World Football Legends from A to Z

Mikhail Turner@MikhailTurnerContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2012

World Football Legends from A to Z

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    A Football Legends list form A to Z can be quite fun. It's all about the greatest player you would associate with each letter.

    This means everyone's list would be different. It doesn't necessarily mean the straight up best player for each letter. Some letters required a bit more deliberation and others won out due to a little personal preference. It's about who you would pick.

    For this list we are going to use the name by which that most people recognize each player. In most cases it is their last name, but there are a select few with only name that needs to be remembered.

    While the list does say legends, some current players are included in this list.

    So here goes my A to Z list of World Football legends. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Enjoy.

A: Amancio

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    Amancio was part of a fantastic Real Madrid squad that carried on the winning mentality of the previous generation, led by Alfredo Di Stefano.

    Amancio won nine league titles and one European Cup with Los Merengues, and was part of the Spanish side that won the 1964 European Championship.

B: Dennis Bergkamp

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    Dennis Bergkamp is my first last name entry, but he is certainly not the last. A player who was absolute class, his goals against Newcastle and Argentina are etched in the brain.

    Bergkamp won club and individual honours while playing for Ajax, Inter and Arsenal.

C: Johan Cruyff

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    Johann Cruyff was a fantastic player during his career. He was a key component in the creation of  "Total Football" and even invented his own move, "The Cruyff turn."

    Cruyff was no stranger to success on the pitch and was, of course, unfortunate not to win any International tournaments.

D: Alfredo Di Stefano

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    There were a great number of candidates for the letter D, but Alfredo Di Stefano won easily. Di Stefano is certainly one of the greatest players to ever play the game and his list of achievements is endless.

E: Eusebio

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    Eusebio's nickname, "The Black Panther," was extremely pertinent, considering the power and pace with which he played.

    Benfica's greatest era coincided with the career of Portugal's best player ever.

F: Giacinto Facchetti

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    Giacinto Facchetti was one of the first phenomenal attacking full-backs in World Football. During his time with Inter he racked a number of trophies, including four Serie A titles and two European Cups.

G: Garrincha

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    There is not too much one needs to say about Garrincha. He was one of the greatest wingers in the game, possessing speed, dribbling skills and a ferocious shot with either foot.

H: Thierry Henry

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    Thierry Henry gets the nod for the H spot. He is one of the greatest forwards to ever play the game and has the goal-scoring records, individual honours and the team honours to prove it.

I: Andres Iniesta

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    Andres Iniesta is only one of two players on this list who isn't at the tail end of his career.

    He has already won everything there is to win at the club and International level and has more than enough time to add to that tally.

    All of that, plus the fact that I really couldn't think of any competitors with an 'I' in their last name, hands him this spot.

J: Jairzinho

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    Jairzinho is just one of three players—Just Fontaine and Alcides Ghiggia being the other two—to score in every game in a World Cup tournament.

    He basically replaced Garrincha in both the Botafoga and Brazilian national team sides and his impact was very much the same.

K: Oliver Kahn

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    Germany has produced many great goalkeepers, and Oliver Kahn is one of them. He was an instrumental force in a dominant Bayern Munich side and was Germany's undisputed No. 1 goalkeeper for years.

L: Michael Laudrup

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    Michael Laudrup is the greatest Danish player ever. With a career that includes winning trophies at Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, he certainly left a mark on the game.

M: Lionel Messi

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    What Lionel Messi has done so far in his career is astounding. The fact that he is only 24 makes it very interesting to see what else will happen.

N: Pavel Nedved

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    Pavel Nedved was a delight to watch during his time in Italy. He won the Ballon d'Or in 2003 and his skills on the wing helped Sparta Prague, Lazio and Juventus attain a number of trophies.

O: Jay-Jay Okocha

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    Jay-Jay Okocha may not have some of the accolades of some of the other players on this list, but he was certainly up there in talent.

    He was the shining line in a great generation of Nigerian players and dazzled whenever he was on the pitch.

P: Pele

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    This was an obvious choice for P. Pele will always be in the discussion concerning who is the greatest player of all-time. His skill-set was outstanding and his achievements speak for themselves.

Q: Nail Quinn

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    I may or may not have missed someone when picking for the letter Q. In any case, Naill Quinn is the name that I chose. He did win a League Cup title with Arsenal in 1987.

R: Ronaldo

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    "El Fenomeno" was a brilliant player, and could certainly have done a lot more were it not for his injuries. He won titles everywhere he went and was a major reason why his teams won.

S: Peter Schmeichel

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    Peter Schmeichel achieved a great amount of success while at Manchester United. He was one of the best goalkeepers to play the game and that is evident in the number of honours he received, including being named World Goalkeeper of the Year twice.

T: Tostao

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    Tostao retired at 27, but achieved a great deal before then. He had a great goal-scoring record and was a star for Brazil and Cruzeiro

U: Javier Urruticoechea

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    Javier Urruticoechea won a number of trophies as a Barcelona player in the 80's. He won the Spanish Footballer of the Year in 1981 and the Zamora trophy in 1983-84.

V: Marco Van Basten

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    Marco Van Basten is another player that had his career cut short by injury. He was a prolific forward at Ajax and AC Milan, where he racked up title after title and left fans of the game with many memorable goals.

W: George Weah

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    He is the first, and so far only, African player to be named the World Player of the year. His skills helped him win titles in four different countries.

X: Xavi

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    Xavi will go down as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, and in the history of the game. His statistics from game to game are astounding and both Barcelona and Spain will have a hard time replacing him.

Y: Lev Yashin

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    Lev Yashin is arguably the greatest goalkeeper ever. His abilities were highly regarded, which showed when he received the Ballon d'Or in 1963. He is the only goalkeeper to have won the award so far.

Z: Zinedine Zidane

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    Zinedine Zidane was a player of absolute grace. His stature in the game will far outweigh the last memory anyone has of him on a playing field in a competitive game.