Raúl, Pelé and World Football's Top 10 Groundbreaking Players

Jon SainzAnalyst IIMay 4, 2011

Raúl, Pelé and World Football's Top 10 Groundbreaking Players

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    Football has had a lot of ground-breakers, from the players who were the first to do something to players that had success both as players and coaches.

    Here is a selection of my top 10 groundbreaking players, longevity, titles, goals, a new style, there is a little bit of everything.

    They are not ranked and appear in random order, as it would've been to hard to say what achievement is better.

Antonín Panenka

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    He invented a new way to shot penalties.

    He also won a Euro Cup for Czechoslovakia.

    Panenka himself has said about this penalty: 

    "Nobody had ever taken a penalty like that before. I came up with the idea because I used to practice penalties after training at Bohemians with our goalkeeper Zdenek Hruska. To make it interesting, we used to wager a beer or a bar of chocolate on each penalty. Unfortunately, because he was such a good keeper, I ended up losing money as he kept saving more shots than I could score. As a result I ended up lying awake at night thinking about how I could get the upper hand. I eventually realised that the goalkeeper always waits until just before the last moment to try and anticipate where the ball is going and dives just before it's kicked so he can reach the shot in time. I decided that it was probably easier to score by feinting to shoot and then just gently tapping the ball into the middle of the goal. In this way the keeper had always dived by the time the ball was kicked and had no chance of recovering in time to save the shot. I tried it out on the training ground and it worked like a charm. The only problem was that I started getting a lot fatter because I won back all those beers and chocolates."


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    Without ever being the best player on the field, he has managed to top both the most matches played and most goals scored lists in the Champions League

    In La Liga, he's the maximum active scorer, third overall in goals and fourth overall in matches played.

Peter Shilton

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    1200+ official matches played. He's played more than a 100 league matches for five different teams.

    He didn't make his World Cup debut until the age of 32, but he managed to play 17 times and shares a 10 clean sheets record with French goalkeeper Fabian Barthez.

    He may also be remembered as the goalkeeper that received both of Maradona's most famous goals.


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    A guy with more Champions League wins than any other player.

    He was able to win the tournament six times in a 10-year span (1956-1966).

    The only one that comes close is Paolo Maldini, who won it five times, but needed almost twice as many years (18).

Paolo Maldini

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    First defender to win the Best Player award given by World Soccer magazine.

    902 matches in the Serie A, all of them with AC Milan, he's played every defensive position.

    23 Champions League matches without being substituted, absolute record in minutes played in said competition (2217).

    Part of the only father-son tandem to both win a Champions League.

    34 titles in 24 years.


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    First player in World Cup history to win both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot. He also won the tournament.

    Only two other players have been able to repeat this feat: Garrincha and Kempes

    Schillachi won both the Golden Ball and Golden Boot, but his team only placed third.


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    What hasn't been said about him yet?

    He gets in the list for all of his youth records (youngest player to win a World Cup, youngest player to score in the Brazilian League, etc.), for his scoring records (most goals in a season, most goals all time, etc) and for being one of the first superstars to join the NASL.


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    Only five players have won both the Champions League and the Libertadores. Two Brazilians and three Argentinians.

    Both Brazilians (Dida & Cafú) have also won a World Cup. 

    But only Cafú gets in the list as he has won two World Cups (1994 & 2002) and has also won a Copa de America (1997).

Johan Cruyff

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    He's one of the few people (six) to have won the Champions League both as a player and as a coach.

    He wasn't the first to do so, but he won it three times in a row and received a Golden Ball every year he did so.

    The first one to win it as a player and then as a coach was Miguel Muñoz (w/ Real Madrid), in a strange coincidence, the last to do so was Pep Guardiola (w/ Barcelona). 

Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo

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    Much like Cruyff, Zagallo also won a tournament as a player and a coach, in his case it was the World Cup.

    He won the 1958 &1962 tournaments as part of the Brazilian national team and coached that same team to another championship in 1970.

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