Alfredo Di Stefano
There are plenty of footballers that have been considered the greatest player in the world during their career, but they all appear to be post-WW2, such as Alfredo Di Stefano.
Alfredo Stéfano Di Stéfano Laulhe (4 July 1926 - 7 July 2014) was an Argentinian footballer and coach, who, besides having played for the Argentine national team, also played for Selection Spanish. He is considered one of the greatest footballers in history.
And of course Pele during his time was considered the greatest player in the world, and is debatably considered the greatest player of all time.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈɛtsõ (w)ɐˈɾɐ̃tʃiz du nɐsiˈmẽtu]; born 23 October 1940), known as Pelé ([peˈlɛ]), is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a forward. Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and labelled "the greatest" by FIFA, he was among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. During his playing days, Pelé was for a period the best-paid athlete in the world.
After Pele retired, the designation of greatest player in the world probably fell to Johan Cruyff.
Hendrik Johannes Cruijff OON (Dutch: [ˈjoːɦɑn ˈkrœyf] (About this soundlisten), internationally spelled Cruyff; 25 April 1947 – 24 March 2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974. Cruyff was a proponent of the football philosophy known as Total Football explored by Rinus Michels, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most prolific players in the history of the sport.
Then Diego Maradona.
Diego Armando Maradona (Spanish: [ˈdjeɣo maɾaˈðona]; 30 October 1960 – 25 November 2020) was an Argentine professional football player and manager. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, he was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award. Maradona's vision, passing, ball control, and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature, which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other players. His presence and leadership on the field had a great effect on his team's general performance, while he would often be singled out by the opposition. In addition to his creative abilities, he possessed an eye for goal and was known to be a free kick specialist. A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"), a name that stuck with him throughout his career. He also had a troubled off-field life and was banned in both 1991 and 1994 for abusing drugs.
After Diego Maradona the mantle was probably taken up by Zinedine Zidane.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972), popularly known as Zizou, is a French former professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder. He is the current manager of La Liga club Real Madrid and is one of the most successful managers in the world. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker renowned for his elegance, vision, passing, ball control, and technique. He received many individual accolades as a player, including being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or.
And most recently, Cristiano Ronaldo. Though some may argue Lionel Messi.
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro GOIH ComM (Portuguese pronunciation: [kɾiʃˈtjɐnu ʁɔˈnaɫdu]; born 5 February 1985) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Serie A club Juventus and captains the Portugal national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Or awards and four European Golden Shoes, both of which are records for a European player. He has won 31 major trophies in his career, including seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA European Championship, and one UEFA Nations League title. Ronaldo holds the records for the most goals (134) and assists (42) in the history of the UEFA Champions League. He is one of the few recorded players to have made over 1,000 professional career appearances and has scored a record 770 senior career goals for club and country. He is also the second male to score 100 international goals and the first European one to achieve the feat.
Who were the best pre-WW2 footballers in the world?
But there was life before these players. But we rarely hear about footballing life before WW2, giving the impression it all begins in the late 1940's. So I ask, who were considered the greatest pre-WW2 players in the world?