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Top 100 players ever | Best 100 players of all time

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It is said that there are lies, dammed lies and statistics. Chalk up one more idiotic report to this particular idiom.

The Association of Football Statisticians apparently released a report (no link available although Bob has his take here...) that used statistics to come up with the Top 100 Players of All Time.

In a sport where elan, flair and creativity count for more than passes completed or successful tackles, it seems ludicrous to try and categorise players through such objective measurements. Equally, the sheer volume of players from the last few years (think Pires, Gary Neville and the very limited Diego Simeone) compared with the low-standing of such greats as Puskas (20) and Di Stefano (22) shows the paucity of statistics collected back in the day.

Clearly there must be any number of methodolgical issues with a Statisticians report that omits George Best for Al Daei or that places a water carrier like Didier Deschamps above a magician like Roberto Baggio. Oh, and I just saw that Sylvain Wiltord not only made the list but is ranked 58th.

The full list for your discussion is below, but my top 10 would be:

1. Pele
2. Maradona
3. Pusckas
4. Beckenbauer
5. Di Stefano
6. Cryuff
7. Baresi
8. Platini
9. Zidane
10. Maldini

The Association of Football Statisticians' Top 100 Players of All Time (Liverpool players in bold):

1 Pelé (Brazil)
2 Ronaldo (Brazil)
3 Romário (Brazil)
4 Luís Figo (Portugal)
5 Zinedine Zidane (France)
6 Diego Maradona (Argentina)
7 Matthäus (Germany)
8 Gerd Müller (Germany)
9 Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
10 Cafu (Brazil)
11 Roberto Carlos (Brazil)
12 Marco van Basten (Holland)
13 Michel Platini (France)
14 Rivaldo (Brazil)
15 Paolo Maldini (Italy)
16 Zico (Brazil)
17 Raúl (Spain)
18 Ruud Gullit (Holland)
19 Eusébio (Portugal)
20 Ferenc Puskás (Hungary)
21 Johan Cruyff (Holland)
22 Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina)
23 Bobby Charlton (England)
24 Jürgen Klinsmann (Ger)
25 Kenny Dalglish (Scotland)
26 Ali Daei (Iran)
27 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Ger)
28 Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina)
29 Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
30 Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)
31 Dennis Bergkamp (Holland)
32 Frank Rijkaard (Holland)
33 Thierry Henry (France)
34 Pavel Nedved (Czech Rep)
35 Gheorghe Hagi (Romania)
36 Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
37 Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine)
38 Sepp Maier (Germany)
39 Didier Deschamps (France)
40 Lilian Thuram (France)
41 Enzo Francescoli (Uruguay)
42 Hakan Şükür (Turkey)
43 Paolo Rossi (Italy)
44 David Beckham (England)
45 Jean-Pierre Papin (France)
46 Kevin Keegan (England)
47 Marcel Desailly (France)
48 Oliver Kahn (Germany)
49 Alessandro Costacurta (Ita)
50 Clarence Seedorf (Holland)
51 Dino Zoff (Italy)
52 Patrick Kluivert (Holland)
53 Jari Litmanen (Finland)
54 Daniel Passarella (Arg)
55 Bixente Lizarazu (France)
56 Gary Lineker (England)
57 Ronaldinho (Brazil)
58 Sylvain Wiltord (France)
59 Bebeto (Brazil)
60 Alessandro Del Piero (Italy)
61 Davor Šuker (Croatia)
62 Ryan Giggs (Wales)
63 David Trezeguet (France)
64 Demetrio Albertini (Italy)
65 Patrick Vieira (France)
66 Jürgen Kohler (Germany)
67 Laurent Blanc (France)
68 Michael Owen (England)
69 Youri Djorkaeff (France)
70 Frank De Boer (Holland)
71 Emilio Butragueño (Spain)
72 Hugo Sánchez (Mexico)
73 Rudi Völler (Germany)
74 Djalma Santos (Brazil)
75 Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)
76 Kanu (Nigeria)
77 Franco Baresi (Italy)
78 Gianni Rivera (Italy)
79 Roberto Baggio (Italy)
80 Oscar Ruggeri (Argentina)
81 Gheorghe Popescu (Romania)
82 Jon Dahl Tomasson (Denmark)
83 Raymond Kopa (France)
84 Carlos Valderrama (Colombia)
85 Rui Costa (Portugal)
86 Gary Neville (England)
87 Edgar Davids (Holland)
88 Claudio Taffarel (Brazil)
89 Paul Scholes (England)
90 Diego Simeone (Argentina)
91 Bryan Robson (England)
92 Roy Keane (Rep of Ireland)
93 Brian Laudrup (Denmark)
94 Henrik Larsson (Sweden)
95 Fabien Barthez (France)
96 Michael Ballack (Germany)
97 Jan Koller (Czech Rep)
98 Edwin van der Sar (Holland)
99 Robert Pirès (France)
100 Johan Neeskens (Holland)