The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from Belgium

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This page contains a list of the greatest Belgian Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 218 of which were born in Belgium. This makes Belgium the birth place of the 13th most number of Soccer Players behind Uruguay, and Russia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Belgian Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Belgian Soccer Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Belgian Soccer Players.

Photo of Jean-Marie Pfaff

1. Jean-Marie Pfaff (b. 1953)

With an HPI of 64.13, Jean-Marie Pfaff is the most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages on wikipedia.

Jean-Marie Pfaff (born 4 December 1953) is a Belgian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper who spent most of his professional career with Beveren and Bayern Munich. Pfaff was capped 64 times playing for Belgium, and participated at the 1982 FIFA World Cup and 1986 FIFA World Cup tournaments. Pfaff was named goalkeeper of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, and he was the first player to receive the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper award in 1987.

Photo of Paul Van Himst

2. Paul Van Himst (b. 1943)

With an HPI of 60.87, Paul Van Himst is the 2nd most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Paul Guillaume van Himst (born 2 October 1943) is a Belgian former football player and a football manager who played as a forward, most notably for R.S.C. Anderlecht. Regarded as Anderlecht's ultimate club icon, Van Himst holds the record of four Belgian Golden Shoe awards and was named best "Belgian footballer of the twentieth century".

Photo of Michel Preud'homme

3. Michel Preud'homme (b. 1959)

With an HPI of 60.52, Michel Preud'homme is the 3rd most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Michel Georges Jean Ghislain Preud'homme (born 24 January 1959) is a Belgian retired footballer and manager who played as a goalkeeper. Currently, he is vice-president and sports director at Standard Liège. He was considered one of the world's best and most consistent goalkeepers during his professional career; he was the first winner of the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper at the 1994 FIFA World Cup. At club level, Preud'homme played for Standard Liège, Mechelen and Benfica. With Mechelen, he won the Belgian Cup in 1987, the Cup Winner's Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988 and the Belgian league title in 1989. He also won the Portuguese Cup with Benfica in 1996. He retired as a player in 1999, aged 40. For Belgium, Preud'homme was capped 58 times, from 1979 to 1994. Other than the 1994 World Cup, he also played in the 1990 tournament.

Photo of Eden Hazard

4. Eden Hazard (b. 1991)

With an HPI of 58.61, Eden Hazard is the 4th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.

Eden Michael Walter Hazard (born 7 January 1991) is a Belgian former professional footballer who played as a winger or attacking midfielder for Lille, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and the Belgium national team. Known for his dribbling and creativity, he is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Hazard began his senior career with Ligue 1 club Lille in 2007 at the age of 16 and soon became an integral part of the Lille team under manager Rudi Garcia. In his first full season, he became the first non-French player to win the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award, and the following season became the first player to win the award twice. In the 2010–11 season, he won the league and cup double and, as a result of his performances, was named the Ligue 1 Player of the Year, the youngest player to win the award. After making over 190 appearances and scoring 50 goals for Lille, Hazard signed for English club Chelsea in June 2012. He won the UEFA Europa League in his first season and the PFA Young Player of the Year in his second. In the 2014–15 season, Hazard helped Chelsea win the Football League Cup and Premier League, earning him the FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year awards. Two years later he won his second English league title as Chelsea won the 2016–17 Premier League. In 2018, he won the FA Cup, and was named in the FIFA FIFPRO Men's World 11. He won the Europa League again with Chelsea in 2019, scoring twice in the final. At Chelsea, Hazard established himself as one of the best players in the world. He joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2019 in a transfer worth up to €150 million, making it one of the highest transfer fees ever. However, injury woes, subpar performances, and a lack of fitness led to him only playing a limited number of games, departing the club in June 2023 and retiring from professional football four months later. Having represented his country at various youth levels, Hazard made his senior debut for the Belgium national team in November 2008, aged 17. He has since earned over 126 caps, and was a member of the Belgian squad which reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016, and Euro 2020. At the 2018 World Cup, he captained Belgium to third place which was their best finish in history, receiving the Silver Ball as the second-best player of the tournament. From 2015 to 2022, he served as the captain of the team, including the time Belgium topped the FIFA men's ranking for the first time, which became the longest continuous reign of any European team.

Photo of Herbert Wimmer

5. Herbert Wimmer (b. 1944)

With an HPI of 58.31, Herbert Wimmer is the 5th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Herbert "Hacki" Wimmer (born 9 November 1944) is a German former professional footballer who played as a midfielder. Besides winning five national championships and two UEFA Cups with his club side Borussia Mönchengladbach, he won the 1974 World Cup and the UEFA Euro 1972 with Germany.

Photo of Jan Ceulemans

6. Jan Ceulemans (b. 1957)

With an HPI of 58.21, Jan Ceulemans is the 6th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Jan Anna Gumaar Ceulemans (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɑn ˈkøːləˌmɑns]; born 28 February 1957) is a Belgian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. A prolific goalscorer, Ceulemans was known for his stamina, aerial ability, technique and was also recognized as one of the greatest Belgium footballers of all time. He was also known for his power, imposing frame and natural authority. Ceulemans was also a regular member of the Belgium national football team, with 96 international appearances, a record that stood for 26 years until it was surpassed by Jan Vertonghen's 97th appearance for Belgium on 10 October 2017; Ceulemans is now the ninth most-capped for Belgium. He still holds the record for most appearances in the Belgian Pro League with 517. Most of his time with Belgium took place under the guidance of Guy Thys. This period saw the Belgium squad record some of their finest results, which include reaching the final of Euro 80 and fourth place at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

Photo of Thibaut Courtois

7. Thibaut Courtois (b. 1992)

With an HPI of 58.14, Thibaut Courtois is the 7th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 80 different languages.

Thibaut Nicolas Marc Courtois (born 11 May 1992) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for La Liga club Real Madrid and the Belgium national team. Regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he is known for his reflexes, acrobatic saves, and command of the penalty area. Courtois began his career with Genk and made his senior debut in 2009, at age 16; he went on to establish himself as the club's starting goalkeeper and won the Belgian Pro League. In 2011, Courtois signed for Chelsea in a transfer worth a reported £8 million (€9 million), but then joined Atlético Madrid on loan. At Atlético, Courtois won a La Liga title, the Copa del Rey, the Europa League, and reached the UEFA Champions League final. He returned to Chelsea in 2014 and won two Premier League titles and the EFL Cup. In 2018, Courtois signed for Real Madrid in a deal worth a reported £35 million (€38.8 million), becoming La Liga's most expensive goalkeeper, and where he has gone on to win two La Liga titles and the Champions League. Courtois made his senior international debut for Belgium in 2011 at age 19, becoming their youngest senior international goalkeeper. He has since earned over 100 caps, ranking seventh-highest for appearances, while he has appeared in five major tournaments. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Courtois won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper as he helped Belgium finish third, their highest-ever finish at the competition. Courtois has won the Ricardo Zamora Trophy three times, the Premier League Golden Glove once, and was named the third-best goalkeeper of the decade (2011–2020) by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS).

Photo of Romelu Lukaku

8. Romelu Lukaku (b. 1993)

With an HPI of 56.88, Romelu Lukaku is the 8th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 79 different languages.

Romelu Menama Lukaku Bolingoli (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈroːmeːlu luˈkaːku]; born 13 May 1993) is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club Roma, on loan from Premier League club Chelsea, and the Belgium national team. Lukaku began his senior club career playing for Anderlecht, where he won a Belgian Pro League title and finished as the league's top goalscorer. In 2011, he joined Chelsea in a transfer worth £10 million (€12 million), but limited playing time resulted in loans to West Bromwich Albion and Everton; in 2014, Lukaku signed with Everton in a then club-record transfer worth £28 million (€32 million), going on to finish as the league's second-top goalscorer. He subsequently signed with Manchester United in a transfer worth £75 million (€88 million), but after a breakdown in relations with the club, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan in 2019, in a club-record deal worth €80 million (£68.1 million), where he won a Serie A title and the Serie A Most Valuable Player award. In 2021, Lukaku returned to Chelsea in a club-record transfer worth £97.5 million (€115 million), becoming the seventh-most expensive player, the most expensive Belgian player and, at the time, the most expensive player of all time in cumulative transfer fees. However, after one season, he was sent out on loan back to Italy to Inter Milan and Roma. Belgium's all-time top goalscorer, Lukaku made his senior international debut in 2010, and has represented his country at five major tournaments: the 2016 and 2020 UEFA European Championships and the 2014, 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups; he finished as joint second-highest goalscorer to win the Bronze Boot in 2018.

Photo of Enzo Scifo

9. Enzo Scifo (b. 1966)

With an HPI of 56.22, Enzo Scifo is the 9th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Vincenzo "Enzo" Daniele Scifo (Italian pronunciation: [ˈɛntso ʃˈʃiːfo]; born 19 February 1966) is a retired Belgian football midfielder. He has also managed the Belgium national under-21 football team and several Belgian club sides. He played for clubs in Belgium, France and Italy, where he won several domestic titles. At international level, he was a member of the Belgium national team, for which he appeared in four FIFA World Cups, being one of three Belgian players ever to do so.

Photo of Frans Janssens

10. Frans Janssens (1945 - 2024)

With an HPI of 55.55, Frans Janssens is the 10th most famous Belgian Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Frans Janssens (25 September 1945 – 8 January 2024) was a Belgian footballer who played as a forward, most notably for Lierse. He earned two caps for the Belgium national team, and participated in the 1970 FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro 1972. Janssens died on 8 January 2024, at the age of 78.

People

Pantheon has 276 people classified as Belgian soccer players born between 1886 and 2005. Of these 276, 220 (79.71%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Belgian soccer players include Jean-Marie Pfaff, Paul Van Himst, and Michel Preud'homme. The most famous deceased Belgian soccer players include Frans Janssens, Odilon Polleunis, and Bernard Voorhoof. As of April 2024, 56 new Belgian soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Frans Janssens, Odilon Polleunis, and Jacques Duquesne.

Living Belgian Soccer Players

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Deceased Belgian Soccer Players

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Newly Added Belgian Soccer Players (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.