The debate rages between every football fan on over who is currently the best footballer in the world. Everyone has their own opinion, some say Lionel Messi is the greatest player right now, while Cristiano Ronaldo continues to impress at 33 and his accolades make him a serious choice for many fans. Others such as Nicklas Bendtner who would list himself at the top of the list. Well, turn away now Nicklas, because here is our version of the best players in world football right now.
#10 Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne has enjoyed three wonderful years since his return to the English Premier League with Manchester City. Deemed not good enough by Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, the playmaker was sold to Wolfsburg for £18 Million in 2014. After two stunning seasons with the club, Manchester City lured him back to the Premier League for a club record fee of £55 million.
The Belgian has adapted to life in England seamlessly and has quickly replaced as the leagues best playmaker. The 27-year-old has so far managed 46 assists and 21 goals despite only appearing in 99 Premier League games for City. Expect plenty more from the Belgian in the coming season as he looks to further enhance his reputation as the best player in the Premier League.
#9 Manuel Neuer
Other goalkeepers may surpass him over the next few years but as of now, Neuer remains the best in the world. Leadership, agility and the ability to play the ball out from the back are the traits that have made him the best in his position since 2010.
The German’s greatness and legacy have been further highlighted by top sides around the world trying to have their own Manuel Neuer. We have seen this most recently at Manchester City, Arsenal, and Juventus. It is the ultimate compliment and testament to the man who has revolutionized how goalkeepers play the modern game of football.
#8 Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe is 19 years old. Despite this, the French striker has won a World Cup, has two league titles to his name and has scored 65 career goals. He has already achieved more than most players will during their careers and he is only just getting started. He is arguably the best teenager of all time and if he continues on an upward trajectory, he could become the best player of all time.
His combination of pace, power and clinical finishing make him almost unstoppable. This year may come too soon, but expect that Mbappe will be in contention to win the World Player of the Year within the next two years.
#7 Luis Suarez
The 31-year-old striker has recently shown signs of slowing down, but at this current time, he remains among the best. The Uruguayan was the Premier League’s best player during his time at Liverpool, and he nearly won the title on his own during the 2013/14 season. Suarez’s move to Barcelona in 2014 has further allowed the striker to prove his ability in the world’s best league.
Suarez combines the incredible skill set that he posses, with his will and determination to win. This has resulted in the striker becoming one of the deadliest players of his generation. His numbers at Barcelona stands at 154 goals and a stunning 84 assists in 202 games, which is even more impressive when he has had to contend with sharing goals with Lionel Messi.
#6 Luka Modric
It seems that Modric is only just starting to get the accolades that he deserves. The Croatian has been the dynamic force in Madrid’s midfield for years, and he has been instrumental in guiding Real Madrid to four Champions League triumphs over the past 5 years.
Modric combines incredible vision with his ability to find teammates all over the pitch. The midfielder is a player that improves everyone around him and the 33-year-old has struck up a telepathic partnership with Toni Kroos. It is a pleasure to watch the Croatian’s midfield masterclasses on a weekly basis.
# 5 Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann is one of the best players in the world and he has demonstrated this by transforming Atletico Madrid into true contenders. The Frenchman does not always get the credit he deserves due to the fact he plays for ‘Madrid’s other club’ but rest assured, he has been long established as one of the worlds best.
Blessed with lightning pace and possessing an incredible dribbling ability, Griezmann has been the driving force behind Atletico’s best period in decades. He has already reached a Champions League final and won the Europa League with the club but at just 27, there is plenty more to come from the Frenchman.
#4 Sergio Ramos
Early on in his Real Madrid career, Sergio Ramos was criticized for his perceived inability to defend. He was playing at right-back during this time and eyes were rolling when he was moved into the center of defense permanently by Jose Mourinho. Fast forward 10 years and he is the best central defender on the planet.
Ramos‘ aggressive style has earned him his fair share of criticism. Most of the hate, however, comes from envy. Every football fan in the world would love a player as passionate as the Spaniard, leading their team. The 32-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, he will continue to be the heartbeat and soul of Madrid’s team for the next five years.
#3 Lionel Messi
You probably guessed who would be in the top three before even reaching this point. Whilst the current best three players in the world are widely agreed upon, the order of who is 1,2 and 3 is a constant source for debate.
Simply put, Messi is currently only the third best player in the world. Unlike Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, the Argentine cannot adapt to any change in the system and he only performs his best football when the whole Barcelona system is tailored to him. Neymar and Ronaldo have both had success at multiple teams with different systems and most importantly, both have consistently performed on the international stage.
Messi‘s shortcomings can often be seen in international matches, as the forward goes missing time after time due to the whole game plan not revolving around him. Some will make excuses and say it’s because his Argentina team is poor, but since when are Sergio Aguero, Paulo Dybala, Nicolás Otamendi and Ángel Di Maria not good enough?
The reality is that the 31 year old is starting to slowly decline. He is still brilliant and one of the best players ever but he is no longer one of the best two players in the world.
Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 in order to emerge from Messi‘s giant shadow. The Brazilian took less than a year to surpass the Argentine and he is now the second best player in the world. Barcelona is Messi‘s team but with PSG, Neymar has found his own team where he is the focal point. Electrifying pace, dynamic vision, and deadly finishing are skills that Neymar has in abundance and at just 26 years old, he could still get better.
At the age of 21, he had scored 136 goals in 225 games for Santos, while winning the 2011 Copa Libertadores. He won the Champions League at 23 with Barcelona and if he continues to score at his current rate, he will be Brazils top scorer at the age of 28. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi both over 30, Neymar is likely to become the most dominant force in world football over the next two years.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo
Yes, Cristiano is the oldest player on this list. He is also the best. Similar to LeBron James in the NBA, he continues to defy logic and it could be argued he is actually getting better with age. It remains to be seen how long his performances will last, but the Portuguese star obviously has no eyes on retirement as he has just started a new adventure with Juventus.
The 33-year-old deserves credit for adapting his game over the past few years in order to remain at the peak of the footballing world. He ended his Real Madrid career with an absurd 450 goals in 438 games and he is also his country’s top scorer with 85 goals. After winning an unlikely Euro title with Portugal in 2016, Cristiano has nothing left to prove. Let’s just enjoy the best footballer in the world, whilst we still can.