FourFourTwo's 100 Greatest Footballers EVER: 60 to 51

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55. Dino Zoff

Dino Zoff

Why are they here?
The only Italy international to win both the European Championship (in 1968) and the World Cup (in 1982), goalkeeper Zoff joined Juventus at the comparatively late age of 32 – then won six Scudettos and made 330 consecutive appearances.

Known for his incredible reflexes and positional sense, Zoff played on well into his 40s. Italy manager Enzo Bearzot described the normally level-headed keeper planting a kiss on his cheek following his team's 3-2 win over Brazil in 1982 as "a fleeting moment which was the most intense of that World Cup".

Career highlight
Aged 40, Zoff became the oldest player to feature in a World Cup final, as he captained Italy to victory against West Germany in 1982.

Words: Jon Spurling

54. Gunnar Nordahl

Gunnar Nordahl

Why are they here?
With 210 Serie A goals, Nordahl is the greatest Milan scorer of all time, and nobody – not even Andriy Shevchenko – could ever come close to his achievement. The powerfully built Swede was the top scorer in Italy five times during the six-year period between 1950 and 1955 – also an unprecedented feat.

Such was his initial success that Milan signed two of his compatriots, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Gren. Together they formed the famous Gre-No-Li partnership, one of the best footballing trios ever. Nordahl won the championship title twice with Milan and remains the top-scoring foreign player in the history of Italian football.

Career highlight
Nordahl was brilliant for his national team as well, with 43 goals in 33 games. His contribution was crucial when Sweden won gold at the 1948 Olympics.

Words: Michael Yokhin

53. Gaetano Scirea

Gaetano Scirea

Why are they here?
A pacy and clever defender, Scirea's elegance and cerebral attitude to the game was in marked contrast to the spikier approach of Italy and Juventus team-mate Claudio Gentile.

Playing sweeper for most of his career, Scirea - whose death in a car accident at just 36 was mourned by all Italian supporters - claimed his conversion from a midfielder "helped me see the game in a way others didn't”. That was no idle boast and was borne out by the fact he won trophies by the bucketload, and remains one of only five European players to have won all international club trophies recognised by UEFA and FIFA.

Career highlight
His team-mates Dino Zoff and Paolo Rossi may have been more feted, but Scirea's impeccable performances as Italy won the 1982 World Cup were a masterclass in the art of defending.

Words: Jon Spurling

52. Roberto Baggio

Roberto Baggio

Why are they here?
A man who puts the glorious in ‘glorious failure’, and exists as definitive proof that legendary status needn’t be dependent on a bulging medal drawer. Baggio’s defining moment will always be that skied penalty at the 1994 World Cup, and yet it adds to his myth: the player whose impossible gifts were never measured by conventional means.

A two-footed No.10 who scored and created with equal glee, possessed an improbably exquisite first touch, and could plant a free-kick pretty much where he wanted, Baggio was the precursor – and an inspiration – to an explosion of similar Italian players in the mid-90s, notably Gianfranco Zola and Alessandro Del Piero.

Career highlight
The 1993 Ballon d’Or winner claimed a comparatively meagre four major trophies in his career, but his league and cup double with Juventus in 1995 included his first league title and went some way to banishing the demons of 12 months earlier.

Words: Alex Hess

51. Jairzinho


Why are they here?
His devastating bursts of speed and lethal shooting secured him a place in history after the 1970 World Cup. That Brazil side inspired a generation of footballers and had in Jairzinho one of their biggest stars, despite him being relegated to the outside positions by Pele and Tostao.

He’s still the only player to have won the World Cup while scoring in every game in the tournament. If it wasn’t enough, the former winger would later show an eye for talentspotting, taking a then-skinny Ronaldo to Cruzeiro and recommending him to the Brazil youth team.

Career highlight
His winner against reigning champions England was one of the 1970 World Cup’s most memorable goals.

Words: Marcus Alves

The list

100 to 91 • 90 to 81 • 80 to 71 • 70 to 61 • 60 to 51 • 50 to 41 • 40 to 31 • 30 to 21

20 • 19 • 18 • 17 • 16 • 15 • 14 • 13 • 12 • 11 • 10 • 9 • 8 • 7 • 6 • 5 • 4 • 3 • 2 • 1

FourFourTwo's 100 Greatest Footballers EVER