Best Dribblers of All Time: Dribbling and fancy footwork have always made football more exciting and visually appealing. Some players have perfected these skills and can single-handedly change the outcome of a game with their brilliant moves.
Football is perhaps the only sport that offers such moments of beauty. No other game can showcase such levels of brilliance and genius that seem almost magical.
Best Players In The World By Position
This ranking includes legendary players from different eras, such as Stanley Matthews, Messi, Ronaldinho, and Garrincha. They possess an impressive array of technical skills that enable them to dribble past any opponent on the field.
These players leave us in awe, while defenders often find themselves embarrassed and resort to fouling these skillful attackers. With incredible agility and creativity, some players have become synonymous with their era due to their numerous dribbles and daring style of play.
Best Dribblers of All Time
Here, we present a list of 20 Best Dribblers of All Time in a particular order.
20. Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard is widely regarded as one of the top dribblers in the world of football. His exceptional ball control, quick changes in direction, and clever use of tricks and feints contribute to his reputation. Additionally, his speed and agility make him a formidable challenge for defenders.
Hazard began his professional career at Lille in France, where he swiftly established himself as one of Europe’s most promising young talents. He achieved success by winning the Ligue 1 title with Lille in 2011 and being honored as the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.
In 2012, Hazard made a move to Chelsea in the English Premier League, where he has consistently dazzled fans with his performances. During his time at Chelsea, he has secured two Premier League titles, two Europa League titles, and the FA Cup.
What sets Hazard apart is his versatility as a player. Not only is he an exceptional dribbler, but he also excels in scoring goals and providing assists.
Hazard’s outstanding performance in the 2018 FIFA World Cup earned him a spot on the Dream Team. He showcased his skills and played a significant role in helping Belgium reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
19. Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero is often seen as one of the best at moving the ball around while dribbling in soccer. People know him more for his ability to score goals than his dribbling skills, but he can still do some impressive moves to get past defenders from time to time.
He holds fifth place for the most goals ever scored in the Premier League, and he’s the highest-scoring non-English player in the league with 184 goals. At one point, he even held the record for the most goals scored by a player for a single club in the Premier League until Harry Kane surpassed it in 2022. In 2021, he joined Barcelona without a transfer fee, but unfortunately, he had to retire from professional soccer due to health issues the same year. During his short time at Barcelona, he played in only four matches and scored one goal in the first El Clásico game of the 2021–22 season.
In international competitions, Aguero played for Argentina’s under-20 team and helped them win the FIFA U-20 World Cups in 2005 and 2007. He also participated in the 2008 Olympics, where he scored two goals in the semi-final against Brazil and helped Argentina win the gold medal. Aguero is the third-highest goal scorer in Argentina’s national team history and has played in over 100 matches, representing his country in three FIFA World Cups and five Copas América. He achieved victory in the Copa América in 2021.
Despite being renowned for his goal-scoring ability, Aguero also possesses impressive dribbling skills and has successfully bypassed defenders on various occasions. He is highly regarded as one of the top strikers in the world and is considered a legendary figure at Manchester City.
18. Ousmane Dembele
Ousmane Dembélé is highly regarded as one of the best dribblers in the world. His exceptional control over the ball, quick change of direction, and clever use of tricks and feints set him apart. Additionally, his speed and agility make him extremely challenging to defend against.
In 2017, Dembélé joined Barcelona in a transfer that set a new club record of €105 million. Since then, he has continued to be a thrilling player to watch in La Liga, and he has even won the Copa del Rey with Barcelona.
Dembélé is a versatile player who excels in multiple aspects of the game. Alongside his impressive dribbling skills, he is also a talented goalscorer and passer. In fact, in 2022, 90min.com ranked Dembélé as the world’s third-best dribbler, trailing only Messi and Neymar. This recognition solidifies his position as a modern master of dribbling.
17. Andrés Iniesta
Andrés Iniesta is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. He was incredibly skilled at controlling the ball, quickly changing direction, and using clever moves and tricks. He was also highly proficient at passing and is among the players with the most assists.
Iniesta began his career at Albacete Balompié in Spain, where he quickly stood out as one of the most talented young players in the country. In 2002, he joined Barcelona, where he achieved remarkable success, winning numerous trophies including nine La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and even the FIFA World Cup.
Iniesta played a crucial role in Barcelona’s dominance of Spanish and European football during the 2000s and 2010s. He was known for his exceptional vision, passing skills, and ability to dribble past defenders. Additionally, he was a respected leader and often served as the captain of the Barcelona team.
Iniesta, along with his teammate Xavi, formed one of the best midfield duos in football history. Iniesta retired from professional football in 2018.
16. Vini Jr.
Vinicius Junior is widely recognized as one of the top dribblers in today’s football world. He possesses remarkable ball control and has a talent for swiftly changing direction, along with employing tricks and feints. His exceptional speed and agility further contribute to his challenging nature for defenders.
Vinicius Junior kick-started his career at Flamengo in Brazil, where he swiftly gained recognition as one of the most talented young players on the global stage.
In 2018, Vinicius Junior made a move to Real Madrid for a transfer fee of €45 million. He has continued to impress as one of the most thrilling players in La Liga and attained victory in the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in 2022.
Vinicius Junior is a highly versatile player. Not only is he an outstanding dribbler, but he also possesses excellent scoring and passing abilities. In 2023, Planetfootball.com honored Vinicius Junior with the title of the world’s best dribbler, taking into account successful dribbles and crosses, playing time, and the difficulty of matches played.
15. Kylian Mbappé
It would be unfair to overlook Mbappé in any discussion of the best dribblers, despite his young age. Mbappé possesses incredible speed, skill, and all the qualities of a great dribbler. While he may not be as flamboyant as Ronaldinho, he has firmly established himself as one of the sport’s finest dribblers.
Mbappé embarked on his career at Monaco, where he quickly gained recognition as one of Europe’s most thrilling young talents. He secured the Ligue 1 title with Monaco in 2017 and received the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award.
In 2017, Mbappé made a move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a world-record transfer fee of €180 million. He has since maintained his reputation as one of the most prolific goal scorers in Ligue 1, while also securing the Coupe de France and the Trophée des Champions with PSG.
Mbappé is a remarkably well-rounded player. Not only is he an exceptional dribbler, but he also possesses impressive scoring and passing abilities. His tremendous speed and agility make him incredibly challenging to defend against.
In 2018, Mbappé achieved victory in the World Cup with the French national team. He became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958. Moreover, in the 2022 World Cup, he won the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot by scoring the most goals in the tournament, including a memorable hat-trick in the final, although Argentina ultimately won on penalties.
At just 24 years old, Mbappé still has the potential to become one of the world’s greatest players. He has already established himself as one of the finest dribblers in the world.
14. Neymar Jr.
Neymar is widely regarded as the best dribbler in the world today. He possesses exceptional ball control, the ability to swiftly change direction, and a wide array of tricks and feints.
Undoubtedly, Neymar is an outstanding dribbler who frustrates defenders, often leaving them uncertain of how to stop him. He embodies the Brazilian style of play with his audacious and complex dribbling moves, such as the “rainbow,” step-overs, and the “sombrero.”
In 2017, Neymar made a move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a world-record transfer fee of €222 million. He has since remained one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Ligue 1. However, he has faced criticism for his inconsistency and tendency to suffer injuries.
Opinions about Neymar’s attitude on the field may vary, but there is unanimous agreement that his skills as a player are truly impressive. Having had a remarkable career with FC Barcelona after starting at Santos FC, he has been a key player at PSG since the 2017-2018 season.
13. Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane was a very disciplined player and is considered one of the greatest footballers in history. He was known for his exceptional skills as a playmaker, especially when playing for the French national team alongside Michel Platini. Zidane’s style of play was characterized by his smoothness and precise passes using his shoulders.
Before joining Real Madrid, Zidane played for Cannes and Bordeaux, and later had a successful stint at Juventus, winning two Italian championships. Although he reached the Champions League final twice with Juventus, he didn’t win the trophy. However, after moving to Real Madrid in 2001, he finally won the Champions League in 2002. In the final, he scored an amazing volley that is still considered one of his best goals ever.
Zidane’s impact on the French national team was equally significant. He played a crucial role in the 1998 World Cup, scoring two goals in the final against Brazil and helping France become world champions. He also played a key part in France’s victory in the Euro 2000 tournament. Even in 2006, Zidane showed his brilliance in the quarter-final against Brazil. He was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and is widely regarded as one of the best French players of all time.
Zidane was renowned for his exceptional ball control skills, which contributed to his place among the greatest players. He had a remarkable ability to keep the ball close to him and would often dribble past opponents with long runs.
12. Stanley Matthews
Sir Stanley Matthews is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. He earned the nickname “The Wizard of the Dribble” for good reason. His skill and finesse on the field were unmatched during his time. He had the ability to outmaneuver any defender with his speed, clever feints, and impressive dribbling techniques.
Matthews enjoyed a highly successful career that spanned over 30 years, showcasing his remarkable longevity in the sport. At the age of 48, he even won the award for the best player of the season in England, highlighting his enduring talent. Throughout his career, Matthews played for Stoke City and Blackpool FC, remaining loyal to these clubs.
Despite his impressive performances for the English national team, Matthews did not win an international title. He represented his country for 23 years, earning 52 caps and scoring 11 goals. Nonetheless, his incredible career was recognized with the inaugural Ballon d’Or award in 1956, solidifying his status as a football legend.
11. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo, often referred to as CR7, is considered the epitome of a modern player. He possesses a unique combination of goal-scoring ability, dribbling skills, and an incredible knack for creating magic on the field. His talent and vision make him a constant threat to defenders.
Ronaldo’s dribbling prowess has been evident since his early days as a teenager. He showcased his skills during his time at Manchester United, where he won three Premier League titles and the Champions League. He has continued to excel at Real Madrid and Juventus, accumulating numerous trophies along the way.
His dribbling technique is of extraordinary quality, employing various moves such as the roulette and the step-over. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. Additionally, Ronaldo holds records for both goals and dribbling in the Champions League, solidifying his status as a true legend of the game.
10. Roberto Baggio
Roberto Baggio is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. His remarkable ball control, quick change of direction, and elegant style of play set him apart.
Baggio is often remembered for his iconic “divine ponytail” hairstyle, particularly during the 1994 World Cup held in the United States. Although his legacy is marked by a heartbreaking moment in that tournament, his overall career as a showman deserves recognition.
He is considered one of the finest Italian players and one of the best of his generation. Baggio’s achievements include winning the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards, highlighting his immense talent and skill on the field.
While Italian football is often associated with a defensive style of play, Baggio was a unique figure. He brought a sense of entertainment, captivating spectators with his exquisite control and delicate touches. His ability to outwit opponents with flair, agility, body feints, and sudden bursts of speed made him one of the greatest dribblers in the history of the game.
Pelé was not only an exceptional and versatile player but also one of the best dribblers in the history of football. Despite limited footage, his incredible skills with the ball are evident.
His ball control was extraordinary, and it often appeared as though the ball was attached to his feet. Pelé could perform mesmerizing dribbles even in tight spaces, leaving defenders bewildered.
While Pelé is renowned for his prolific goal-scoring ability, his dribbling skills are often overlooked. However, the limited videos available serve as a testament to his unrivaled dribbling prowess.
Pelé’s ability to maintain control of the ball in challenging situations was remarkable. He could hold onto the ball amidst a crowd of defenders inside the penalty area and still find a way to score.
Recognized globally, Pelé is widely regarded as the greatest player of the 20th century. He achieved an extraordinary feat by winning the World Cup three times with the Brazilian national team, a record that still stands today. In Brazil, he is considered a true hero, captivating an entire generation with his breathtaking technical abilities.
During his club career, Pelé predominantly played for Santos FC for 18 seasons. He accumulated numerous titles, including six Brazilian championships, two Copa Libertadores trophies, and two Intercontinental Cups.
Rivellino is widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football. His exceptional ball control, quick change of direction, and flamboyant style of play set him apart from others. He was also known for his accuracy in passing and scoring goals.
Roberto Rivellino, the Brazilian player with a distinctive mustache, showcased his skills in three World Cups for his country. He was famous for his trademark curled free kicks, excellent vision on the field, precise long passes, powerful long-range shots, and, of course, his dribbling abilities. Many consider him one of the most elegant soccer players of all time.
Rivellino’s legacy includes being credited as the inventor of the “flip-flap” or “elastic” move, which has been emulated by notable players such as Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Cristiano Ronaldo. While he is often praised as the original creator of the move, Rivellino admitted that he perfected it after observing a former teammate perform it.
Regardless, Rivellino was a player who loved to frustrate and torment his opponents. His close control with his left foot was remarkable, and even Diego Maradona, one of the greatest footballers of all time, named the former Corinthians star as one of his inspirations during his own upbringing.
7. George Best
George Best, a legendary figure in Manchester United’s history, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He possessed an extraordinary talent on the soccer field, earning him the status of a genius.
During his time at Manchester United, Best showcased his prowess by scoring an impressive 179 goals in 470 games. He held the distinction of being the club’s top scorer for four consecutive seasons. Renowned for his natural dribbling ability, he was considered one of the finest dribblers of his era, owing to his speed, skill, and agility.
Best was not only a prolific goal scorer but also an exceptional dribbler. Many regard him as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of the sport. Particularly dominant on the right flank, his playing style combined pace, balance, skill, feints, and the unique ability to effortlessly outmaneuver defenders.
As a Manchester United legend, Best is revered by the club’s fans. He spent the majority of his career at the club and was consistently their most valuable player. He played a significant role in helping the Red Devils secure two championships, including the prestigious 1968 European Cup.
George Best holds a special place in Northern Ireland’s football history and is considered their greatest player. His career reached its peak in 1968 when he was named the best player in the league and awarded the Ballon d’Or. He is widely recognized as one of the greatest wingers in the history of the sport.
Although Best primarily utilized his right foot to weave through opposing defenders, he possessed equal proficiency with his left foot. He utilized both the inside and outside of his feet to quickly change direction, evade tackles, and create space for shooting or passing.
In Belfast, there is a saying: “Fight well, Maradona better, George Best.” This saying reflects the admiration for Best, as he was simply regarded as the best.
6. Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff is widely recognized as the most iconic Dutch player in football history. He achieved legendary status at both Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona and is considered one of the greatest dribblers of all time. His playing style combined strength, stamina, and exceptional technical skills, making him a formidable player on the field.
Many even saw him as a natural successor to Pelé due to his remarkable abilities. Cruyff had a unique talent for identifying the weaknesses in opposing defenses. With a sudden burst of speed, he would exploit those gaps and make his way towards the penalty area. His dribbling skills were outstanding, and he even had a move named after him, the “Cruyff spin.”
Cruyff made a significant impact during his time at FC Barcelona, where he spent five seasons and won the Spanish championship. After a spell in America, he returned to the Netherlands and, at the age of 37, achieved a cup double in his final season with Rotterdam.
One of the aspects that set Cruyff apart was his tendency to drop deep or drift from his center forward position. This was uncommon at the time but showcased his exceptional poise, impeccable balance, excellent ball control, and impressive burst of speed. He was the complete package as a player.
Cruyff began his career at Ajax, where he honed his skills. He won a total of eight Dutch titles and, most notably, three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles between 1971 and 1973, establishing his dominance on the European stage.
5. Ronaldo Nazario
R9, also known as Ronaldo, was a highly prolific goal scorer for the Brazilian national team, with 62 goals in 98 caps. While he may have been slightly less creative than his compatriot Ronaldinho, he excelled in the art of dribbling and was a true genius in that regard.
Ronaldo possessed the complete package as a player. He had the ability to both score and create goals, and he could effortlessly outplay his opponents. His solo runs were a sight to behold as he effortlessly maneuvered past defenders and found a way to put the ball in the back of the net. He had trademark moves that were highly effective.
Whether playing for AC Milan or Real Madrid, Ronaldo consistently outperformed most European defenders. His exceptional technique, efficient style of play, and impressive two-footed abilities made him a formidable force. He was particularly adept at operating in tight spaces. Ronaldo’s heading ability was also highly notable, showcasing his all-around skills. He is regarded as one of the most complete and reliable players in football history.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo represented several major European clubs, including FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. While he won the UEFA Cup twice with Barcelona and Inter, he never claimed victory in the UEFA Champions League.
It was with the Brazil national team that Ronaldo achieved his greatest triumphs. He reached the World Cup final in 1998 after a highly successful tournament. However, it was in 2002 that he finally won the World Cup, finishing as the competition’s top scorer. Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d’Or in both 1997 and 2002, solidifying his status as one of the greatest players in football history.
Injuries hampered Ronaldo’s career, but it is often speculated that without those setbacks, he could have been considered the greatest player of all time. Nonetheless, he left an indelible mark on the sport, and his three FIFA World Player of the Year awards serve as a testament to his exceptional talent and greatness.
4. Diego Maradona
Maradona, also known as “El Pibe de Oro” (The Golden Boy), is indeed regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in football history. His ability to maneuver past defenders with his exceptional ball control and deceptive body movements was unparalleled. Maradona’s dribbling skills, combined with his speed and technical prowess, allowed him to overcome any defense.
Not only was Maradona a superb dribbler, but he was also a prolific goalscorer. His finishing ability was evident through the numerous goals he scored throughout his career.
Maradona began his career at Boca Juniors, where he won the Argentine Championship. He then had a successful stint at Barcelona, winning the Copa del Rey. However, it was during his time at Napoli in Italy that he became an icon. Maradona helped Napoli secure their first-ever Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990. Additionally, he won the Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989.
Maradona’s style of play was a unique blend of toughness, charisma, and sheer talent. His low center of gravity, combined with his impeccable control, made it incredibly difficult for opponents to dispossess him of the ball.
One of Maradona’s most memorable moments came during the 1986 World Cup, where he scored what is widely regarded as one of the greatest individual goals in football history. This goal, known as the “Goal of the Century,” involved Maradona dribbling past four outfield players and the goalkeeper to find the back of the net.
Maradona’s impact on the game of football goes beyond his individual achievements. He was a true icon of the sport, captivating audiences with his skill, passion, and unforgettable moments on the field.
Ronaldinho, often referred to as “Ronnie,” was indeed a football genius and one of the most inventive and daring players in the history of the sport. His skills and dribbling ability were truly mesmerizing to watch. He brought a unique flair and unpredictability to the game, leaving defenders in awe of his talent.
Ronaldinho’s repertoire of dribbling moves included the elastico, a skillful flick of the ball with the outside of his foot that has since become synonymous with his name. He also showcased his creativity with blind passes and small bridges, demonstrating his ability to deceive opponents with his quick thinking and technical prowess.
His passion for samba and the joy he brought to the field were evident in his style of play. Ronaldinho’s game was marked by his speed, stepovers, and ability to change direction and acceleration in an instant. He had a knack for leaving defenders rooted to the spot, unable to anticipate his next move.
After making a significant impact in the 2002 World Cup with the Brazilian national team, Ronaldinho joined Barcelona in 2003. This marked the beginning of the “Ronaldinho era,” where he dominated world football like few others. His performances for Barcelona over the next four years were truly majestic, and he became an iconic figure in the sport.
Throughout his career, Ronaldinho also represented other top clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan. While he achieved success at these clubs, his best years were undoubtedly spent at Barcelona. He won La Liga twice and, most notably, lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy during his time with the Blaugrana. His mesmerizing performances even earned him applause from the rival Real Madrid fans during a memorable Clasico match.
On the international stage, Ronaldinho had a distinguished career with the Brazilian national team. He earned 97 caps and scored 33 goals in the span of 14 years. He played a pivotal role in Brazil’s triumph at the 2002 World Cup, showcasing his immense talent on the biggest stage. Ronaldinho’s contributions to the game were recognized with individual accolades, including the Ballon d’Or in 2005.
While his prime may not have lasted as long as some would have hoped, Ronaldinho’s impact on the sport cannot be understated. He is widely regarded as one of the most skilled players in football history, and his technical ability and creativity continue to be celebrated. Watching Ronaldinho play was always a pleasure, and his presence on the field brought joy to fans around the world.
2. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, often regarded as the worthy successor to Diego Maradona, possesses an exceptional dribbling talent that comes naturally to him. Despite the tactical advancements in modern soccer, Messi continues to excel and make the efforts of defenders seem futile. His abilities, combined with his agility, make him a complete player capable of surprising even the best defenders with his dribbling and feints.
Messi burst onto the scene in 2004 and quickly established himself as one of the best players of his generation. Like Maradona, he has a low center of gravity due to his shorter stature, which grants him greater agility on the field. His quick changes of direction and ability to evade tackles while maintaining blistering speed are among the many reasons why he is widely considered the best dribbler in the world.
Throughout his career, Messi has played with FC Barcelona, where he remained loyal for 16 seasons. During this time, he won numerous trophies and left an indelible mark on the club’s history. Barcelona secured 10 La Liga titles, 7 Copa del Rey titles, and 4 Champions League titles with Messi in their ranks. He also became the club’s all-time top scorer, netting an astonishing 672 goals in 778 games. Messi is now playing for Inter Miami.
In international competitions, Messi reached the final of the 2014 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, as well as three Copa América finals. He finally claimed his second major international title with Argentina in the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar.
The eight Ballon d’Or awards Messi has received serve as a testament to his greatness. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, and his impact on the sport is undeniable. Messi’s skill, talent, and consistent performances have cemented his place among football’s legends.
Garrincha, widely regarded as one of the greatest dribblers in the history of football, captured the hearts of fans with his technical prowess and captivating style of play. His dazzling dribbling skills earned him the nickname “Alegria do Povo” (Joy of the People). Garrincha possessed an unstoppable ability to gain speed and navigate past opposing defenders with ease.
The majority of Garrincha’s career was spent at Botafogo in Brazil. He achieved great success at the club, winning the Carioca championship three times and the Rio-São Paulo tournament twice, which was a precursor to the Brazilian championship. Garrincha’s contributions went beyond dribbling, as he also displayed excellent passing ability and scored 232 goals in 581 games for Botafogo.
However, Garrincha’s international exploits are what truly solidified his legacy. He is considered one of the best Brazilian players of all time. He played a pivotal role alongside Pelé in Brazil’s victory at the 1958 World Cup, providing several crucial assists. In the 1962 World Cup, when Pelé was injured during the group stage, Garrincha stepped up and led the team to triumph with his magnificent dribbling and decisive goals. Notably, Brazil never lost a match when Garrincha and Pelé played together.
Garrincha’s connection with the game of soccer was extraordinary. He possessed a level of skill and flair that was unparalleled. He had a self-assuredness when in possession of the ball, and it was said that he made the ball talk at his feet. His acceleration, body feints, and ability to outpace his opponents time and time again left them humiliated and shattered.
While many football legends are remembered for their goal-scoring prowess, Garrincha is immortalized for his sublime dribbling abilities. He is widely considered the greatest dribbler of all time in the world of soccer, leaving an indelible mark on the sport with his unmatched skills and captivating style of play.