The Most Famous

SOCCER PLAYERS from Poland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Polish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 21,273 Soccer Players, 181 of which were born in Poland. This makes Poland the birth place of the 20th most number of Soccer Players behind Denmark, and Czechia.

Top 10

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

Photo of Miroslav Klose

1. Miroslav Klose (b. 1978)

With an HPI of 64.05, Miroslav Klose is the most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 90 different languages on wikipedia.

Miroslav Josef Klose (German: [ˈmiːʁoslaf ˈkloːzə] , Polish: Mirosław Józef Klose; born Mirosław Marian Klose; 9 June 1978) is a German professional football manager and former player. A striker, Klose is the all-time top scorer for Germany and holds the record for the most goals scored in the FIFA World Cup with 16 goals scored over 4 editions of the tournament between 2002 and 2014. Starting his career at FC 08 Homburg, Klose played in the Bundesliga for Kaiserslautern before becoming one of the most prolific scorers in the league with Werder Bremen, where he was awarded the German Footballer of the Year in 2006 and also named to the kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season in 2004–05 and 2005–06. His performances saw him move to giants Bayern Munich in 2007. During his time at Bayern, Klose won the 2007–08 and 2009–10 league titles. In 2011, Klose moved to Serie A club Lazio, where he won the 2012–13 Coppa Italia and eventually finished his playing career in 2016 after five years at the club. Klose is best known for his performances with the German national team. He was part of the squad that won the 2014 World Cup, having previously finished second (2002) and third (2006, 2010) in the competition; he finished as runner-up with Germany at UEFA Euro 2008 and joint-third place at UEFA Euro 2012. He holds the record for the most goals scored in FIFA World Cup tournaments, having scored five goals in his debut World Cup in 2002 and having won the Golden Boot at the 2006 World Cup in Germany by again scoring five times. He also scored four times in the 2010 World Cup and twice at the 2014 World Cup, in the latter tournament overtaking Brazil's Ronaldo's then-record of 15 goals to top the all-time list. He retired from the national team in August 2014, shortly after Germany's victory at the 2014 World Cup.

Photo of Robert Lewandowski

2. Robert Lewandowski (b. 1988)

With an HPI of 63.59, Robert Lewandowski is the 2nd most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 91 different languages.

Robert Lewandowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈrɔbɛrt lɛvanˈdɔfskʲi] ; born 21 August 1988) is a Polish professional footballer who plays as a striker for La Liga club Barcelona and captains the Poland national team. He is regarded as one of the best players of his generation and as one of the best strikers of all time, as well as one of the most successful players in Bundesliga and Bayern Munich history. He has scored over 600 senior career goals for club and country. After being the top scorer in the third and second tiers of Polish football with Znicz Pruszków, Lewandowski moved to top-flight Lech Poznań, helping the team win the 2009–10 Ekstraklasa. In 2010, he transferred to Borussia Dortmund, where he won honors including two consecutive Bundesliga titles and the league's top goalscorer award. In 2013, he also featured with Dortmund in the 2013 UEFA Champions League final. Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season, Lewandowski agreed to join Dortmund's domestic rivals, Bayern Munich, on a free transfer. In Munich, he won the Bundesliga title in every one of his eight seasons. Lewandowski was integral in Bayern's UEFA Champions League win in 2019–20 as part of a treble. He is one of only two players, alongside Johan Cruyff, to achieve the European treble while being the highest goalscorer in all three competitions, and the first to do it as the sole top scorer. Lewandowski is also one of only two players to be top goalscorer for club and country in Europe for three consecutive years (2019–21), alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. He was widely considered the best player of 2020 and deserving of the Ballon d'Or, until it was canceled. In 2022, he was signed by Barcelona, where he won the Supercopa de España, the La Liga title and the Pichichi Trophy in his debut season. He holds the joint-record for most top scorer awards in Europe's top five leagues with eight, alongside Lionel Messi, and the record for the most consecutive with six. A full international for Poland since 2008, Lewandowski has earned 148 caps and was a member of their team at the UEFA European Championship in 2012, 2016, and 2020, and the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022. With 82 international goals, Lewandowski is the all-time top scorer for Poland and the fourth overall men's international goalscorer in Europe, only behind Romelu Lukaku (83), Ferenc Puskás (84) and Cristiano Ronaldo (128). He won IFFHS World's Best International Goal Scorer Award in 2015 and 2021, IFFHS World's Best Top Goal Scorer Award in 2020 and 2021, and IFFHS World's Best Top Division Goal Scorer Award in 2021. He also won the IFFHS World's Best Player in 2020 and 2021 and the European Golden Shoe for the 2020–21 and 2021–22 seasons. Lewandowski has been named the Polish Footballer of the Year a record eleven times and the Polish Sports Personality of the Year three times. Moreover, he has won the Gerd Müller Trophy twice, in 2021 and 2022. In 2020, Lewandowski won the Best FIFA Men's Player Award (retained in 2021) and the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award. He has been named to the UEFA Team of the Year twice. He is the third-highest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League. Lewandowski has been named the VDV Bundesliga Player of the Season a record five times. He has scored over 300 goals in the Bundesliga (second-highest goalscorer of all time in Bundesliga, only behind Gerd Müller's 365 Bundesliga goals), having reached the century mark quicker than any other foreign player, and is the league's all-time leading foreign goalscorer. In 2015, while playing for Bayern, he scored five goals in less than nine minutes against VfL Wolfsburg, the fastest by any player in Bundesliga history as well as any major European football league for which he was awarded four Guinness World Records. Moreover, he has won the Bundesliga Top Scorer Award in a joint-record seven seasons, alongside Gerd Müller, five of which were won consecutively, another record. He most prominently won it in the 2020–21 Bundesliga where he scored 41 goals in a single campaign, breaking Gerd Müller's previous Bundesliga record of 40 goals, set in 1971–72. He also holds the record for most consecutive UEFA Champions League match wins, with 22. On 30 November 2021, he finished second in the Ballon d'Or, 33 points behind the winner Lionel Messi.

Photo of Grzegorz Lato

3. Grzegorz Lato (b. 1950)

With an HPI of 63.21, Grzegorz Lato is the 3rd most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Grzegorz Bolesław Lato (Polish pronunciation: [ˈɡʐɛɡɔʐ ˈlatɔ]; born 8 April 1950) is a Polish former professional football player and manager who played as a winger. He was a member of Poland's golden generation of football players who rose to fame in the 1970s and early 80s. Over a decade, he represented Poland at five major tournaments starting with gold at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich and ending with a third-place finish at the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain. He reached the peak of his career at the 1974 World Cup, where he was the leading scorer and the only Pole to-date to have won the honour. After retiring from his playing career, he had a brief stint as manager in several clubs in and out of Poland. Lato, as a member of Democratic Left Alliance, was a Polish Senator for the Rzeszów region, between 2001 and 2005. On 30 October 2008, he was elected president of the Polish Football Association (PZPN). As president of the PZPN he oversaw the Euro 2012 tournament, which was co-hosted by Poland. He was succeeded by Zbigniew Boniek on 26 October 2012.

Photo of Zbigniew Boniek

4. Zbigniew Boniek (b. 1956)

With an HPI of 61.09, Zbigniew Boniek is the 4th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.

Zbigniew Boniek (Polish pronunciation: [ˈzbiɡɲɛv ˈbɔɲɛk]; born 3 March 1956) is a Polish former footballer and manager as well as a current UEFA vice-president. A former midfielder, who was also capable of playing mostly as a right winger and second striker, he is considered one of the greatest Polish players of all time, and was selected by Pelé as one of the 100 best living footballers in 2004. In an 80-cap international career, Boniek scored 24 goals and played at three consecutive World Cups, helping Poland to 3rd place in 1982 and making the Team of the Tournament. His greatest achievements in club football were at Juventus in Italy, winning the Serie A, Coppa Italia, European Cup, European Cup Winners' Cup, and European Super Cup between 1983 and 1985, being the first Polish footballer to win a confederation title and one of the first Central and Eastern European players to do so with a non-conational club. In the early 1990s, Boniek managed several Italian clubs, and also the Poland national team in 2002. In 2019, he was inducted in the Italian Football Hall of Fame.

Photo of Udo Lattek

5. Udo Lattek (1935 - 2015)

With an HPI of 60.63, Udo Lattek is the 5th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 35 different languages.

Udo Lattek (16 January 1935 – 31 January 2015) was a German professional football player and coach. Lattek is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game, having won 15 major titles, most famously with Bayern Munich. He also won major trophies with Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Barcelona. In addition to these clubs, his managerial career saw him coach Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 and 1. FC Köln before his retirement from the game. Alongside the Italian Giovanni Trapattoni and Portuguese José Mourinho, he is the only coach to have won all three major European club titles, and—along with Mourinho—the only one to do so with three clubs.

Photo of Kazimierz Deyna

6. Kazimierz Deyna (1947 - 1989)

With an HPI of 60.29, Kazimierz Deyna is the 6th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 40 different languages.

Kazimierz Deyna (Polish pronunciation: [kaˈʑimjɛʐ ˈdɛjna] ; 23 October 1947 – 1 September 1989) was a Polish professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder in the playmaker role and was one of the most highly regarded players of his generation, due to his excellent vision.

Photo of Ernst Wilimowski

7. Ernst Wilimowski (1916 - 1997)

With an HPI of 58.66, Ernst Wilimowski is the 7th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Ernest Otton Wilimowski (German: Ernst Otto Wilimowski, born Ernst Otto Prandella; 23 June 1916 – 30 August 1997), nicknamed "Ezi", was a footballer who played as a forward. He ranks among the best goalscorers in the history of both the Poland national team and Polish club football. After re-taking German citizenship following the invasion of Poland, he also played for the Germany national team. Wilimowski was the first player to score four goals in a single FIFA World Cup game. According to RSSSF, Wilimowski scored over 1077 total goals in at least 688 total matches, making him the 14th greatest goalscorer of all time. He is the most prolific goalscorer in official matches in one season in recorded history according to RSSSF, with 107 goals scored in 45 matches. Wilimowski also occasionally played ice hockey for the team Pogoń Katowice.

Photo of Lukas Podolski

8. Lukas Podolski (b. 1985)

With an HPI of 57.70, Lukas Podolski is the 8th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 78 different languages.

Lukas Josef Podolski (German pronunciation: [ˈluːkas poˈdɔlski]; born Łukasz Józef Podolski, Polish pronunciation: [ˈwukaʂ pɔˈdɔlskʲi], on 4 June 1985) is a German professional footballer who plays as a forward or attacking midfielder for Ekstraklasa club Górnik Zabrze. He is known for his powerful and accurate left foot, explosive shooting, technique and probing attacks from the left side. Born in Gliwice, Poland, Podolski joined 1. FC Köln in 1995 where he made it into the first team in 2003 resulting in 81 appearances for the club before moving to Bayern Munich. With Bayern, Podolski won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in 2008. Podolski returned to 1. FC Köln in 2009. He later signed for Premier League club Arsenal in 2012, with whom he won the FA Cup in 2014. He then moved on loan to Serie A club Inter Milan in January 2015, before signing six months later for Galatasaray where he also won the Turkish Cup of 2016. Podolski was eligible to play for both Germany, (due to his father being an ethnic German), and Poland; and he was open to playing for the Polish team but was rejected by the then Polish coach Paweł Janas in 2003, having already appeared for Germany at youth level. After making his first appearance for the senior team in 2004, Podolski enjoyed great success with the Germany national team. He was part of the squad in seven major tournaments, winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He is the third most-capped player in German history, with 130 caps, and the third-highest goalscorer in German history, having scored 49 times. On 29 May 2013, Podolski scored the fastest goal in Germany national team history, after just nine seconds of the 4–2 friendly win over Ecuador (before Florian Wirtz broke his record in 2024). It was at that time the second fastest international goal in history, second only to San Marino's Davide Gualtieri's 8.3-second strike against England in 1993. Podolski retired from international football on 22 March 2017 after scoring the winner in a friendly against England.

Photo of Włodzimierz Lubański

9. Włodzimierz Lubański (b. 1947)

With an HPI of 57.29, Włodzimierz Lubański is the 9th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Włodzimierz 'Włodek' Leonard Lubański (Polish pronunciation: [vwɔˈd͡ʑimiɛʐ luˈbaɲskʲi]; born 28 February 1947 in Gliwice-Sośnica) is a Polish former professional footballer who played as a striker. He is the second-highest all-time goal scorer for the Poland national team, behind Robert Lewandowski, and the youngest-ever player to appear for Poland, making his debut at the age of 16 years and 188 days. For his national team, Lubański amassed 75 caps between 1963 and 1980, scoring 48 goals.

Photo of Włodzimierz Smolarek

10. Włodzimierz Smolarek (1957 - 2012)

With an HPI of 56.85, Włodzimierz Smolarek is the 10th most famous Polish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Włodzimierz Wojciech Smolarek (16 July 1957 – 7 March 2012) was a Polish footballer who played as a winger or an attacking midfielder. He played most of his 20-year professional career with Widzew Łódź and Utrecht, appearing in more than 200 official games for the former. He amassed Eredivisie totals of 212 matches and 45 goals, over the course of eight seasons. Smolarek represented Poland in two World Cups, earning 60 caps.

People

Pantheon has 208 people classified as Polish soccer players born between 1896 and 2003. Of these 208, 189 (90.87%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Polish soccer players include Miroslav Klose, Robert Lewandowski, and Grzegorz Lato. The most famous deceased Polish soccer players include Udo Lattek, Kazimierz Deyna, and Ernst Wilimowski. As of April 2024, 29 new Polish soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Jacek Gmoch, Joachim Marx, and Gerard Wodarz.

Living Polish Soccer Players

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Deceased Polish Soccer Players

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Newly Added Polish 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 19 most globally memorable Soccer Players since 1700.