In this list, I’ve collected the top 10 footballers who make the most of their petite stature on the pitch. You might imagine a tall, athletic player running the field when you think of football. But, that’s not always the case. Some football players break records with their small height.
Soccer is a game for the giants. Big, burly, athletic men dominate the pitch, whereas those of average or small stature are usually pushed to the fringes. But there has been a rise in one particular type of player that can’t be overlooked: the short guy. Just because you’re short doesn’t mean you need to hang up your boots – many short athletes have proved they can thrive on the field. So if big is beautiful in soccer, let’s take a look at some examples of small guys who defy convention and inject some fun into the beautiful game.
Top 10 Shortest-Height Soccer Players in 2023
There are many shortest-height football players who have displayed exceptional skill on the field. They are not the tallest, but their prowess is undeniable. From stacking up against taller defenders to dribbling skills to heading shots, these men have defied the odds of average-height men and women on the football field.
10. Xherdan Shaqiri – 1.69m / 5’5 feet
If you’ve been following the sport this summer, you might have heard about Xherdan Shaqiri, a Swiss professional footballer who plays for Ligue 1 club Lyon and the Switzerland national team. He’s also one of the shortest players in the entire league.
All right, you might think—that’s not that interesting. But here’s the thing…
Shaqiri is just so darn good at what he does! He even helped his team win TWO major trophies in 2019: the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. And he was named “Best Young Player” at the FIFA Club World Cup. Not bad, right?
Switzerland is known to be a country that produces both chocolate and luxury watches (if you didn’t know), so it’s no surprise that their athletes are pretty good at what they do too! In fact, Shaqiri has been with the national team for over ten years now and has played one hundred games for them. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me.
9. Alexis Sanchez – 1.68m / 5’5 feet
Alexis is not only a forward for Inter Milan, but he’s also the greatest Chilean player of all time. Every other Chilean player pales in comparison—he’s the best by a long shot, and he’s even being praised as a candidate for best South American player ever. He is known for his explosive pace, long-range shooting, dribbling skills, and creativity.
It’s no surprise that he makes a lot of money as one of the richest footballer players. He has been playing for over eight years with professional teams, like FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC, and he is one of the most expensive players in history.
The most interesting thing about Sanchez is that he has never considered himself to be short or small. On the contrary, he has claimed multiple times that his height has helped him succeed in football. “I don’t feel like I’m short,” he said in an interview.
“I’m not small. Every coach I’ve had says I’m big for my height.”
Sanchez also stated that his height actually made him better at football than other players—he thinks that being shorter gives him better balance on the ball, allowing him to make sharper turns and more accurate passes than taller players. His speed allows him to move past defenders without losing control of the ball—a skill he honed while playing futsal while growing up in Tocopilla.
“I think it’s an advantage being small because you have better control of the ball,” Sanchez said.
8. Joe Allen – 1.68m / 5’5 feet
Joe Allen, who is a Welsh footballer, plays as a midfielder for EFL Championship club Stoke City. Allen was born in Pontypridd. He started his career with Arsenal before moving to Liverpool in 2011. Allen made his football debut for Wales in 2008, and he has been capped more than 60 times since. He became the second-youngest player to play for Wales when he made his debut.
Joe Allen is a short-height footballer, standing only 1.68 meters tall. He is known for being an excellent passer of the ball and having great vision on the field. He has been described by some as the most talented yet underrated player in the Premier League. Although he is not very big, Joe Allen has been able to take advantage of his skills and become a very good player.
7. Mathieu Valbuena – 1.67m / 5’5 feet
When you’re 5’5″ and play professional football, your nickname is “The Little Prince.”
That’s a life Mathieu Valbuena has had to live. The French footballer has played for top-tier teams like Marseille, and he’s on the roster for Olympiacos, a team in Greece now.
He’s known for his ability to dribble past defenders, as well as his tenacious style of play. It doesn’t matter if you’re taller than him—he’ll find a way to get passed you! Even though he’s not the tallest guy on the field, he always manages to score goals.
His height hasn’t stopped him from playing pro football—instead, it just gives him an advantage over his opponents because he can find their blind spots and use them against them.
6. Marco Verrati – 1.65m / 5’4 feet
Do you know Marco Verrati? The short one? The super-silky-skilled-but-also-super-short one? Yeah, him. Well, he’s good. Real good. Real, real good.
Seriously. How good is he? So good that he led his country to a Euro 2020 victory and was named MVP of the tournament! That’s right—MVP! He only stands 1.65 meters tall (that’s about 5’4″), but this little guy is great at playing football and has been dominating in the midfield clear cacher both club and country for years now.
So if you’re looking for a new player to add to your fantasy team or someone to root for in the next World Cup, check out Marco Verrati! He’s so small that he’ll fit on your bench without taking up any space, but he’s got all the talent any other footballer out there has—and maybe even more! And when you’ve got him on your team, you’ve definitely got a chance of winning it all. Just look at what he did with Italy in 2020’s Euro Cup!
5. Lorenzo Insigne – 1.63m / 5’3 feet
Hey, you know what they say: “it’s not the size of your feet that matters, it’s how you use them!” That’s right—there’s nothing wrong with being a little bit on the shorter side, and if anyone knows that, it’s Lorenzo Insigne.
Insigne is an Italian footballer who plays for Napoli as a winger. He’s a small guy (1.63 m). ut that doesn’t keep him from having an enormous impact on his team and in the game. He has some impressive dribbling skills and packs quite a powerful shot!
At one point, he was even named the top scorer in the Euro 2020 league. He finished as Napoli’s top scorer in the Euro 2020 league with 19 goals in 35 appearances!
So next time you feel like you’re too short to do something, remember this little guy—and get out there and show us what you’re made of!
4. Maximiliano Moralez – 1.60m / 5’2 feet
Moralez, nicknamed frasquito, or “little flask,” is a 1.60-meter attacking midfielder for New York City FC, a Major League Soccer team in the United States. While most soccer players are quite tall—the average height of a field player on an MLS roster is 1.78 meters—Moralez stands out as particularly short.
He does this by playing with a “never say die” attitude, literally running circles around larger defenders and setting up teammates for easy goals with pinpoint passes. When he’s not taking on defenders, he’s usually busy making sure his club wins: in his first season in MLS, NYCFC finished second in the Eastern Conference and made it to the semi-finals of the playoffs.
3. Daniel Villalva – 1.55m / 5’ feet
Daniel Villalva is only 1.55 meters tall—about 5 feet tall. He plays for two different countries: Argentina and Mexico. Villalva is a skillful attacker who’s best at dribbling, passing, and shooting. He’s fast on the ball, and he can change direction quickly.
When he was a kid, his parents worried that his height would keep him from pursuing his goals. But he proved them wrong! Villalva has played for both Argentina and Mexico as well as in European competitions like the UEFA Champions League.
Villalva is an inspiration to lots of other people around the world and to me. He’s been so successful despite being short! And it just goes to show that with determination, you can still achieve your dreams even if someone thinks you can’t do it because of something about yourself that you think is less than ideal.
2. Elton Jose Xavier Gomes – 1.54m / 5′ feet
Elton Jose Xavier Gomes is a Brazilian attacking midfielder who stands at a mere 1.54 meters tall—the height of an average twelve-year-old kid. This shouldn’t be possible, but he’s been kicking goals and breaking ankles for years with his blessed agility and incredible dribbling skills. He’s been called “a small wizard” by his teammates, and they’re not wrong.
He started out playing as a forward in his youth, but due to his size, he was shifted back into midfield to allow more room to work his magic. All I can say is thank God he did because we’re seeing some of the most beautiful fútbol ever to grace the pitch because of it.
1. Marcin Garuch – 1.52m / 5’0” feet
While some people are tall and some are short, there’s only one person who is just under 1.6m (5’2″) tall and plays professional football: Marcin Garuch.
We’ll let you do the math, but that’s pretty darn short!
Garuch was born in September 1988 in Łódź, Poland. He began his career in 2004 playing for his hometown club Amica Wronki as a part of their youth system.
It wasn’t long before he joined Miedź Legnica, a Polish second-division team. The midfielder made his debut for the senior squad in 2009. And since then, has been a constant presence on the field. He’s been nominated several times for the prize awarded to the best midfielder in Poland but has yet to win it.
The footballer is known to be an excellent ball controller due to his small stature, which allows him to easily dodge other players while dribbling. This also gives him an advantage when it comes to shooting on target due to his ability to make last-minute shots by staying under defenders’ radars.
Shortest Soccer Players Visuals
You can be a small guy and still play soccer well. These 10 shortest are proof of that—props to them for not letting their relatively diminutive physical stature deter them from achieving their dreams.
Answers to your Queries
Who is the Shortest Footballer Right Now?
As of 2023, Marcin Garuch is the shortest football player in the world. He is hardly 5 feet tall.
What is the Height of the Shortest Soccer Player?
The shortest soccer player’s height is 1.69m, which is 5 feet. He is a Polish footballer.
How does Height Benefit a Soccer Player?
A tall height can be helpful for goalkeepers. In a game like soccer, height is not very important like in basketball and volleyball.