Our Expert Ranking of the Greatest British Footballing Legends of all Time


If there is one question that’s asked time and time again by football fanatics, it’s who is the best footballing star of all time? Of course, each person will have a completely different view on this. Whether they stick to a legend who’s played for their club or are more open-minded and see the bigger picture, there is no denying that some football stars rank higher than others.

From generational talents to world champions and modern-day greats, here is a run-down on what we believe are the 10 greatest British footballing legends to grace the sport.

Stanley Matthews

Often referred to as one of the greatest footballing stars of the British game, Stanley Matthews is the only player to date to have been knighted and continue playing football. During his career, Matthews enjoyed stints at Stoke City and Blackpool. As the son of a professional boxer, this footballing legend started his professional career with Stoke City in 1932. With his accurate ball control, passing, and balance, he soon became known as the ‘wizard of dribble’. Just a few short years later, Matthews represented England in international matches. Over time, he appeared in 54 full international contests.

Matthews was also named the first European footballer of the year in 1941. In 1946, the star transferred to Blackpool. During his sting at the club, Mathews competed in the 1953 Football Association Cup Final. Known as his most famous game, the star set up Blackpool’s last three goals in the quest to defeat the Bolton Wanderers.

Wayne Rooney

To many, Wayne Rooney is considered one of the greatest football stars of his generation. In fact, Rooney is the record goal scorer, both for Manchester United and the England national team. What’s more, Rooney holds the record for the most appearances of any England outfield player. Born in Liverpool, Rooney burst onto the scene in 1996, playing for Everton under 23’s before going on to play for the main team in 2002.

Over the course of 2 decades, Rooney enjoyed seasons at Everton, Manchester United, D.C. United and Derby County. To date, the footballing star has scored over 230 goals across 569 appearances. Wayne Rooney has also played for England’s national team. There, he enjoyed many successes, including 53 goals across 120 appearances. As of 2022, Rooney was the manager of D.C. United. If you’re a Manchester United fan, you may have enjoyed watching Rooney over the years.

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton, or Sir Robert Charlton, is another star who is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest footballers. From 1957 to 1973, the star made over 100 international appearances for England which was known as a national record during this time. Charlton was the long-time record goal scorer for the Red Devils and England. What’s more, the footballing legend once held the long-time record for appearances for Manchester United, playing in 758 matches. It took until 2008 for this record to be beaten.


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