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FIFA Player of the Century

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Title: FIFA Player of the Century  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: FIFA, Diego Maradona, Pelé, Eusébio, Cornelis August Wilhelm Hirschman
Collection: Association Football Trophies and Awards, Best of Century Awards, Fifa, Pelé
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

FIFA Player of the Century

Five years after the award; winners Maradona and Pelé exchange national team shirts.

FIFA Player of the Century was a one-off award created by FIFA to decide the greatest football player of the 20th century. Diego Maradona and Pelé were joint winners of the award.[1][2] Diego Maradona won the award based on the Internet poll, while Pelé won the award based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches.[3]


  • Background 1
    • Vote specialists (IFFHS) 1.1
    • FIFA internet vote 1.2
    • FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury vote 1.3
    • FIFA Centennial Award 1.4
  • References 2


Since 1991, FIFA have had awards for FIFA World Player of the Year and they decided to bring in the new millennium by conducting a public vote to decide the FIFA Player of the Century. This was to be decided by votes on their official website, their official magazine and a grand jury. Maradona won the Internet based poll by wide margins, garnering 53.6% of the votes against 18.53% for Pelé. Many observers complained that the Internet nature of the poll would have meant a skewed demographic of younger fans who would have seen Maradona play, but not Pelé. As a result, FIFA decided to add a second poll and appointed a "Football Family" committee composed of football journalists, officials and coaches, who voted Pelé the best player of the century with 72.75% of the vote, thus both were joint winners of the award.[3] Many suspected that Pelé was rewarded for his constant support of FIFA, in contrast to Maradona's frequent criticism.[3]

Vote specialists (IFFHS)

This award is decided by vote which was conducted with the participation of specialists from around the sports world.[4]

Player Nationality Votes
1 Pelé  Brazil 1705
2 Johan Cruyff  Netherlands 1303
3 Franz Beckenbauer  Germany 1228
4 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina 1215
5 Diego Maradona  Argentina 1214
6 Ferenc Puskás  Hungary


7 Michel Platini  France 722
8 Garrincha  Brazil 624
9 Eusébio  Portugal 544
10 Bobby Charlton  England 508
11 Stanley Matthews  England 368
12 Marco van Basten  Netherlands 315
13 Gerd Müller  Germany 310
14 Zico  Brazil 207
15 Lothar Matthäus  Germany 202
16 George Best  Northern Ireland 187
17 Juan Alberto Schiaffino  Uruguay


18 Ruud Gullit  Netherlands 119
19 Didí  Brazil 116
20 Gianni Rivera  Italy 116
21 Giuseppe Meazza  Italy 108
22 Matthias Sindelar  Austria 106
23 Fritz Walter  Germany 103
24 Bobby Moore  England 98
25 José Manuel Moreno  Argentina 96
26 Hugo Sánchez  Mexico 85
27 George Weah  Liberia 79
28 Roger Milla  Cameroon 78
29 José Leandro Andrade  Uruguay 74
30 Just Fontaine  France 73
Francisco Gento  Spain 73
32 Ladislao Kubala  Czechoslovakia



33 Franco Baresi  Italy 70
34 Josef Bican  Austria


35 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge  Germany 59
36 Omar Sívori  Argentina


37 Elías Figueroa  Chile 55
38 Kevin Keegan  England 53
39 Sándor Kocsis  Hungary 52
40 Héctor Scarone  Uruguay 51
41 Josef Masopust  Czechoslovakia 46
42 Giacinto Facchetti  Italy 44
43 Raymond Kopa  France 41
Sandro Mazzola  Italy 41
45 Uwe Seeler  Germany 40
46 Gunnar Nordahl  Sweden 36
47 Zizinho  Brazil 35
48 Teófilo Cubillas  Peru 34
49 Arsenio Erico  Paraguay 30
50 Denis Law  Scotland 29
51 Silvio Piola  Italy 28
52 Adolfo Pedernera  Argentina 27
53 Obdulio Varela  Uruguay 24
54 Arthur Friedenreich  Brazil 23
55 Michael Laudrup  Denmark 22
56 Alberto Spencer  Ecuador 21
József Bozsik  Hungary 21
58 Tostão  Brazil 19
59 Ernst Ocwirk  Austria 18
60 Cha Bum-Kun  South Korea 11
Paul van Himst  Belgium 11
62 Lakhdar Belloumi  Algeria 10
Rabah Madjer  Algeria 10
64 Majed Abdullah  Saudi Arabia 9
Luis Cubilla  Uruguay 9
Oleg Blokhin  Soviet Union 9

FIFA internet vote

The results of FIFA's internet Poll were as follows:

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Diego Maradona  Argentina 55.60%
2 Pelé  Brazil 18.53%
3 Eusébio  Portugal 6.21%
4 Roberto Baggio  Italy 5.42%
5 Romário  Brazil 1.69%
6 Marco van Basten  Netherlands 1.57%
7 Ronaldo  Brazil 1.55%
8 Franz Beckenbauer  Germany 1.50%
9 Zinedine Zidane  France 1.34%
10 Rivaldo  Brazil 1.19%
11 Zico  Brazil 1.15%
12 Garrincha  Brazil 1.08%
13 Johan Cruyff  Netherlands 0.87%
14 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina/ Colombia/ Spain 0.68%
15 Michel Platini  France 0.58%
16 Bobby Charlton  England 0.39%
17 Ferenc Puskás  Hungary 0.37%
18 Lothar Matthäus  Germany 0.37%
19 Lev Yashin  Soviet Union 0.36%
20 George Best  Northern Ireland 0.32%

FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury vote

This part of the award was decided by the FIFA Magazine readers vote and the FIFA Grand Jury.[5]

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Pelé  Brazil 72.9%
2 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina 9.8%
3 Diego Maradona  Argentina 6.0%
4 Franz Beckenbauer  Germany 2.5%
5 Johan Cruyff  Netherlands 2.0%
6 Michel Platini  France 1.0%
7 Garrincha  Brazil 0.95%
8 Zico  Brazil 0.9%
9 George Best  Northern Ireland 0.3%
10 Bobby Charlton  England 0.3%

FIFA Centennial Award

FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality.[6]

Winner Nationality
Franz Beckenbauer  Germany
Pelé  Brazil


  1. ^ "Maradona or Pele?". CNN Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 13 March 2013
  2. ^ FIFA Player of the Century.
  3. ^ a b c "Pele, Maradona each win FIFA century awards after feud". CNN. 
  4. ^ "World - Player of the Century". Retrieved 9 April 2013
  5. ^ "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Celebrations mark the opening of FIFA Centennial Congress in Paris, FIFA’s birthplace". Retrieved 9 April 2013
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