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FIFA Player of the Century

Five years after the award, winners Maradona and Pelé exchanged national team shirts.

FIFA Player of the Century was a one-off award created by FIFA to decide the greatest football player of the 20th century, announced at the annual FIFA World gala, held in Rome on 11 December 2000.[1] Diego Maradona and Pelé were joint winners of the award.[2][3] Maradona won the award based on the Internet poll, while Pelé won the award based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches.[2][3]


Since 1991, FIFA have had awards for FIFA World Player of the Year and they decided to bring in the new millennium by conducting a public vote to decide the FIFA Player of the Century. This was to be decided by votes on their official website, their official magazine and a grand jury. Maradona won the Internet-based poll by wide margins, garnering 53.6% of the votes against 18.53% for Pelé.[4] Despite the fact that Eusébio, who played football professionally during Pelé's era, placed third in the poll, many observers complained that the Internet nature of the poll would have meant a skewed demographic of younger fans who would have seen Maradona play, but not Pelé. As a result, FIFA decided to add a second poll and appointed a "Football Family" committee composed of football journalists, officials and coaches, who voted Pelé the best player of the century with 72.75% of the vote, thus both were joint winners of the award.[5]

FIFA internet voteEdit

The results of FIFA's internet Poll were as follows:[6]

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Diego Maradona   Argentina 53.6%
2 Pelé   Brazil 18.53%
3 Eusébio   Portugal 6.21%
4 Roberto Baggio   Italy 5.42%
5 Romário   Brazil 1.69%
6 Marco van Basten   Netherlands 1.57%
7 Ronaldo   Brazil 1.55%
8 Franz Beckenbauer   Germany 1.50%
9 Zinedine Zidane   France 1.34%
10 Rivaldo   Brazil 1.19%
11 Zico   Brazil 1.15%
12 Garrincha   Brazil 1.08%
13 Johan Cruyff   Netherlands 0.87%
14 Alfredo Di Stéfano   Argentina 0.68%
15 Michel Platini   France 0.58%
16 Bobby Charlton   England 0.39%
17 Ferenc Puskás   Hungary 0.37%
18 Lothar Matthäus   Germany 0.37%
19 Lev Yashin   Soviet Union 0.36%
20 George Best   Northern Ireland 0.32%

FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury voteEdit

This part of the award was decided by the FIFA Magazine readers vote and the FIFA Grand Jury.[6]

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Pelé   Brazil 72.75%
2 Alfredo Di Stéfano   Argentina 9.75%
3 Diego Maradona   Argentina 6.0%
4 Franz Beckenbauer   Germany 2.5%
5 Johan Cruyff   Netherlands 2.0%
George Best   Northern Ireland 2.0%
7 Michel Platini   France 1.0%
Garrincha   Brazil 1.0%
Zico   Brazil 1.0%
Gerd Müller   Germany 1.0%
Roberto Baggio   Italy 1.0%

FIFA Centennial AwardEdit

FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality.[7]

Winner Nationality
Franz Beckenbauer   Germany
Pelé   Brazil


IFFHS gave out an award decided by votes which was conducted with the participation of journalists and former players (no further details given).[8]

Player Nationality Votes
1 Pelé   Brazil 1705
2 Johan Cruyff   Netherlands 1303
3 Franz Beckenbauer   Germany 1228
4 Alfredo Di Stéfano   Argentina 1215
5 Diego Maradona   Argentina 1214
6 Ferenc Puskás   Hungary 810
7 Michel Platini   France 722
8 Garrincha   Brazil 624
9 Eusébio   Portugal 544
10 Bobby Charlton   England 508


  1. ^ "Three candidates for FIFA World Player Award: Figo, Rivaldo and Jake Leigh". FIFA. 7 December 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. ^ a b Pele, Maradona split player of 20th century award. CBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2013
  3. ^ a b FIFA Player of the Century Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Maradona's genius cannot eclipse English master". The Daily Telegraph. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Pele, Maradona each win FIFA century awards after feud". CNN.
  6. ^ a b "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  7. ^ "Celebrations mark the opening of FIFA Centennial Congress in Paris, FIFA’s birthplace". Retrieved 9 April 2013
  8. ^ "World - Player of the Century". Retrieved 9 April 2013