Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Best Players of the 1960s

Football has a glorious history, filled with shining stars who graced the green fields with their undeniable talent and skill. While we often hear about the modern-day legends like Messi and Ronaldo, it’s important to acknowledge the players from decades past who paved the way for the beautiful game we know and love today.

In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the best players of the 1960s. From iconic goalkeepers to mesmerizing strikers, these players left an indelible mark on the sport. So, let’s dive in and rediscover the greatness of these footballers.

Gianni Rivera

Gianni Rivera
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Gianni Rivera, the Italian maestro, is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time and one of the standout players of the 1960s. Spending most of his career at AC Milan, Rivera achieved legendary status at the club.

During his time at AC Milan from 1960 to 1979, Rivera played an impressive 658 games and scored 164 goals. Despite playing as a midfielder, he remains the third top scorer in the history of Milan. Known for his exceptional playmaking abilities, Rivera won 12 major trophies with AC Milan, including three Serie A titles and two European Cup titles.

In 1969, Gianni Rivera was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or, solidifying his place among the footballing elite. He also had a successful international career, earning 60 caps for the Italian national team and winning the 1968 European Championship.

Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore
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Bobby Moore, the iconic English defender, is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. As the captain of the England national team during the 1966 World Cup, Moore led his country to their first and only World Cup victory.

Moore spent his entire career at West Ham United, playing for the club from 1958 to 1974. He made 644 appearances for the Hammers, winning the FA Cup in 1964 and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965. Known for his impeccable defensive skills and leadership qualities, Moore is still revered as a legend at West Ham, with his number 6 jersey retired by the club.

At the international level, Bobby Moore earned 108 caps for England, playing a pivotal role in their World Cup triumph. His performance in the final, including two crucial assists, will forever be etched in football history.

Giacinto Facchetti

Giacinto Facchetti
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Giacinto Facchetti, the Italian full-back, is considered one of the greatest defenders in the history of football. Spending his entire career at Inter Milan, Facchetti was an integral part of the dominant Grande Inter side of the 1960s.

From 1960 to 1978, Facchetti played 634 matches for Inter Milan, winning an impressive nine major trophies, including four Serie A titles and two European Cup titles. Known for his attacking prowess from the full-back position, Facchetti scored an incredible 76 goals for Nerazzurri, an exceptional feat for a defender.

On the international stage, Facchetti represented Italy 94 times, captaining the national team from 1967 to 1977. He played a key role in Italy’s triumph at the 1968 European Championship and their runner-up finish in the 1970 World Cup.

Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez
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Luis Suarez, not to be confused with the Uruguayan striker of the same name, is one of the greatest Spanish footballers of all time and a standout player of the 1960s. He is also the only Spanish player to have ever won the Ballon d’Or.

Suarez began his career at Barcelona in 1955 before moving to Inter Milan in 1961, where he achieved great success. He played a significant role in the success of Grande Inter, finishing in the top three of the Ballon d’Or rankings four times in the 1960s.

The Spanish attacking midfielder scored 63 goals in La Liga and 51 goals in Serie A during his career. He won a total of 13 trophies with Barcelona and Inter Milan, including five league titles and two European Cup titles.

On the international stage, Luis Suarez earned 32 caps for Spain, representing his country in the 1962 and 1966 World Cups.

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton
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Bobby Charlton, a true legend at Manchester United and in English football, was considered one of the best players of the 1960s. An integral part of the iconic “Busby Babes” and later the “Holy Trinity” at United, Charlton had a remarkable career.

From 1956 to 1973, Charlton played 758 matches for Manchester United, scoring 249 goals. He won three league titles and the historic European Cup in the 1967-68 season, the first time an English club had achieved such a feat.

Charlton’s contributions were not limited to his club. With 106 caps for England, he scored 49 goals and played a pivotal role in England’s World Cup victory in 1966. Charlton’s two goals in the semi-final against Portugal propelled England to the final, where they emerged victorious.

In 1966, Bobby Charlton was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or, cementing his status as one of the greatest players of his era.

Lev Yashin

Lev Yashin
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Lev Yashin, often referred to as the greatest goalkeeper in history, revolutionized the goalkeeping position. The legendary Russian shot-stopper was truly one of a kind.

Yashin spent his entire career at Dynamo Moscow, playing for the club from 1950 to 1970. During his tenure, he made 326 appearances and won the Soviet league title five times. Yashin’s agility and shot-stopping abilities earned him the title of European Goalkeeper of the Year nine times.

On the international stage, Yashin represented the Soviet Union 74 times, participating in the European Championship and three World Cups. He was known for his incredible penalty-saving ability, saving more than 150 penalties during his career.

Even the great Eusebio apologized to Yashin after scoring a penalty against him in the 1966 World Cup. Such was the reputation and respect Yashin commanded.

George Best

George Best
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George Best, the charismatic Northern Irish winger, was not only one of the best players of the 1960s but also one of the greatest in football history. Known for his incredible dribbling skills and technical ability, Best stood out among his peers.

Best spent the majority of his career at Manchester United, representing the club from 1963 to 1974. During this time, he scored an impressive 179 goals in 470 matches, solidifying his place as one of the top scorers in the history of the club. Best won two league titles and the European Cup with Manchester United, leaving an indelible mark on the club’s history.

In the 1967-68 European Cup season, Best’s performance was nothing short of extraordinary. He scored crucial goals against Real Madrid in the semi-final and Benfica in the final, ultimately winning the Ballon d’Or that year.

Best also represented the Northern Ireland national team, scoring 9 goals in 37 appearances.

Garrincha

Garrincha
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Garrincha, the legendary Brazilian dribbler, is considered one of the greatest players of all time and one of the best in the 1960s. Known as “The Little Bird,” Garrincha left defenders in awe with his mesmerizing skills on the wing.

Garrincha’s career was primarily centered around Botafogo, where he played from 1953 to 1965. In his 612 appearances for the club, he scored an impressive 243 goals, solidifying his place as one of the top scorers in the history of Botafogo.

On the international stage, Garrincha represented Brazil in three World Cups, including their triumph in 1958 and 1962. In the 1962 World Cup, he took on the mantle of leadership after Pele’s injury and led Brazil to the final. Garrincha’s heroic performance, including four goals in the tournament, earned him the Golden Ball as the best player of the competition.

Eusebio

Eusebio
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Eusebio, the Portuguese goal-scoring machine, is widely regarded as one of the greatest strikers in football history. He was a force to be reckoned with during the 1960s, earning the nickname “The Black Pearl.”

Most of Eusebio’s career was spent at Benfica, where he scored a staggering 473 goals in 440 matches, making him the top scorer in the history of the club. He won numerous trophies with Benfica, including eleven league titles and one European Cup.

On the international stage, Eusebio represented Portugal 64 times, scoring an impressive 41 goals. He played a vital role in Portugal’s journey to the semi-finals of the 1966 World Cup, finishing the tournament as the top scorer with nine goals. His incredible performances earned him the Golden Boot and helped Portugal secure a third-place finish.

In 1965, Eusebio was awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or, further solidifying his status as one of the all-time greats.

Pele

Pele
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When it comes to the best player of the 1960s, one name stands above the rest—Pele. Widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, Pele’s impact on the sport is immeasurable.

Spending the majority of his career at Santos, Pele scored over a thousand goals and holds several remarkable records, including the most goals in football history. He is the only player to have won the World Cup three times, showcasing his unparalleled talent on the international stage.

Pele’s achievements go beyond just goals and trophies. He revolutionized the game with his skill, vision, and ability to make the impossible look effortless. His list of accolades and records is endless, and his name is synonymous with football greatness.

In conclusion, the 1960s was a decade filled with exceptional footballing talent. Players like Gianni Rivera, Bobby Moore, Giacinto Facchetti, Luis Suarez, Bobby Charlton, Lev Yashin, George Best, Garrincha, Eusebio, and Pele left an indelible mark on the sport and will forever be remembered as some of the greatest players to have ever graced the game.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who was the best player of the 1960s?
A: Without a doubt, Pele is widely considered the best player of the 1960s. His remarkable achievements and contributions to the sport make him the undisputed king of that era.

Q: Which clubs did these players represent in the 1960s?
A: Gianni Rivera played for AC Milan, Bobby Moore represented West Ham United, Giacinto Facchetti was an Inter Milan legend, Luis Suarez played for Barcelona and Inter Milan, Bobby Charlton was a Manchester United icon, Lev Yashin spent his entire career at Dynamo Moscow, George Best played for Manchester United, Garrincha represented Botafogo, Eusebio was a Benfica legend, and Pele played for Santos.

Q: Did any of these players win the Ballon d’Or?
A: Yes, several players on this list won the Ballon d’Or. Gianni Rivera won it in 1969, Bobby Charlton in 1966, Lev Yashin in 1963, and Eusebio in 1965.

Q: What were their achievements on the international stage?
A: These players achieved significant success on the international stage. Bobby Moore led England to their first and only World Cup victory in 1966, Garrincha played a vital role in Brazil’s triumph in 1958 and 1962, and Pele won the World Cup three times with Brazil, solidifying his legendary status.

Q: Are any of these players still involved in football today?
A: While these players have retired from the game, their influence and impact continue to be felt. They remain iconic figures in football history, inspiring generations of players and fans alike.


Football has always been a game of legends, and the players of the 1960s exemplify the glory and beauty of the sport. They captivated audiences with their extraordinary skills and achieved remarkable success on both the domestic and international stages. Their names will forever be etched in the annals of football history.

So, as we celebrate the stars of today, let’s also pay tribute to the icons of yesteryears. Their contributions have shaped the game we love and continue to inspire future generations of footballers.