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Best FIFA XI of all-time: No Messi, but Cristiano makes the grade

4:21 AM IST 01/11/19
Ronaldo Real Madrid Lionel Messi Barcelona
Who are the highest-rated players in FIFA history? And who takes Messi's place in the starting XI?

  • Lionel Messi FIFA 20

    Highest-rated FIFA players ever

    Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is the highest-rated player in FIFA 20, but his 94 rating is not high enough to get him into the best FIFA XI of all-time. If Messi doesn't make the cut, who does?
  • Gianluigi Buffon Juventus 2005-06

    GK: Gianluigi Buffon

    The highest-rated goalkeeper in FIFA history in Gianluigi Buffon, who had an overall rating of 97 in FIFA 05. The Italian stopper has been one of the top goalkeepers in the game in recent years, but after being rated 88 at Paris Saint-Germain in FIFA 19, drops down to an 83 with Juventus in FIFA 20.
  • Lilian Thuram Juventus 2005-06

    RB: Lilian Thuram

    The lowest-rated player in the FIFA all-time XI, Lilian Thuram is the best right-back in the game's history. He received a 92 rating in FIFA 05 while at Juventus. Nobody comes close in FIFA 20, with Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich the best right-back thanks to his 86 rating.
  • Fernando Hierro Real Madrid 2001-02

    CB: Fernando Hierro

    Fernando Hierro represented Real Madrid in La Liga in three separate decades, captaining the club in the early 2000s. His commanding displays at centre-back saw him receive a 94 rating in FIFA 02.
  • Alessandro Nesta AC Milan 2004-05

    CB: Alessandro Nesta

    Alessandro Nesta was named Serie A defender of the year four times in a row in the early 2000s and that earned him a 94 rating in FIFA 05, during his time at AC Milan. Two years later, he lifted the World Cup with Italy, but an injury early in the tournament ruled him out of the final.
  • Roberto Carlos Real Madrid 2004-05

    LB: Roberto Carlos

    The highest-rated full-back in FIFA history was the FIFA 05 version of Real Madrid's Roberto Carlos. The Brazilian free-kick master had scored eight times in the previous season and was deadly in the game in attack and defence.
  • Luis Figo Real Madrid 2001-02

    RM: Luis Figo

    Luis Figo was the best player in the world in 2001, having won the 2000 Ballon d'Or and the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year award. As a result, the Real Madrid attacking midfielder had the highest rating in FIFA 02, coming in at 97 overall.
  • Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid 2004-05

    CM: Zinedine Zidane

    The best central midfielder in FIFA history has received an ICON card in FIFA 20 with a prime rating of 96. This represents the peak of his career, as well as his best-ever FIFA rating, a 96 score from FIFA 05.
  • Ronaldinho Barcelona 2005-06

    CM: Ronaldinho

    Ronaldinho's peak rating in FIFA coincided with his Ballon d'Or win in 2005, earning a 95 rating in FIFA 06. The Barcelona attacking midfielder was the highest-rated player in that season's version of the game, and now has an ICON card in FIFA 20 (with a prime rating of 94).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid 2017-18

    LM: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Cristiano Ronaldo was rated 94 in FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 at both Real Madrid and Juventus, but with the Old Lady not licensed in FIFA 20, has dropped down to 93 overall. His peak rating makes him the best left midfielder or left winger in FIFA history.
  • Thierry Henry Arsenal 2004-05

    ST: Thierry Henry

    The only Premier League player to make the best FIFA XI of all-time, Arsenal forward Thierry Henry was the game's best outfield player in FIFA 05, earning a better score than Zinedine Zidane. He had finished runner-up in FIFA World Player of the Year in 2003 and again in 2004, but won all the individual awards in England in 2004 as his 30 goals helped Arsenal win the Premier League.
  • Ronaldo Real Madrid 2003-04

    ST: Ronaldo

    Who is the best player in FIFA history? Real Madrid striker Ronaldo was rated 98 in FIFA 04, putting him above Thierry Henry, Luis Figo and Gianluigi Buffon as the best player in any version of the game. In the year before the game's release, he had won the World Cup with Brazil and La Liga with Real Madrid, having move from Inter to Spain.