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Zinedine Zidane has been voted the best European footballer of the last 50 years, finishing narrowly ahead of Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Dutchman Johan Cruyff.

Zidane, polled 123,582 votes, just 1,013 ahead of Beckenbauer, who totalled 122,569, with Cruyff third on 119,332.

The poll was organised by European soccer’s governing body UEFA to mark the Golden Jubilee of their foundation in 1954.

The final three were announced at a Golden Jubilee ceremony at the start of UEFA’s annual congress being held in Cyprus.

They topped a final list of 50 players revealed by UEFA since the start of this year. Marco Van Basten of the Netherlands was fourth with 117,987, Dino Zoff was fifth place, followed by Real Madrid’s Alfredo Di Stefano, Portugal’s Eusebio seventh, Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin eighth, France’s Michel Platini ninth and Italian defender Paolo Maldini 10th.

Zidane, who will turn 32 during this year’s European Championship in Portugal is already the FIFA World Player of the Year, an award he won for the third time in December.

UEFA top 50
2. Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)
4. Marco van Basten (Netherlands)
6. Alfredo Di Stefano (Spain)
8. Lev Yashin (Soviet Union)
10. Paolo Maldini (Italy)

11. Ferenc Puskas (Hungary)
13. Ruud Gullit (Netherlands)
15. Lothar Matthaeus (West Germany)
17. Franco Baresi (Italy)
19. George Best (Northern Ireland)

21. Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands)
23. Bobby Moore (England)
25. Michael Laudrup (Denmark)
27. Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
29. Sepp Maier (West Germany)

31. Luis Figo (Portugal)
33. Berti Vogts (West Germany)
35. Gianni Rivera (Italy)
37. Marco Tardelli (Italy)
39. Peter Shilton (England)

41. Raymond Kopa (France)
43. Stanley Matthews (England)
45. Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union)
47. Alessandro Nesta (Italy)
49. Alessandro Del Piero (Italy)

Read Brain Glanville’s thoughts on the poll

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