FIFA Player of the Century

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] Maradona won the award based on the Internet poll, while Pelé won the award based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches.[2][3]


Since 1991, FIFA have had awards for FIFA World Player of the Year and they decided to bring in the new millennium 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]

1 Diego Maradona Argentina53.6%
2 Pelé Brazil18.53%
3 Eusébio Portugal6.21%
4 Roberto Baggio Italy5.42%
5 Romário Brazil1.69%
6 Marco van Basten Netherlands1.57%
7 Ronaldo Brazil1.55%
8 Franz Beckenbauer Germany1.50%
9 Zinedine Zidane France1.34%
10 Rivaldo Brazil1.19%
11 Zico Brazil1.15%
12 Garrincha Brazil1.08%
13 Johan Cruyff Netherlands0.87%
14 Alfredo Di Stéfano Argentina0.68%
15 Michel Platini France0.58%
16 Bobby Charlton England0.39%
17 Ferenc Puskás Hungary0.37%
18 Lothar Matthäus Germany0.37%
19 Lev Yashin Soviet Union0.36%
20 George Best Northern Ireland0.32%

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 9.75%
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 Michel Platini  France 1.0%
Garrincha  Brazil 1.0%
Zico  Brazil 1.0%
Gerd Müller  Germany 1.0%
Roberto Baggio  Italy 1.0%

FIFA Centennial Award

FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality.[7]

Winner Nationality
Franz Beckenbauer  Germany
Pelé  Brazil


IFFHS gave out an award decided by votes which was conducted with the participation of journalists and former players (no further details given).[8]

Player Nationality Votes
1 Pelé  Brazil 1705
2 Johan Cruyff  Netherlands 1303
3 Franz Beckenbauer  Germany 1228
4 Alfredo Di Stéfano  Argentina 1215
5 Diego Maradona  Argentina 1214
6 Ferenc Puskás  Hungary 810
7 Michel Platini  France 722
8 Garrincha  Brazil 624
9 Eusébio  Portugal 544
10 Bobby Charlton  England 508


  1. "Three candidates for FIFA World Player Award: Figo, Rivaldo and Jake Leigh". FIFA. 7 December 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  2. Pele, Maradona split player of 20th century award. CBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2013
  3. FIFA Player of the Century Archived 26 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. "Maradona's genius cannot eclipse English master". The Daily Telegraph. 12 December 2000. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  5. "Pele, Maradona each win FIFA century awards after feud". CNN.
  6. "FIFA Player of the Century" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  7. "Celebrations mark the opening of FIFA Centennial Congress in Paris, FIFA’s birthplace". Retrieved 9 April 2013
  8. "World - Player of the Century". Retrieved 9 April 2013
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