The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from Finland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Finnish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 52 of which were born in Finland. This makes Finland the birth place of the 54th most number of Soccer Players behind Egypt, and South Africa.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Finnish Soccer Players of all time. This list of famous Finnish 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 Finnish Soccer Players.

Photo of Jari Litmanen

1. Jari Litmanen (b. 1971)

With an HPI of 59.42, Jari Litmanen is the most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages on wikipedia.

Jari Olavi Litmanen (pronounced [ˈjɑri ˈlitmɑnen] ; born 20 February 1971) is a Finnish former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder or a second striker. He was the first-choice captain of the Finland national team between 1996 and 2008 in an international career that ran from 1989 to 2010. Litmanen is widely considered to be Finland's greatest football player of all time. He was chosen as the best Finnish player of the last 50 years by the Football Association of Finland in the UEFA Jubilee Awards in November 2003. He also finished 42nd in the 100 Greatest Finns voting in 2004. The Association of Football Statisticians' (The AFS) compendium of 'Greatest Ever Footballers' listed Litmanen as the 53rd best footballer ever. In Finland, he is often called "Litti" (after his own surname), which dates from his early years, and is also known as "Kuningas" ("The King"). During his club career, Litmanen represented Reipas, HJK, MyPa and Lahti in Finland, and Ajax, Barcelona, Liverpool, Hansa Rostock and Malmö FF abroad. Once considered one of the best attacking midfielders in the world, he became the first Finnish footballing superstar while playing for Ajax in the mid-1990s, winning the Champions League in 1995, the peak year of his career. His later career was marred by injuries, and he was unable to repeat the success of his Ajax years either at Barcelona or Liverpool, often finding himself on the bench, despite some impressive performances for the latter. Writing about Litmanen in 2009, Paul Simpson, former FourFourTwo editor, went as far as to assert that "his career has not been worthy of his talent".

Photo of Sami Hyypiä

2. Sami Hyypiä (b. 1973)

With an HPI of 53.46, Sami Hyypiä is the 2nd most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Sami Tuomas Hyypiä (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsɑmi ˈhyːpiæ]; born 7 October 1973) is a Finnish professional football manager and a former player who played as a centre-back. Hyypiä began his playing career with Ykkönen side Kumu and soon moved to Veikkausliiga outfit MyPa. He spent four years at the club, helping them win the Finnish Cup in 1992 and 1995. He moved to Willem II in 1995 and spent the next four years there. He became the team captain and was nominated their player of the year after helping them qualify for the UEFA Champions League. In 1999, he moved to Liverpool, the team he supported as a child, in a deal worth £2.6 million. He quickly established himself in the first team, partnering Stéphane Henchoz in defence. By 2001, he regularly captained the team and that season Liverpool won a slew of honours, completing a cup treble of the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, in addition to winning the UEFA Super Cup and FA Community Shield. He became first choice captain in the 2001–02 season and was part of the Football League Cup-winning team in 2003. Steven Gerrard superseded him as captain in 2003, but Hyypiä still occasionally captained the side in his absence. Hyypiä won his highest football honour in 2005 as part of Liverpool's victorious 2004–05 Champions League campaign, where his defensive partnership with Jamie Carragher helped them win in the final. During his ten years in Merseyside, he became a fan favourite and remains a popular figure at the club. From 2009 to 2011, Hyypiä played for German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he retired as a player in 2011. Hyypiä was a prominent figure in the Finland national team and was selected as the Finnish Sports' Journalists and Football Association Player of the Year numerous times. He made his debut in 1992 and, with 105 caps before retiring in 2010, is the country's third most capped Finnish player after Jari Litmanen and Teemu Pukki. From the 2012–13 season, he returned to Bayer Leverkusen as its full team manager. After two successful seasons in the Bundesliga, he returned to English football in 2014 for a brief spell as manager of now Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion. From August 2015 to May 2016, he was manager of Swiss club Zürich. Hyypiä was named in the Finnish Sports Hall of Fame in 2024.

Photo of Aulis Rytkönen

3. Aulis Rytkönen (1929 - 2014)

With an HPI of 44.67, Aulis Rytkönen is the 3rd most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Taavi Aulis Rytkönen (5 January 1929 – 16 April 2014) was a Finnish footballer. He became the country's first professional player when he signed for France's Toulouse FC in 1952. In total Rytkönen spent eight seasons (1952–1960) in France, winning the French Cup in 1957. A forward, he started his career in Finland with KuPS Kuopio in 1945, and after returning from France he worked as player-coach of HJK Helsinki 1960–1966 and as coach 1967–1971. Rytkönen earned 37 caps for the Finnish national team, scoring seven goals. He played for Finland at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. He also worked as national coach from 1975 to 1978. He was chosen Finland's Player of the Year in 1949, 1950, and 1952.

Photo of Teemu Pukki

4. Teemu Pukki (b. 1990)

With an HPI of 42.39, Teemu Pukki is the 4th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Teemu Eino Antero Pukki (born 29 March 1990) is a Finnish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Major League Soccer club Minnesota United and the Finland national team. Pukki began his career with KTP and made his debut on senior level on 23 June 2005 at the age of 15 in a fifth round match of the Finnish Cup. He then moved to Sevilla in 2008, where he played only one La Liga game for the first team before returning to Finland with HJK. In HJK he won the Veikkausliiga championship and the Finnish Cup. He then played in the top divisions of Germany for Schalke 04, Scotland for Celtic and Denmark for Brøndby. In 2018 he signed for Norwich City on a free transfer and was named The Player of the Season in the 2018–19 EFL Championship. Pukki made his international debut for Finland in 2009. Since then, has earned over 120 caps and scored 42 goals, making him the all-time leading male Finnish goalscorer. Pukki scored ten goals in ten matches in Finland's UEFA Euro 2020 qualification campaign, helping the side reach their first ever major international tournament.

Photo of Petri Pasanen

5. Petri Pasanen (b. 1980)

With an HPI of 41.88, Petri Pasanen is the 5th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Petri Pasanen (born 24 September 1980) is a Finnish football coach, TV studio presenter and a former professional footballer who played as a defender. He was most comfortable as centre-back, but also played right-back and left-back as well. Pasanen began his senior career in his native Finland before moving to Ajax. He spent most of his career at Bundesliga club Werder Bremen which he represented in the UEFA Champions League in multiple seasons, and in the 2009 UEFA Cup Final. At international level, he made 76 appearances for the Finland national team scoring one goal.

Photo of Jussi Jääskeläinen

6. Jussi Jääskeläinen (b. 1975)

With an HPI of 40.08, Jussi Jääskeläinen is the 6th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Jussi Albert Jääskeläinen (pronounced [ˈjusːi ˈjæːskelæi̯nen]; born 19 April 1975) is a Finnish professional football coach and a former footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He is currently working as a goalkeeping coach of Ykkösliiga club PK-35. During his career, Jääskeläinen most notably represented Bolton Wanderers from 1997 until 2012, making 530 appearances across all competitions. During his time at the club, Jääskeläinen has been one of the key players, as Bolton have transformed from a First Division side into one of the Premier League’s top clubs under Sam Allardyce. He left Bolton for West Ham United at the end of the 2011–12 season, moving on after three seasons to Wigan Athletic on a free transfer. In his first season with Wigan, he won the League One title. He left Wigan after two seasons to join Indian club ATK, where he retired in 2018. Jääskeläinen earned 56 caps for the Finland national team, making his debut in 1998 and retiring from international football in 2010.

Photo of Niklas Moisander

7. Niklas Moisander (b. 1985)

With an HPI of 39.76, Niklas Moisander is the 7th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Niklas Kristian Moisander (born 29 September 1985) is a Finnish professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Swedish club Malmö FF. Moisander was born in Turku, where he played for the local TPS youth team before moving to AFC Ajax. Following a one-season stay at Sampdoria, he spent five years at Bundesliga club Werder Bremen. He is the twin brother of goalkeeper Henrik Moisander, and is a former captain of the Finland national team. Moisander made his international debut for Finland in May 2008, at age 22, and had 62 caps, including appearing in 2010, 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifications before his retirement from international football in 2017. He was voted the Finnish Footballer of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.

Photo of Joonas Kolkka

8. Joonas Kolkka (b. 1974)

With an HPI of 39.66, Joonas Kolkka is the 8th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Joonas Einari Kolkka (born 28 September 1974) is a Finnish retired professional footballer who played as a left winger most of his career, but could also play on the right wing. Having started his career in his native Finland, he went on to play for several clubs in the Netherlands, Greece, Germany, England, and the USA.

Photo of Gary Sundgren

9. Gary Sundgren (b. 1967)

With an HPI of 39.01, Gary Sundgren is the 9th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 19 different languages.

Kari Juhani "Gary" Sundgren (born 25 October 1967) is a Swedish former professional footballer who played as either a right back or a central defender. He played professionally with AIK and Zaragoza, in a 15-year career. A Swedish international for nearly a decade, he won a total of 30 caps and represented his country at UEFA Euro 2000.

Photo of Mixu Paatelainen

10. Mixu Paatelainen (b. 1967)

With an HPI of 38.66, Mixu Paatelainen is the 10th most famous Finnish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Mika-Matti Petteri "Mixu" Paatelainen (born 3 February 1967) is a Finnish former professional football player and manager who was most recently head coach of Veikkausliiga club HIFK. He scored 18 goals in 70 appearances for the Finnish national team, which makes him Finland's all time thirteenth most capped player and fifth top goalscorer. He is the eldest of three brothers, all of whom have played professional football. Their father Matti was also a Finnish international. Paatelainen had a 20-year playing career, playing for nine clubs in four countries. Most of his career was spent in the Scottish leagues, with Dundee United, Aberdeen, Hibernian, St Johnstone and St Mirren. He also played for Haka in Finland, Bolton Wanderers and Wolverhampton Wanderers in England and Strasbourg in France. While at Bolton, Paatelainen became the first Finn to play in the Premier League. After retiring as a player in 2005, Paatelainen became manager of Scottish club Cowdenbeath, where he helped the club win the championship of Scottish Football League Third Division and earn a promotion. After a season coaching in his native Finland with TPS, Paatelainen returned to Scotland as manager of Hibernian. He left that position by mutual consent after 18 months. After a year out of the game, Paatelainen was appointed manager of Kilmarnock. He was Kilmarnock manager for less than one season, but enjoyed personal success during that time. He was appointed manager of the Finland national team in March 2011, a position he held until June 2015. He was appointed as Dundee United manager in October 2015, parting company with the club in May 2016 after their relegation to the Scottish Championship. He has subsequently managed Ubon United in Thailand, and the national teams of Latvia and Hong Kong.

People

Pantheon has 72 people classified as Finnish soccer players born between 1929 and 2001. Of these 72, 71 (98.61%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Finnish soccer players include Jari Litmanen, Sami Hyypiä, and Teemu Pukki. The most famous deceased Finnish soccer players include Aulis Rytkönen. As of April 2024, 20 new Finnish soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Aulis Rytkönen, Ari Hjelm, and Olli Huttunen.

Living Finnish Soccer Players

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Deceased Finnish Soccer Players

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Newly Added Finnish Soccer Players (2024)

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