The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous 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 Soccer Players.
With an HPI of 57.50, Iván Zamorano is the most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 47 different languages on wikipedia.
Iván Luis Zamorano Zamora (American Spanish: [iˈβan samoˈɾano]; born 18 January 1967) is a Chilean former professional footballer who played as a striker. He is regarded as one of Chile's most recognized footballers, along with Marcelo Salas, Leonel Sánchez and Elias Figueroa. He was a member of the Chilean national team and played in the 1998 World Cup, four Copa América tournaments, and the Olympics in 2000 with the u-23 team, where he won a bronze medal and was the top scorer of the tournament. He played for several clubs, notably Spanish clubs Sevilla and Real Madrid C.F. as well as Italian club Inter Milan. He won the 1994–95 La Liga title and was the season's top scorer with Real Madrid. He also won the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan in 1998. A powerful and prolific goal-scorer, he was particularly renowned for his strength and ability in the air, with many of his goals coming from headers.In 2004, Zamorano was selected among the FIFA 100, a list of the best living football players in the world compiled by Pelé. Zamorano was nicknamed Bam Bam and Iván el Terrible.
With an HPI of 57.46, Elías Figueroa is the 2nd most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.
Elías Ricardo Figueroa Brander (born 25 October 1946) is a Chilean former football player. Figueroa played as a defender for several clubs during his long career, notably his hometown club Santiago Wanderers, Brazilian club Internacional and Uruguayan club Peñarol. He also represented Chile 47 times, appearing in three FIFA World Cups, in 1966, 1974, and 1982. Regarded by many as one of the greatest defenders in the history of the game, Figueroa was noted for his elegant style of play, his composure in the centre of defense and his ability to cut out opposition attacks and immediately launch counterattacks from the back with his passing. He was also praised throughout his career for being a gentleman on and off the pitch. He was twice awarded the Bola de Ouro, the Brazilian Player of the year award whilst playing for Internacional in 1972 and 1976. He was also awarded the South American Footballer of the Year three times in a row by Venezuelan newspaper El Mundo in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He was named Best Player in Uruguay in 1967 and 1968, and Best Player in Chile in 1977 and 1978. After retiring, he was named one of the world's 125 best living football players by Pelé in 2004, and was also voted 8th best South American and 37th best player in the world of the 20th Century by the IFFHS in 1999. In March 2011 he revealed that he was considering entering the FIFA Presidential election.
With an HPI of 55.59, Arturo Vidal is the 3rd most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 67 different languages.
Arturo Erasmo Vidal Pardo (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾˈtuɾo eˈɾazmo βiˈðal ˈpaɾðo]; born 22 May 1987) is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Campeonato Brasileiro Série A club Flamengo and the Chile national team. His displays during his time at Juventus led him to be nicknamed Il Guerriero ("The Warrior"), Rey Arturo ("King Arthur") and La Piranha by the Italian press due to his hard-tackling and aggressive, tenacious style of play.Vidal started his career with Colo-Colo, where he won three Chilean Primera División titles. He relocated to Europe, where he joined Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen and played there for four seasons. He then moved to Juventus in 2011, where he became widely recognized as one of the best midfielders in world football. At Juventus, he won the Scudetti in all four of his seasons and also was integral for them in reaching the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final. Vidal was named to the ten-man shortlist for the 2015 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award following his performances. On 28 July 2015, Vidal returned to the Bundesliga, joining Bayern Munich and won three consecutive Bundesliga titles. After three years at Munich, he signed for La Liga giants Barcelona, where he won his eighth straight league title. In 2020 he returned to the Serie A to sign for Inter Milan, where he won yet another Serie A title and Coppa Italia.Vidal has earned over 130 caps for the Chile national team since his debut in 2007, playing in the 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021 Copa América tournaments, as well as the Copa América Centenario, the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, helping his nation to Copa América victory in 2015 and 2016.
With an HPI of 55.29, Leonel Sánchez is the 4th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.
Leonel Guillermo Sánchez Lineros (25 April 1936 – 2 April 2022) was a Chilean professional footballer who played as a striker on the left wing. He is recognized as one of the Best South American Footballers of the 20th Century and one of the great forwards in the history of the FIFA World Cup. He was goalscorer of the 1962 FIFA World Cup where Chile achieved a historic third place in the largest global event for national teams, was part of the ideal eleven of the World Cup and was awarded the Golden Boot and the Bronze Ball from FIFA. He was also included in the top 100 players of the history of the World Cups by FIFA. At the continental level he was part of the ideal eleven of the América Cup 1956, where together with the Chile national team he won a runner-up. In addition Conmebol included him among the best specialists of free kicks in the history of South America.Considered one of the best Chilean players in history —especially in the position of forward, which he held throughout his career— and one of the club's greatest idols namely Universidad de Chile, where he was one of the leaders of the Blue Ballet era (1959–1969), is remembered for having been the leader of the Chilean national team that was third in the 1962 FIFA World Cup, a tournament in which he was also one of the top scorers. In La Roja, Leonel Sánchez is the seventh all-time top scorer with a total of 24 goals and 13 assists.His performances both at the Universidad of Chile and in the national team made him position himself and be chosen by the IFFHS as the 40th Best South American Footballer of the 20th Century, surpassing several international references such as his compatriot Iván Zamorano, the Brazilians Domingos da Guia and Ademir Marques de Menezes, the Uruguayan José Pedro Cea and the Argentine Raimundo Orsi.
With an HPI of 54.15, Alexis Sánchez is the 5th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 68 different languages.
Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈleksis ˈsantʃes]; born 19 December 1988), also known mononymously as Alexis, is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Marseille and the Chile national team. He is often lauded as the greatest Chilean player of all time.Dubbed "El Niño Maravilla" (The Wonder Child), Sánchez began his senior club career playing for Cobreloa, and signed with Udinese in 2006, aged 18; he won consecutive league titles while on loan to Colo-Colo and River Plate. Sánchez was the subject of a record association football transfer when he signed for Barcelona in 2011 in a transfer worth €37.5 million, becoming the most expensive Chilean player of all time. There, Sánchez won six trophies, including a La Liga title and a Copa del Rey. He then joined Arsenal in 2014 in a transfer worth £31.7 million (€35 million), and won two FA Cups, the 2015 PFA Fans' Player of the Year, and was voted into the 2015 PFA Team of the Year. In 2018, he moved to league rivals Manchester United in a swap deal; he signed for Inter Milan a year later, and won a Serie A title. Sánchez made his senior international debut for Chile in 2006 at age 18, and has since earned 148 caps, appearing in eight major tournaments and becoming both his country's most capped player and all-time top goalscorer. He led Chile to their first victory in a major tournament by winning the 2015 Copa América, scoring the winning penalty in the final; he captained the team to a repeat of this triumph at the Copa América Centenario, winning the Golden Ball for Best Player.
With an HPI of 52.82, Guillermo Subiabre is the 6th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 25 different languages.
Guillermo Subiabre Astorga (25 February 1903 – 11 April 1964) was a Chilean footballer. During his career he played for Colo-Colo (1927–1934), Santiago Wanderers, and the Chile national football team. He also participated in the 1928 Summer Olympics and in the 1930 FIFA World Cup.At Colo-Colo, Subiabre played as a striker for eight seasons, six of which were part of the amateur period and two of which were part of the professional period. In 1934, he was recognized as a lifetime honorary player for Colo-Colo.
With an HPI of 52.52, Marcelo Salas is the 7th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.
José Marcelo Salas Melinao (American Spanish: [maɾˈselo ˈsalas]; born 24 December 1974), nicknamed Matador (due to his goalscoring celebrations), El Fenómeno and Shileno, is a retired Chilean footballer who played as a striker. Salas is considered the best striker in the history of Chile. He stood out during the 1990s and 2000s in clubs such as Universidad de Chile, River Plate , Lazio and Juventus. He was captain of the Chilean national team and the top scorer – scoring 45 goals in total: 37 goals for the Chile national football team (4 in World Cups, 18 in World Cup qualification processes and 15 in friendlies) and 8 goals with the Chile Olympic football team. He played in Chile, Argentina and Italy, winning titles with each club he joined. The IFFHS ranked him as the 31st best South American player of the 20th century, the 19th best South American forward of the 20th century and the 3rd best South American forward of the 1990s (integrating the podium with Brazilians players Ronaldo and Romário). He was considered one of the best footballers in the world during the second half of the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century. In 1997 he ranked 3rd as the "best centre forward in the world" (after players Ronaldo and Gabriel Batistuta) and he was ranked 5th in the “Best Centre Forward” category in the RSS Award for the best footballer of the year, in 1998 and 1999. In addition, in 1996 and 1997 he was considered the "best striker in America", where he was part of the Ideal Team of America. He was also awarded as the South American Footballer of the Year in 1997. He was included in "10 highest figures" contest in the 1998 FIFA World Cup. In 2013 he was awarded as the "7th best south-American footballer in history" ("Bleacher Report" magazine). He was also chosen within the "10 best scorers in the history of South American football" In 2019, he was included in the "50 great South American footballers of all time", ranking, positioning himself in 27th place.A powerful and tenacious forward, with good technique, who was well-known for his deft touch with his left foot, as well as his aerial ability, Salas had a prolific goalscoring record throughout his career. He is considered (along with Leonel Sánchez) the greatest player in the history of Universidad de Chile, and icon for the football team River Plate of Argentina(he's a member of the historic ideal eleven) and one of the greatest foreign players in Lazio's history.Between 1996 and 2001 he was considered one of the best forwards in the world, constantly compared to Ronaldo and Gabriel Batistuta. He was also occasionally compared to Diego Maradona, Pelé and Gerd Müller. After a friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium, where Salas scored the two goals, the English press headlined: "Olé, Olé, Olé... Salas is the new Diego Maradona" and after scoring two goals in the first game of the 1998 FIFA World Cup against the Italy national team, the Spanish press headlined: "His header in the dispute with Fabio Cannavaro recalled somehow Pelé's memorable jump over Burgnich in the 1970 World Cup final".On 16 December 1998 he integrated the Rest of the World National Team in a match played at the Stadio Olimpico against Italy national football team, in celebration of the centenary of Italian Calcio. Salas entered the second half, replacing Gabriel Batistuta.He played for the Chilean national football team at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, where he scored four goals in four matches, leading his team to the second round of the competition. Additionally, Salas played for the Chile national football team at two Copa América tournaments, helping his team to reach fourth place in the 1999 edition of the tournament.
With an HPI of 52.13, Juan Rodríguez Vega is the 8th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 17 different languages.
Juan Carlos Rodríguez Vega (16 January 1944 – 1 September 2021) was a Chilean footballer and manager who played as a defender. He made 26 appearances for the Chile national team.
With an HPI of 51.72, Carlos Vidal is the 9th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.
Carlos Vidal Lepe (24 February 1902 – 7 June 1982) was a Chilean football forward who represented the Chilean national team at the 1930 FIFA World Cup.
With an HPI of 51.35, Claudio Bravo is the 10th most famous Soccer Player. His biography has been translated into 60 different languages.
Claudio Andrés Bravo Muñoz (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈklawðjo ˈβɾaβo]; born 13 April 1983) is a Chilean professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for La Liga club Real Betis and captains the Chile national team. He started playing with Colo-Colo and moved to Real Sociedad in 2006, appearing in 237 official games with the latter club. Barcelona signed him for €12 million in 2014, and he won the treble and the Zamora Trophy in his first season. In the summer of 2016, he moved to Manchester City, where he won several titles. After four years in England, he returned to Spain, signing for Real Betis. Bravo is Chile's third-most capped player with 143 total appearances, behind only Alexis Sánchez and Gary Medel. He represented the nation in two World Cups, a FIFA Confederations Cup, and six Copa América tournaments. He captained his side to victory at the 2015 and 2016 editions of the latter competition.
Pantheon has 138 people classified as soccer players born between 1896 and 1995. Of these 138, 99 (71.74%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Iván Zamorano, Elías Figueroa, and Arturo Vidal. The most famous deceased soccer players include Guillermo Subiabre, Juan Rodríguez Vega, and Carlos Vidal. As of April 2022, 20 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Juan Rodríguez Vega, Carlos Contreras, and Sergio Navarro.
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Which Soccer Players were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.