The 25 Best Soccer Players of the 90s

Best Soccer Players of the 90s: The 1990s were indeed a golden era for soccer, featuring some of the greatest players in the history of the sport. The decade witnessed the mesmerizing skills of Diego Maradona and the prolific goal-scoring ability of Ronaldo, among others.

Best Players In The World By Position

Best Left-Back in Football History

Best Defensive Midfielders In Football History

Best Right-Backs in Football History

Best Midfielders of all time

Best Attacking Midfielders of All Time

Best Dribblers of All Time

 Best Free-Kick Takers in History

Best Strikers of All Time

It’s a challenge to determine the absolute best player from this era because there were so many exceptional talents.

The Best Soccer Players of the 90s

Here are the Best Soccer Players of the 90s.

25. Lothar Matthäus

  • Nationality: German
  • Position: Midfielder

Lothar Matthäus is thought of as one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the history of soccer. He was a strong leader on the field, physically powerful, had a good sense of the game, and was very determined. Matthäus was also known for his powerful shooting and skills in free kicks and corners.

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He played in an impressive 5 World Cup tournaments and played a crucial role in helping Germany win the Euro 1980 and, most notably, the 1990 World Cup where he was the team’s captain. In that same year, he also won the Ballon d’Or. Matthäus spent most of his career as a defensive midfielder, but he could also play as a libero, which is a more flexible and creative role in the defense.

Matthäus is a legendary figure for both Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. He won 7 Bundesliga titles and 3 German Cups with Bayern Munich and secured a Serie A title with Inter Milan. Additionally, he won 2 UEFA Cups, one with each of these clubs. However, he missed out on winning the Champions League, the only major trophy that eluded him. Despite this, he is still regarded as one of the greatest German players in the history of football.

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24. Marco Van Basten

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Position: Forward

Marcel van Basten, born on October 31, 1964, in Utrecht, Netherlands, is a former Dutch football player and coach.

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He is widely regarded as one of the top strikers of his time and achieved European championship success with the Dutch national team in 1988. His most successful club stint was with AC Milan in Italy, where he won the Italian championship three times, as well as the UEFA Champions League and European Cup twice. In 1988, 1989, and 1992, van Basten was honored with the Ballon d’Or as the best player in Europe, and in 1992, he was also named FIFA World Player of the Year. He has been recognized in the Italian Football and FIFA 100 Hall of Fame, among other accolades.

Unfortunately, due to recurring serious injuries, Marco van Basten had to retire from playing football in 1995, at the age of 30. After his playing career, he transitioned into coaching. He served as the head coach of the Dutch national team from 2004 to 2008. Currently, he is involved in work with FIFA.

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23. Roy Keane

  • Nationality: Irish
  • Position: Midfielders

Roy Keane, while known for his occasional aggressive behavior, was undeniably an outstanding player. His relentless desire to win, his powerful tackles, and his epic clashes with Patrick Vieira established him as a true legend at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson, his coach, even hailed him as the best player he had ever coached.

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Roy Keane spent the majority of his career with Manchester United, serving as captain for a significant portion of it. During his time with Manchester United, he secured 7 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup titles, and a Champions League victory in 1999.

On the international stage, representing Ireland, he played 67 matches and scored 9 goals. All of these achievements solidify Roy Keane’s status as one of the greatest defensive midfielders in the history of football.

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22. Peter Schmeichel

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Position: Goalkeeper

Peter Schmeichel is widely recognized as one of the top goalkeepers of the 1990s. He gained fame during Euro 1992 when he played a crucial role in Denmark’s unexpected victory by making numerous impressive saves. He holds the record for the most international caps for a Danish player with 129 appearances.

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He became an iconic goalkeeper for Manchester United, where he spent 8 years and collected an impressive list of titles. During his time with the Red Devils, he won 5 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, and most notably, the UEFA Champions League in 1999, which was achieved in his final year with the club.

After his stint at Manchester United, he continued his career with spells at Sporting CP, Aston Villa, and Manchester City.

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21. Ronald Koeman

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Position: Defender

Ronald Koeman is a legendary figure in Dutch football and is undoubtedly one of the finest defenders of the 1980s and 1990s. He was a rugged and dependable defensive player who also possessed the skill to initiate attacks with his dribbling ability. What sets him apart is his remarkable goal-scoring record, despite playing primarily as a defender. Koeman is often listed among the greatest central defenders in the history of the sport.

He began his career with FC Groningen and then moved to Ajax Amsterdam, where he secured his first league title. Subsequently, he won three more Eredivisie titles with PSV Eindhoven, along with a prestigious Champions League trophy in 1988. In 1989, Koeman ventured to Spain and established himself as one of FC Barcelona’s all-time greats. During his time with Barcelona, he claimed the La Liga title four times and earned another Champions League triumph in 1992.

Ronald Koeman also made significant contributions to the Dutch national team. He earned 78 caps and scored 14 goals while representing the Netherlands, solidifying his status as one of the greatest Dutch players in history. His crowning achievement came in 1988 when he helped the Netherlands win the European Championship. In addition to his playing career, Koeman also made a mark as a coach, notably taking charge at FC Barcelona, further solidifying his legendary status at the club.

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20. Oliver Kahn

  • Nationality: German
  • Position: Goalkeeper

Oliver Kahn, an authoritative goalkeeper known for his strong character, was undoubtedly the best goalkeeper in the world during his era. He possessed a resilient mindset that enabled him to reach the highest level through sheer hard work and unwavering focus. While his playing style could be very aggressive, at times perhaps too much, Kahn consistently stood out due to his reliability and an unyielding winning spirit.

During his time with Bayern Munich, he achieved remarkable success, including 9 national titles, 6 German Cups, and a UEFA Cup. However, his most significant accomplishment was winning the Champions League in 2001, a particularly sweet victory after a heart-breaking defeat in the final in 1999. Kahn’s heroic performance, including three crucial penalty saves, helped Bayern secure their first Champions League title since 1974.

In recognition of his exceptional skills, Kahn was named the best player of the 2002 World Cup, a remarkable feat for a goalkeeper, even though Germany was defeated by Brazil, led by Ronaldo, in the final. Despite his outstanding career, Kahn never managed to win an international competition with Germany as the starting goalkeeper.

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20. Roberto Baggio

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Position: Forward

Roberto Baggio is undeniably one of the greatest Italian strikers in the history of football. His exceptional vision, creativity, passing, and finishing abilities set him apart during a period when Italian football dominated in the 1980s and 1990s.

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He ranks as the fourth-highest goal-scorer in the history of the Italian national team with 27 goals. Baggio was a versatile player known for his excellent understanding of the game and extraordinary technical skills. These qualities earned him the prestigious Ballon d’Or and the title of Best FIFA Player of the Year in 1993.

Although he spent five seasons in Turin, he only won one Serie A title during his time there. Additionally, he never achieved World Cup glory with Italy, as the team finished second in 1994 and third in 1990. However, Roberto Baggio left an indelible mark on Italian football and inspired an entire generation of Italians with his unique style of play.

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19. Raúl

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Position: Forward

Raúl González, a Spanish international, is renowned as one of the greatest goal-scorers in the history of the Champions League. He was a formidable striker known for his speed and scoring ability, whether from close-range or long-distance shots. Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Raúl was a highly creative player and an excellent passer.

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He began his career with Real Madrid in 1994 and remained with the club for an impressive 16 seasons. During his time at Real Madrid, he achieved numerous accolades, including winning the Spanish championship 6 times and the Champions League 3 times. Raúl also clinched the La Liga top scorer title on two occasions. To this day, he holds the second-highest goal-scoring record in the history of Real Madrid, with 323 goals for the club.

In the UEFA Champions League, Raúl scored a total of 71 goals in 144 games, with 66 goals for Real Madrid and 5 for Schalke 04. This achievement places him in 4th position among the all-time leading goal-scorers in the history of the Champions League. With a career total of 449 goals, Raúl stands as one of the premier strikers of his generation. He also rightfully takes his place in the list of the greatest players in the history of Real Madrid.

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18. Fabio Cannavaro

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Position: Defender

Fabio Cannavaro was not only an exceptional defender but also an outstanding leader on the football field. He served as a true inspiration to young players who looked up to him. Despite his relatively small stature, Cannavaro made up for it with his exceptional ball skills and a keen sense of anticipating the opposition’s moves.

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His contributions were instrumental in Italy’s victory at the 2006 World Cup, and he earned awards like the title of world and European player of the season, as well as the prestigious Golden Ball award in the same year. He is undoubtedly one of the finest Italian players of his generation.

Cannavaro is widely regarded as one of the greatest central defenders in the history of Italian football. He spent the majority of his career in Italy, particularly in the 1990s when he was a key part of the renowned Parma team that secured a UEFA Cup and two Coppa Italia titles. Despite not winning a Serie A title during his career, he did achieve success in Spain, winning two La Liga titles during his time at Real Madrid.

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17. Franco Baresi

  • Nationality: Italian
  • Position: Defender

At number 17th on the list of the best soccer players in the 1990s, one of the greatest central defenders was Franco Baresi. He played alongside Paolo Maldini and together, they were the strong defensive foundation of AC Milan for a long time. Baresi quickly became known as a world-class central defender.

Baresi faced a tragic loss in his life when he lost both of his parents at the age of 16. However, his unwavering passion for football drove him to pursue his dreams and become a professional footballer for AC Milan. Throughout his career, he remained loyal to a single club and never considered leaving the team that held a special place in his heart.

In recognition of his phenomenal career at the San Siro, AC Milan decided to retire the number 6 jersey, a number that Baresi had made famous by wearing for nearly two decades. Baresi unquestionably ranks among the greatest Italian players of all time.

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16. Fernando Hierro

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Position: Defender

Fernando Hierro is regarded as one of the finest defenders in the history of both Real Madrid and the Spanish national team. He was a highly dependable defender who also posed a threat in front of the goal. Hierro was a versatile player capable of performing well in central defense as well as in a defensive midfield role.

A true legend at Real Madrid, Fernando Hierro spent an impressive 14 seasons with the club. Throughout 601 matches for Madrid, he remarkably scored 102 goals, a remarkable feat for a defender. During his time at Real, he secured 5 La Liga titles and 3 Champions League trophies.

In the Spanish national team, Hierro played a vital role. He was even more prolific in terms of scoring for his country, scoring 29 goals in 90 matches. Despite his participation in four World Cups, he didn’t manage to secure a major international title with Spain.

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15. Hristo Stoichkov

  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Position: Forwards

Hristo Stoichkov, a Bulgarian international and FC Barcelona icon was a highly skilled player known for his exceptional technical abilities. He had a knack for outmaneuvering opponents with his clever feints and dribbles. Despite his reputation as a bit of a troublemaker, Stoichkov remains one of the greatest footballers of the 1990s.

He began his football journey in the Bulgarian 3rd division but quickly made a name for himself at CSKA Sofia. There, he won the Bulgarian championship three times before making a move to Barcelona in 1990. It was with Barcelona that Stoichkov achieved his greatest successes, including winning La Liga five times, the Copa del Rey twice, the Cup Winners’ Cup, and the Champions League in 1992. He scored an impressive 117 goals in 254 matches, solidifying his status as one of Barcelona’s all-time greats.

Stoichkov’s popularity extended beyond Barcelona; he was also a beloved figure in Bulgaria. His most significant achievement with the Bulgarian national team was reaching the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, where he finished as the tournament’s joint-top scorer. He received the European Golden Boot in 1990 and the Ballon d’Or in 1994, establishing Hristo Stoichkov as one of the greatest strikers in Barcelona’s history.

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14. Thierry Henry

  • Nationality: France
  • Position: Forward

Thierry Henry is a legendary striker and a French international known for his exceptional goal-scoring ability and precise finishing. He possessed remarkable speed and was adept at exploiting open spaces. His signature curling strikes helped him score a significant number of goals. Henry also ranks among the greatest French players in history.

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His career began impressively at Monaco, where he won the French championship. After a brief stint with Juventus, he made a move to Arsenal, where he truly became a legend in football. During his time at Arsenal, he won the Premier League title twice. However, it was with FC Barcelona that Henry finally achieved Champions League glory in 2006.

In the UEFA Champions League, often referred to as “C1,” Thierry Henry scored 7 goals for Monaco, 35 for Arsenal, and 9 for FC Barcelona. In total, he scored 51 goals in the Champions League during his career, placing him in 8th position among the all-time top scorers in the competition. Thierry Henry also holds records for the most goals scored with Arsenal and the French national team.

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13. Paolo Maldini

  • Nationality: Italy
  • Position: Defender

In a country known for producing exceptional defenders, Paolo Maldini stands out as a truly extraordinary talent. The Italian dedicated his entire career to AC Milan, where he achieved the remarkable feat of winning the Champions League five times.

Unlike many top defenders, Maldini is not just respected; he is considered an icon in the world of football. He was a Ballon d’Or nominee twice and received numerous individual awards. Over his 25-year career, he received only three red cards, a testament to his calm demeanor and strong character, which were foundational to his success.

Maldini’s versatility was one of his key strengths. His timing in tackles was impeccable, and he possessed excellent positional awareness and a deep understanding of the game. He could excel in his primary role as a central defender or adapt seamlessly to play as a left-back when needed. This remarkable versatility places him not only among the top central defenders but also among the best full-backs in football history. For many, Paolo Maldini is regarded as the greatest defender in the history of the sport.

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12. Alan Shearer

  • Nationality: England
  • Position: Forward

Alan Shearer was the English number 9, known for his knack for scoring goals in various conditions. His imposing stature and powerful physique made him a constant threat in the air. The fact that he scored 46 of his 260 goals in the English Premier League with his head highlights his exceptional aerial ability.

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Shearer rose to prominence by leading Blackburn to the Premier League title in 1995. His remarkable goal-scoring ability earned him many awards, including a 3rd-place finish in the 1996 Ballon d’Or rankings.

With 204 goals, he became Newcastle United’s all-time leading scorer. His goal-scoring exploits also earned him the Premier League Golden Boot three times. Additionally, Shearer was a standout player for the England national team, where he became one of the top scorers in the history of the UEFA European Championship (Euro).

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11. Roberto Carlos

  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Position: Left-Back

Roberto Carlos is famous for his amazing free kicks. Many players have scored more goals than him, but his free-kick against France in 1997 was extraordinary and unforgettable. He’s considered one of the best free-kick takers ever.

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He started his career in Brazil with SE Palmeiras, where he became a Brazilian champion two years in a row. After a short time with Inter Milan, he joined Real Madrid for 11 seasons. While at Real Madrid, he scored 25 goals from free kicks and won four La Liga titles and three Champions League titles. He’s also known for his speed, strength, and powerful shots, making him one of the best full-backs in history.

Roberto Carlos had a successful international career with Brazil. He won the Copa America in 1997 and 1999, and in 2002, he became a world champion, which was especially sweet after Brazil’s defeat in the final four years earlier. In total, he played 125 games and scored 11 goals for the Brazilian national team.

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10. Luís Figo

  • Nationality: Portugal
  • Position: Winger

Luis Figo is considered one of the greatest footballers of his time. He played for many top European clubs and was known for his physical prowess and exceptional technical skills. He was particularly skilled in one-on-one situations, excelling in both dribbling and delivering fantastic passes. Figo is also highly regarded in Portugal and is among the best Portuguese players in history.

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Figo began his professional career with Sporting CP, where he quickly made a name for himself. In 1995, he moved to Barcelona, where he won La Liga twice. Surprisingly, he joined Real Madrid in 2000, becoming part of the star-studded Galacticos team. With Real Madrid, he won La Liga twice again and, most notably, clinched a Champions League title in 2002, alongside the likes of Zinedine Zidane. Figo concluded his career with Inter Milan, where he won the league championship for four consecutive seasons.

While Figo’s international career had its share of disappointments, he played a significant role in the growth of Portuguese football. Portugal reached the semi-finals in Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup and was a finalist in Euro 2004, although they didn’t secure an international trophy. Nevertheless, Figo remains a legend in Portugal, as well as at Real Madrid and Inter Milan. He was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2000, solidifying his status as one of the best wingers in football history. He also ranks among the greatest assistance providers of all time.

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9. David Beckham

  • Nationality: England
  • Position: Midfielder

David Beckham is famous for his exceptional long passes and his expertise in taking Free Kicks. Despite not being a very fast player, he compensated for it with his technical skills. He’s widely regarded as one of the greatest free-kick takers of all time.

Beckham is most renowned for his time with Manchester United and Real Madrid, two of Europe’s top football clubs. He was known for his precise long-range passing. He won the English championship six times and clinched the Champions League with Manchester United. Additionally, he secured a La Liga title with Real Madrid. Later in his career, Beckham played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, with brief spells at AC Milan and PSG.

Beckham earned 115 caps for England and scored 17 goals. His consistency was a key strength, and he often came through with crucial goals for his club and country. One of his most memorable moments was a free-kick goal that equalized the match against Greece in the dying moments, helping England qualify for the 2002 World Cup.

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8. Cafu

  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Position: Right-Back

Cafu is one of Brazil’s all-time great full-backs, just like Roberto Carlos. He was incredibly fast and could easily catch up with anyone who tried to pass him. His strong defensive skills always knew how to make the right moves at the right time.

Cafu began his career with São Paulo, where he won the Copa Libertadores twice. He then moved to Italy, first playing for AS Roma and later joining AC Milan. With AC Milan, he achieved remarkable success, including winning the Champions League and a Serie A title.

Cafu is also known for being Brazil’s most capped player, having played in 143 international matches. He was part of the World Cup-winning team twice, in 1994 and 2002.

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7. Romário

  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Position: Striker

Romario had a remarkable football career that spanned nearly 24 years and made him one of the greatest goal-scorers in the history of the sport. He is best remembered for his time at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona, two of the top European clubs.

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Romario was known for his exceptional dribbling and finishing abilities, making him one of the most lethal strikers ever. He scored an impressive 165 goals in 167 matches for PSV and added 39 goals during his two seasons at Barcelona.

Throughout his career, Romario played for various clubs such as Flamengo, Vasco Da Gama, PSV, Barcelona, and Valencia. In total, he scored 745 goals in 963 matches, including 55 goals for the Brazilian national team. This remarkable record places Romario as the second-highest goal scorer in history.

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6. Dennis Bergkamp

  • Nationality: Netherlands
  • Position: Forward

Dennis Bergkamp, a Dutch footballer, played for several top European clubs. He was a highly creative striker and a remarkable technician, often regarded as one of the most graceful players in the sport. Bergkamp was not only a great goal scorer but also an exceptional dribbler.

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He began his career at Ajax Amsterdam, a common starting point for many great Dutch players. During his seven seasons there, he won the Dutch league title, two national cups, and the C2 title twice. After a brief period with Inter Milan, Bergkamp thrilled Arsenal fans for 11 seasons. He won the English League Championship three times and the FA Cup three times during his time with Arsenal.

In the national team, Bergkamp performed admirably, although he didn’t manage to win a major tournament. He earned 79 caps and scored 37 goals for the Netherlands, securing his place among the best Dutch players in history.

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5. Rivaldo

  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Position: Midfielder

Rivaldo was widely recognized as one of the best and most formidable midfielders in the world between 1995 and 2002. He was a key part of the Brazilian national team, contributing to their victory in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. His remarkable sporting achievements earned him the prestigious Ballon d’Or award as “Europe’s Footballer of the Year” and the title of FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999.

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His most recent involvement in football was with the Brazilian team Mogi Mirim EC, where he also serves as the club’s president.

Throughout his career, Rivaldo played for various clubs, including Corinthians, Barcelona, and Milan, leaving a lasting impact on the world of football.

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4. Eric Cantona

  • Nationality: France
  • Position: Forward

Eric Cantona is undeniably one of the greatest players in the history of Manchester United. He was a highly skilled player known for his ability to outmaneuver opponents with clever moves and bursts of speed. Cantona was also a robust and sometimes aggressive player who could occasionally lose his temper. He was a vital presence in the offensive sector, excelling as both a goal-scorer and a playmaker.

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Cantona began his career at AJ Auxerre, where he made his professional debut and played his initial matches in Ligue 1. He had stints at several French clubs, including OM, Bordeaux, and Montpellier. However, it was in England, particularly at Leeds United, that he truly showcased his talent.

Cantona won the Premier League with Leeds before joining Manchester United in 1992. During his time with the Red Devils, he won the league championship four times, secured the FA Cup twice, and earned legendary status at Manchester United as “Eric the King.”

Eric Cantona represented the French national team from 1987 to 1995. His international career had its ups and downs. He was part of the European U23 championship-winning team in 1988 but had limited participation in Euro 1992, where France was eliminated in the first round. Nevertheless, many consider him one of the greatest French players of all time.

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3. Zinedine Zidane

  • Nationality: France
  • Position: Forward

Ranked number 3rd on our list of the best players of the 1990s is the legendary Zinedine Zidane. Known for his incredible technical skills and exceptional ball control, Zidane had a unique ability to elevate the performance of those around him. He also ranks among the top 20 best dribblers of all time.

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Zidane began his professional career with AS Cannes before moving to Bordeaux. It was with Bordeaux that he won his first title, the Intertoto Cup. Later, he transferred to Juventus, where he achieved significant success, including two domestic league championships. He also played in two Champions League finals with Juventus, although they were both lost, one to Dortmund and the other to Real Madrid.

In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid, where he experienced the peak of his club career. He won the Spanish league championship in 2003 and, notably, the Champions League in 2001. During the Champions League final, he scored a stunning volley, a goal that is often considered one of the greatest in his career. Zidane is also recognized as one of the best players in the history of Real Madrid.

For the French national team, Zidane’s journey is well-known. He played a crucial role in France’s victory in the 1998 World Cup, scoring two goals in the final, and also helped secure the Euro title two years later. However, his artistry reached its zenith during the 2006 World Cup. In the quarter-final against Brazil, he delivered an unforgettable performance and nearly single-handedly secured victory for France.

Considered one of the greatest players in football history, Zidane won the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and was named FIFA’s Best Player three times. His extraordinary understanding of the game also translated into coaching success. With Real Madrid, he achieved an unprecedented feat, winning three consecutive Champions League titles, setting a record in the process.

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2. Ronaldo Nazário

  • Nationality: Brazil
  • Position: Striker

The silver medal for the best player of the 1990s goes to Ronaldo. He was a truly exceptional striker, known for his incredible dribbling skills and precise finishing. Ronaldo represented the perfect striker, despite having a somewhat fragile physique. At the peak of his career, he was close to perfection. He was very agile and could navigate tight spaces with ease, thanks to his quickness and wide array of technical moves. He also ranks among the top 20 best dribblers in the history of football. It’s worth noting that without his recurring knee injuries, he might have achieved even greater success and possibly claimed the top spot in this ranking.

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Ronaldo began his career at Cruzeiro in Brazil, where he won the Brazilian Cup. After a stint at PSV Eindhoven, where he became the league’s top scorer in his first season, Ronaldo joined Barcelona. In just one season, he won the Spanish Cup, and the C2 title, and finished as the league’s top scorer with 34 goals. He then moved to Inter Milan, where he won the UEFA Cup before returning to Spain, this time with Real Madrid. With the Galacticos, he won the Spanish league championship and the Intercontinental Cup.

Ronaldo also enjoyed significant success with the Brazilian national team. He was part of the World Cup-winning squad in 1994, although he didn’t play a single minute in the tournament. In 1998, he was a finalist and was voted the best player in the competition. It was in 2002 that he finally secured his status as a world champion, with an outstanding performance during the tournament, finishing as the top scorer, including scoring both goals in the final. Ronaldo won the Golden Ball twice, was named FIFA’s Best Player three times, and is undoubtedly one of the greatest attackers in football history.

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1. Diego Maradona

  • Nationality: Argentina
  • Position: Attacking midfielder, second striker

The top player in our ranking is Diego Armando Maradona. He was an Argentine football player and coach, born on October 30, 1960, in Lanús, and passed away on November 25, 2020, in Tigre.

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Maradona is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players in history and is considered a legend of world football. He rose to prominence at a young age, making his mark at just 15 years old with Argentinos Juniors before moving to Boca Juniors and winning the Argentine championship in 1981. Known as the “golden boy” or “El Pibe de Oro,” he then made a record-breaking transfer to FC Barcelona. Although he won the Copa del Rey in 1983, his time at Barcelona was marred by health issues and controversies, leading to his departure after just two years.

Maradona then joined SSC Napoli, again for a record transfer fee. With Napoli, he achieved remarkable success between 1984 and 1991, including the club’s first Serie A championships in 1987 and 1990 and winning the UEFA Cup in 1989.

In 1986, Maradona led the Argentine national team as captain to their second World Cup victory, following their 1978 win. During that tournament, he scored two of the most famous goals in football history within four minutes in the 2-1 win against England in the quarter-finals. First, he controversially pushed a high ball into the goal with his hand, famously known as the “Hand of God.” Then, he scored what is often referred to as the “Goal of the Century” after dribbling past several players over about 60 meters. In total, Maradona participated in four World Cup tournaments (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994) and scored 34 goals in 91 international matches.

During the 1990s, Maradona faced challenges, including issues with drugs and doping, resulting in two 15-month bans from FIFA. After retiring from playing, he pursued a coaching career but continued to face health problems throughout his life.

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