Milan appearances of all time, five European Cups, seven Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, two Intercontinental Cup, 1994 FIFA World Cup runner-up, 2000 UEFA European Football Championship runner-up. 

    If you were to make the perfect footballer in some sort of lab (like Manchester City seemingly do) – go full Gene Wilder in ‘Young Frankenstein’ and scream “IT’S ALIIIVEEEE” when the footballer showed signs of life – you’d probably create Paolo Maldini.

    And, let’s be honest, you’d probably call him Paolo Maldini too, because, well, WHAT A NAME.

    Maldini is most complete footballer of the past 30 years. At the very least, a 9/10 in every single position he could be played in, and a 10/10 week in, week out as a defender.

    When Nike ran the ad campaign:

    “Italy’s Goalkeeper: Easiest Job in the World.”

    They were right. Maldini made it the easiest job in the world. He made every single one of his teammates’ jobs the easiest in the world. 


    12. Gerd Muller

    Peak: 1970-74

    Major Achievements: 1970 Ballon d’Or, 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1972 UEFA European Championship, 1970 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, two-time German Footballer of the Year, two-time European Golden Shoe winner, seven-time Torjägerkanone, thee European Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, four Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals. 

    Der Bomber.

    Gerd Muller = the best goalscorer of all time.

    He is.

    Don’t @ me with any alternatives.

    The sky is blue. Grass is green. And Gerd Muller is the best goalscorer of all time.

    These are all facts of life.

    68 goals in 62 international appearances for West Germany.

    The man once scored 67 goals in a single season, in just 49 appearances.

    He also scored a goal that won West Germany the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

    A goalscorer for the big moments, the small moments, and every moment in between. 


    11. Mane Garrincha 

    Peak: 1958-62

    Major Achievements: 1958 & 1962 FIFA World Cup, 1962 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1962 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot, three State Championships. 

    “Garrincha is the most amateur footballer professional football ever produced. He never trained. He had no agent, didn’t bother reading his contracts, and usually signed them before the figures had been filled in.”

    And yet, despite being an ‘amateur’, despite never training (preferring to go to the beach and play football with his mates instead), and despite having ‘bent legs’, Mane Garrincha is one of the greatest players of all time.

    Garrincha is the original Samba soccer star; someone who brought the game played in the streets of Brasilia, Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo to the international stage, and utilised it to win two FIFA World Cups. 


    10. Alfredo di Stefano 

    Peak: 1956-62

    Major Achievements: 1957 & 1959 Ballon d’Or, five European Cups, one Intercontinental Cup, eight La Liga titles, five-time Pichichi winner, World Team of the 20th Century, one Copa del Rey.

    “People argue between Pele or Maradona. Di Stéfano is the best, much more complete.” (Pele)

    “Di Stéfano was one of the greatest footballers ever. He had such great balance.” (Alex Ferguson)

    “The most complete footballer in the history of the game.” (Eusebio)

    “He was simply the most intelligent football player I ever saw. If I had one player to choose, out of all of them, to save my life, he’d be the one.” (Bobby Charlton)

    After reading the aforementioned praise of Alfredo di Stefano, do you really need me to say anything about him? So, moving on…


    9. Roberto Baggio 

    Peak: 1990-94

    Major Achievements: 1993 Ballon d’Or, 1993 FIFA World Player of the Year, Italy’s Player of the Century, 1994 FIFA World Cup Silver Ball, 1994 FIFA World Cup runner-up, two Scudetti, one UEFA Cup, one Coppa Italia. 

    Football’s most consistent vessel for the elusive daemon of genius.

    Wait, you don’t know what that means…? So you haven’t read the article I wrote about Roberto Baggio…? Go read my article ​about Roberto Baggio!

    Spoke of almost exclusively using biblical allusions, the Divine Ponytail who had the angels singing in his legs (according to Aldo Agroppi), for calcio fans, Roberto Baggio was a glimpse of God.

    A player divinely inspired to conjure the impossible on a football pitch, and change Italian football fans’ perception of the beautiful game forever. 


    8. Michel Platini

    WORLD CUP-1986-FRA-GERMANY

    Peak: 1982-85

    Major Achievements: 1983, 1984, 1985 Ballon d’Or, French Player of the Century, two-time French Player of the Year, three-time Capocannoniere, 1984 UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament, 1984 UEFA European Championship, one European Cup, two Scudetti, one Ligue 1 title, one Coppa Italia, one Intercontinental Cup.

    Michel Platini is now better known by the footballing world as a disgraced former UEFA president, but, for the purpose of this list, we’re going to pretend that never happened.

    So take a minute to put thoughts of “Platini is a disgrace!” and “Platini is a criminal!” to one side.

    Done?

    Good.

    Remember when I said earlier that Bobby Charlton was like Frank Lampard, only 100x better? Well, Platini was like Frank Lampard, only 200x better.

    Michel Platini is undoubtedly the greatest goalscoring midfielder of all time.

    In three consecutive seasons in his prime, Platini won the Golden Boot award in a league which boasted the best defenders of all time; scratch that, the best footballers of all time.

    Platini was similarly potent for France, guiding the nation to their first ever major football success by scoring nine (yes, NINE) goals in five games at the 1984 UEFA European Championships. Decent.


    7. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Nazario - Soccer Player

    Peak: 1995-98

    Major Achievements: 1997 & 2002 Ballon d’Or, 1996, 1997 & 2002 FIFA World Player of the Year, 1998 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 2002 FIFA World Cup Golden Shoe, 1996/97 European Golden Shoe, 1994 & 2002 FIFA World Cup, 1997 & 1999 Copa America, two-time Pichichi winner, 1998 Serie A Footballer of the Year, two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey, one KNVB Cup, one UEFA Cup, one Intercontinental Cup.

    Are Ronaldo’s knee injuries the only things that stopped the Brazilian from being the number one, undisputed, greatest footballer of all time? Quite possibly.

    Pre-knee injury – the first one, 23rd November 1999 – R9 was well on his way to becoming the best to ever lace up a pair of boots.

    In short, he was the perfect forward.

    As quick as peak PED Justin Gatlin, as powerful as peak PED Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson and as skilful as Garrincha, Pele, Zico etc.

    Ronaldo was perfect.

    The perfect exemplification of R9’s mastery is his goal against Compostela. Sir Bobby Robson’s reaction says it all. Mind blowing. 


    6. Zinedine Zidane

    French player Zinedine Zidane (C), holdi

    Peak: 1997-2002

    Major Achievements: 1998 Ballon d’Or, 1998, 2000 & 2003 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2002 UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, 2000/01 Serie A Footballer of the Year, UEFA Champions League Best Player of the Past 20 Years, L’Equipe Best French Player of All Time, 2006 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, only player to be named Player of the Year in three of the top five leagues, most goals in FIFA World Cup finals, 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2000 UEFA European Championships, one Champions League, two Scudetti, one La Liga title, one Intercontinental Cup.

    Zinedine Zidane was one beautiful b**tard with a ball at his feet.

    Headbutts aside (and even then, the headbutt was technically superb), Zizou was the most elegant football of all time, pirouetting his way around Europe; usually winning while doing so.

    Zidane won A LOT.

    Everything actually.

    When he won, it was usually after he’d scored one of the most memorable goals of all time. 

    Three World Cup final goals and the best goal in UEFA Champions League history in the 2002 final, it’s fair to say that Zidane wasn’t just one of the most entertaining footballers of all time, but also one of the most ‘clutch’.

    Plus the headbutt was amazing. Super Saiyan level power from the France legend. 


    5. Johan Cruyff

    Johan Cruyff

    Peak: 1971-75

    Major Achievements: 1971, 1973 & 1975 Ballon d’Or, 1974 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, three-time Dutch Footballer of the Year, two-time Dutch Sportsman of the Year, three European Cups, one La Liga title, nine Eredivisie titles, one Copa del Rey, six KNVB Cup, one Intercontinental Cup.  

    It takes a special type of footballer to invent his own skill move – Aiden McGeady aside, obviously.

    It takes an even more special type of footballer to basically invent modern football.

    Johan Cruyff did both.

    A now mythical figure, Cruyff is arguably the most influential footballer of all time; and one of the most talented too.

    The centrepiece of the ‘Total Football’ era (shoutout to Parquet Courts), Cruyff made beautiful teams successful; a feat so incredible that we still see its effects to this day.


    4. Franz Beckenbauer

    Peak: 1966-76

    Major Achievements: 1972 & 1976 Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, 1966 FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award, four-time German Footballer of the Year, 1974 FIFA World Cup, 1972 UEFA European Championships, three European Cups, five Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokals, one Intercontinental Cup. 

    While Paolo Maldini was the most complete footballer of the past 30 years, Franz Beckenbauer was the most complete footballer EVER.

    Put simply, anything you could possibly want a footballer to be able to do, Beckenbauer could – and did – do it.

    A goalscorer: yes.

    An incredible defender: yes.

    A great athlete: yes.

    A consummate professional: yes.

    A leader: yes. In a big, big, way.

    A winner: yes.

    Known as Der Kaiser, Franz Beckenbauer was the man behind the majority of Germany’s footballing triumphs over the years…which you probably already know, was a lot of triumphs.

    Oh, he’s also one of two defenders to EVER win the Ballon d’Or. Oh and yes, of course he won it TWICE. 


    3. Lionel Messi

    Lionel Messi

    Peak: 2009-12

    Major Achievements: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2015 Ballon d’Or, 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year, Barcelona all time top goalscorer, La Liga all time top goalscorer, six-time Pichichi winner, Argentina’s all time top goalscorer, most goals scored in a calendar year, 2011 & 2015 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year, seven-time La Liga Player of the Year, 2014 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 2005 Young European Footballer of the Year, five-time European Golden Shoe winner, four Champions Leagues, nine La Liga titles, six Copa del Rey. 

    You’ve read it a million times on Twitter.

    Someone is probably tweeting it this very second:

    “Lionel Messi is the GOAT!!! THE GOAT!!! If you disagree you know nothing about football!!! Nothing!!!”

    While these Tweets are incredibly grating, the do kind of have a point. Because let’s face it, Messi is one of the greatest footballers of all time.

    He’s extraordinary. Truly extraordinary.

    At his peak he scored 91 goals in a calendar year, won five Ballons d’Or, and a boatload of club honours; in his relative (relative) decline, he’s still the best footballer in the world.

    The reason why he’s only third on this list of the Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time, is because of the FIFA World Cup. It’s a competition he’s never won, and it’s a competition in which he’s never scored a goal in any knockout round games. 


    2. Pele

    FRANCE-PELE

    Peak: 1958-64

    Major Achievements: Most career goals (of any footballer ever, like ever), FIFA Player of the Century, France Football’s greatest FIFA World Cup player, TIME 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century list, Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer, Santos’ all-time leading goalscorer, youngest FIFA World Cup winner, most assists in FIFA World Cup history, 1958, 1962 & 1970 FIFA World Cup, top goalscorer in FIFA World Cup finals, two Copa Libertadores titles, six Campeonato Brasilerio Serie A titles, two Intercontinental Cups, 1970 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1958 FIFA World Cup Best Young Player, 1970 Bola de Prata. 

    Important.

    It’s the one word that encapsulates Pele.

    Pele is important.

    One of the 100 most important people of the 20th century according to TIME.

    The most important footballer of all time.

    Bursting onto the scene as a 17-year-old looking to avenge the tears of his father when Brazil lost the 1950 World Cup final, Pele would go on to win the World Cup on three separate occasions and make Brazil the football nation.

    The Brazilian’s peak is fable at this point, possibly because the world didn’t really get to see it due to his injury at the 1962 World Cup, but more aptly because between 1958 and 1962, no one has ever scored more goals than him.

    In fact, no footballer has ever scored more goals than Pele ever.

    His great achievement was leading the most incredible football team of all time to 1970 FIFA World Cup glory, but it’s his peak years of the early 1960s which make Pele one of the very best.


    1. Diego Maradona 

    Diego Maradona

    Peak: 1985-90

    Major Achievements: 90min’s Greatest Footballer of All Time, Corriere dello Sport’s Best Athlete in History, 1986 FIFA World Cup, 1986 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, 1985 Serie A Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Cup All-Time Team, FIFA Goal of the Century, Argentine Sports Writers’ Sportsman of the Century, two-time South American Footballer of the Year, four-time Argentine Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year, two Scudetti, one Coppa Italia, one Copa del Rey, one UEFA Cup. 

    So what makes Diego Armando Maradona 90min’s greatest footballer of all time? 

    Is it the fact that he won the FIFA World Cup in a way that no one else has ever been capable of doing – single handedly?

    Is it the fact that he scored the two most significant goals in footballing history?

    Is it the fact that one of these goals was the greatest goal of all time? The impossible made possible by a true genius?

    Is it the fact that he joined SSC Napoli – a downtrodden, unwanted, unfancied team – and made them the best team in the strongest league Europe has ever seen?

    Is it the fact that in his native land he is considered to be a God? A working class hero that empowered a nation through his messianic talent?

    It’s all of the above.

    Diego Maradona, at his very best, is the greatest footballer we have, and will ever see. Effective and exceptional in equal measure. 

    The best of the best. 


    Let’

    Antonio Conte ‘Agrees Terms’ With Inter as Luciano Spalletti Exit Rumours Mount

    ​Inter are reportedly close to appointing Antonio Conte as their new manager, with the Italian club ‘agreeing terms’ to bring the former Chelsea boss to the club this summer.

    Luciano Spalletti is currently in charge of the Nerrazzuri, but despite being on course for Champions League qualification, he is widely expected to leave the club in the coming weeks – with frequent reports over his exit arising throughout the season.

    Though the Serie A season has one round of fixtures yet to play, ​The Guardian report that ​Inter are wasting no time in lining up Spalletti’s replacement, and have already agreed terms over a ‘three or four’ year deal to Conte back to Serie A for the first time since 2014. 

    Though there is minimal detail given over when the announcement will take place, he is expected to sign the deal soon, so it stands to reason that it could be made official shortly after Inter’s final match of the season, at home to SPAL on Sunday. 

    Conte hasn’t managed since leaving Chelsea last year, but with Inter keen to return to the height of Italian football after a prolonged spell of ​Juventus dominance, it seems they will look to the manager who guided the Turin club to three successive titles between 2011-14, alongside current Inter CEO Beppe Marotta. 

    Antonio Conte,Giuseppe Marotta

    He had been linked with a host of top European clubs, including ​Bayern, PSG, and indeed a return to Juve after they ​announced the departure of Ma​ssimiliano Allegri, but it seems for now as if the Nerazzurri have won the battle for his signature.

    Let’

    Luciano Spalletti Challenges Inter to Prove Their ‘Strength’ Ahead of Final Day Showdown in Serie A

    Luciano Spalletti has insisted that his Inter players must prove they are worthy of representing the Nerazzurri after they slipped to a disappointing 4-1 defeat against Napoli on Sunday evening.

    Inter had the opportunity to secure Champions League qualification with a win, but they put in a poor performance and were comprehensively beaten – leaving them needing a win against relegation-threatened Empoli on the final day of the season.

    Mauro Icardi,Milan Skriniar

    Speaking about the crunch match against Empoli, Spalletti called on his players to show prove they have the gumption to wear the ​Inter shirt. 

    “It’s a final for us, we need to be ready to play it,” he told reporters (via Inter’s ​website).

    “We need to maintain the composure of those who know how to assess things. The team played poorly tonight but our destiny is in our own hands. We need to take to the pitch to win because it’s a crucial match for us, we’ll either be in or out. 

    “We need to have the substance, composure and strength that an Inter side should have. You have to know how to withstand this kind of pressure if you wear this shirt.”

    Speaking about the game itself, Spalletti argued that his side made far too many tactical mistakes, particularly when in possession of the ball in their own third.

    “We didn’t start the game badly but then we made technical mistakes when building from deep. When you have a performance like that, mistakes are made all over the pitch and the problem isn’t just in one part of the team. 

    “We made a mistake which cost us a goal. We then misplaced a few too many passes and we weren’t fortunate when taking our chances. When it became stretched, they showed that they were stronger than us.”

    Let’

    Napoli 4-1 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Gli Azzurri Secure Comfortable Win

    ​Napoli were in fine form as they romped to a 4-1 win over Champions League-chasing Inter on Sunday evening.

    It was a rather inauspicious start for both sides, but the game exploded into life on the 15 minute mark as Napoli opened the scoring through Piotr Zielinski. The Polish midfielder took up a decent position outside the box and unleashed a venomous strike into the top corner, leaving Samir Handanovic with no chance in the Inter goal. 

    Roberto Gagliardini,Fabian Ruiz

    Napoli dominated the game thereafter, but it took until the 60th minute for them to double their lead. Jose Callejon whipped in an excellent ball from the right flank and Dries Mertens rose highest to power a header home.

    The three points were secured ten minutes later as Fabian Ruiz scored a quick-fire double to extend Napoli’s lead to four – a lead that was fairly reflective of the pattern of the game. Mauro Icardi pulled a goal back for Inter from the penalty spot, but the goal merely acted as a consolation for the Nerazzurri.


    NAPOLI 

    Key Talking Point

    Despite having already secured second place, ​Napoli will still be looking to finish the season strongly in order to carry through some momentum into the summer.

    FBL-ITA-SERIEA-NAPOLI-INTER MILAN

    They’ve been a little off the pace in recent weeks, but they were at their very best in this one. Right from the off, they were aggressive and clinical, barely giving Inter a chance to breathe. The likes of Zielinski, Fabian and Mertens were untouchable at times, combining effectively to cause Inter all sorts of problems in the final third.

    It was a performance to be proud of, but it also comes as a reminder of what may have been had Carlo Ancelotti’s side been able to perform to the same level all season.


    Player Ratings

    Starting XI: Karnezis (6); Malcuit (8), Albiol (6), Koulibaly (6), Ghoulam (6); Callejon (7), Allan (7), Zielinski (8), Fabian (9*); Mertens (7), Milk (6).

    Substitutes: Insigne (6), Younes (6), Luperto (N/A).


    Star Man  – Fabian Ruiz

    A truly excellent performance from Fabian, who ran the show from start to finish for Napoli out on the left flank.

    The Spaniard was at the heart of everything for Gli Azzurri and his late brace was the least he deserved. Special mentions must also go out to the likes of Zielinski and Kevin Malcuit, who also out in impressive performances on the night.


    ​​


    INTER

    Key Talking Point

    ​Inter came into this one with plenty to play for as Champions League qualification was still in the balance prior to kick off.

    Radja Nainggolan

    Unfortunately, the fight for a top four finish is now going to go down to the final day of the season as Inter were incredibly disappointing in this one. Napoli had the beating of them all over the park and, once the first goal went in, there was a sense that the Nerazzurri were never going to be able to drag themselves back into the contest.

    Atalanta’s draw against Juventus means that Luciano Spalletti’s side drop down to fourth heading into the final game of the season against Empoli – who are fighting to remain in Serie A themselves.


    Player Ratings

    Starting XI: Handanovic (5); D’Ambrosio (4), Skriniar (5), Miranda (4), Asamoah (4); Gagliardini (3), Brozovic (4), Politano (5), Nainggolan (5), Perisic (4); Lautaro (4).

    Substitutes: Icardi (6), Vecino (5), Candreva (4).


    Star Man – Milan Skriniar

    It wasn’t a great performance – it may even be a stretch to say it was an average performance – but Skriniar deserves some credit for at least showing a bit of fight.

    He has been Inter’s most consistent performer this season and his recent contract extension will come as a relief for any Inter supporters who were concerned that he could have been on his way out this summer.




    ​​Looking Ahead

    Napoli round off their season with a trip to face Bologna next Sunday, while Inter face off against relegation-threatened Empoli.

    Let’

    Inter Kit Leak: Images of I Nerazzurri Away Shirt for 2019/20 Season Emerges Online

    ​Pictures of Inter’s new away kit for the 2019/20 season have been leaked, revealing a break from tradition with a bold and distinctive new colour that’s sure to divide opinion. 

    Many fans may have predicted a fresh new look, after images of the new home kit surfaced earlier in the week. Whilst the change here was nowhere near as drastic as the away strip, the inclusion of a section of diagonal stripes to break up the traditional vertical black and blue was clearly a sign of change. 


    The new Nike kit is a basic design, with the stripes of the home jersey replaced with a one-toned strip of teal. The striking colour combines with the classic Pirelli logo emblazoned across the front, as well as the Nike swoosh and Inter badge finished in an understated black and gold design.

    The same colour scheme is used for the v-neck collar, the sleeves, and the back neck taping – all of which feature a black base with a thin gold line running through the middle.

    Whilst the kit is yet to be confirmed by Inter themselvesFooty Headlines boast an impressive record of accurately leaking new strips ahead of schedule.

    The I Nerazurri faithful will be hoping that a new look might help them to freshen things up in Serie A next season, and break the eight-year vice grip that Juventus have held on the league. 

    FBL-ITALY-SERIEA-INTER-CHIEVO

    However, there is still business to be attended to this season, with Inter needing to navigate their way through a difficult fixture away to Napoli followed by a showdown against Empoli at the San Siro, in order to ensure qualification for next season’s Champions League.  

    Let’

    Transfer Rumours: Tottenham Ready to Spend Big, Twists in Ndombele & Dani Alves Futures & More

    ​As the domestic European season draws to a close and a long summer looms large, what better way to occupy the downtime than with an action-packed period of transfer drama?

    From the far and wide to the downright unlikely, the rumour mill is already kicking into overdrive with gossip which is sure to capture our imaginations and raise more than a few eyebrows with scepticism.

    However realistic, there is nothing better to whet the summer appetite than a juicy roundup of the latest transfer talk. So, here is the latest set of rumours to feast upon.


    Tottenham (Finally) Ready to Spend Big on £40m Midfield Target

    Nicolo' Zaniolo

    It seems almost an age since Mauricio Pochettino managed to twist Daniel Levy’s arm into splashing the cash to land Lucas Moura from PSG for £25m in January 2017.

    Without a notable senior singing for Spurs since then, the Brazilian proved his worth with an incredible hat-trick against Ajax to seal ​​Tottenham’s passage into this season’s Champions League final, and suggested what the club might be capable of with further investment.

    Having suffered a succession of injury problems in midfield this season, the middle of the park seems to be a priority area for Pochettino to strengthen. According to the ​Mirror, Roma starlet Nicolo Zaniolo is a potential solution, and Tottenham are hoping a £40m raid can beat ​Real Madrid, ​Bayern Munich and ​Juventus to his signature.

    Judging by the pedigree of their competition, Spurs shouldn’t hold their breath on this one yet.


    PSG Threaten to Blow European Rivals Away in Race to Sign Highly-Rated Lyon Star

    Tanguy Ndombele,Memphis Depay

    Zaniolo is not the only hot young midfielder attracting widespread attention from Europe’s elite sides.

    According to ​L’Equipe, PSG have emerged as serious contenders in the race to sign Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, and could use their financial might to steal a march on the likes of ​Manchester United, ​Manchester City and ​Juventus who are also interested.

    The race to sign the highly-rated Frenchman​ has heated up in recent times amid a string of impressive performances in Ligue 1, but Ndombele could yet be set to remain in the French top flight, despite intense interest from abroad. Ole is certainly not at the wheel of this one.


    Real Madrid Name Their Price for Midfield Outcast to Seal Cross-City Move to Atletico

    FBL-ESP-LIGA-REAL MADRID-HUESCA

    The remarkable success of English clubs in European competition this season has come at the expense of the previously all-conquering giants of Spain.

    ​Real Madrid and ​Atletico Madrid won the Champions League and the Europa League respectively last term but, less than 12 months on, the Spanish capital duo are locked in a tug-of-war over Los Blancos’ forgotten man, Marcos Llorente.

    According to ​AS, Atletico have already held talks with the player’s representatives, though Real do not want their man to make the move across town. Diego Simeone’s side want Llorente as a potential replacement for Manchester City target Rodri Hernandez, though, and have quoted a fee of €50m to sign the 24-year-old. This one could be a goer.


    Inter Offer Former West Ham Loanee to Everton as Part of Ambitious Attacker Swoop

    Richarlison

    What better bargaining chip for ​Inter to use in their efforts to sign ​Everton’s prized asset than a player in limbo between making his mark in the Premier League and settling into an under-performing Ne​razzurri side, right?

    Well, according to Tuttosport via ​Football-Italia, that is exactly the plan that Inter have up their sleeve, as they are preparing to offer former ​West Ham loanee Joao Mario as part of a bid to prise Brazilian star Richarlison from Goodison Park this summer.

    Joao Mario showed glimpses of his considerable abilities during a short spell in east London last season, but failed to convince any Premier League side that he was worth a real shot. Still with unfulfilled potential in his locker, compatriot Marco Silva could squeeze the best out of him on Merseyside, though he his unlikely to part with his main man as part of any deal.


    Dani Alves in the Spotlight (Again) as Delay Over PSG Contract Renewal Opens Door to Premier League Move

    FBL-FRA-CUP-RENNES-PSG

    Speaking of Brazilian talent and seasoned stars who could yet thrive in the Premier League, Dani Alves could be set to finally arrive in English football at the age of 36. After all, full backs don’t need to defend anymore, right?

    According to ​UOL Esporte, former ​Barcelona hero Dani Alves has ‘irritated’ current employers PSG by delaying his decision over committing to fresh terms in the French capital, with an offer of a year’s extension, and the right back is apparently weighing up a potential switch to England. 

    Manchester City have been linked with Alves in previous summers, but the Brazilian opted to move to the Parc des Princes in 2017 and has gone on to further his formidable reputation for performing at the highest level across the continent. With Alves apparently seeking at least a two-year deal, the Premier League could yet be his final (and most lucrative) destination.


    Wolves Look to Beat Newcastle in £16m Race to Sign West Brom Star

    Salomon Rondon

    From those still looking to make their mark in the Premier League, to a player who has more than made his mark already in the English top flight.

    Salomon Rondon has been a shining light in Rafa Benitez’s mission to steer ​Newcastle to safety and on course for bigger things next term, but a great deal of uncertainty still lingers as Benitez’s unresolved future looms as a potentially dark cloud over St. James’ Park.

    There are no such concerns at ​Wolves, where Nuno Espirito Santo has inspired an incredible season at Molineux, and the seventh-placed Premier League side could be set to take advantage of the situation on Tyneside.

    According to the ​Express & Star, Wolves are preparing to meet Rondon’s £16m release clause at parent club ​West Bromwich Albion to beat Newcastle to the signing of their own player of the season. The Magpies may be no match for the hungry Wolves in this one.​


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    Maurco Icardi Dismisses Talk of Inter Exit This Summer With Post on Instagram

    ​In what has been an eventful season for Mauro Icardi both on and off the pitch, the polarising striker has released a statement insisting he will remain at Inter this summer.

    The 26-year-old will see his contract at the San Siro expire in 2021, although his failure to sign an extension has saw him irk fans and the club in general, while talks of a move away to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have done little to help his cause. 

    Mauro Icardi

    Despite a turbulent season – which has seen him net 16 goals in 35 games – ​Icardi has issued a statement via ​Instagram confirming his intentions to remain at ​Inter for next season.

    He said: “Hopefully now there will be no more misunderstandings. I understand the interests of the press in selling fake news so I would rather clarify things personally.

    “I have already expressed the will to stay because Inter is my family. Time will reveal who is speaking the truth. Forza Inter, always.”


    The wife and agent of of Icardi, Wanda Nara, ​issued a similar statement earlier in the season

    that claimed he would be plying his trade for the Nerazzurri next season. 

    Of his 16 goals, ten have come in ​Serie A, although he’s only scored once in his last 14 league games in a season that has seen the captaincy taken off him by Luciano Spalletti. Inter have two remaining league games left, against Napoli and Empoli, with a win in either of those games seeing them guarantee themselves a place in next season’s Champions League. 

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    Paulo Dybala: The Contenders to Sign Him & Where He Might End Up

    ​Paulo Dybala’s days in black and white appear to be numbered, though where his future lies remains a grey area.

    The Juventus forward has been marginalised and demoralised following the groundbreaking £100m acquisition of Cristiano Ronaldo last year, with the Portuguese forcing Dybala from centre-stage to a supporting role.

    The Argentine has been left frustrated by Massimiliano Allegri’s lack of loyalty and faith and a summer exit looked inevitable – that was until the announcement came that ​Allegri will leave at the end of the season.

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    ​​That may still happen, though, and he won’t be short of suitors, with a collection of illustrious European clubs eager to bring in a player of his supreme talents. 

    Here are the key contenders looking to secure ​Dybala’s signature ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.


    Manchester United

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

    ​The Red Devils are in turmoil. Their coach has the worst win ratio of any United manager in history, they failed to mount a significant challenge in any competition this season and the club will not be playing in the​ Champions League next term. They really need a blockbuster new signing to lift the gloom.

    Dybala is precisely what chief executive Ed Woodward is looking for; marketable, charismatic and capable of reinvigorating the side. However, the 25-year-old demands the limelight and prestige, something the English outfit may struggle to offer with Europa League football and the likes of Paul Pogba in the squad.

    Likelihood Rating: 2/10


    Paris Saint-Germain

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    To be fair, PSG are linked to every top footballer. But, just like a broken clock is right twice a day, the rumour mill occasionally churns out true stories about the Parisians’ transfer targets.

    Dybala’s former teammate Dani Alves has allegedly been in his ear, urging him to up sticks and make a move to the French capital. However, the Ligue 1 side don’t exactly need him given the glut of options they have up front, meaning they would likely miss out if a bidding war broke out.

    Likelihood Rating: 3/10


    ​Liverpool

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    ​Reports suggest that ​Real Madrid have Liverpool attacker Mohamed Salah in their crosshairs in a move that could trigger a chain of extravagant transfers. One such resultant deal could see the ​Reds swoop for Dybala, with €100m believed to be enough to prise him away from the Allianz Stadium.

    That would almost definitely be less than the requisite figure for Salah, with his replacement possessing a similar skill-set. The pair are both left-footed, able to play across the frontline and adept as both a finisher or in a playmaking role. It seems like a no-brainer on Jurgen Klopp’s part if Salah is sold. But that’s a big and unlikely if.

    Likelihood Rating: 3/10


    Bayern Munich

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    James Rodriguez’s loan spell at ​Bayern is coming to an end and the Bavarians are thought to be uninterested in taking up their option to buy the Colombian. His South American counterpart Dybala would be a fine successor, the pair having been cast in the same mould.

    Of course, Rodriguez is not the only forward expected to depart Die Roten in the coming months, with veteran wing duo Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery set for their swansong in the DFB Pokal final next weekend. 

    The ​Bundesliga champions have the financial might to compete with any rivals in the race for Dybala and will be needing a player with his expertise; don’t be surprised if the former Palermo playmaker decides to settle in Germany.

    Likelihood Rating: 6/10


    Atletico Madrid

    Antoine Griezmann

    The saga of Antoine Griezmann has rumbled on for aeons, finally nearing its conclusion this week as the Frenchman confirmed he would be leaving ​Atletico following the end of the ​La Liga season. 

    It’s the same scenario for Los Rojiblancos as it is for most of the clubs mentioned above; they’re losing a superstar and want another similarly-skilled world-beater to lessen the blow. To put a positive spin on the sale of Griezmann, it will leave them with a sizeable war chest with which to add to their attacking armoury. 

    Fortunately for Atleti, coach Diego Simeone is known to have held talks with Dybala in the past, their shared nationality potentially handing the Spaniards the upper hand in the pursuit of the Bianconeri icon. In fact, they have reportedly made their move already, ​offering him a five-year deal at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

    Likelihood Rating: 7/10


    Inter

    Mauro Icardi

    Mauro Icardi has suffered a fall from grace this season, the striker having been stripped of the Inter captaincy in February before petulantly electing to rule himself out of future matches. He eventually reversed that decision after a near two-month playing hiatus, but the Nerazzurri faithful have already turned their back on their once-beloved talisman.

    He is likely to be ushered out the door in the summer, his current employers already preparing for life without the prolific forward. They are rumoured to be in for his compatriot Dybala, who would fill the goalscoring hole left by Icardi.

    Though the Juventus man has had an underwhelming campaign, he has more than proven his quality in Serie A in recent years. Dybala hit a combined 52 league goals in his first three seasons in Turin, showing his tally of five this term to be an anomaly.

    Likelihood Rating: 7/10


    So, where will Dybala end up? It’s difficult to see him deciding on a switch to Old Trafford with the catalogue of problems there and Liverpool will fight tooth and nail to hold onto Salah. If the latter remains on Merseyside, there will be no need for a lavish deal for the Argentina international.

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    As discussed, PSG would be the first to drop out of the race, making a transfer to France improbable. That leaves three strong contenders, though the player may favour Inter over Atletico and Bayern.

    He is familiar with Serie A and would, therefore, not need as much time to adjust. However, joining the men from Milan means he will have the chance to exact revenge upon Juve. His disillusionment with the Old Lady is well-documented and an individual with such unwavering self-belief would be desperate to prove the club that mistreated him very, very wrong.

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    Napoli vs Inter Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

    ​Second face third in Serie A this weekend as Inter travel to runners up Napoli knowing victory would secure them a place in the top four and Champions League qualification next season.

    Luciano Spalletti’s side are currently one point clear of Atalanta but, more importantly, four points ahead of Milan and Roma in fifth and sixth with just two games remaining.

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    It will not be an easy task, however, as Napoli will be keen to end their home campaign with a victory for their supporters, setting up a mouthwatering clash which both teams will be desperate to win.

    Check out 90min’s preview for the ​game below.


    Where to Watch

    ​When Is Kick Off? ​Sunday 19 May
    What Time Is Kick Off? ​19:30 (BST)
    ​Where Is it Played? ​Stadio San Paolo
    ​TV Channel/Live Stream? ​Premier Sports
    Referee? Daniele Doveri

    Team News

    Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti should be able to call upon forward duo Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne for Sunday’s clash after both missed the 2-1 victory over SPAL last time out.

    The Italian coach remains without long-term absentees Amadou Diawara, Vlad Chiriches and Nikola Maksimovic while Adam Ounas may also be absent again through injury after being unable to play at Stadio Paolo Mazza last weekend.

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    Inter have no new injury concerns and should keep the same team which comfortably beat Chievo 2-0 at San Siro on Monday night.

    Stefan de Vrij is a slight doubt and Matteo Politano may not travel with the squad, while Sime Vrsaljko remains sidelined. Marcelo Brozovic and Danilo D’Ambrosio are available again after serving their respective suspensions.


    Predicted Lineups

    ​Napoli Meret; Malcuit, Koulibaly, Luperto, Ghoulam; Callejon, Allan, Ruiz, Zielinski; Mertens, Milik.
    ​Inter ​Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Miranda, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Candreva, Nainggolan, Perisic; Icardi.

    Head to Head Record

    The two teams have faced each other 162 times in their history, with Inter coming out on top on 74 occasions. Napoli have won 48 matches while there have been 40 draws.

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    Inter were victorious in the reverse fixture this season, with a Lautaro Martinez goal in the first minute of stoppage time giving them a 1-0 Boxing Day victory at San Siro. Napoli ended the game with nine men, after both Kalidou Koulibaly and Insigne were sent off.


    Recent Form

    Napoli have been in excellent form of late, picking up four victories from their last five league games.

    Amin Younes

    Defeat to Atalanta aside, Gli Azzurri have looked strong in recent weeks although they have only kept one clean sheet in that time which will be a concern for Ancelotti.

    Inter are unbeaten in their last five league matches, although they have only picked up wins on two occasions during that run.

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    Draws at home to Juventus and Roma aren’t to be sniffed at, but they will be disappointed at their failure to beat 16th-placed Udinese the last time they were on the road.

    Here’s how each side has fared in their last five games.

    Napoli Inter
    ​SPAL 1-2 Napoli (12/5) Inter 2-0 Chievo (13/5)​
    ​Napoli 2-1 Cagliari (5/5) ​Udinese 0-0 Inter (4/5)
    ​Frosinone 0-2 Napoli (28/4) ​Inter 1-1 Juventus (27/4)
    ​Napoli 1-2 Atalanta (22/4) ​Inter 1-1 Roma (20/4)
    ​Chievo 1-3 Napoli (14/4) ​Frosinone 1-3 Inter (14/4)

    Prediction

    Inter know a win will get them the Champions League qualification they desire but it will be a surprise if they attack Napoli early on and leave themselves vulnerable at the back.

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    I Nerazzurri are more likely to allow their hosts more possession and hit them on the counter-attack, using the pace of Ivan Perisic and guile of Antonio Candreva out wide.

    Despite the ten point advantage Napoli have, there is not much to choose between the two sides and the visitors should return to San Siro with their unbeaten run intact, although without all three points.

    Prediction: Napoli 1-1 Inter

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    Thomas Partey to Decide Atletico Madrid Future at End of the Season Amid Inter Interest

    ​Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey will make a decision on his future with the Spanish club once the La Liga season comes to an end, says his agent Daniel Jimenez.

    The Ghanaian has been with Los Rojiblancos since he was a teenager, gradually developing into an important fixture in the side. 

    Despite putting in series of impressive performances in the engine room this season, the 25-year-old was unable to help Diego Simeone’s team dethrone Barcelona, as the Catalans secured a second successive league crown with three matches left to play.

    Thomas Teye Partey

    Reports have linked Partey with a summer move to Italian giants​ Inter, with his current employers thought to be keen on a swap deal involving rebellious Nerazzurri striker Mauro Icardi.

    Speaking to ​Passione Inter about his clients future, Jimenez revealed: “I can say that at the moment I didn’t talk to anyone, even though Inter is a top club.

    In his contract [with ​Atletico] there is a 50m termination clause, a figure that for a player like Thomas is very cheap. Let’s wait for the season to end and then we’ll see,” he finished.

    The ​Serie A outfit are not the only club monitoring the ​Atleti man’s situation, with ​Manchester United believed to be weighing up a move for Partey having been impressed by his rapid development in recent years.

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    The news that Partey is unsure where he will be lying his trade next season comes as something of a surprise after he ​​affirmed his desire to stay in Madrid little over a month ago.

    He may not have a say in the matter, though, with club officials identifying Inter’s Icardi as their preferred replacement for the outgoing Antoine Griezmann.

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