The official magazine for the Champions League recently named the league’s 50 best players of all time. Here are the top ten players in Champions League history.
1. Zinedine Zidane – The Frenchman Zidane made an impact on every game he was in. As a midfielder for Juventus and Real Madrid, he led both clubs to many Champions League victories. He also won several individual awards throughout his career.
2. Lionel Messi – Messi’s ball handling skills makes him one of the best active players (if not the best) in the Champions League. He has won several awards with Barcelona and has an exciting career still ahead of him.
3. Paolo Maldini – Maldini had a record 168 appearances in Champions League matches with five titles. All 25 years of his professional soccer career were spent with AC Milan. The defender has won several awards, including two Final Man of the Match awards in 1989 and 1990 and two Best Defender awards in 2003 and 2005.
4. Xavi – Xavi is a superb midfielder who has helped Barcelona become one of the best teams in the world. In 2009, he was named the official Man of the Match in the Champions League Final against Manchester United. He was also named the Champions League Midfielder of the Year in 2008, 2009, and 2010.
5. Raul – As one of Spain’s best footballers, Raul is the all-time European Competition scorer with 71 goals in 142 games. He has played with Schalke 04 and Real Madrid.
6. Ryan Giggs – This Welshman is the most decorated player in British football. He holds the club records for competitive appearances and team trophies won by a player.
7. Clarence Seedorf – Seedorf is the only player to have won the Champions League title with three different clubs – Ajax (1995), Real Madrid (1998), and Milan (2003 & 2007). As a midfielder, he displays leadership and control and has won several awards, including two Best Midfielder awards.
8. Luis Figo – Figo has played on some of the best football teams in Europe, including Sporting, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan, where he is now part of the staff. Many regard him as the best Portuguese player of all time.
9. Samuel Eto’o – Cameroon’s captain has won the Champions League twice with Barcelona and once with Inter Milan. His amazing talent and ability as a striker have brought him considerable success.
10. Steven Gerrard – Known for his long-range shots, Gerrard has played for Liverpool for his entire football career. The midfielder’s vital goal in the Champions League final of 2005 earned him the Man of the Match award.