Ranked! Diego Maradona, Messi, Okocha Named in 6 Most Skillful Footballers of All Time

Ranked! Diego Maradona, Messi, Okocha Named in 6 Most Skillful Footballers of All Time

Babajide Orevba
  • Brazilian legend Ronaldinho exhibited breathtaking football skills during his playing days
  • Nigeria's Jay Jay Okocha, who was said to have under-achieved, also showed greatness
  • Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane are also among the most skillful footballers ever

Some footballers are ‘more complete’ than others when it comes to the artistry of the game, especially when they have the ball at their feet.

Very few players are specially gifted ‘from above’, full of so much talent that they could control the ball with every part of their body.

South America has produced some of the finest footballers of all time, from the late legends Pele to Maradona.

The world has seen some attackers and midfielders who thrived off their ability to dismantle opposition defenders with brilliant pieces of skill during their playing days.

Here we take a look at the six most skillful players of all time. This ranking is based on their individual talents alone and not what they achieved in the game of football.

6. Ronaldo de Lima

Many regard the ‘real Ronaldo’ as the greatest striker of all time. Ronaldo Nazario was sweet to watch as he scored incredible goals with ease. He was a near-perfect striker. He was a herculean task for defenders.

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From Italy to Spain, Ronaldo conquered the best defenders. The lethal and brutal striker scored 88 of his goals by sitting the goalkeeper down and rounding them.

Throughout his incredible career, the Brazilian scored 414 goals in 616 appearances for club and country.

Ronaldo was part of the Brazil squad that won the World Cup with the Selecao in 1994 and 2002 and he was personally handed the Ballon d'Or in 1997 and 2002.

5. Zinedine Zidane

Zidane scored one of the most iconic Champions League goals during Real Madrid’s clash with Bayer Leverkusen. He latched onto the ball with his left foot and straight into the net.

Zinedine Zidane, France, Best dribbler, Real Madrid
Zinedine Zidane enjoyed supreme control of the ball during his playing days. Photo: DANIEL GARCIA
Source: Getty Images

The Frenchman is arguably the best midfielder of all time. He literally created ‘art’ with the ball, commanding the round-leathered piece how he wanted.

Zidane had artistic abilities as he enjoyed supreme control when he was in possession of the ball.

His scanning of the field, his reading of the game and his understanding of his partners’ positions and of his opponents made him one of the most commanding ever.

4. Lionel Messi

Practically the GOAT! Winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or title seven times is not just a fluke. Lionel Messi has it all.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, Barcelona, most skilful player
Lionel Messi mesmerised defenders during his time at Barcelona. Photo: Eric Alonso
Source: Getty Images

Most defenders in the Spanish La Liga saw ‘hell’ during Messi’s trophy-laden stint with Catalan club Barcelona.

The Argentine has been at the top of the game for almost two decades, running riot with his magical efforts on the ball, Sport Skeeda reports.

The ‘small man’ plays a similar style to Diego Maradona as his stature allows him change direction swiftly, penetrating opposition defences using his close control, sharp turning and amazing technique.

Messi has won everything in football including the FIFA World Cup, four Champions League titles as well as 10 La Liga titles.

3. Jay Jay Okocha

A serial magician, known for his breathtaking skills and trickery.

Although the Nigerian legend did not enjoy laurels and awards, Okocha was a ‘master’ of football.

Jay Jay dribbled opponents without pity. He humiliated and mesmerised defenders so much that he was given the moniker ‘so good they named him twice’ at Bolton Wanderers.

Legendary goalkeeper Oliver Kahn will never forget what Jay Jay did to him in a Bundesliga match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Karlsruhe in 1993.

Jay Jay Okocha, Super Eagles, skilful player, Bolton Wanderers
Jay Jay Okocha 'was so good they named him twice. Photo: Shaun Botterill
Source: Getty Images

The Nigerian superstar dribbled and nutmegged a number of defenders, leaving the goalkeeper ‘eating’ the grass before slotting the ball home. Okocha said as per GoalBallLive:

“When I first got to Europe, it was Germany that I went to and the level of racism there was high. I never knew I was black until I got to Germany.
“When I got the opportunity to sign a deal and I signed, I was like – how am I going to repay this person back in a legal way. Then, I decide to dribble them in order to show am a racist.”

2. Diego Maradona

Regarded as the greatest of all time, Maradona was ‘cunning’ with the ball.

He dribbled with lightning speed, blazing defenders, who only realized he was gone once they picked their heads up.

Diego Maradona, Argentina, Napoli, most skilful
Diego Maradona scored the greatest World Cup goal against England in 1986. Photo: STAFF
Source: Getty Images

Maradona who passed away on November 25, 2020, was a pure joy to watch during his days on the football pitch.

Football fans across the globe fell in love with the game of football because of his exploits on the field.

He has been credited for scoring the greatest goal in the World Cup, following his sensational strike against England at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.

1. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho was in a class of his own when it comes to rating the most skilled players in the history of football. A pure talent who can control the ball with every part of his body.

He showcased spectacular and scored some impossible goals during his active days.

Ronaldinho’s movements, tricks and flicks came with so much flair that no one could resist falling in love with him.

Ronaldinho, dribbling skills, most skilful, Barcelona
Ronaldinho has been ranked the most skilful footballer of all time. Photo: Denis Doyle
Source: Getty Images

He was sweet to watch as he possessed breathtaking moves and could combine them with pace and exquisite finishing.

Zidane set for coaching return

Sports Brief earlier reported that French manager has been out of work once leaving Real Madrid at the end of a disappointing 2020/21 season.

His last season at the Spanish side was also his first season in which he failed to win a trophy as a manager.

Reports have it that Zidane is reportedly in talks to take over the coaching role at Paris Saint-Germain.