Belgium's 15 Best Football Players of All Time

Who is the greatest Belgian football player ever?

In recent years, the popularity of Belgian football players such as Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, and others rise rapidly. Their fame surge along with good performances that they showed on the pitch. It is not surprising if then this country is regarded as one of the current strongest football countries in Europe.

Long before the era of Hazard and Kompany, Belgium also has great a lot of great players. They even managed to help their country reached World Cup semifinal and appeared in the final of the Euro tournament. Without further ado, here is the list of greatest Belgian footballers of all time.

15. Thomas Vermaelen

Thomas Vermaelen is a central defender who has been trusted to be the captain of Arsenal since 2012. The player is known as a strong and versatile defender with great leadership skills. Not only that, Vermaelen also served as the captain of Belgium national team for some time before his position was replaced by Vincent Kompany. Unfortunately, despite playing well, Vermaelen has never won any single trophy at Arsenal.

14. Timmy Simons

If he consistently plays, Timmy Simons has great potential to break the record of Jan Ceulemans as a player with the highest number of appearances for the Belgium national team. Simons is a defensive midfielder who is well known as a reliable penalty taker. His career at the club level is also quite brilliant, in which he won three Eredivisie titles with PSV Eindhoven and two Belgian League titles with Club Brugge. Not only that, he was also selected as the best Belgian player in 2002.

13. Bart Goor

Goor was a mainstay of the Belgium national team in Euro 2000, in which Belgium became the host of the tournament. The player played as a left-midfielder and had equally good defensive as well as offensive abilities. Not only that, Goor was also quite prolific in scoring. At club level, Bart Goor's best period occurred when he played for Anderlecht. At Anderlecht, he won four league titles and three Belgian Belgian Supercup trophies.

12. Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is one of the current best young players with the greatest potential. He made his debut as a professional footballer at the age of 16 years. Amazingly, in his debut season Lukaku won the Belgian league and became the top scorer of the competition. He was wanted by a lot of European big clubs before finally being transferred to Chelsea. Although currently Lukaku has not got a place in Chelsea's first team and spent most of his time as a loanee in different clubs, he consistently shows great performances and scores a lot of goals. Hopefully he will develop as a world-class striker in the next few years.

11. Marc Wilmots

Marc Wilmots could be described as Gennaro Gattuso from Belgium. He was known as a tireless central midfielder with great leadership skills. Due to his great energy and influence, Wilmots was nicknamed as "Mr. 1,000 Volts." Amazingly, he was also quite prolific in scoring goals. Wilmots' best achievements at club level are winning a Bundesliga title and a UEFA Cup with Schalke 04.

10. Paul Van Himst

With a record of 30 goals, Paul Van Himst is Belgium's top scorer of all time to this day. He was the main striker of Belgium in Euro 1972, when the country reached third place. Due to his threatening existence to the opposing defenders, Van Himst was very often fouled by the other team's defenders, made him earned the nickname of "Polle Gazon" (Paul the Lawn). He was very prolific in scoring, even four times became Belgian league's top scorer.

9. Daniel Van Buyten

Since joining Bayern Munich in 2006, Van Buyten has become one of the defensive mainstays of the club. With a height of nearly two meters, Van Buyten is very reliable in headings and quite often scored goals from corner-kick situations. Coupled with good mentality and high experience, he grows into a figure of ideal defender. During his career at Munich, Van Buyten won four Bundesliga titles, one Champions League trophy, and a FIFA Club World Club trophy.

8. Luc Nilis

Luc Nilis is regarded as one of the best players of all time PSV Eindhoven. The striker joined PSV in the period 1994-2000, when he won two Eredivisie titles and became two-time top scorer of the competition. His performance was very stable and consistent, and Nilis was also praised by Ronaldo as the best striker ever to play with him. Unfortunately, Luc Nilis' career should be ended tragically when he suffered a broken leg in 2000, forcing him to retire as a professional footballer.

7. Eden Hazard

Signed in 2012 from Lille, Eden Hazard has gained recognition as one of the best Chelsea's players. His great skills make Hazard is often compared to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. Not only that, his offensive ability, ranging from passing, shooting, dribbling, and first-touch; are almost perfect. Prior to joining Chelsea, he helped Lille win double winners in the 2010-11 season. He also had a very important role in leading the Blues to win the Europa League in the 2012-13 season.

6. Michel Preud'homme

Michel Preud'homme was the number-one goalkeeper Belgian national team in the 1990s. His best performance occurred in the 1994 World Cup tournament, where he was awarded the title as World's Best Goalkeeper and obtained Yashin Awards. He also played quite brilliantly at club level at Standard Liege and Antwerp; where Preud'homme won three Belgium League titles, a Winners' Cup and a European Supercup trophy.

5. Jean-Marie Pfaff

Jean-Marie Pfaff should be named as the best Belgian goalkeeper of all time. He helped his country reach the final stage of Euro 1980 and semifinal rounds of 1986 World Cup. During the period 1976-1987, Pfaff played 64 times for his country. Not only successful at national team level, Pfaff experienced glorious period at club level, especially when he played for Bayern Munich. At the club, he won three Bundesliga titles and two DFB trophies.

4. Vincent Kompany

Strong, calm, tough, and has great leadership skills. Kompany is the captain of the Manchester City who played a major role in leading the club win Premier League in the 2011-12 season. Previously, he also won two Beligum League titles with Anderlecht and an Intertoto Cup with Hamburger SV. Currently, Kompany is also given honor to be the team captain of the golden generation of the Belgium national team in the World Cup 2014 qualification matches.

3. Enzo Scifo

Enzo Scifo is a former attacking midfielder who possessed very high creativity. He was very reliable in constructing the team's attack, prolific in scoring goals, and able to play the role as a playmaker very well. His best performance occurred in the 1994 World Cup, where he was named the best young player in the tournament. At club level, Scifo won four Belgian League titles at Anderlecht and a Ligue 1 title at AS Monaco.

2. Eric Gerets

Energetic, fearful, and very strong in guarding the team's defense line. Eric Gerets is a retired right-back who played for Belgium in the period 1975-1991. He led his country into the final round of Euro 1980 and reached the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup. Not only that, Eric Gerets is also known as a Belgian player with the highest number of trophies at club level. At PSV Eindhoven, he won six Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cup, and a Champions League trophy.

1. Jan Ceulemans

Similar to Michel Platini, Ceulemans is an attacking midfielder who is very prolific in scoring goals. He became a mainstay of the Belgian national team in the 1980's and also trusted to be the captain of his country in the 1986 World Cup, a tournament in which Belgium managed to reach the semi-final round. This player spent his entire professional career playing in the Belgian League for two clubs, Lierse and Club Brugge. In total, Ceulemans won four Belgian League titles and two Belgian Cup trophies.

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