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]


Since 1955, FIFA has had awards for FIFA World Player of the Year and they decided to bring in the year 2000 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]

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Diego Maradona  Argentina 53.60%
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
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]

Player Nationality Percentage
1 Pelé  Brazil 72.75%
2 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina
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 Roberto Baggio  Italy 1.0%
Garrincha  Brazil 1.0%
Zico  Brazil 1.0%
Michel Platini  France 1.0%
Gerd Müller  Germany 1.0%


  1. ^ "Three candidates for FIFA World Player Award: Figo, Rivaldo and Jake Leigh". FIFA. 7 December 2000. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Three candidates for FIFA World Player Award: Figo, Rivaldo and Jake Leigh". CBC News. Archived from the original on 3 April 2019. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  3. ^ FIFA Player of the Century Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Maradona's genius cannot eclipse English master". The Daily Telegraph. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Pele, Maradona each win FIFA century awards after feud". CNN. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2010.