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You may struggle to find a modern football fan that can tell you which club team Pele played for (Santos). It seems like every video, photo and story is about Pele playing for Brazil.

In 1975, Pele’s fame led him to New York to play for the Cosmos. There, he made the American public aware of a foreign sport known as soccer.

Although soccer’s popularity was fleeting and only made a dent, Pele worked tirelessly to promote it.

His importance to the game off the pitch was nearly as great as the impact he made on it.

1. Diego Maradona

Career highlight stats

  • 1986 World Cup champion with Argentina

  • 1988-89 UEFA Cup champion with Napoli

  • Scored 338 goals across his career

Whether it is the off-field lunacy or on-field genius of Diego Maradona, it is hard to think of any other player as the greatest No. 10 of all time.

Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup trophy and nearly did it again four years later in Italy.

Then, there was the 1994 edition of the tournament, with Maradona in the twilight of his career.

If it wasn’t for a failed drug test, Maradona may have led Argentina to the World Cup trophy in the United States, too.

The madness of Maradona led to his departure from Barcelona. His greatness saw Napoli win two Scudetti between 1986 and 1990.

He also led the Naples club to the 1988-89 UEFA Cup.

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