Luis Figo wants to become FIFA president and claims he has the nominations needed to be an official candidate against Sepp Blatter.
The former Portugal, Barcelona and Real Madrid playmaker announced his campaign in a statement.
"I look at the reputation of FIFA right now and I don't like it. Football deserves better,'' Figo said in the statement.
"Football has given me so much during my life, and I want to give something back to the game.''
FIFA president Blatter is the strong favourite to get a fifth presidential term in the May 29 ballot despite bribery and financial scandals which have implicated several of his executive committee colleagues.
The deadline for would-be candidates to file nominations from five of FIFA's 209 member federations is 2300 GMT Thursday.
Figo launched his campaign one hour before Netherlands federation president Michael van Praag held a news conference in Amsterdam to launch his bid.
Van Praag also says he has five nominees but, like Figo, has not identified them.
Other potential contenders seeking nominations include former FIFA official Jerome Champagne, a longtime Blatter ally, and former France player David Ginola, who is being paid by a betting operator to run.