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The Most Famous


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This page contains a list of the greatest Swedish Soccer Players. The pantheon dataset contains 16,880 Soccer Players, 311 of which were born in Sweden. This makes Sweden the birth place of the 10th most number of Soccer Players behind Argentina and Netherlands.

Top 10

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

Photo of Gunnar Nordahl

1. Gunnar Nordahl (1921 - 1995)

With an HPI of 68.58, Gunnar Nordahl is the most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages on wikipedia.

Nils Gunnar Nordahl (pronounced [ˈɡɵ̌nːar ˈnûːɖɑːl]; 19 October 1921 – 15 September 1995) was a Swedish professional footballer. A highly prolific, powerful, and physically strong striker, with an eye for goal, he is best known for his spell at AC Milan from 1949 to 1956, in which he won the Scudetto twice, and also the title of pluricapocannoniere, with an unprecedented five top scorer (Capocannonieri) awards, more than any other player in the history of the Italian championship.Nordahl is Milan’s all-time record goalscorer, and he long held the record for most goals for a single club in the history of Italian league, before being surpassed by Francesco Totti in January 2012. He still holds the record for goals per appearance in Italy. A full international between 1942 and 1948, he won 33 caps and scored 43 goals for the Sweden national team. He represented his country at the 1948 Summer Olympics, where he was the joint top scorer alongside Denmark's John Hansen as Sweden won gold. Nordahl is considered to be one of the greatest Swedish football players of all-time, and regarded as one of the best strikers in football history. In 2017, he was included in FourFourTwo magazine's list of the 100 greatest players of all time, at the 54th position.He is the father of former footballer Thomas Nordahl.

Photo of Zlatan Ibrahimović

2. Zlatan Ibrahimović (1981 - )

With an HPI of 67.02, Zlatan Ibrahimović is the 2nd most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 91 different languages.

Zlatan Ibrahimović (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈslǎːtan ɪbraˈhǐːmʊvɪtɕ], Bosnian pronunciation: [zlǎtan ibraxǐːmoʋitɕ]; born 3 October 1981) is a Swedish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Serie A club AC Milan and the Sweden national team. Ibrahimović is renowned for his acrobatic strikes and volleys, powerful long-range shots, and excellent technique and ball control. He is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time and is one of the most decorated active footballers in the world, having won 34 trophies in his career. He has scored over 570 career goals, including more than 500 club goals, and has scored in each of the last four decades. Ibrahimović began his career at Malmö FF in 1999, and signed for Ajax two years later, where he gained a reputation as one of the most promising forwards in Europe. He departed two years later to sign for Juventus before joining domestic rivals Inter Milan in 2006, where he won three consecutive Serie A titles. In the summer of 2009, he moved to Barcelona in one of the world's most expensive transfers. After just one season, he returned to Italy having signed for Inter's rival Milan. With them, he won the Serie A title in his debut season. In 2012, Ibrahimović joined Paris Saint-Germain, leading them to their first Ligue 1 title in 19 years and soon establishing himself as a leading figure in their dominance of French football. During his four-season stay in France, he won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles, was the top scorer in Ligue 1 for three seasons and became PSG's all-time leading goalscorer at the time. In 2016, he joined Manchester United on a free transfer and won his first European honour in his debut season. Ibrahimović joined American club LA Galaxy in 2018 and rejoined Milan in 2020, winning his fifth Serie A title in 2022. Ibrahimović is one of eleven players to have made 100 or more appearances for the Swedish national team, over a 20-year international career. He is the country's all-time leading goalscorer with 62 goals. He represented Sweden at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016 UEFA European Championships. He has been awarded Guldbollen (the Golden Ball), given to the Swedish player of the year, a record 12 times, including 10 consecutive times from 2007 to 2016. Ibrahimović's 35-yard bicycle kick goal for Sweden against England won the 2013 FIFA Puskás Award, and is often considered one of the best goals of all time. Ibrahimović was named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2013 and the UEFA Team of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014. He finished at a peak of fourth for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2013. In 2015, UEFA ranked him as the best player ever not to have won the UEFA Champions League, while in 2019, FourFourTwo magazine named him the third-greatest player never to win the competition. In December 2014, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter ranked him the second-greatest Swedish sportsperson ever, after tennis player Björn Borg. Off the field, Ibrahimović is known for his brash persona and outspoken comments, in addition to referring to himself in the third person.

Photo of Nils Liedholm

3. Nils Liedholm (1922 - 2007)

With an HPI of 62.44, Nils Liedholm is the 3rd most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Nils Erik Liedholm (pronounced [ˈnɪlːs ˈlîːdhɔlm]; 8 October 1922 – 5 November 2007) was a Swedish football midfielder and coach. Il Barone (The Baron), as he is affectionately known in Italy, was renowned for being part of the Swedish "Gre-No-Li" trio of strikers along with Gunnar Gren and Gunnar Nordahl at A.C. Milan and the Swedish national team, with which he achieved notable success throughout his career. Liedholm was an intelligent and technically gifted offensive playmaker who was renowned for his range of passing and his elegant style of play; he is regarded as one of Milan's and Sweden's greatest ever players, and considered one of the best players of the post-war era. At the end of the 20th century, Liedholm was voted the best Swedish player of the millennium by the readers of Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet. As a coach, he was in charge of several teams in Italy, managing for nearly four decades, and was known for using a zonal marking system; he is regarded as one of the most successful managers in Italian football history.

Photo of Gunnar Gren

4. Gunnar Gren (1920 - 1991)

With an HPI of 61.02, Gunnar Gren is the 4th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Johan Gunnar Gren (pronounced [ˈɡɵ̌nːar ˈɡreːn]; 31 October 1920 – 10 November 1991) was a Swedish professional football player and coach. He is best remembered for playing for IFK Göteborg and A.C. Milan. A creative forward, known for his technical skill, vision, tactical intelligence, and passing ability as a playmaker, he was part of the famous "Gre-No-Li" trio of forwards at Milan and the Sweden national team. He was also capable of playing as an attacking midfielder, as an offensive–minded central midfielder, known as the mezzala role in Italian football jargon, or even as a striker.A full international between 1940 and 1958, he won 57 caps and scored 32 goals for the Sweden national team. He was a part of the Sweden team that won gold at the 1948 Summer Olympics, as well as the team that finished second at the 1958 FIFA World Cup. In 1946, he was awarded Guldbollen as Sweden's best footballer of the year. Gren is considered to be one of Sweden's greatest and most prolific football players; a statue has been erected in his honor outside Gamla Ullevi stadium.

Photo of Kurt Hamrin

5. Kurt Hamrin (1934 - )

With an HPI of 60.00, Kurt Hamrin is the 5th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Kurt Roland "Kurre" Hamrin (Swedish: [ˈkɵʈː hamˈriːn]; born 19 November 1934) is a Swedish former professional footballer who played as a winger. He began his career in his home country with AIK, but later played for several Italian clubs, most notably Fiorentina, with whom he won two Coppa Italia titles, a Cup Winners' Cup, and a Mitropa Cup over nine years, making over 350 appearances for the club and scoring over 200 goals in all competitions. A prolific goalscorer, he is currently the eighth highest goalscorer of all-time in Italy's Serie A, with 190 goals.In addition to his success at club level, Hamrin also had a successful international career, and was a member of the Swedish team that reached the 1958 FIFA World Cup Final on home soil; he is commonly regarded as one of the greatest Swedish footballers of all-time, as well as one of Fiorentina's greatest players ever.

Photo of Henrik Larsson

6. Henrik Larsson (1971 - )

With an HPI of 57.57, Henrik Larsson is the 6th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Edward Henrik Larsson (born 20 September 1971) is a Swedish professional football coach and former player, formerly an assistant manager of Barcelona. Playing as a striker, Larsson began his career with Högaborgs BK. In 1992, he moved to Helsingborg IF where in his first season his partnership up front with Mats Magnusson helped the club win promotion to Allsvenskan after 24 seasons in the lower tiers. He moved to Feyenoord in November 1993, staying for four years before leaving in 1997. During his time in the Dutch Eredivisie, he won two KNVB Cups with Feyenoord. He also broke into the Swedish national football team, and helped them finish in third place at the 1994 World Cup. Often regarded as the greatest foreign import in Scottish football history, Wim Jansen signed Larsson for Scottish club Celtic in July 1997 for a fee of £650,000. In his first season at the club, he played a crucial role in Celtic winning their first league title in ten years. He suffered a broken leg in a UEFA Cup tie against Lyon in 1999. Larsson came back stronger, scoring 53 goals in a 2000–01 season that saw him win the European Golden Shoe. Larsson won four league titles in his seven years at Celtic. He also helped the team reach the 2003 UEFA Cup Final against Porto, scoring both goals in a 3–2 defeat in extra time. His 242 goals in 313 matches saw Celtic fans nickname him The King of Kings. Larsson joined Barcelona in 2004, where he won two league titles and the 2005–06 UEFA Champions League, providing the assists for both goals in the final. Following the expiration of his contract at Barcelona, Larsson returned to Helsingborg, although he also had a brief spell on loan at Manchester United in early 2007. He announced his retirement from football on 20 October 2009.Regarded as one of the greatest Swedish players of all time, Larsson played for Sweden in three FIFA World Cups and three UEFA European Championships, winning a bronze medal at the 1994 World Cup, and is a former captain of the national team. He ended his international career with 37 goals in 106 matches. He also won the Golden Ball (Guldbollen), the annual Award for best Swedish footballer twice, first in 1998 and again in 2004, while in 2003 he was named the Greatest Swedish Footballer of the Last 50 Years as part of the UEFA Jubilee Awards. He is also the all-time leading goalscorer in the UEFA Europa League/UEFA Cup.In 2010, Larsson began his career as a manager at the Superettan club Landskrona BoIS, where he stayed for three seasons. He later managed Falkenberg in Allsvenskan, and he took over at Helsingborg in 2015, where his son, Jordan was one of his players. Helsingborg were relegated to Superettan in 2016 and Larsson left the club. Three years later he made a brief return in the same role at the club. He served Barcelona as assistant to Ronald Koeman from August 2020 until October 2021.

Photo of Ronnie Hellström

7. Ronnie Hellström (1949 - 2022)

With an HPI of 56.84, Ronnie Hellström is the 7th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Folke Ronnie Wallentin Hellström (21 February 1949 – 6 February 2022) was a Swedish professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He represented Hammarby IF and 1. FC Kaiserslautern during a career that spanned between 1966 and 1984 and was considered one of the world's best goalkeepers in the 1970s. In 1988, he played one Allsvenskan game for GIF Sundsvall following an injury crisis. As a full international between 1968 and 1980, he won 77 caps for the Sweden national team and represented his country at the 1970, 1974, and 1978 FIFA World Cups. He was awarded Guldbollen as Sweden's best footballer of the year in both 1971 and 1978.

Photo of Thomas Ravelli

8. Thomas Ravelli (1959 - )

With an HPI of 55.00, Thomas Ravelli is the 8th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 33 different languages.

Thomas Ravelli (Swedish: [ˈtʊ̌mːas raˈvɛ̌lːɪ]; born 13 August 1959) is a Swedish former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. His 21-year professional career was almost exclusively associated with Öster and Göteborg, for whom he appeared in a combined 416 Allsvenskan games. The most-capped player for the Sweden national team for several years, Ravelli represented the nation at the 1990 and 1994 FIFA World Cups, and UEFA Euro 1992.

Photo of Agne Simonsson

9. Agne Simonsson (1935 - 2020)

With an HPI of 54.46, Agne Simonsson is the 9th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Tore Klas Agne Simonsson (19 October 1935 – 22 September 2020) was a Swedish footballer who played as a striker. Beginning his career with Örgryte IS in 1953, he went on to represent Real Madrid and Real Sociedad in La Liga in the early 1960s before returning to Örgryte in 1963. Simonsson won 51 caps for the Sweden national team, and was a part of the Sweden team that finished second at the 1958 FIFA World Cup. He was also the recipient of the 1959 Svenska Dagbladet Gold Medal after a spectacular performance for Sweden in an international game against England at Wembley Stadium.

Photo of Sven Tumba

10. Sven Tumba (1931 - 2011)

With an HPI of 54.20, Sven Tumba is the 10th most famous Swedish Soccer Player.  His biography has been translated into 26 different languages.

Sven Tumba (born Sven Olof Gunnar Johansson; 28 August 1931 – 1 October 2011) was one of the most prominent Swedish ice hockey players of the 1950s and 1960s. He also represented Sweden in football as well as golf and became Swedish champion in waterskiing.Johansson first became known as "Tumba" in the 1950s since there were other players with the same last name, and he grew up in the Swedish town of Tumba. In October 1960 he married his wife Mona, and five years later he, along with Mona, legally changed his family name to Tumba. After his retirement from ice hockey, he became an accomplished golfer, a golf course designer, creator and organizer of golf exhibitions and tournaments, as well as an ambassador for the game of golf, even officially introducing the game of golf to the former Soviet Union.

Pantheon has 311 people classified as soccer players born between 1883 and 2002. Of these 311, 250 (80.39%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living soccer players include Zlatan Ibrahimović, Kurt Hamrin, and Henrik Larsson. The most famous deceased soccer players include Gunnar Nordahl, Nils Liedholm, and Gunnar Gren. As of April 2022, 46 new soccer players have been added to Pantheon including Sven Landberg, Olle Åhlund, and Ove Grahn.

Living Soccer Players

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Deceased Soccer Players

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Newly Added Soccer Players (2022)

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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.