Ranking the 15 most famous soccer players to play in MLS
The most famous soccer players to ever play in MLS
MLS isn't the world's most accomplished soccer league, but some of the world's most famous players have made stops in the United States' top league.
Here are the most famous soccer players who have ever played in MLS.
1. David Beckham, LA Galaxy
International career: Captained England 59 times; the only Englishman to score in three World Cups. The fifth player in World Cup history to score two times from a direct free kick. 17 total goals.
European career: 77 goals, eight league titles, two FA Cup titles, one Champions League title.
MLS career (LA Galaxy 2007-12): 98 career goals, back-to-back MLS Cup titles
Notable accomplishments: Two-time Ballón d'Or runner-up, two-time FIFA Player of the Year runner-up, 2008 English Football Hall of Fame inductee.
2. Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls
International career: 1998 World Cup champion. France's all-time leading goalscorer (51). UEFA Euro 2000 and FIFA Conferations Cup 2003 champion.
European career: Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer (228 in all competitions). Four-time league winner—twice with Arsenal, twice with FC Barcelona. Two-time FA Cup winner. Champions League winner.
MLS career (New York Red Bulls 2010-2014): 51 goals over five seasons for Red Bulls. 2013 Supporters' Shield.
Notable accomplishments: Member of Arsenal's "Invincibles" 2003-04 unbeaten squad. Member of FC Barcelona's 2008-09 treble (Copa del Rey, Primera División and Champions League) team.
3. Wayne Rooney, DC United
International career: Youngest goalscorer for England ever. England's all-time leading goalscorer, second most-capped player.
European career: His 253 goals in all competitions for Manchester United is a club record, while his 183 for Man U in the Premier League is a league record for goals by one player on a single team. He's won 16 trophies with Manchester United, including five Premier League titles, an FA Cup and a Champions League title.
MLS career (DC United 2018- ): TBD
Notable accomplishments: One of only two English players to win the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League, League Cup, Europa League and FIFA Club World Cup.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimović, LA Galaxy
International career: 116 caps for Sweden. All-time leading Swedish goalscorer (62).
European career: 268 goals over 14 seasons for six clubs. Ten league titles with five different clubs in three different leagues, including streaks of five in a row (2007-11) and four in a row (2013-16).
MLS career (LA Galaxy 2018- ): Seven goals and three assists in first 11 games.
Notable accomplishments: 11-time Swedish player of the year. 2013 FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year for his bicycle kick against England.
5. Kaká, Orlando City
International career: Member of Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning, 2005 and 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup-winning teams.
European career: Serie A and La Liga winner, UEFA Champions League winner. In three seasons with Orlando City, he scored 24 goals and had 21 assists.
MLS career (Orlando City 2014-2017): Orlando City's first player.
Notable accomplishments: Two-time Serie A Footballer of the Year. 2005 UEFA Midfielder of the Year. 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, Ballon d'Or winner, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and IFFHS World's Best Playmaker. One of eight players to ever win the World Cup, Champions League and Ballon d'Or.
6. Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact
Country: Ivory Coast
International career: His 65 goals in 104 appearances for Ivory Coast make him Ivory Coast's all-time leading goalscorer. Led Ivory Coast to their first World Cup appearance in 2006; scored their first goal.
European career: 104 goals for Chelsea. Chelsea's highest-scoring foreign-born player.
MLS career (Montreal Impact 2015-2016): 21 goals in two seasons for the Montreal Impact.
Notable accomplishments: Four-time Premier League and FA Cup winner at Chelsea. First African player to score 100 Premier League goals. Two-time African Player of the Year. 2003-04 Ligue 1 Player of the Year.
7. Andrea Pirlo, NYCFC
International career: 116 caps over 14 seasons. Olympic bronze medalist, 2006 World Cup champion.
European career: 55 goals with five clubs. Six Serie A titles, including five in a row between 2011 and 2015. Two Champions League titles, five Italian domestic titles, one FIFA Club World Cup title.
MLS career (NYCFC 2015-17): 60 goals over three seasons. Led club to the playoffs in its second and third seasons.
Notable accomplishments: 2006 World Cup Final Man of the Match, 2012, '13, '14 Serie A Footballer of the Year.
8. David Villa, NYCFC
International career: Spain's all-time leading total goal scorer (59) and World Cup goal scorer (9). First Spaniard to ever reach 50 international goals. UEFA Euro (2008) and FIFA World Cup (2010) champion.
European career: Three La Liga titles with two clubs. In his 13-year career, he scored 223 goals with five clubs. Two Champions League titles.
MLS career (NYCFC 2015- ): First-ever player for NYCFC. Scored the side's first-ever goal. In three seasons in New York, he's scored 63 goals.
Notable accomplishments: Top scorer at Euro 2008, Silver Boot at 2010 World Cup.
9. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Chicago Fire
International career: 2014 World Cup champion. 24 goals in 121 caps.
European career: Eight Bundesliga and seven German Cup titles in 17 seasons with Bayern Munich. 2013 Champions League winner.
MLS career (Chicago Fire 2017- ): Three goals and two assists in one full season with the Chicago Fire.
Notable accomplishments: 2013 German Footballer of the Year. Captained Germany from 2014-2016.
10. Carlos Valderrama, Multiple Teams
International career: Most-capped player in Colombian history. Played in three World Cups and five Copa América tournaments.
European career: Won the French Cup in 1990 with Montpellier.
MLS career (Tampa Bay Mutiny 1996-97, 1999-2000; Miami Fusion 1998; Colorado Rapids 2001-2002): One of the league's first superstars. One Supporters' Shield with the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996.
Notable accomplishments: 1995-96 MLS MVP.
11. Frank Lampard, NYCFC
International career: In 2013, became the eighth player to play in 100 or more games for England.
European career: Three league, one Champions League, one Europa League and four FA Cup titles with Chelsea. 176 goals and 105 assists over 20 seasons with three clubs in England. 2005 FWA Footballer of the Year.
MLS career (NYCFC 2015-2016): 15 goals and three assists over two seasons with NYCFC.
Notable accomplishments: Three-time Chelsea Player of the Year. Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer with 211 goals in all competitions. Fourth on the Premier League's all-time assists list.
12. Ashley Cole, LA Galaxy
International career: Played in three World Cups for England. His 107 appearances are the most ever for an English full back.
European career: Two Premier League titles in seven seasons as a defender for Arsenal. One Premier League and one Champions League titile in eight seasons for Chelsea.
MLS career (LA Galaxy 2016- ): Two full seasons for the LA Galaxy.
Notable accomplishments: One of two players to win the English Double (Premier League and FA Cup) with two clubs. Has won the FA Cup seven times, more than any player. Member of Arsenal's "The Invincibles" 2003-04 unbeaten squad.
13. Philippe Senderos, Houston Dynamo
International career: Played in three World Cups and UEFA Euro 2008.
European career: Spent four seasons with Arsenal between 2004-08. Also played for Milan, Everton, Fulham, Aston Villa and Valencia.
MLS career (Houston Dynamo 2017- ): Played half a season with the Houston Dynamo and helped them to the Western Conference Finals.
Notable accomplishments: Won the 2005 FA Cup with Arsenal. Won the 2002 UEFA European U-17 Championship.
14. Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
International career: Appeared as a substitute for Italy in Euro 2012 runner-up bid, was a member of Italy's 2013 Confederation's Cup team that finished in third place.
European career: Scored 14 goals in 93 appearances for Juventus. Starred for Parma while on loan, scoring 22 goals in 66 appearances from 2010 - 2012/.
MLS career (Toronto FC, 2015 - Current): Has scored 58 goals in 98 appearances for Toronto FC.
Notable accomplishments: Three-time MLS All-Star, 2015 MLS MVP and MLS Golden Boot Winner.
15. Freddie Ljungberg, Seattle and Chicago
International career: 14 goals in 75 international appearances for Sweden, scoring the only goal in Sweden's 2006 World Cup group stage victory over Paraguay.
European career: 46 goals in 216 appearances for Arsenal between 1998 and 2007.
MLS career (Seattle Sounders 2009-10, Chicago Fire 2010): Appeared in 37 games for the Sounders, scoring twice before appearing in 15 games, scoring twice for the Chicago Fire.
Notable accomplishments: Was the first player to score a FA Cup Final goal outside England, doing so in Arsenal's 2001 loss to Liverpool in Cardiff, Wales. BEcame the first player in 40 years to score goals in back-to-back FA Cup Finals, doing so in 2001 against Liverpool and 2002 against Chelsea