9 Best Soccer Players From Eastern Europe Of All-Time: Big Game Stars

Eastern Europe has historically produced some of the finest soccer players to ever grace the sport. Such talents have dominated their respective domestic leagues along with various continental competitions and international tournaments.

But who are the 9 best soccer players from Eastern Europe of all-time?

9. Zbigniew Boniek (Poland)

Zbigniew Boniek

Polish midfielder Zbigniew Boniek made 419 career appearances, scoring 113 times and most notably winning the 1985 European Cup with Juventus. He netted 24 goals in 80 caps for Poland including two goals at the 1982 World Cup. Boniek finished third in the 1982 Ballon d’Or and was even named in 2004’s FIFA 100.

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8. Josef Bican (Czechoslovakia)

Josef Bican

Josef Bican was a highly prolific goalscorer, netting 780 times in only 492 career games including over 500 strikes for Slavia Prague and finished as Czechoslovak First League’s Top Scorer eleven times. He won the Czechoslovak First League title on six occasions and registered 12 goals in 14 games for Czechoslovakia.

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7. Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria)

Hristo Stoichkov

Bulgarian forward Hristo Stoichkov scored 108 goals for Barcelona, winning five La Liga title titles and the 1992 Champions League. He is the country’s third highest scorer of all-time with 37 international goals in 83 matches. Stoichkov finished as the 1994 World Cup’s joint top scorer on six goals whilst winning both the European Golden Shoe in 1990 and the Ballon d’Or four years later.

6. Florian Albert (Hungary)

Florian Albert

Florian Albert played 409 times for Ferencváros, scoring 294 goals and winning the Hungarian League on four occasions from 1963 to 1968. He won 75 caps for Hungary and netted a total of 31 international goals. Albert claimed the Ballon d’Or in 1967 having scored an impressive 38 goals in only 40 appearances that season. He also finished as the European Cup’s Top Scorer in 1966.

5. Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia)

Josef Masopust

Czechoslovakian midfielder Josef Masopust played for the likes of ZSJ Technomat Teplice, Dukla Prague and Crossing Molenbeek, scoring 98 times in 483 games. He found the net ten times in 63 caps for Czechoslovakia and also scored in the 1962 World Cup final against Brazil as the Czechs finished runners-up. Masopust was also awarded the Ballon d’Or that very same year.

4. Dragan Dzajic (Yugoslavia)

Dragan Dzajic

Dragan Dzajic registered 144 goals in 362 matches, most notably for Red Star Belgrade and also won the Yugoslav First League on five occasions. He famously scored an equalising goal during the Euro 1968 final, named the tournament’s Top Scorer in the final stage and finished third in 1968’s Ballon d’Or.

3. Sandor Kocsis (Hungary)

Sandor Kocsis

Hungarian forward Sandor Kocsis scored 373 times in 402 games for the likes of Ferencvaros and Barcelona. He remains Hungary’s second highest ever scorer with 75 strikes in 68 international matches. He won the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot in 1954, netting 11 times on his country’s run to the final where they were eventually defeated by Germany. Kocsis was also named Hungarian Soccer Federation Player of the Year for 1954. 

2. Lev Yashin (Soviet Union)

Lev Yashin

Goalkeeping legend Lev Yashin played 326 times for Dynamo Moscow and won the Soviet Top League five times. He earned 74 caps for the Soviet Union, helping his national team win the 1960 European Championship as they beat Yugoslavia 2-1. Yashin was crowned European Goalkeeper of the Year a total of nine times between 1956 and 1966, claiming the Ballon d’Or in 1963 and named FIFA Goalkeeper of the 20th Century.

1. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)

Ferenc Puskas

Ferenc Puskas is the best Eastern European Soccer player of all-time. He scored 242 times in just 262 matches for the mighty Real Madrid, winning five La Liga titles and three European Cups. He remains Hungary’s leading scorer, registering 83 goals in 84 caps and finished as World Cup runner-up in 1954. Puskas was the Spanish League’s top scorer on four occasions and European Cup top scorer twice. He was also named in the Top 10 Greatest Players of the 20th century by World Soccer Magazine.

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