The Best Forwards in the History of Soccer

The best forwards in the history of soccer live on in our memories for their memorable plays and goals. Read on to discover them!
The Best Forwards in the History of Soccer

Last update: 06 November, 2020

Without a doubt, they’re the ones who shine the most during matches and who we remember the most for their goals and plays. In the following article, we’ll tell you who the best forwards in the history of soccer are.

Who are the best forwards in the history of soccer?

Soccer has given us and will continue to give us amazing memories. Due to the goals and plays they make, forwards captivate the world. This is why we decided to make a humble tribute to those “heroes” of the most popular sport in the world.

1. Johan Cruyff

When we think of forwards, this Dutchman who played in the 1970s and 1980s for different teams in Europe immediately comes to mind. Johan won the Ballon d’Or three times. The IFFHS considered him the best in his continent and the second-best in the world, behind Pelé.

He scored the most goals in the first team he played for, AFC Ajax: 246 in 328 games, with an average of 0.75 goals per game. During his 20-year career, he scored 358 goals in 688 games.

Johan Cruyff.

2. Pelé: one of the best forwards

The Brazilian is one of the best players in the history of soccer and also one of the best forwards. Pelé began his career in the 1940s. However, he became more famous in the following decade.

It’s worth noting that he played almost his entire life in the same team, Santos FC, between 1956 and 1974. He scored no more and no less than 1,087 goals for that team, including friendly matches.

As a player for the Brazilian team, he scored 95 goals in 113 games. In addition, we can’t ignore the goals he scored in the twilight of his career, in the New York Cosmos: 64 in three seasons.

3. Ferenc Puskás

This Hungarian player is one of the top goalscorers of all time. Between 1943 and 1966, he scored 662 goals while playing for different teams. In addition, we must add the 84 goals he scored with the Hungarian and Spanish national teams. At that time, a player could represent more than one country (not simultaneously) if they had two citizenships.

Puskas averaged almost one goal per game, with 709 goals in 720 games throughout his career, both for clubs and selected teams.

Ferenc Puskas, one of the best forwards.
Image: Hungary Today.

4. One of the best forwards: Ronaldo

Although his full name is Ronaldo Nazário, everyone knows him by his first name, as is the case with all Brazilian players. According to several statistics experts, Ronaldo is the best center-forward in history and an important figure in his national team. In fact, in the Brazilian national team, he’s the second historical goalscorer after Pelé.

He began his career at Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in 1993. But he also played for various teams, including FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and AC Milan. The last club he played for was the Sports Club Corinthians Paulista in 2011. He played a total of 518 games and scored 352 goals (an average of 0.70). He debuted in the Brazilian national team in 1994. In fact, he played 98 games and scored 62 goals there.

Ronaldo at a press conference.

5. Lionel Messi

“The Atomic Flea” is one of the best players of all time, and is also an amazing goalscorer. Throughout his professional career, he played for Barcelona. Nevertheless, he also stands out in Argentina’s national team.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or five times and the FIFA Ballon d’Or four times. Also, he won 34 titles with Barcelona and has been the top goalscorer in the Spanish La Liga, the Supercopa, and the UEFA Champions League on several occasions.

Lionel messi playing for Barcelona.

So far, Leo has played 1,200 games and scored about 1,100 goals. Without a doubt, this is a very interesting average that’s likely to continue improving.

6. Gerd Müller

This former German player is one of the top five goalscorers in the history of soccer, both in the Bundesliga and on his national team. Müller won the European Golden Shoe twice and also won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup.

He began his career at Bayern Munich in 1965 and retired in 1981. In that period, he scored 661 goals in 725 games (an average of 0.91). He played 62 games with the German national team and scored 68 goals (an average of 1.10).

Gerd Muller.

Here are a few other forwards that we just had to mention: René Houseman, Mario Kempes, Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina), Marco Van Basten (Netherlands), Romario, Neymar (Brazil), Thierry Henry (France), Miroslav Klose (Germany), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), and Raúl González and David Villa (Spain). Who’s your favorite?

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.