Who among all time's football referees is the best? When such a question is posed, the majority of football supporters immediately think back to the glory years of Pierluigi Collina in Serie A and Howard Webb in the Premier League.
Thanks to their excellent officiating, they were in fact significant figures in the football world. However, there are a ton of great referees in the football world who maintain objectivity and focus on making the game as fair as possible.
Even though it has been documented that all sports officials have made mistakes, this article only discusses the best of them. Statistics have been used to evaluate the data, which has come from a number of reliable sources.
The all-time best football referee in the world in 2022
Football officials are very important and have a big influence on the game. So, making future predictions requires having access to this kind of information.
10. Kim Milton Nielsen
Kim Milton Nielsen, a Dane and IT manager, was born and raised in Denmark. Football fans noticed Nielsen because of his height and long neck. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was actually taller than most international football players.
He has presided over 154 international matches and 53 UEFA Champions League matches, among many other matches. Nielsen started his career at the age of 15, and in 1988, at the astonishingly young age of 28, he became the first referee to receive FIFA accreditation.
He kept working until May 16, 2006, when he turned the mandatory retirement age of 45 set by UEFA. Among the notable matches he officiated were the three UEFA Champions League Finals in 2003, 2004, and 2005 as well as the FIFA 2011 semi-final between Brazil and Turkey.
9. Sandor Puhl
A former football official from Hungary is named Sandor Puhl. One of the best football referees in history, he is well known for his abilities. One of the best referees in the world, Sandor won the IFFHS World Top award four times in a row from 1994 to 1997.
However, he encountered challenges throughout his career. He was punished by FIFA for his negligence in the 1994 World Cup quarterfinal between Italy and Spain with an eight-match international match ban. Following his retirement in 2000, he also held the position of Deputy Chairman of the Hungarian Football Association for six years.
8. Peter Mikkelsen
The father of outstanding Danish refereeing is frequently referred to as retired Danish football official Peter Mikkelsen. He worked as a FIFA-affiliated referee during his prime.
Mikkelsen was named the world's top referee by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics in 1991 and 1993. However, he made an announcement about his retirement from active refereeing following the 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifier games.
7. Michel Vautrot
Michel Vautrot is one of the top officials in France. He has a thorough working knowledge of international events, including two matches at the 1982 FIFA World Cup and three in 1986. The 1986 European Cup final between FC Barcelona and FC Steaua Bucharest was also overseen by him.
He has twice taken home the IFFHS award. Not only has Michel's extraordinary success already been mentioned, but he has also in the past been associated with a match-fixing scandal. As a result of him receiving 50,000 euros to fix the 1986 European Cup semifinal between Roma and Dundee United, FIFA suspended FC Roma.
6. Pedro Proenca
Pedro Proença, a Portuguese football official, is currently the best official. He continues to officiate international football matches. Being the first official to oversee both the UEFA Champions League and UEFA European Championship finals in the same year, he made history.
Proenca became a FIFA-affiliated referee in 2003 and was elevated to UEFA's elite level in 2009. In 2007 and 2011, he received the Portuguese Football Federation's Best Referee of the Year award.
He was named the best official in the world by IFFHS in 2012. Along with his accomplishments on the international stage, he also managed many important club matches.
5. Howard Webb
Howard Webb was one of the greatest Premier League and English referees of all time. As with all others, Webb received his fair share of criticism throughout the course of his career, but he upheld a very high standard until retiring in 2014.
Webb, the son of a veteran official, made it to the Premier League in 2005 and oversaw a contentious League Cup final in 2007. After being added to the FIFA list in 2005, he went on to oversee numerous high-profile games, including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. After retiring, Webb worked as Saudi Arabia's referees' director and made an appearance on BT Sport.
4. Markus Merk
Markus was the youngest official in the Bundesliga when he started officiating matches in 1988 at the age of 25. In addition, he is the official who has officiated the most Bundesliga games.
He has won a record six DFB German Referee of the Year awards in addition to three FIFA "Best Referee of the Year" awards. He has officiated many significant matches, including the 2004 Eurofinal, the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final, and the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final.
The retirement of Markus Merk occurred in 2008. He used to be a dentist but now works for Sky Deutschland as a pundit, motivational speaker, and benefactor behind the scenes of football matches.
3. Oscar Ruiz
Former Colombian football official Oscar Ruiz Acosta made a name for himself as the country's top official. He served as a FIFA-affiliated referee from 1995 to 2011. He retired in 2011 after spending his entire career as one of Colombia's best referees.
He finished his stints as a member of Conmebals' referee assistance program after giving up active officiating. He practices law in addition to playing football.
2. Frank De Bleeckere
A record-breaking seven times, Frank de Bleeckere was named Belgian Professional Referee of the Year. And between 2000 and 2013, he was successful. He made his professional debut in 1984 and worked as a FIFA-affiliated official from 1998 to 2012.
His first match as an international official took place on March 24, 2001, during a FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Cyprus and Ireland, despite the fact that he made his international officiating debut in 1984. The only Belgian referee to officiate seven World Cup games, he is well-known for this accomplishment.
1. Pierluigi Collina
The athletes showed Collina respect. They hardly ever had the nerve to yell and swear at him, and those who did got the proper treatment because he didn't put up with nonsense. Whether you were a subpar football player or one of the best ever was irrelevant. Collina didn't seem to care. His greatest achievement was winning the IFFHS World Best Referee of the Year award for a record-breaking six consecutive years. After officiating Euro 2004, his final significant international match, he announced his retirement in 2005. He is one of the most well-known football referees in the world and is currently a consultant to the UEFA Referees Committee.
This ranking of the greatest football referees in history demonstrates their contribution to the game. Some still hold the title of richest referees in the entire world.
His most notable contests include the 1996 Olympic Men's Football Final between Nigeria and Argentina and the UEFA Final between Bayern Munich and Manchester United. The alopecia that caused him to lose all of his facial hair was one of his distinctive characteristics.