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The 50 Best Footballers In The World For 2021 Have Been Named And Ranked

Alex Reid

| Last updated 

The 50 Best Footballers In The World For 2021 Have Been Named And Ranked

The 50 best players in the world for 2021 have been named and ranked - and there is an absolutely huge surprise regarding who's No 1.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is second on football magazine FourFourTwo's annual countdown, beaten to top spot by Manchester City's playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, fresh off back-to-back PFA Player of the Year awards.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who was widely regarded as the world player of the year for 2020, is down in third spot. Cristiano Ronaldo just sneaks into the top 10, as he bagged 36 goals last season but couldn't stop Juventus struggling domestically and in Europe.


However it's the choice of De Bruyne as No 1 that will provoke debate with FFT calling the Belgian the "inexplicable spark that elevates" Pep Guardiola's City side, while also pointing to his three, crucial Champions League knockout stage goals last season.

Messi is still labelled "the most gorgeous footballer on earth to watch", as Lewandowski is praised for breaking Gerd Muller's 49-year record by bagging 41 Bundesliga goals last season.

Paris Saint-German pair Kylian Mbappe (fifth) and Neymar (fourth), complete the top five. Harry Kane is the highest English player as the Tottenham striker is sixth and hailed for his continual improvement every season.


Erling Haaland is already in seventh spot at the age of just 20 as the Borussia Dortmund's giant Norwegian "averages a goal a game and he's barely finished growing". Can't argue with that, nor with Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak being the highest-placed goalkeeper in 12th.

However some Liverpool fans might claim that Mohamed Salah in 14th, below Manchester United's Bruno Ferdandes in eighth, is being underrated after he finished one goal behind Kane in the Golden Boot stakes and almost single-handedly kept LFC's attack together last season.

The top 20 players for 2021 are listed below, while you can read FourFourTwo's full top 50 complete with explanations here.


20. Ilkay Gundogan

19. Jadon Sancho

18. Ruben Dias

17. Riyad Mahrez


16. Leon Goretzka

15. Karim Benzema

14. Mohamed Salah

13. Joshua Kimmich


12. Jan Oblak

11. Thomas Muller

10. Cristiano Ronaldo

9. Romelu Lukaku

8. Bruno Fernandes

7. Erling Haaland

6. Harry Kane

5. Kylian Mbappe

4. Neymar

3. Robert Lewandowski

2. Lionel Messi

1. Kevin De Bruyne

All imagery: PA Images

Topics: Bruno Fernandes, Football Lists, Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland, Neymar, Lionel Messi, Kevin de Bruyne, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo

Alex Reid
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