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10 Best Australian soccer players of all time

In recent years, Australian football has witnessed a significant increase in talent, introducing players who not only make a long-lasting impact domestically but also leave an indelible mark on the global football stage. Join in exploring the top 10 best Australian soccer players of all time, honoring their exceptional skills, relentless dedication, and profound impact on the beautiful game.

Top 10 best Australia soccer players

10. Tony Vidmar

As a defender with a career spanning nearly two decades, Tony Vidmar began his playing career at his hometown club Adelaide City in 1989, ultimately retiring from professional football in 2008. Matches in the Netherlands, Scotland, England, and Wales helped put Vidmar on the football map.

Particularly successful was Vidmar’s stint at Rangers, where he won two Scottish Premier League titles, two League Cups, and three Scottish Cups, cementing his status as a beloved player at the Glasgow giants.

Best Australian soccer players: Tony Vidmar
Best Australian soccer players: Tony Vidmar

A standout defender, Vidmar also frequently found the net with crucial goals for Rangers in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers, ending his career with 31 goals overall. After discovering an irregular heartbeat, Vidmar eventually hung up his boots in 2008 following defeat in the Championship Final with the Central Coast Mariners.

9. Johnny Warren

One of the lesser-known players on our list but arguably the most significant, Johnny Warren was a passionate advocate for Australians embracing soccer as a sport. Dubbed the ‘Captain Socceroo’ for his tireless work in promoting football in his homeland, Warren played his entire career in Australia.

Best Australian football players: Johnny Warren
Best Australian football players: Johnny Warren

Over his 15-season career, some of which were spent playing for amateur teams, it’s testament to Johnny Warren’s legacy that numerous talented players have emerged from Australia over the years. There’s no doubt that without the passion and dedication to bring football to this continent, Australia wouldn’t have achieved the success in football it enjoys today.

8. Lucas Neill

With a career spanning over 500 appearances in domestic leagues, Lucas Neill stands as one of Australia’s finest defenders and one of the most successful players the national team has ever seen, captaining his country a record 61 times. A solid defender who spent 15 seasons in England with teams like Millwall, Blackburn Rovers, and West Ham United, Neill was steadfast and hardworking, also capable of playing as a right-back.

Australia best players: Lucas Neill
Australia best players: Lucas Neill

Neill was a sought-after player during his prime, with Liverpool making offers for his services at one point, though instead, the Australian opted to move to West Ham United.

After a brief spell with Everton, where Neill teamed up with compatriot Tim Cahill, he eventually moved to the UAE, first with Al Jazira and then Al Wasl, before returning to Australia in 2013 with Sydney FC. Despite sometimes being a controversial figure, Neill will still be remembered as an excellent defender, especially for his 95 appearances for the Australian national team.

7. Mark Bresciano

Unlike many of his Australian football peers, Mark Bresciano chose not to go to England but instead opted for Italy, where he continued to have an outstanding career in one of football’s toughest leagues. Having played in three World Cup finals and two AFC Asian Cups, Bresciano epitomizes a successful Australian footballer.

After leaving his Australian club Carlton, which no longer exists, in 2009, Bresciano moved to Empoli, then in Serie B in Italy, helping the club secure promotion to Serie A. After several stellar seasons, Bresciano was sold to Parma for €7 million, a record fee for an Australian player at the time.

Australian football best players: Mark Bresciano
Best Australian soccer players: Mark Bresciano

Mark Bresciano helped his new club to a fifth-place finish in Serie A, earning qualification for the UEFA Cup. Several successful seasons later and a regular international, Bresciano moved to Palermo in 2010. Four more seasons passed, during which the Australian was an integral part of Palermo, before moving to Rome in 2014 to join Lazio. This move lasted only a year before Bresciano moved to Qatar, where he retired in 2015. A stalwart for several teams, including the Australian national team, Mark Bresciano is one of the most talented players to have ever played for Australia, excelling both in attacking and defensive roles.

6. Brett Emerton

Brett Emerton was a nimble and talented player, capable of covering the entire right flank, and it was his versatility that made him stand out among his peers. Emerton could run for 90 minutes, dribble, pass, and cross, all while covering every blade of grass on the field.

After successful seasons at Sydney Olympic and Feyenoord, it was at Blackburn Rovers where Emerton found his home, playing nearly 250 games for the midlands club. Dynamic and determined, the Australian became a crucial player for both club and country, earning 95 caps for the Socceroos.

Best Australia soccer players: Brett Emerton
Best Australian soccer players: Brett Emerton

Brett Emerton became a fan favorite at Blackburn due to his ability to outmaneuver opponents. The club had promised Emerton he would play as a right-sided midfielder, instead of right-back, which made him decide to stay at the club rather than move on. Easily one of the finest right wingers Australia has ever produced, Emerton had to find his way onto any list of Australia’s greatest players due to his ability to play in almost any position.

5. Mile Jedinak

As a towering defensive midfielder, Mile Jedinak is a standout player with leadership qualities and unwavering determination that make him a fan favorite wherever he plays. A promising youth player in Sydney, the Australian began his A-League career with Sydney before moving to the Central Coast Mariners in 2006.

After a successful yet somewhat unsuccessful stint in Turkey in 2009, Jedinak began seeking a new club as his contract was running out. His move to English club Crystal Palace in 2011, then in the Championship, transformed Jedinak into one of the most effective midfielders in Europe.

Best Australian soccer players: Mile Jedinak
Best Australian soccer players: Mile Jedinak

Not only was the Australian instrumental in helping Crystal Palace secure promotion to the Premier League, but his leadership qualities and work ethic also made him an indispensable member of the team. In his 5 seasons with the club, Jedinak played 165 matches and was voted Player of the Season in 2013.

After leaving Palace to join Midlands club Aston Villa, Mile Jedinak retired in 2019 to take on coaching roles, but he will forever be remembered by Crystal Palace fans as one of their greatest players to date.

4. Mark Schwarzer

Australia has produced many outstanding goalkeepers in recent years, but it’s hard to find one with a longer or more successful career than Mark Schwarzer. With an incredible 26-year career, featuring 625 appearances in club competitions and still holding the record for most caps for Australia with 109 appearances, Schwarzer has had an extraordinary career.

Best Australian football players: Mark Schwarzer
Best Australian football players: Mark Schwarzer

Though he played for many clubs, it was his achievements at Middlesbrough and Fulham that cemented Schwarzer’s reputation. A superb shot-stopper rarely prone to errors, the Australian giant played in two European finals, losing both. He also had the remarkable honor of being the oldest player to represent both Chelsea and Leicester City.

One of the most reliable goalkeepers of his era, Schwarzer turned down moves to Bayern Munich and Juventus, mainly because they couldn’t guarantee him the number one shirt, but still had an outstanding career and will go down as one of Australia’s most famous players.

3. Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill remains Australia’s greatest international goal scorer, with 50 goals in 108 appearances. Second only to Mark Schwarzer in the all-time appearance list, Cahill is a talented and tenacious attacking midfielder with a keen eye for goal.

555 appearances and 141 goals is an exceptional record for any midfielder, but when we consider that Millwall signed Cahill on a free transfer, and later Everton paid just £1.5 million for him in 2004, he may go down in history as one of the best value-for-money players ever. In 443 appearances for Millwall and Everton, Cahill scored 108 goals, not bad for a free transfer.

Australia best players: Tim Cahill
Australia best players: Tim Cahill

Tim Cahill was one of the Premier League’s finest midfielders for many seasons and a player revered by many fans seemingly for his outstanding work ethic and determination to win. Fans can always appreciate a player who gives their all for the team, and Cahill rarely left the pitch without giving his all, something he did for 20 years as a professional footballer.

2. Mark Viduka

As one of Australia’s most prolific goal-scoring forwards, Mark Viduka found the back of the net for every team he played for, in some of Europe’s toughest competitions. With a physique that resembled more of a boxer than a footballer, Viduka was an imposing figure, boasting powerful shots and never allowing himself to be bullied by opponents.

Mark Viduka averaged nearly a goal every two games, scoring prolifically for every club he played for, from his early days at Melbourne Knights to stints at Celtic and Leeds United. His time at Leeds was particularly successful, as the Yorkshire club built a formidable young squad.

Australian football best players: Mark Viduka
Australian football best players: Mark Viduka

Players like Alan Smith, fellow Australian Harry Kewell, and Michael Bridges made Leeds United a challenging prospect. A brief breakthrough to European competition for Leeds meant Viduka had the chance to play in the Champions League, and he remains the highest-scoring Australian in that competition to this day. Mark Viduka retired in 2009 with 251 goals from 491 appearances in domestic leagues, one of the most dangerous forwards of the 2000s.

1. Harry Kewell

Voted the greatest footballer ever produced by Australia in a 2012 fan and former player poll, Harry Kewell is arguably the most talented player ever to emerge from Australia. In a career marred by injuries, Kewell is said to still top the list due to his outstanding footballing ability. Harry Kewell only made 381 appearances for domestic clubs, including Leeds, Liverpool, and Galatasaray, but when fit, he stood out as one of the most talented players of his generation.

Best Australian soccer players: Harry Kewell
Best Australian soccer players: Harry Kewell

Similarly on the international stage, Kewell played sparingly but still managed to score 17 goals in 58 appearances. Moving to England at 15 and debuting for Leeds United’s youth team at just 17, Kewell became part of the exodus at Leeds after the club overspent on wages.

After a Champions League semi-final disappointment, consecutive seasons saw Leeds absent from the Champions League, and within a few years, the club had twice been relegated due to having to sell its star players.

Harry Kewell moved to Anfield for 5 seasons with Liverpool, but never quite recaptured his previous form. Kewell had a remarkable career, but with his talent, we can only speculate his potential had he not been plagued by frequent injuries, and the finest Australian club retired in 2014.


In summary, this list honors the most outstanding footballers of Australia, from those who made their mark domestically to those who excelled on the international stage. From defenders like Tony Vidmar and Lucas Neill, leadership figures like Johnny Warren and Mile Jedinak, to great forwards like Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, each of them has contributed not only to the development of Australian football but also left a profound imprint on the global football stage. Their careers are a testament to talent, dedication, and relentless fighting spirit, creating a legacy that will never fade in the hearts of football fans and is a source of pride for the nation.

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