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FIFA 100

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Pelé in 2008

The FIFA 100 is a list of Brazilian footballer Pelé's choice of the "greatest living footballers". Unveiled on 4 March 2004 at a gala ceremony in London, England, the list was part of the celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of football.

The figure 100 refers to the 100th anniversary of FIFA and not the number of players listed, which is actually 125. Pelé was asked to select 50 active players and 50 retired players, from a shortlist of 300, but found it too difficult to limit the number of retired players to 50.[1] The list contains 123 men and two women (Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm). At the time the FIFA 100 was unveiled, 50 of the players were still active, with the remaining 75 retired from the game.


Writing in the Evening Standard, politician turned football pundit, David Mellor, felt the selections were politically motivated rather than being made on purely footballing grounds.[2] He suggested the geographical spread of inclusions indicated the list came from, then-FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. BBC columnist Tim Vickery expressed similar assertions.[3]

Brazilian midfielder Gérson, who played alongside Pelé at the 1966 and 1970 FIFA World Cups, reacted to his omission by tearing up a copy of the list on a Brazilian television programme.[4] Marco van Basten and Uwe Seeler refused to take part in the project on a point of principle.[5]


Following is the list of the "FIFA 100" greatest living footballers as nominated by Pelé in March 2004.[6][7][8][9]

Player Nationality Position Status Born Died
Gabriel Batistuta  Argentina Forward Active 1969
Hernán Crespo  Argentina Forward Active 1975
Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina[a] Forward Retired 1926 2014
Mario Kempes  Argentina Forward Retired 1954
Diego Maradona  Argentina Midfielder Retired 1960 2020
Daniel Passarella  Argentina Defender Retired 1953
Javier Saviola  Argentina Forward Active 1981
Omar Sívori  Argentina[b] Forward Retired 1935 2005
Juan Sebastián Verón  Argentina Midfielder Active 1975
Javier Zanetti  Argentina Defender/Midfielder Active 1973
Jan Ceulemans  Belgium Midfielder Retired 1957
Jean-Marie Pfaff  Belgium Goalkeeper Retired 1953
Franky Van der Elst  Belgium Midfielder Retired 1961
Carlos Alberto  Brazil Defender Retired 1944 2016
Cafu  Brazil Defender Active 1970
Falcão  Brazil Midfielder Retired 1953
Júnior  Brazil Midfielder Retired 1954
Pelé  Brazil Forward Retired 1940 2022
Rivaldo  Brazil Midfielder Active 1972
Rivellino  Brazil Midfielder Retired 1946
Roberto Carlos  Brazil Defender Active 1973
Romário  Brazil Forward Active 1966
Ronaldinho  Brazil Midfielder/Forward Active 1980
Ronaldo  Brazil Forward Active 1976
Djalma Santos  Brazil Defender Retired 1929 2013
Nílton Santos  Brazil Defender Retired 1925 2013
Sócrates  Brazil Midfielder Retired 1954 2011
Zico  Brazil Midfielder/Forward Retired 1953
Hristo Stoichkov  Bulgaria Forward Retired 1966
Roger Milla  Cameroon Forward Retired 1952
Elías Figueroa  Chile Defender Retired 1946
Iván Zamorano  Chile Forward Retired 1967
Carlos Valderrama  Colombia Midfielder Retired 1961
Davor Šuker  Croatia[c] Forward Retired 1968
Josef Masopust  Czech Republic[d] Midfielder Retired 1931 2015
Pavel Nedvěd  Czech Republic Midfielder Active 1972
Brian Laudrup  Denmark Forward Retired 1969
Michael Laudrup  Denmark Midfielder Retired 1964
Peter Schmeichel  Denmark Goalkeeper Retired 1963
Gordon Banks  England Goalkeeper Retired 1937 2019
David Beckham  England Midfielder Active 1975
Bobby Charlton  England Midfielder Retired 1937 2023
Kevin Keegan  England Forward Retired 1951
Gary Lineker  England Forward Retired 1960
Michael Owen  England Forward Active 1979
Alan Shearer  England Forward Active 1970
Eric Cantona  France Forward Retired 1966
Marcel Desailly  France Defender Active 1968
Didier Deschamps  France Midfielder Retired 1968
Just Fontaine  France Forward Retired 1933 2023
Thierry Henry  France Forward Active 1977
Raymond Kopa  France Forward Retired 1931 2017
Jean-Pierre Papin  France Forward Retired 1963
Robert Pires  France Midfielder Active 1973
Michel Platini  France[e] Forward Retired 1955
Lilian Thuram  France Defender Active 1972
Marius Trésor  France Defender Retired 1950
David Trezeguet  France Forward Active 1977
Patrick Vieira  France Midfielder Active 1976
Zinedine Zidane  France Midfielder Active 1972
Michael Ballack  Germany Midfielder Active 1976
Franz Beckenbauer  Germany[f] Defender Retired 1945 2024
Paul Breitner  Germany[f] Midfielder/Defender Retired 1951
Oliver Kahn  Germany Goalkeeper Active 1969
Jürgen Klinsmann  Germany[g] Forward Retired 1964
Sepp Maier  Germany[f] Goalkeeper Retired 1944
Lothar Matthäus  Germany[g] Midfielder/Defender Retired 1961
Gerd Müller  Germany[f] Forward Retired 1945 2021
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge  Germany[f] Forward Retired 1955
Uwe Seeler  Germany[f] Forward Retired 1936 2022
Abedi Pele  Ghana Forward Retired 1964
Ferenc Puskás  Hungary[h] Forward Retired 1927 2006
Roberto Baggio  Italy Forward/Midfielder Active 1967
Franco Baresi  Italy Defender Retired 1960
Giuseppe Bergomi  Italy Defender Retired 1963
Giampiero Boniperti  Italy Forward Retired 1928 2021
Gianluigi Buffon  Italy Goalkeeper Active 1978
Alessandro Del Piero  Italy Forward Active 1974
Giacinto Facchetti  Italy Defender Retired 1942 2006
Paolo Maldini  Italy Defender Active 1968
Alessandro Nesta  Italy Defender Active 1976
Gianni Rivera  Italy Defender Retired 1943
Paolo Rossi  Italy Forward Retired 1956 2020
Francesco Totti  Italy Forward/Midfielder Active 1976
Christian Vieri  Italy Forward Active 1973
Dino Zoff  Italy Goalkeeper Retired 1942
Hidetoshi Nakata  Japan Midfielder Active 1977
George Weah  Liberia Forward Retired 1966
Hugo Sánchez  Mexico Forward Retired 1958
Marco van Basten  Netherlands Forward Retired 1964
Dennis Bergkamp  Netherlands Forward Active 1969
Johan Cruyff  Netherlands Forward Retired 1947 2016
Edgar Davids  Netherlands Midfielder Active 1973
Ruud Gullit  Netherlands Midfielder Retired 1962
René van de Kerkhof  Netherlands Midfielder Retired 1951
Willy van de Kerkhof  Netherlands Midfielder Retired 1951
Patrick Kluivert  Netherlands Forward Active 1976
Johan Neeskens  Netherlands Midfielder Retired 1951
Ruud van Nistelrooy  Netherlands Forward Active 1976
Rob Rensenbrink  Netherlands Forward Retired 1947 2020
Frank Rijkaard  Netherlands Midfielder/Defender Retired 1962
Clarence Seedorf  Netherlands Midfielder Active 1976
Jay-Jay Okocha  Nigeria Midfielder Active 1973
George Best  Northern Ireland Midfielder Retired 1946 2005
Romerito  Paraguay Forward Retired 1960
Teófilo Cubillas  Peru Forward Retired 1949
Zbigniew Boniek  Poland Midfielder Retired 1956
Eusébio  Portugal Forward Retired 1942 2014
Luís Figo  Portugal Midfielder Active 1972
Rui Costa  Portugal Midfielder Active 1972
Roy Keane  Republic of Ireland Midfielder Active 1971
Gheorghe Hagi  Romania Midfielder Retired 1965
Rinat Dasayev  Russia[i] Goalkeeper Retired 1957
Kenny Dalglish  Scotland Forward Retired 1951
El Hadji Diouf  Senegal Forward Active 1981
Hong Myung-bo  South Korea Defender Active 1969
Emilio Butragueño  Spain Forward Retired 1963
Luis Enrique  Spain Midfielder Active 1970
Raúl  Spain Forward Active 1977
Rüştü Reçber  Turkey Goalkeeper Active 1973
Emre Belözoğlu  Turkey Midfielder Active 1980
Andriy Shevchenko  Ukraine Forward Active 1976
Michelle Akers  United States Midfielder/Forward Retired 1966
Mia Hamm  United States Forward Active 1972
Enzo Francescoli  Uruguay Forward/Midfielder Retired 1961
  1. ^ Born in Argentina, De Stéfano played for both Spain and Argentina
  2. ^ Born in Argentina, Sívori played for both Italy and Argentina
  3. ^ Born in the Socialist Republic of Croatia, then part of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, Šuker played for both Yugoslavia and Croatia
  4. ^ Masopust played for Czechoslovakia
  5. ^ Born in France, Platini played for both Kuwait and France
  6. ^ a b c d e f Played for the West Germany national team
  7. ^ a b Played for both the West Germany and Germany national teams
  8. ^ Born in Hungary, Puskás played for Spain and Hungary
  9. ^ Dasayev played for the Soviet Union

See also


  1. ^ "Fifa names greatest list". BBC. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  2. ^ Mellor, David (5 March 2004). "Sing up for Ken, a true Blues man". Evening Standard Ltd. p. 77.
  3. ^ Vickery, Tim (8 March 2004). "Pele pays price for popularity". BBC. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Pele names his top 100 soccer players". Independent Online. Reuters. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  5. ^ Davies, Christopher (4 March 2004). "Pele open to ridicule over top hundred". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
  6. ^ "FIFA Names Top 100 players" (Press release). Oceania Football Confederation. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  7. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Fifa names greatest list". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2023.
  9. ^ "The Fifa 100". The Guardian. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 23 April 2023.

External links