Five years after the award, winners Diego Maradona
exchanged national team shirts.
FIFA Player of the Century was a one-off award created by FIFA to decide the greatest football player of the 20th century, announced at the annual FIFA World gala, held in Rome on 11 December 2000. Diego Maradona and Pelé were joint winners of the award. Maradona won the award based on the Internet poll, while Pelé won the award based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches.
Since 1991, FIFA have had awards for FIFA World Player of the Year and they decided to bring in the new millennium by conducting a public vote to decide the FIFA Player of the Century. This was to be decided by votes on their official website, their official magazine and a grand jury. Maradona won the Internet-based poll by wide margins, garnering 53.6% of the votes against 18.53% for Pelé. Despite the fact that Eusébio, who played football professionally during Pelé's era, placed third in the poll, many observers complained that the Internet nature of the poll would have meant a skewed demographic of younger fans who would have seen Maradona play, but not Pelé. As a result, FIFA decided to add a second poll and appointed a "Football Family" committee composed of football journalists, officials and coaches, who voted Pelé the best player of the century with 72.75% of the vote, thus both were joint winners of the award.
FIFA internet vote
The results of FIFA's internet Poll were as follows:
FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury vote
This part of the award was decided by the FIFA Magazine readers vote and the FIFA Grand Jury.
FIFA Centennial Award
FIFA Centennial Player and Football Personality.
IFFHS gave out an award decided by votes which was conducted with the participation of journalists and former players (no further details given).
Best World Cup Players
A few years prior to the end of the century, in 1993, in a ceremony sponsored by the American Airlines in Las Vegas, FIFA voted the best players, goalkeepers and coaches in the World Cup history.