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.

Pelé in 2008

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