A top 10 list of the best shortest soccer players in the world right now

A top 10 list of the best shortest soccer players in the world right now

Claudia Kogi
December 15, 2022 at 9:10 AM

There was a time when soccer was considered a big man's game, and physical prowess counted for a lion-share potion of what is needed on the football field, more than mental and technical abilities. But that is long gone today, as the shortest soccer players are often the best; players who have become legends thanks to their incredible stamina around those soccer balls.

A list of the shortest soccer players
A top 10 list of the best shortest soccer players in the world right now. Photo: Wachirawit Jenlohakit (Modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Since soccer revised its traditions regarding physical stats, many talented but short soccer players have emerged. The likes of Lionel Messi, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla are amongst the shortest footballers known worldwide today. So, who are the shortest soccer players as of 2022? Let's find out.

Top 10 shortest soccer players in the world right now

Soccer is a very physical game, and there is no denying that when a player is gifted, they happen to be in a class of their own. However, one has to add that extra strength and stamina, or else he or she will be out of the game before they even get started.

According to recent data analysis, here is a list of the shortest soccer players who have proven that soccer is not a big man's game anymore.

10. Xherdan Shaqiri - 5 feet 6 inches

In the world of football, Xherdan Shaqiri is a well-known player. The two-time Champions League champion Swiss winger has represented powerhouses like FC Bayern Munich and Liverpool. Despite being short, Shaqiri has one of the strongest bodies in football.

He also has a unique left foot and a potent long ranger. He still has a place amongst the top Swiss football players ever with his World Cup performances from 2014.

Full name

Xherdan Shaqiri

Date of birth

10 October 1991

Age

31 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Albanian, Kosovar, Swiss

Height

5’6” or 168 centimetres

Weight

159 pounds or 72 kilograms

9. Alexis Sanchez - 5 feet 6 inches

Shortest soccer players as of 2022
Alexis Sanchez during the friendly match between Poland and Chile in Warsaw, Poland on 16 November 2022. Photo: Foto Olimpik
Source: Getty Images

Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez is a refined and gifted player. Even while his recent form may not have been the finest of his career, when he is at his best, he is impossible to defend.

While playing for some of the top teams in the world, including FC Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Inter Milan, Sanchez was sensational, and most recently relocated to Marseille in France. With his exceptional ball-handling skills, Sanchez is capable of outplaying any defence.

Full name

Alexis Alejandro Sánchez

Date of birth

19 December 1988

Age

33 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Chilean

Height

5’6” or 168 centimetres

Weight

137 pounds or 62 kilograms

8. Joe Allen - 5 feet 6 inches

Shortest famous soccer players
Joe Allen of Wales in action during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match against Iran at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on 25 November 2022 in Doha, Qatar. Photo: Visionhaus
Source: Getty Images

Welsh midfielder Joe Allen plays for Swansea City in the EFL Championship. He has been a crucial part of the Welsh National team for several years and is renowned for his inventiveness in the middle of the field.

He made 91 appearances while playing for Liverpool for four seasons. Despite this, he spent six years as a midfielder with Stoke City, where he established himself as one of the most influential players at the second level.

Full name

Joseph Michael Allen

Date of birth

14 March 1990

Age

32 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Welsh

Height

5’6” or 168 centimetres

Weight

137 pounds or 62 kilograms

7. Mathieu Valbuena - 5 feet 6 inches

Best shortest soccer players
Mathieu Valbuena of FC Olympiacos Piraeus during the PAOK vs Olympiacos for the Playoffs game of Super League in Greece on 7 June 2020 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Photo: Nicolas Economou
Source: Getty Images

French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, often known as "Little Prince," plays for Olympiacos. The 37-year-old football player Valbuena is ending his professional career. He was, nevertheless, a significant player in the French League during his prime years.

Valbuena was a quick-turning, agile dribbler who played for Marseille and Lyon. Additionally, he played 52 times for France, making his final appearance for the squad in 2015.

Full name

Mathieu Valbuena

Date of birth

28 September 1984

Nationality

French

Age

38 years of age as of December 2022

Height

5’6” or 168 centimetres

Weight

128 pounds or 58 kilograms

6. Marco Verratti - 5 feet 5 inches

Shortest famous soccer players
Marco Verratti of PSG during the Ligue 1 match against ESTAC Troyes at Parc des Princes stadium on 29 October 2022 in Paris, France. Photo: Jean Catuffe
Source: Getty Images

Marco Verratti is regarded as one of the greatest in the league when it comes to the ideal transitional midfielder. Despite not being the perfect midfielder's ideal height or physique, Verratti has disproved every preconception.

He offers managers a one-stop shop for recovering possession, controlling the game from the defence, or making long-range goals. Verratti stands barely 5'5 feet tall, yet he has a significant position in the football world.

Full name

Marco Verratti Cavaliere

Date of birth

5 November 1992

Age

30 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Italian

Height

5’5” or 165 centimetres

Weight

132 pounds or 60 kilograms

5. Lorenzo Insigne - 5 feet 4 inches

Top 10 shortest soccer players
Lorenzo Insigne of Toronto FC attacks with the ball during a game against Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium on 27 August 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Steve Limentani
Source: Getty Images

Lorenzo Insigne, also Verratti's best friend, is another football player who has disproved all preconceptions and myths regarding height. The Italian winger, who recently switched to MLS this summer, formerly dominated Serie A.

He had 122 goals in 122 games with Napoli before he left. His diminutive stature gives him an advantage in slipping past opponents despite his technical prowess.

Full name

Lorenzo Insigne Cavaliere

Date of birth

4 June 1991

Age

31 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Italian

Height

5’3” or 163 centimetres

Weight

130 pounds or 59 kilograms

4. Maximiliano Moralez - 5 feet 3 inches

List of the shortest soccer players
Maximiliano Moralez of New York City FC during the Major League Soccer match against New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on 17 July 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey. Photo: James Williamson
Source: Getty Images

Argentine footballer Maximiliano Moralez competes for New York City in the Major Soccer League. After playing in the league for more than nine years, Moralez has become a cult figure. He also tried his luck in European football through FC Moscow, but he was unsuccessful.

The average height of MLS players is 178 centimetres, thus, a player who is 160 centimetres tall excelling in the league is a huge event. His disposition and abilities demonstrate that you can stand out if you have quality.

Full name

Maximiliano Nicolás Moralez

Date of birth

27 February 1987

Age

35 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Argentine

Height

5’3” or 163 centimetres

Weight

115 pounds or 52 kilograms

3. Daniel Villalva - 5 feet 1 inch

Shortest soccer player
Daniel Villalva of Veracruz controls the ball during the 6th round match against Atletico San Luis at Luis Pirata de la Fuente Stadium on 23 August 2019 in Veracruz, Mexico. Photo: Jam Media
Source: Getty Images

Another talented Argentine attacking midfielder is Daniel Villalva. He is now a player in Argentina's second level with Ferro Carril Oeste. Villalva is renowned for his sophisticated dribbling abilities and accurate passes.

Despite barely being 1.55 metres tall, he has long challenged defenders with his ability. However, he has only ever played in leagues in South America and has never played football in Europe.

Full name

Daniel Alberto Villalva Barrios

Date of birth

6 July 1992

Age

30 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Argentine

Height

5’1” or 155 centimetres

Weight

110 pounds or 50 kilograms

2. Elton Jose Xavier Gomes - 5 feet 1 inch

Shortest famous soccer players
Elton Jose Xavier Gomes runs during a training session in Doha on 12 April 2010 on the eve of the first leg of the GCC Clubs Championship final against Qatar club. Photo: Karim Jaafar
Source: Getty Images

Brazilian football player Elton Jose Xavier is 154 centimetres tall. Although he is from a Samba country, much of his playing has taken place in the Middle East. He is often referred to as "Elton Arabia" because of his particular affinity to the Middle East. Gomes moved to Al-Nassr after beginning his career with the Corinthians team, the Brazilian behemoth.

He has represented nearly all the elite teams in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates throughout the years.

Full name

Élton José Xavier Gomes

Date of birth

7 April 1986

Age

36 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Brazilian

Height

5’1” or 155 centimetres

Weight

130 pounds or 59 kilograms

1. Marcin Garuch - 5 feet

Marcin Garuch is the shortest current professional footballer in the world, only 153 centimetres tall. He was born in Poland and has played his professional career in Polish leagues. He mainly plays in the middle of the field, where he can fool opponents with his talent with the ball and his diminutive stature.

Kids who feel their fate is not decided by their height find a lot of motivation in Garuch, the world's smallest soccer player at the moment.

Full name

Marcin Garuch

Date of birth

14 September 1988

Age

34 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

Polish

Height

5’ or 152 centimetres

Weight

121 pounds or 55 kilograms

Who is the shortest female soccer player as of 2022?

Who is the shortest female soccer player as of 2022?
Portland Thorns midfielder Crystal Dunn during the NWSL Championship match against Kansas City Current on Saturday 29 October 2022 at Audi Field in Washington DC. Photo: Nick Tre Smith
Source: Getty Images

Crystal Alyssia Soubrier is currently the shortest female soccer player in the world. She is an American-based soccer player playing for the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women’s Soccer League, NWSL.

Full name

Crystal Alyssia Soubrier

Date of birth

3 July 1992

Age

30 years of age as of December 2022

Nationality

American

Height

5 feet 1 inch or 155 centimetres

Weight

119 pounds or 54 kilograms

When a player is on the shorter side, the idea of being short may hold him or her back, as most sports demand tall players to take advantage of plays. However, soccer is entirely different. One might still do really well despite being a short player; just look at Messi, Hazard, and others who have lit up the soccer world despite their short heights.

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Claudia Kogi
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