Best Players In The World 1961 – Part 3: 41-60

Part Three of the Best Players In The World takes us from positions 41 through 60 and features a significant number of the Brazilian stars who were charming the world game in that era. The top forty players will follow shortly and you can view the players I previously nominated in positions 61-100 .

Rob Fielder

41. Jose Altafini (AC Milan) – Inside-forward 

Lively and inventive striker who has gone from strength to strength since his move from Palmeiras. Well settled in Milan and a full international for the Azzurri after switching allegiance from Brazil.

42. Valeriy Voronin (Torpedo Moscow) – Half-back 

Clever central midfielder who made a big impact in Torpedo’s league and cup triumphs last season. Youthful but already impressing observers on the international stage.

43. Pepe (Santos) – Outside-left 

A ferocious left foot and nose for goal have made Pepe one of the games most revered wingers. Vital part of an excellent Santos side.

44. Jimmy McIlroy (Burnley) – Half-back 

Skilful playmaker who has made Burnley one of the country’s best sides. League winner in 1960 and a mainstay for Northern Ireland.

45. Cliff Jones (Tottenham Hotspur) – Outside-left 

Flying winger for Spurs and a major threat in front of goal. Has made White Hart Lane his home since his move from Swansea and is a firm fan favourite.

46. Gerhard Hanappi (Rapid Vienna) – Wing-half 

One of the finest players of the last decade, Hanappi can excel in almost any position. Makes and scores a stack of goals with his creativity and powerful shooting.

47. Zito (Santos) – Half-back 

Anchor man of the World Cup winners and essential part of the way the Brazil and Santos sides function. Does a lot of dirty work in midfield but does it with ease and poise.

48. Dragoslav Sekularac (Red Star Belgrade) – Inside-forward 

One of the most skilful and imaginative players around. Seki is an enormous talent who is able to improvise and conjure magic whenever he gets the ball.

49. Paul Van Himst (Anderlecht) – Inside-forward 

Already the biggest star in Belgian football and he’s only 18. Made his league debut at 16 and has twice been player of the year. Has also impressed for the national team.

50. Quarentinha (Botafogo) – Inside-forward 

Possesses a venomous left foot which has frightened goalkeepers in Brazil for years. Now becoming a fixture in the national team.

Hungary51. Lajos Tichy (Honved) – Inside-forward 

One of the purest strikers of a football in the contemporary game. Has scored a hatful of goals for the Magyars and forms an exciting partnership with Albert.

52. Hilderaldo Bellini (Vasco da Gama) – Centre-half 

Tall and statuesque central defender who made history as Brazil’s World Cup winning captain. Has spent his whole career at Vasco but may be on the move.

53. Juan Joya (Penarol) – Outside-left 

Thrilling left-winger who has already settled well in Montevideo after his move from River Plate. Fast and incisive runner who enjoys cutting in from the flanks.

Hungary54. Gyula Grosics (Tatabanya) – Goalkeeper 

Legendary keeper of the Aranycsapat, Grosics remains one of the most admired custodians in the world. No longer quite at his prime but still the Hungarian number 1.

55. Antonio Angelillo (Roma) – Centre-forward 

Took the world by storm at the 1957 Copa America and then at Inter with his staggering goalscoring numbers. Has fallen back a touch since then but remains a deadly striker.

56. Coutinho (Santos) – Inside-forward 

Tricky forward who combines excellent dribbling skills with a nose for goal. Starting to force his way into the national team amidst formidable competition.

57. Valentin Ivanov (Torpedo Moscow) – Inside-forward 

Classy link man who scored two hugely important goals in the Soviets’ Euro semi-final victory. Quick and incisive in possession.

58. Mauro (Santos) – Centre-half 

Imposing central defender who has been an international for over a decade. Recently moved to Santos after years with São Paulo.

59. Ladislav Novak (Dukla Prague)- Left-back 

Captain of the Czech national team and his club side, Novak’s a born leader. Has won a string of domestic titles with the army club.

60. Antonio Roma (Boca Juniors) – Goalkeeper 

Nicknamed Tarzan for the way he flies around the box, Roma is an agile and decisive keeper. Has to battle Amadeo Carrizo for his place in the national team.

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