Who is the greatest soccer player of all time?
Fans, pundits and players have hotly debated the question since the game's inception, arranging and rearranging the hierarchies with every generation of exhausted talent. But besides the insuperable subjectivity of the query itself (meaning that everyone will have there own opinion, thank you very much), several factors further complicate the question—of the vast span of time in which professional soccer has been played, the degree of global exposure between, say, Real Madrid and Penarol and the lack of concrete evidence from soccer's early era. One cannot honestly compare the '30's player of which there is no video evidence with a star like Cantona, living from first to last in front of the camera. That said, there are a few benchmarks that do make such distinctions possible.
On my scale, three factors matter. First, pure ability—easy. Second, length of career. Three—and this is usually for tiebreakers—permanence of contribution to sport. World Cups, Continental Cups, championships, Golden Balls, etc. also play a part. I should also note that their are no players listed who still play in Europe—so no Messi etc. There are a few who are still active-in less challenging or at least less prestigious leagues-whose contributions to soccer history are essentially finished.
So that's that. I'm sure this list will either omit or misplace your favorite player, but that's how it is. Please forgive the liberal use of superlatives and feel free to comment should the urge strike you.
And now, in your correspondent's humble opinion, the 100 greatest players of all time.