Who Is The Best Dribblers in Football History? Here is our ranking of the best dribblers in history.
Historically, dribbling and technical gestures have made football more beautiful and more spectacular. Some players have mastered this art perfectly, and can decide the fate of a match in a single action.
Our ranking of the best dribblers contains legends from all eras, from Stanley Matthews to Messi, including Ronaldinho or Garrincha. All these players have an incredible panoply of technical gestures, allowing them to dribble any defender.
Who Is The Best Dribblers in Football History?
Without further ado, discover the Top 10 best dribblers of all time.
10. Stanley Matthews:
Sir Stanley Matthews is one of the first great dribblers in football history. It was not for nothing that he bore the nickname “The Wizard of the dribble”. His skill on the ball was unmatched in his day. Thanks to his acceleration, his feints and his dribbling, he could pass any defender.
Matthews has enjoyed a career at the highest level spanning over 30 years. An exceptional longevity which allowed him to win the title of the best player of the season in England at the age of 48. The English player will spend his entire career at 2 clubs, Stoke City and Blackpool FC.
Very efficient with the English selection, he will never win an international title. Matthews is still one of our Top 10 best English players in history. In 23 years of international career, he has 52 caps and 11 goals. An incredible career which was crowned with the very first Ballon d’Or in 1956.
Pelé was an exceptional and very complete player. In addition to being among the top 10 scorers of all time, he is also one of the best dribblers in history. His ease with the ball was such that one could believe that the ball was stuck to his feet. This is what allowed him to perform incredible dribbles in very small spaces.
Known the world over, Pelé is considered by many to be the greatest player of the 20th century. With the Seleção, he won the World Cup 3 times, and remains to this day the only player to have achieved this feat. Considered a true hero in Brazil, he marked a whole generation with his sumptuous technical gestures.
His club career will be spent mostly at Santos FC, where he will stay for 18 seasons. A career rich in titles, including 6 Brazilian championships, 2 Copa Libertadores and 2 Intercontinental Cups.
8. George Best:
George Best is one of the most influential British players of the 20th century. He was a born dribbler, blessed with incredible natural talent. His agility on the ball, his technique and his liveliness made him one of the best dribblers of his time.
Best is a true legend for fans of Manchester United, the club where he has spent the majority of his career. He will be the most prolific player of the club for several seasons, and allows the Red Devils to win 2 championships and especially a Champions League in 1968.
In Northern Ireland, George Best is arguably the best player in the country’s history. The year 1968 was the height of his career, with the title of top scorer in the championship and the Ballon d’Or. Best is still considered one of the best wingers of all time today.
Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima is one of the greatest strikers in history. His acceleration, his technical gestures and his ability to evolve in small spaces have made him a formidable opponent for any defender. Good with 2 feet and precise in the last gesture, Ronaldo was also an excellent scorer. He is also in 2nd position in our ranking of the best forwards in history.
During his career, he went through many major European clubs, including FC Barcelona, Inter Milan and Real Madrid. Ronaldo won the UEFA Cup twice with Barça and Inter, but never won the Champion’s League.
It is with the Brazilian team that Ronaldo knows his best titles. He will first be a finalist in the 1998 World Cup after a very successful tournament. Then it was finally in 2002 that he won the World Cup, being the competition’s top scorer. Winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1997 and 2002, Ronaldo is one of the best players in football history.
6. Zinedine Zidane:
Zinédine Zidane is one of the greatest players in football history. An excellent playmaker, Zizou is a key element in all the teams where he plays, in particular thanks to his talent as a passer. But he is also one of the best dribblers of his time, known for his leg passes and for his favorite move, roulette.
Passed through Cannes and Bordeaux before joining Juventus, Zidane won 2 Italian championships with the Bianconeri. He will also reach the final of the Champions League twice, without winning it. In 2001, Zizou joined Real Madrid and finally won the C1 a year later. In the final, he scored a magnificent volley that will surely remain one of the most beautiful goals of his career.
With the Blues, Zidane is just as decisive. Very efficient throughout the 1998 World Cup, he scored 2 goals in the final against Brazil and allowed the Blues to be crowned world champions. Two years later, he is still one of the major players who won Euro 2000. Even in 2006, Zidane is still in great shape and shows it in the quarter-final against Brazil, where he will achieve an incredible match. Ballon d’Or in 1998, Zidane is also in first place in our ranking of the best French players in history.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho, is one of the best dribblers of his time. He’s a great technician, always unpredictable on the ball, which makes the job very difficult for the defenders. His speed and his immense array of dribbling allow him to adapt to any situation.
Ronaldinho went through several big clubs during his career, including PSG, Barcelona and AC Milan. Even if he becomes one of the best players in the history of PSG, it is especially with the Blaugrana that he will experience his best seasons. He won twice La Liga and especially a Champions League during his time at Barca. He will even be applauded by the public of Real Madrid, the eternal rival, during a classico where he literally explodes the Madrid defense.
“Ronnie” also has a great international career with Brazil. In the space of 14 years, he was selected 97 times and scored 33 times. Above all, he will be one of the major players when Brazil won the 2002 World Cup. Third in the Ballon d’Or in 2004, he finally won the title in 2005, which crowns the career of an extraordinary player. .
4. Johan Cruyff:
Johan Cruyff is surely the most iconic Dutch player in history. Ajax Amsterdam and FC Barcelona legend, Cruyff is one of the best dribblers of all time. He was a physical and very enduring player, but above all a high-class technician, able to easily chain feints and dribbles.
Trained at Ajax, the Dutchman naturally began his career there. In all, he won 8 Dutch championships, but above all 3 Champions League in a row between 1971 and 1973. Cruyff then decided to join FC Barcelona, where he remained for 5 seasons and won a Spanish championship. Back in Holland after a stint in the United States, he shows that he is still in good shape by even winning a Cup-Championship double for his last season with Rotterdam, at the age of 37.
Cruyff has played a total of 48 games and will have scored 33 goals for the Dutch side. We especially remember his performances at the 1974 World Cup, scoring 2 goals against Argentina and 1 against Brazil. But Holland, favorite for the title, will lose in the final against the FRG. Johan Cruyff is also part of our ranking of the best Dutch players in history. Following his football career, Cruyff will also have a brilliant coaching career which makes him one of our Top 10 best coaches in history .
3. Diego Maradona:
Diego Armando Maradona is one of the top 3 dribblers of all time. Anyone interested in Football has heard of Maradona before. His dribbling and especially his devastating body feints allowed him to pass any defense. Besides being a great technician, Maradona was also fast and a very good finisher, as evidenced by his many goals. He is also part of our ranking of the best attacking midfielders in history.
The Argentine wins his first title with Boca juniors by winning the Argentine championship. He then spent 2 seasons in Barcelona, where he notably won the Copa del Rey. But it is in Italy that he will become a real idol for all Neapolitans. Maradona allows Napoli to win their very first Serie A title in 1987, then a second in 1990. In the meantime, he also managed to win the Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup in 1989.
Maradona is, with Messi, one of the best players in the history of Argentina. He won the 1986 World Cup with the Albiceleste as playmaker and captain. During this tournament, he is unstoppable and receives the award for the best player of the World Cup. Everyone still remembers his incredible quarter-final goal against England, where he took out all the opposing defense on his own before scoring. He was then considered the best player in the world.
2. Lionel Messi:
Lionel Messi is the worthy successor to Maradona, blessed with the same dribbling talent that seems so natural to these players. With the difference of a much better hygiene of life, which allows him to remain always as efficient at the age of 32 years. Messi is a complete player, very agile and quick, which allows him to surprise even the best defenders with his dribbles and feints.
In club, Lionel Messi has always remained faithful to FC Barcelona. In 16 seasons with the Blaugrana, he will have won an impressive number of trophies and marked the club forever. Since their first season in 2004, Barca have won La Liga 10 times, Copa del Rey 7 times and Champions League 4 times. Messi is also the club’s top scorer in history, scoring 618 goals in 705 games. Having an incredible record in club, Lionel Messi has not managed to repeat the feat with his selection.
Finalist of the 2014 World Cup, as well as 3 times finalist of the Copa Libertadores, he still has not won a major title with the Albiceleste. Despite this, Messi is still one of the best Argentinian players in history. His immense talent has allowed him to accumulate a colossal fortune and to be one of the 10 richest athletes in the world. He is also the only player to have won the Ballon d’Or 6 times in his career.
Garrincha is considered by many to be the greatest dribbler in football history. His dribbling and technical gestures made him so enjoyable to watch play that he was nicknamed “Alegria do Povo” (Joy of the People). Elusive on the pitch, Garrincha could speed up any opposing defender and dribble them with disconcerting ease.
The Brazilian spends the majority of his career at the Botafogo club, in his native country. He won the Carioca championship 3 times and the Rio-São Paulo tournament twice, which was the precursor to the Brazilian championship. At that time, the country had some of the best clubs in the world, with Santos de Pelé in particular. A very good passer, Garrincha will also have scored 232 goals during the 581 games played with Botafogo.
But Garrincha is even better known for his international exploits. He is also considered one of the best Brazilian players in history. Alongside Pelé, he shines with several assists in the 1958 World Cup that Brazil won. It was four years later, at the 1962 World Cup, that he had his finest tournament. Pelé being injured in the group matches, it is Garrincha who will lead his team to victory thanks to his magnificent dribbles and several decisive goals. Brazil will never have lost a single game when Garrincha and Pelé played together.