Soccer players can be tough to rank amongst each other compared to some of the other major sports. Players play in different competitions, different leagues, and thus there are always arguments of how a top player would do in a tougher league than he is currently playing in.
Then there is the case of each player’s job and skillset on the pitch. The top players are the ones best at their job and each offers a unique skill set that differentiates them from the rest. This list will consider every single asset a player brings including where they play and the level of competition they play.
15. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid, Spain, Center Back
Defenders often don’t get nearly the attention forwards do in soccer but Ramos is an exception. Almost every soccer fan knows why he’s on this list and it’s because of his consistency. Ramos was one of the key players who led Real Madrid in winning four Champions League titles in five years and has always been one of the top defenders in soccer even before that. Ramos also scores quite a lot of big goals for his teams as a defender.
14. Alisson – Liverpool, Brazil, Goalkeeper
Being one of the only two goalkeepers on this list proves how world-class Alisson truly is. As most soccer fans know Liverpool are now one of the top teams in all of Europe, but before Alisson took over as their goalkeeper they could be considered underdogs. Alisson shined as soon as he took over, helping to solidify Liverpool’s overall defense as a wall-like presence, and is always around the top of the league in save percentage.
13. N’golo Kante – Chelsea, France, Center Midfielder
When you watch Kante play he certainly isn’t flashy and doesn’t get the headlines compared to other midfielders. However, Kante’s skillset and grittiness shouldn’t be overlooked as he has constantly proved how valuable he is. Standing at a mere 5’6″ he is stronger than most other players at his position and can do just a little bit of everything on the pitch.
12. Heung Min Son – Tottenham, South Korea, Left Winger
This might be unexpected and a stretch for some but to people who have been following soccer closely this season, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The South Korean has evolved from an already good player to an absolute monster this season. He is one of the reasons Tottenham has emerged as a true force in the Premier League, and are early contenders for the title. Son has great pace, and great ball control to go along with his lethal finishing.
11. Mo Salah – Liverpool, Egypt, Right Winger
After breaking out of the scene from nowhere in 2017 the Liverpool winger hasn’t looked back and has been proficient ever since his first world-class season. One of the many key players that formed Liverpool into the world power they are today, Salah was and is the backbone of the team’s attack.
10. Sadio Mane – Liverpool, Senegal, Left Winger
Mane and Salah can honestly be interchangeable as both of them play in a similar fashion with their great speed and nose for goal. Mane gets the slight edge over Salah because he just impacts the game more and works slightly harder than Salah on the defensive side too, something you don’t see from a winger often.
9. Harry Kane – Tottenham, England, Striker
Kane has always been or near the top when it comes to the talk of the best striker in the English Premier League. Now, however, he is making a real case for the best striker in the world as this season he has been on fire just like his Korean teammate on this list and showing his complete offensive array. Kane already has nine assists this year, more than four times the amount he had last year which is pretty remarkable.
8. Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool, Netherlands, Center Back
Coming in as the best defender on this list, Van Dijk has proved why he is the best in the past few seasons. Out of the four Liverpool players on this list (who are all top class), you can make a case Van Dijk is the most valuable player on the team. One of the strongest players in the world, along with his great pace for a defender, and his intimidating height of 6’4″, you get a player impossible to get by.
7. Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid, Slovenia, Goalkeeper
Oblak is the undisputed best goalkeeper in the world right now. If you need an explanation go watch the 2nd leg of Atletico vs Liverpool. He has won the Zamora trophy (Best goalkeeper in La Liga) the last four years. His save percentage has been incredible. Simply put, Oblak is everything you want in a goalkeeper.
6. Kylian Mbappe – PSG, France, Striker
If you had to bet on who will be the first player to dethrone Messi and Ronaldo as the kings of soccer, that player will be Mbappe. At the mere age of 21 Mbappe has achieved what the average soccer player dreams about for their whole career. He lit up the Russia World Cup in 2018, almost led his club to a UCL title last season, and has always consistently been a top-level scorer in his French League. His pace is ridiculous and the thought of his potential is scary.
5. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich, Polish Striker
Everyone knows of Lewandowski’s goal-scoring capabilities. Last season he took his play to a whole new level as he was without a doubt the best striker in all of world football. He was the main reason Bayern were crowned champions of Europe this August. The only reason there are four players ahead of him is the fact they are just more complete than him.
4. Neymar Jr. – PSG, Brazillian Left Winger
One game of watching Neymar play and you will just see how incredible he is. Flashy, popular, and also controversial, the Brazilian doesn’t come with his fair share of injury problems. However, Neymar’s skillset is just too unique for him to not be in the top 5 and he does have the stats. All he needs to do is prove he can win a big tournament without Messi.
3. Kevin De Bryune – Manchester City, Belgian Center Midfielder
Kevin De Bruyne is as complete of a soccer player as you can find. He simply just makes his team better whether it be scoring brilliant free-kick goals or playing the perfect through ball. 13 goals and 20 assists for a midfielder in an EPL season is simply ridiculous, and proves why he’s number three on this list.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus, Portuguese Forward
De Bruyne is the most complete overall player but for a forward in the history of soccer, there’s never been a more complete player than CR7. Both of his feet are just as good, he has the Neymar-like moves, Lewandowski’s finishing, and a tall stature that makes him able to head the ball with ease. Ronaldo and the player at number 1 will fight for GOAT status till the end of their careers.
1. Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona, Argentinean Forward
The current GOAT in soccer history. Sure Ronaldo might have an international trophy and 1 more UCL title, but soccer is a team game. Messi boasts more of the individual battles between him and Ronaldo, and if you watch Messi play you get the feeling he is just different. There will never be a player like Messi again.
Image: Ligue 1