FIFA Player of the Century

Last updated

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 vote

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

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 vote

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

1 Pelé  Brazil72.75%
2 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina9.75%
3 Diego Maradona  Argentina6.0%
4 Franz Beckenbauer  Germany2.5%
5 Johan Cruyff  Netherlands2.0%
George Best  Northern Ireland2.0%
7 Michel Platini  France1.0%
Garrincha  Brazil1.0%
Zico  Brazil1.0%
Gerd Müller  Germany1.0%
Roberto Baggio  Italy1.0%

FIFA Centennial Award

FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality. [7]

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]

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. 1 2 Pele, Maradona split player of 20th century award. CBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2013
  3. 1 2 FIFA Player of the Century.
  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. 1 2 "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). 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