Top 50 most influential footballers list only has Beckham 5th and Ronaldo 39th

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David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have all been named among the top 50 most influential footballers of all-time – but none of the star-studded trio managed to top the list.

That honour went to a surprise winner – former Nottingham Forest defender Viv Anderson.

Anderson, 65, enjoyed a long and successful club career and won two European Cup trophies under legendary Forest boss Brian Clough.

The classy fully back ended his decade-long spell at the City Ground in 1984 and went on to play for English footballing behemoths Arsenal and Manchester United, plus Sheffield Wednesday.

However, Anderson, who is an MBE, forever etched his name into the history books by becoming the first black player to represent England.

Football magazine FourFourTwo compiled the star-studded list of names from across the generations, with the likes of Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff all featuring.

Of the more notable entries, Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy finished 45th, England ace Kelly Smith claimed 43rd place, while the original Ronaldo, his contemporary namesake and Ronaldinho took 40th, 39th and 38th positions, respectively.

Pele finished just ahead of the trio in 36th, while Messi got one over on his great rival by finishing 30th, nine spots clear of Man Utd star Ronaldo.

Who do you think is the most influential footballer of all-time? Let us know in the comments section.

Diego Maradona (26th), Thierry Henry (21st), Rio Ferdinand (16th), Johan Cruyff (12th) were other notable names to finish outside the top ten.

Beckham, widely regarded as one of the most famous and successful footballers of all-time, was unable to break into a top five consisting of Franz Beckenbauer, Franco Baresi, Ossie Ardiles, Jose Andrade and Anderson.

According to FourFourTwo, Anderson was "not a token pick" for the Three Lions and he was tipped to "become an England legend."

They added that the former Forest man's England shirt from his debut appearance against Czechoslovakia in 1978 is displayed at the People's History Museum in Manchester.

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Anderson made 30 appearances for England in total, scoring twice against Turkey and Yugoslavia.

FourFourTwo's list of the 50 most influential footballers of all-time

50. Zinedine Zidane

49. Lev Yashin

48. Ian Wright

47. George Weah

46. Carlos Volante

45. Jamie Vardy

44. Francesco Totti

43. Kelly Smith

42. Matthias Sindelar

41. Nilton Santos

40. Ronaldo

39. Cristiano Ronaldo

38. Ronaldinho

37. Andrea Pirlo

36. Pele

35. Antonin Panenka

34. Neymar

33. Manuel Neuer

32. Hidetoshi Nakata

31. Thomas Muller

30. Lionel Messi

29. Bill McCracken

28. Stanley Matthews

27. Marta

26. Diego Maradona

25. Claude Makelele

24. Philipp Lahm

23. Andres Iniesta

22. Nandor Hidegkuti

21. Thierry Henry

20. Mia Hamm

19. Gyula Grosics

18. Garrincha

17. Trevor Francis

16. Rio Ferdinand

15. Giacinto Facchetti

14. Eusebio

13. Alfredo Di Stefano

12. Johan Cruyff

11. John Charles

10. Amadeo Carrizo

9. Eric Cantona

8. Jean-Marc Bosman

7. George Best

6. David Beckham

5. Franz Beckenbauer

4. Franco Baresi

3. Ossie Ardiles

2. Jose Andrade

1. Viv Anderson

  • Premier League
  • David Beckham
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Manchester City FC
  • Lionel Messi
  • Nottingham Forest FC
  • Arsenal FC

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