Whether you are a fan of football or not, you may have heard of some of the great midfielders who have played in the FIFA World Cup over the years. These players include Diego Maradona, Bobby Charlton, Zidane, Marco Tardelli, Johan Cruyff, and Clodoaldo. Regardless of whether you have heard of these players or not, it is important to know about their accomplishments in order to appreciate them and their place in soccer history.
Among the greatest midfielders to have ever played is Jose Ely de Miranda, aka Zito, who captained Santos FC and played in the World Cup finals in 1958 and 1962. He also won a number of championship medals with his team. However, he is often overlooked by history, even though he is one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
Zito was born in Roseira, Vale do Paraiba. In the 1970s, he was involved with the Fiolax company, which manufactured automotive components. However, he was legally liable for the debts of the company. He became involved with the New York Cosmos in the US and then began to play for the Fiolax company in the early 1970s.
Zito won a World Cup in 1958 and was selected in Brazil’s team for the final in 1962. He scored a header in a 3-1 win against Czechoslovakia in Santiago but didn’t play in the 1966 World Cup finals in England.
Zito’s passing was second to none. He also had great vision. He was credited with mentoring Pele, who played with him for Santos. Zico played a key role in Brazil’s golden era and helped to develop several young future international players. He won a number of championship medals with Santos, including two Copa Libertadores.
7. Zinedine Zidane
- During his time as a player, Zinedine Zidane was one of the most talented midfielders to ever play the game. Aside from his skills, he also had a great vision. He was also known for his passing ability.
- During his career, Zidane was a member of the French national team, and he made his mark on the World Cup. He was a major force in France’s run to the final. His performance in the game made him a household name in France. He was named the most valuable player of the tournament.
- He was also a key player in France’s Euro 2000 victory. The French beat Brazil 3-1, and Zidane scored twice in the final.
- His performance at the World Cup was nothing short of impressive. He played all 210 minutes in the quarter-finals against Italy, and he scored a pair of goals in the final against Brazil. Zidane’s performance was so good, he was awarded the Golden Ball. He was also named the best player of the tournament.
Throughout his career, Clodoaldo has played a vital role in Brazil’s World Cup victories. He was a key cog in the 1970 World Cup team that won the tournament. He also played in the 1974 World Cup final when Brazil beat the Netherlands. He was born in Aracaju, Brazil, and played for Santos Futebol Clube. During his time at Santos, Clodoaldo won the Intercontinental Super Cup.
Clodoaldo played for Santos for several years and became the vice president of the club. He was also a devout Christian and was involved with his church for many years. He gave his number five shirt to the church.
Clodoaldo also played with Pele for a time. Together they had one of the most prolific attacks in the history of soccer. Clodoaldo scored one goal for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup. He also scored a goal against Uruguay in the Mexico 70 semifinal. He also contributed to Carlos Alberto Torres’ goal against Italy.
Gerson was a talented midfielder who was one of the five tens in the 1970 Brazil team. He was also one of the main creative forces in Zagallo’s team. He was an excellent technician who could play in both defensive and attacking areas. He also was the main source of support for advancing full-backs.
5. Diego Maradona
Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona is one of the greatest midfielders in FIFA World Cup history. A legend, Maradona won the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament. Despite his renowned dribbling skills, he was also a brilliant dead-ball player. He completed 188 successful take-ons in World Cups.
In his career, Maradona played for various clubs including Boca Juniors, Gli Azzurri, Sevilla, Newell’s Old Boys, FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Napoli. In total, he played 680 games. In 91 matches for Argentina, Maradona scored 34 goals.
In the 1986 World Cup, Maradona scored a goal that is considered to be the best in tournament history. He scored the “Goal of the Century” against England, a goal that took England to its knees. He also scored twice against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup. He was a key member of Argentina’s World Cup victory in 1986, helping Argentina win the title.
Maradona was also an inspirational leader for Argentina. He led the team to a victory over Hungary and Italy in the second round of the tournament.
4. Bobby Charlton
Among the legends of English football, Sir Bobby Charlton is probably the most recognizable. Born in Ashington, Northumberland, he became a Manchester United legend, scoring 249 goals in 758 games. He was also a member of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994.
Sir Bobby Charlton started his football career as a winger but later adapted into an attacking midfielder. He was an integral part of Manchester United’s triumphs in the Football League and the European Cup. He was also a part of the English team that won the World Cup in 1966.
Charlton was voted ‘European Footballer of the Year in 1966 and became a member of the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in both 1966 and 1970. He was also named a FIFA World Cup All-Time Team member in 1994.
He was also a member of the Football League 100 Legends in 1998. He was the only English player to be part of the UEFA President’s Award in 2008.
He won the Ballon d’Or in 1966 and was named one of the world’s best players. He played a leading role in Manchester United’s European Cup win in 1968 and was the club’s most-capped player when he retired at the age of 32.
3. Johan Cruyff
During his career, Johan Cruyff played a variety of positions. He was a great dribbler and a great passer. His agility was incredible. He was also very individualistic.
Cruyff was known as one of the most influential players in football history. He was also a very influential coach and manager. He led the Netherlands to a World Cup final in 1974 and coached Barcelona to a UEFA Super Cup and European Cup Winners Cup. He was also a key part of the Dutch philosophy of Total Football.
Cruyff had a number of injuries in his career. He played 10 matches for Levante in the 1970s due to injury. He also played one season for Feyenoord. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1991. He was also fired from his job in Barcelona in 1996. He was also the face of the Total Football philosophy.
Cruyff played for the Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup and was the captain of the team. He also won the Golden Ball for his performance in the finals. He also won the Ballon d’Or three times in three years.
2. Marco Tardelli
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Marco Tardelli was considered one of the best midfielders in the world. He played a key role in Italy’s World Cup victory in 1982. His goal celebration in the final is considered one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history.
Tardelli is a member of the Italian Football Hall of Fame. He was also selected for the FIFA XI. His FIFA XI kit is on display at the Museo del Calcio in Florence. He has also published an autobiography.
Marco Tardelli made his international debut for Italy in 1976. He was selected by national coach Enzo Bearzot for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
Tardelli’s goal celebration in the 1982 World Cup Final is considered one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history. He scored a decisive goal against Germany in the final. In addition, he was named to the team of the tournament.
Marco Tardelli had a remarkable career. He played for several clubs in Italy, including Juventus and Inter Milan. He was a key member of Juventus’ administrative council in 2006. In 2007, he resigned from his position due to conflicting opinions with the management.
Known as the brain of the Brazil team, Gerson de Oliveira Nunes was one of the best midfielders of the 1970 FIFA World Cup. He had a brilliant partnership with Rivellino and played a crucial role in the aforementioned tournament. His performance led to him being rated as the second-best player of the tournament.
He was also a stalwart in Brazil’s Under-20 side. Gerson was known for his laser-like passes and his left foot shot. He was also a strong team player and a prolific scorer. He was also the key to Brazil’s electric play.
Gerson was called up by Brazil manager Anymore Moreira in 2006, having made his professional debut at the age of 16. He made his international debut in the opening game of the tournament against England. He missed the next two games against England and Romania, but he played a major role in Brazil’s success in the last eight games. He scored a goal in the final against Italy.
Despite Gerson’s success, he wasn’t always praised by the Brazilians. He was also criticized for his commercial, which allegedly encouraged corruption.
As the World Cup draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at some of the best midfielders in tournament history. Starting with the very first FIFA World Cup in 1930, there have been many standout performers in the mid-fielder position. Some players have had an incredibly long career, while others burst onto the scene and quickly became legends. Here is a list of the top midfielders in World Cup history, based on their accomplishments and importance to their teams.